The Ladies’ Land League in Ireland: The Beginning
Anna Parnell was uniquely qualified to head an organisation of women destined to become a political power on the Irish national scene. Life on the family estate in County Wicklow had given her an intimate knowledge of the world of both the Irish gentry and the Irish peasant; through her residence in the American colony in Paris and later in the United States she understood well the mentality, aspirations and the material conditions of Irish-Americans (not always so prosperous as most Irish seemed to believe) on whose financial and moral support the land agitation relied. Well read, intelligent and reflective, her moral certainties were truth, justice and fairness. Her notions of the right, indeed the duty, of minorities to struggle ceaselessly against the oppression of unjust majorities has a very modern ring and is reflected in the strong ‘ethnic’ or ‘minority’ rights legislation now contained in the laws of most liberal Western democracies.1 Equipped with this coherent set of personal and political beliefs which would guide her throughout the eighteen months of the Ladies’ Land League, Anna was ready to begin what was to be the great adventure of her life.
KeywordsPublic Meeting Irish Woman Peat Fire Executive Member Liberal Western Democracy
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