The Penal Laws were originally passed in the late-seventeenth century and early-eighteenth century with the expressed goal of extirpating Catholicism in Ireland but failed in the purpose for numerous reasons, including very selective enforcement. Nonetheless, they were instrumental in establishing the political and economic Protestant ascendancy in Ireland and promoting sectarian conflict which continues to the present day. Hosted by the University of Minnesota Law School and created by Patricia Schaffer as part of her research for a novel, this site is a useful resource for students and teachers of Irish history. The site offers the full text of penal statutes passed in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I, William and Mary, King William III, Queen Anne, King George I and I, organized by date and subject matter. The site also includes a brief introduction and some related links.
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