Christian Socialism In The 19th Century

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Part 2 Christian Socialism and Ireland It was seen in section 1 that the prime mover of Christian Socialism in England in the 19th century was the clergy of the Anglican Church. The churches in Ireland in the 19th century were unconcerned about social issues. Their main concern lay in the promotion of their identities and strengths. They were in strict competition. Co-operation was unheard of. The Churches were caught in narrow Irish politics of Protestant unionism and catholic nationalism. The Churches were concerned with proselytising. Whilst the plight of the people was that of dire poverty (this was especially true of the catholic population) the Churches preached a message of individual personal salvation. This was especially true of…show more content…
In this milieu the Catholic Church built its hegemony of power among the Catholic majority community. In 1832 the British Whig government introduced reform in education by which Catholic and Protestant children were to be educated in the same school so that protestant and Catholic children would form friendships that would last through life. This praiseworthy social reform outraged Presbyterians who resented Roman Catholic priests having contact with their children. Some Presbyterian communities burnt the new schools in protest. The Government gave way and allowed the Presbyterian community to have its own schools. Later in the century when the Catholic population had been halved by the famine the Catholic Church with the arch-conservative Cardinal Cullen at its head insisted that Catholic children be taught by Catholic teachers in Catholic schools. What is important to emphasise is that the new schools were a new social dimension in Ireland but the Churches were interested only in preserving their identities and power in Ireland. *Unlike the Anglican Church in England which had a keen social conscience in Christian Socialism, in Ireland a socialist conscience among the Churches was…show more content…
Plunkettt was an Anglo-Irish unionist, agricultural reformer, pioneer of agricultural co-operatives and a politician. He was an MP and an author. Plunkett was born into a wealthy ascendancy family in County Meath He came from an Anglican background and was educated at Oxford. As a young man he developed lung trouble and emigrated to Wyoming in America. There he acquired experience in farming which proved invaluable in his work for the improvement and development of agricultural education when he returned to Ireland. His main legacy to Ireland is that he left the Irish Co-operative Movement fully functioning in Ireland which is now the Department of Agriculture and Marine in the Republic of Ireland. On his return from America he joined the Congested District Board and learnt at first hand the wretched conditions of the people west of the Shannon. This strengthened his conviction that the remedy for the people’s ills was co-operative self- help. He saw a troubled economy racked with dissention, denuded by emigration, an impoverished country side and economically stagnant towns. He had learnt of co-operatives among isolated American farmers and developed agricultural co-operatives among farmers in Ireland. He used Scandinavian models of co-operatives and used the new invention of steam powered cream separators. He put forward his ideas first among dairy farmers

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