Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


A Colonial Regime Embattled? The Elizabethan Privy Council in Ireland, c. 1580 - c. 1604 Public Deposited
  • The latter half of Elizabeth's reign saw a new group of Irish councilors who came to dominate Irish politics and who strove to achieve financial and political success. However, the story of these Irish councilors and how they worked to achieve their goals and perform the duties of their office involves more than the individuals who comprised the council. The interplay between the queen and privy council in England and the Irish council had a significant impact on how the Irish council functioned as an institution. But rather than a narrative of Irish councilors as mere puppets of great men at the English court, this study argues that the Irish council between 1580 and 1604 had more agency and authority than previously thought. The power and influence of the Irish council were nowhere more visible than in the years leading up to the Nine Years' War. Though they struggled initially, as they tried to balance the needs of the Irish government with their own personal interests, they nonetheless found ways to adapt to the conditions of Ireland. As the Irish councilors worked to fulfill their duties, they faced many challenges in managing English government in Ireland, including a fiscally-poor administration and viceroys who threatened to undermine the councilors' authority both in England and Ireland. When convenient, the councilors formed alliances to ensure their political survival. Over time, the Irish councilors became increasingly confident of their authority, at times disregarding the directives of the Westminster government in England. The outbreak of the Nine Years' War saw the continuation of their agency in their managing of the war. The narrative of the Irish council during these years and their effect on the development of the Nine Years' War highlight the importance of studying colonial administrators in the environments they sought to exercise control over. The story of England's relationship with Ireland was (and continues to be) complicated. However, by examining institutions like the Irish council, we can unravel some of the tensions that underlay the Elizabethan colonial regime in Ireland.

Date Issued
  • 2022-07-14
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Last Modified
  • 2022-09-14
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