All over the country many poor children, mostly Catholics lived in squalor as their families were extremely poor to feed them and keep them clothed. Jonathan Swift has argued, with hard-edged economic reasoning in addition to the self-righteous moral stance, for finding way to turn the problem into a solution. His proposal is to fatten up the undernourished Irish children and feed them to the rich Irish land-owners. Children from poor families could be bought and sold in the meat market from the age of one year, he has argued, this will combat the unemployment and overpopulation, sparing families at the cost of child-bearing. At same time it will provide them with additional income, thus improving their culinary experience of wealthy and adding to economic well-being of the country.
Swift’s use of satire conveys harshness of the situation and barbarity of oppressors. Use of satire by Swift shows extremity of poverty in Ireland during the 18th century. Irish people used to be so poor, that many children all over the country were ill at the same time. Swift has proposed to take care of the outrageous problem at hand. One group that had suffered severely from the tough conditions in Ireland were the Catholic Irish. For several years, Protestant English used to cruelly exploit the Irish, and the unjust situation prompted Swift to write ‘A Modest Proposal’. Religious persecution and oppression of people had been a continuous problem throughout the Irish history.
Although Swift has directly addresses the Irish state, this is not related directly to the Irish. Post the English Civil War from 1629-1640; Ireland was left in state of ruins. Swift's writing came almost 100 years after this war (1727), but just like the Southern United States post their civil war, it ended up nearly one hundred years for fully rebuilding the nation. British eliminated any potential of profiting sales of goods for the Irish leaving them with nothing. On the basis of the mercantilist economic theory, Ireland ended up suffering severely. This resulted in the Irish children starving and they were left with their dilapidated country
For Irish-Catholics in United States, the Irish famine was the counterfeit of their identity, anvil and fire, the scattering time of dissolution and flight and the moment for regathering that has made them part of the most powerful and influential democracy. The famine is rarely recalled in the specifics. There are no record for the complexities and horrors associated with it. Yet, unexamined, unspoken, largely lost to the conscious memory, the famine has threaded into the Irish-American expectations, attitudes and institutions. Thus, the points made in the tragedy of Bridget Such-a-one heed the points made by Swift in the story ‘Modest Proposal’. The story heeded to the points made about the Irish famine and poor, that was the central theme of the Model Proposal.
At the time of the Great Famine in the 1840's in Ireland many started to fled for new pastures in America. Most of them settled at Boston, and within one year the population of Boston city rose from 30,000-100,000. Many Irish started to look for labour and turned to servitude. Around 70% of servants in city of Boston used to be Irish immigrants. American people believed that Irish people were a servant race. They used to work in factories for lesser than minimum wages and in inhuman conditions. Irish were treated poorly by the American public and it was not until the 1930’s that few Irish started to rise to the upper class of the country.
Swift, J. “A Modest Proposal”. The Art Bin. art-bin.com. n.d. Web. 26 March 2014