Kildare Rebellion

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Both the Kildare rebellion of 1534 and the rebellion of the 1640s failed due to insufficient military support. If the rebels had acquired the military back-up they sought they may have initially prevailed, however, they would not have endured. The rebels would have been unable to sustain their aims due to the complex political circumstances during which they occurred. This essay discusses the events and aims of each rebellion, and attempts to illustrate how the rebels would have been unable to achieve and maintain their aims given the political conditions in England and the political instability in Ireland. Ireland, ultimately, was too divided politically with no strong political base present. The political situation in Ireland since the 1470’s, saw the Anglo-Norman Earls of Kildare rule as lord deputy for the crown. This policy of devolution was the most economic way for the king to govern Ireland, but it also created a sense of autonomy for Ireland. There was tension and unease about the power of the Kildares with the feeling that they were becoming too powerful and independent. During the 1530’s, Tudor political reform brought about a protected change in English policy towards Ireland. Henry VIII’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, drew up a policy to lessen the power of the Kildares and put more control into the hands of the king. In 1533, Garret Óg was summoned to London to discuss this program of political reform and to respond to grievances of his deputyship, leaving his son Silken Thomas in command. Hayes-McCoy notes that the expansion of the structure of the English state created much friction between the Anglo-Irish and the Gaelic-Irish . Hence, from the beginning there was political instability present in Ireland evident in both the dynastic rivalry between the Kildares and the Butlers, and also within the Irish themselves. Conflicting reports exist as to why the rebellion of 1534 occurred. Some historians attribute it to the Cannon Letter, which...
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