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The 1910's
The Irish Fight for Independence



The Irish Fight for Independence
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.73

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    negotiation, membership, starvation, society, pivotal, poorly, attain, military, manpower, artillery, dispose, civil, tended, formation, constitution, fairly
     content words:    United Kingdom, Great Famine, Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, World War, Great Britain, Eoin MacNeill, Irish Citizen Army, World War I., Citizen Army


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The Irish Fight for Independence
By Jane Runyon
  

1     Some say the problems began in 1845. From 1845 to 1850, the country of Ireland suffered from a great famine. Most of the crops failed during this period. The potato crop was especially important to the Irish people. A fungus caused the potatoes to rot in the ground instead of grow. Times were desperate for the people. More than a million Irish people died from starvation. Millions of Irish citizens chose to take what belongings they had left and move to America. Those who stayed in Ireland had a hard time making a living. Many of those who remained lost faith in the British government.
 
2     The United Kingdom is made up of four distinct countries. England, Scotland, and Wales are on one island. Ireland is on an island just west of the other three countries. The people in Ireland were governed by England. The English called it "Home Rule." Most of the people of Ireland were happy being ruled by England. During the Great Famine, many others began to question just how interested England was in the Irish people. Many felt that the English were treating the Irish poorly. Small groups who believed that Ireland needed to be independent started to emerge. The British tended to ignore these thoughts.
 
3     One of the groups that formed in Ireland was the Irish Republican Brotherhood or IRB. The first record of this group was in 1858. The group stayed fairly small. It is believed that there were never more than 2,000 members. It was a secret society, so it is hard to know for sure. The IRB's main goal through the years was Irish independence.
 
4     Many other small groups cropped up with the same goal. The main difference in the groups was just how they planned to go about reaching their goal. Some believed that independence could be gained through negotiation. Some believed that it would take a civil war to attain freedom. The idea of freedom kept rumbling for many years. It was 1916 before any one group put its beliefs into action.
 
5     The IRB believed that it would take a military stand to convince the British to give the Irish their freedom. It also realized that it didn't have the manpower to pull off the job. Leaders of the group slipped some of their own members into the membership of another group called the Irish Volunteers. The IRB was ready to set a plan for freedom into action when World War I pulled Europe into war. The IRB put its plan on hold until Great Britain could breathe a little easier.

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