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Historiography has highlighted Ireland's sixteenth-century rebellions and ignored its revolution. The transformation of the island's political personality in the course of the middle Tudor period must be the last remarked-upon change in its whole history. Yet it might be claimed to be the most remarkable. It provided Ireland with its first sovereign constitution, gave it for the first time an ideology of nationalism, and proposed a practical political objective which has inspired and eluded a host of political movements ever since: the unification of the island's pluralistic community into a coherent political entity. The reason for the neglect lies partly in another remarkable feature of the revolution itself, the circumstances of its accomplishment. it was engineered by Anglo-Irish politicians, in collaboration with an English head of government in Ireland, and by constitutional means, in particular by parliamentary statute.
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