Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 January 2022
Histories of Irish political thought in this period have adopted an overwhelmingly national focus. While they have frequently engaged with the transnational contexts, whether British, Atlantic or European, that have shaped traditions such as unionism, nationalism and republicanism, their ultimate purpose has been to better understand the principal actors in what remains an Irish story. 4 This focus on Irish national and confessional identities has tended to sideline other questions that we might usefully ask of texts produced in and around Ireland during this turbulent period. Where was Ireland located, by Irish and non-Irish contemporaries alike, within the broader political conjuncture of the later-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries? What can debates concerning Ireland can tell us about the evolution of British and European political thinking in the era of the American and French Revolutions, and of Britain’s rise to global commercial and colonial hegemony?