Eighteenth century Ireland remained calm under a repressive penal code that deprived the Roman Catholic majority access to political power. By the 1720s, the seeds of Irish nationalism had been planted by the ruling Anglo-Irish minority as it challenged British economic and political dominance over Ireland. Emboldened by political rhetoric imported from America in the 1760s and 1770s, Ireland was convulsed, leading to a new constitutional relationship with Great Britain, but there was little change in the status of Irish Catholics. News of the French Revolution gave rise to a radical movement in Ireland that would settle for nothing less than full civil rights for Catholics and the establishment of an Irish Republic. The government’s bloody suppression of the United Irishmen in 1798, passage of the Act of Union in 1800, and the legacy of Robert Emmet’s abortive rising in 1803 colored Ireland’s political agenda for more than a century.