A Modest Proposal

1729 satirical essay by Jonathan Swift / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick,[1] commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729.

Quick facts: Author, Genre, Publication date, Text...
A Modest Proposal
AuthorJonathan Swift
GenreSatirical essay
Publication date
TextA Modest Proposal at Wikisource

The essay suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food to rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocked heartless attitudes towards the poor, who were predominantly Irish Catholic (i.e., "Papists"),[2] as well as British policy towards the Irish in general.

In English writing, the phrase "a modest proposal" is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire.