Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


History, Politics and International Relations

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph Huffman


One of the hallmarks of British colonial oppression was the establishment of social control over the native Irish population. In the case of Ireland, the tool that was utilized the most effectively to establish this social control was racialized oppression. According to Theorodore Allen, in his monograph The Invention of the White Race , the hallmarks of racial oppression include an “assault on tribal affinities, customs, laws, and institutions,” all of which describe the systematic disempowerment campaign against the Irish people carried out throughout the majority of the period from the 16th century to 19th century. However, racialized control was not the first method that the British had attempted to use. First, the British government attempted to establish an English middle class in Ireland in order to force the Irish middle class out of positions of power within their own communities. Unfortunately for the British, the attempt to transplant its own middle class in Ireland proved too demographically thin to have any significant influence, and instead the transplanted British became more Irish rather than the Irish middle class becoming more English. The English attempted two more strategies - replacing Celtic law with British law, and establishing Protestant plantations - both of which failed miserably due largely to a lack of numbers. The native Irish population simply overwhelmed the British colonial presence and smothered its impact.