The Great Famine

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Introduction The Great Famine occurred in Ireland between 1845 and 1850 (Gray 2004). The famine was caused by infectious diseases to potato crops and to humans, but also by structural issues in Ireland at the time of the occurrence (Gray 2004). The demography of Ireland changed drastically during the span of less than a decade. Prior to the famine, the Irish population was at 8.4 million in 1844 but as a result of the famine, a decline of 2.2 million people left Ireland with only a population of 6.6 million people in 1951 (Mokyr 2016). Research from the 1980s indicates the famine and accompanying diseases killed approximately 1.1 million people and the other half became emigrants (Gray 2004). The Irish were incredibly vulnerable to this…show more content…
This legislation meant that healthy able-bodied individuals were to be sent to workhouses and were not given any famine relief (Mokyr 2016). In more extreme terms, this acts as calculated genocide, with how the British government regulated the famine, causing the severe population decline (Nally 2008). The lack of money created challenges for families to survive. Foucault makes an argument that in its regulatory processes, the government uses force to push death to its citizens. This argument can be applied to the British Poor Law, as the government took any able-bodied individual and put them to work as they, along with their families, began to starve and get sick with worsening conditions. Using colonial biopolitics, the Poor Law allowed the government to manipulate and exploit the circumstances caused by the Great Famine to reach the goal of population reform (Nally 2008). The lack of empathy and care from the British government resulted with the Irish migrating to other countries to take themselves out of the tragedy of their country. The Great Famine caused forced migration, referring to the migratory movement is compulsory because of the existence of threats to life and livelihood (Reed 2016). The threats can be caused by natural causes, such as disasters to the environment. Similarly, the late blight caused the potato crops to fail to grow and made the plant…show more content…
In 1846, Canada received 32,750 people. The following year, over 110,000 Irish people left from either their country or from Britain to reach Canada, causing a peak in immigration rates referred to as “Black 47” (Collombier-Lakeman 2015). Canada reacted to the peak by implementing more costly head taxes on immigrants and harsher rules of navigation laws, such as the Passengers to North America Act of 1848. The new laws caused a drastic drop of Irish immigrants, with the figure of 31,065 Irish emigrants in the same year (Collombier-Lakeman 2015). Although people of Canada were sympathetic to the Irish situation, the surge of Irish immigrants posed an imbalance in Canadian population that would have affected the infrastructure at the time. Thus, the government posed laws as a method of regulation to maintain their
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