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Did Charles Stewart Parnell do more to advance or to retard the cause of Irish Independence?

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Introduction

Did Charles Stewart Parnell do more to advance or to retard the cause of Irish Independence? Charles Stewart Parnell has on many occasions been described as the greatest Irish leader since Daniel O'Connell. He was similar in that he used to his powerful persona to gather support for his cause and to hold on to it, in order to make significant progress. Being born into one of the greatest families of Protestant Ascendancy, Parnell lived a relatively quiet life until he entered the furore of politics in 1874. He became an avid Irish Nationalist (which was, no doubt, a consequence of his mother's extremely nationalistic persuasion), and ultimately was elected as Home Ruler for the Irish constituency of Meath in 1875, and in 1877, he was again elected to be the President of the Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain. It is here that his great contribution to the history of Ireland comes into more significance. ...read more.

Middle

One Fenian wrote of him: 'He has many of the qualities of leadership and time will give him more'. Even so, Parnell made it imperative for himself to keep well quiet in his earlier years in the Association. He did not wish to directly challenge Butt's authority as the leader of the Home Rule Party. By 1879, Parnell's impressive political skills were being further showcased at the Wespart demonstration, when he urged small holders to 'hold a firm grip of your homesteads and lands'. He had charisma in abundance, and more than bettered Butt on all fronts. He was passionate and dedicated, and his actions usually supported such claims. In 1880, he travelled to America so as to support the Irish National Land League - to further the cause of Irish Independence. There can be no doubt that he was a man of both actions and words, and that he amassed wide support for Irish Liberation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Parnell's work concerning Home Rule and Irish Independence shows his courage in bringing about traditional Nationalism in Ireland. Although he was a Protestant leader set with the objective to 'free' a Catholic country, he still never shied away from his responsibilities. This is of huge significance, because he can be perceived as a symbolic figurehead, who taught many others that the Irish cause was much more important, rather than the question of Religion. He knew that Irish Independence and Home Rule was imperative, and this showed in his aggressive attitude. He was the most prominent Home Rule activist ever to have graced the Irish political world, and yet ironically, all that he had fought for was fulfilled after his death. Charles Stewart Parnell undoubtedly deserves to be credited more readily for the advancement in Irish Independence. His faults were far outweighed by his virtues, and this is evident from the results that he gained tirelessly for the good of Ireland. ...read more.

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