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Irish Land League

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The Irish Land League was an Irish political organization of late 19th century Irish history which aimed to help poor tenant farmers lift themselves up from the grapples of subsistence farming. The Irish Land League was founded in 1879 after other land leagues had been set up in various other counties - most notably in County Mayo - on 16th August 1879. These organisations were set up due to the excessive rents being demanded by landlords all over Ireland, but especially in Mayo and surrounding counties.

The main aims of the League were to end evictions, excessive rent, and landlord oppression. Men like Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt went to America to raise funds for the League, with spectacular results. The League was created just before the Land War of 1880-1882 in which there was widespread upheaval. The League would decide on a fair rent and then encourage its members to offer this rent to the landlords. If this were refused the rent would be paid to the League and the landlord would not receive any money until he agreed to the sum. Many landlords resisted this violently and there were deaths on either side of the dispute. The Royal Irish Constabulary, though largely made up of Irishmen, took the landlords' side. Within a few short decades of the league's founding however, through the struggles of men like William O'Brien achieving the Wyndham Land Purchase Act of 1903 and through its implementation by such land and labour activists as D.D. Sheehan MP, the vast majority of Irish land was, after the final passing of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts of 1906 and 1911, back in Irish hands, mainly as a result of the Conservative Parties' Killing Home Rule with Kindness policy.