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Thread: The New Geneva experiment

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    Default The New Geneva experiment

    Hubert Butler's essay collection Escape from the Anthill makes reference to this curious 18th-century episode - in 1782, during the Enlightenment era, a group of Genevan businessmen influenced by the ideas of Voltaire and Rousseau launched a coup against the aristocratic city government, but were swiftly overthrown in a counter-revolution. Disillusioned by events, they decided to emigrate to Ireland, and settled on land in what is now Passage, County Waterford. Calling their settlement "New Geneva", they established a printing press, and cleared land for various factories. However, diplomatic intrigues and resistance of landlords to the liberalism of the settlers saw the enterprise stillborn, and most swiftly returned to Swtzerland. As Butler notes, had they remained and prospered, the United Irishmen would have prospered, as the colonists had already expressed sympathy with the Catholic majority during their brief stay. Of course, it wasn't the only such experiment, with Palatine Germans moving to Munster in the Williamite era.
    My political compass:
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    Revolutions in Switzerland? I thought that Swiss people just didn't do revolting.

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