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Swift's "A Modest Proposal"
Transcript of Swift's "A Modest Proposal"
Background to help you understand "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift
King Charles II
Key Historical Ideas
1) Struggles between king and Parliament led to the death of Charles I, a bloody civil war, and the restoration of Charles II.
2) Industrial and Agricultural revolutions boosted manufacturing and farming production.
3) Revolutions in America and France showed that people could change forms of government.
Jonathan Swift's Life
1) Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland to English parents, was educated, and worked for Sir William Temple, a diplomat.
2) Though he wanted a career in politics, he did not have support from Temple; instead, he deiced to pursue a career in the Church of England.
3) Wrote various satires in two separate books; this was out of character for a clergymen, but was acknowledged as as a brilliant satirist.
1) Extreme poverty in Ireland and an upper class who was disconnected from the plight of the poor. Catholics in Ireland were persecuted by the English government.
2) Swift saw the English upper class as the group of people most able to make the necessary changes to improve the lives of the poor.
3) The wealthy people's pursuit of all decadent and luxurious things has developed their taste for "unimaginable" delicacies.
Background on the Text