Fenian movement: Origins
The famine of the 1840s brought to a crisis Irish discontent with English rule, culminating in the abortive Young Ireland uprising of 1848, led by William Smith O'Brien . Vast numbers of embittered Irishmen emigrated to the United States, Australia, South America, and Canada, where they redoubled their agitation against England. John O'Mahony , one of those revolutionists driven abroad in 1848, was the organizer of the movement in the United States, and it was he who gave the society its name.
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