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Irish Land League

Irish Land League, 1879–82. The league was formed during the agrarian depression to demand tenant rights, including fair rents and security of tenure. It spread through much of the south and west of Ireland, unifying the interests of large and small farmers, provincial town and countryside. Aided by developments in communications and literacy, it became the most popular organization in 19th-cent. Ireland. Its adoption of the boycott tactic towards rack-renting landlords and other forms of exploitation pressurized Gladstone to introduce his Land Act in 1881, granting many of its demands. Following this Act, divisions occurred between large and small farmers/labourers and between militants and moderates. Parnell, president of the league, in accepting a revised Land Act and rejecting further agitation by the Kilmainham treaty 1882 effectively terminated the movement.

Michael Hopkinson

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