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A Modest Proposal
Historical Background

The formative years...


Historical Background | A Modest Proposal | The Biography of Jonathan Swift | Historical Analysis | Evaluation | Bibliography | Links

A Modest Proposal was written during the Restoration Period. This period of time spanned from about 1660 to the 1800s. During this time Ireland was struggling through its poverty while England was imposing rules to try to help them and their economy but the problem was not exactly all in Ireland. It was in England where they were imposing all the rules and policies that were actually hindering the well being of Ireland and its people. When Jonathan Swift wrote this pamphlet he was very frustrated with England and those policies. The whole proposal was written sarcastically. But if you wrote a proposition to help rebuild your economy and the solution to it was to start eating children, could you really be serious?

During the beginning of this period Charles II is crowned. The Black Plague swept through europe taking 68,000 people along with the following Great Fire a year later which destroyed much of London.


Timeline of the Restoration Period at a Glance

1660-Charles II is proclaimed king of England
1665-Plauge claims more than 68,000 people in london
1666-The Great Fire destroys much of London
1670s-The Ashanti Empire is formed in Africa
1673-English Test Act bans Roman Catholics from public office
1685-1688-James II, king of England, tries to reestablish Catholic Church
1687-Newton publishes Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
1688-1689-Glorious Revolution: James is succeeded by Protestant rulers William and Mary
1690-John Locke publishes An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
1695-English Parlaiment enacts Penal Laws, depriving Irish Catholics of civil rights
1707-England, Wales, and Scotland are politically unified as Great Britain
1714-George I, a German who could not speak English, becomes king of England
1718-In England, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu introduces Turkish practice of inoculation against smallpox
1752-Benjamin Franklin invents lightning rod
1760-George III is crowned king of England; becomes known as the king who lost the American Colonies
1762-Catherine II becomes czarina of Russia
1765-British Parlaiment passes Stamp Act for taxing Amerian Colonies
1765-Mozart writes Symphony No. 1 at age nine
1773-Boston Tea Party occurs
1775-American Revolution begins
1789-French Revolution begins with storming of the Bastille
1798-British crush Irish nationalist rebellion led by Theobald Wolfe Tone
1799-Rosetta stone is found in Egypt
1799-Napoleon heads revolutionary govenment in France