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Civil Society and EmpireIreland and Scotland in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World$
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James Livesey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300139020

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300139020.001.0001

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Civil Society and Empire in Revolution

Civil Society and Empire in Revolution

Ireland and Britain in the 1790s

(p.177) Chapter Six Civil Society and Empire in Revolution
Civil Society and Empire

James Livesey

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses civil society ideas formed during the Irish revolt during the 1790s. The Irish discourse on civil society was a part of the British Empire's response to the French Revolution. Both debates on the revolution and the Irish civil society were conditioned by the works of Edmund Burke. The discourse made by Burke and his opponents created some of the fault lines in points of view about civil society. Edmund Burke's discussions showed the ineffectiveness of civil society as a conceptual position from with to understand and orient oneself in a world of crisis. Civil society was an important theme for the controversies that were provoked by Burke's gloomy forecasts for the French Revolution. One of Burke's greatest opponents was Mary Wollstonecraft, who argued that though moral truths may be sublime, but they do not need an establishment such as the church, which Burke suggested.

Keywords:   civil society, crisis, French Revolution, moral truths, Mary Wollstonecraft, Edmund Burke

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