Date on Honors Thesis

Fall 12-2019





Examining Committee Member

Kathy Callahan, PhD, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

David Pizzo, PhD, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

William Mulligan, PhD, Committee Member


The Penal Laws and the Nuremberg Laws were sets of legal codes which stripped away basic rights and civil liberties from Irish Catholics in the seventeenth and eighteenth century and German Jews in the 1930s and 1940s respectively. My research into these laws has allowed me to discover that the methods used by the English Crown and the Nazi German state to separate the groups targeted by their laws, as well as the circumstances which led to their implementation, were eerily similar, nearly identical. Besides this, they ultimately used this strategy as a way to justify the elimination of the peoples of Ireland and Eastern Europe and the subsequent repopulation of these areas with English and German settlers respectively. Drawing upon works written by prominent historians of early-modern Irish history and modern German and central European history, such as Ben Kiernan, Brendan Fitzpatrick, Claudia Koonz and Edward H. Flannery, this project outlines the similarities and differences in the circumstances which allowed these laws to be set, the methods they used to exclude targeted groups from a society, and what the long-term goals for these laws were. Through this, I hope to allow the audience to understand the implications of allowing systemic discrimination similar to these laws to happen multiple times in history and how we can prevent future instances of this from happening.