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Davitt, Michael

Michael Davitt (dăv´Ĭt), 1846–1906, Irish revolutionary and land reformer. He joined the Fenian movement in 1865 and was imprisoned three times by the English for his revolutionary activities. Davitt and Charles Stewart Parnell were the leading figures in the organization of the National Land League in 1879 (see Irish Land Question). Influenced by the theories of Henry George, Davitt broke with Parnell over the question of land nationalization. But he remained an important Irish leader and was instrumental in bringing the Parnell and anti-Parnell factions together in the United Irish League (1898).

See his The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland (1904); study by T. W. Moody, Davitt and Irish Revolution, 1846–1882 (1981).

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Davitt, Michael

Davitt, Michael (1846–1906). Irish nationalist. Born in the famine period, evicted at the age of 5, Davitt lost his right arm in an accident in a Lancashire cotton-mill when he was 12. He joined the Fenians and in 1870 was sentenced to fifteen years in gaol for treason-felony. Released after seven years, he persuaded Parnell of the potential in a land reform agitation. In October 1879 he formed the Irish Land League, with Parnell as president. He took a hostile line to Parnell after the divorce scandal and was returned to Parliament in 1895. Though his early belief in violence moderated, Davitt alienated many supporters by his anticlerical views and his collectivist attitude towards land.

J. A. Cannon

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Davitt, Michael

Davitt, Michael (1846–1906) Irish nationalist. Imprisoned in 1870 as a member of the Fenian movement, Davitt and Parnell established the Irish Land League to organize Irish tenant farmers against exploitive landlords. The League gained concessions of fair rents, fixed tenure and freedom of sale in the Land Act (1881).

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