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How far do you agree that Parnell was the most effective leader of Constitutional Nationalism during the period from 1798-1921?

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Introduction

How far do you agree that Parnell was the most effective leader of Constitutional Nationalism during the period from 1798-1921? Parnell was desperate for the Irish Parliamentary Party to become the dominant nationalist organisation in Ireland. He had strong view points and beliefs but was not as short sighted as the Land League, Parnell had a much more diplomatic approach which in turn got him noticed by other political parties. The Tories and the Liberals both tired to form an alliance with the Irish Parliamentary Party. Parnell believed in supporting the Irish tenantry as he realised that with their support he would have created many advantages for himself and his political position. This shows us that Parnell was able to muster and motivate others to support his viewpoints, and also with the Irish vote, this would put more pressure on the British Government. Parnell worked with Gladstone, their work together was most fruitful in the years 1880-82. Parnell was a very tactful leader and managed to secure the introduction of 'the three F's' in a revised Second Land Act, fair rent, free sale and fixity of tenure. When Parnell was arrested for verbally attacking Gladstone, the Kilmainham treaty was brought about which gave advantages to both men. ...read more.

Middle

A General Election was called which resulted in a victory for the liberals but they were dependent upon the support of Redmond and his party. Then came the Parliament Act of 1911 which meant that the Lords could delay the passage of Home Rule but could not veto it. The Third Home Rule Bill was introduced in April 1912 and this was to mark the high point in the political career of Redmond. Home Rule was now only a matter of time. However, Unionists in Ireland mounted strong opposition to the Bill. In September 1912 the Ulster Covenant was signed by 471,414 men and women who pledged to use "all means that may be necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule parliament in Ireland". In 1913 the Ulster Volunteer Army was set up to defy the government by force of arms if necessary. In 1914 the UVF successfully brought in a large consignment of guns and ammunition from Germany. 1913 also witnessed the formation of yet another private army in Ireland, namely the Irish Volunteers. They were under the leadership of the Nationalist, Eoin MacNeill and were totally committed to the cause of securing Home Rule for Ireland. ...read more.

Conclusion

to govern Ireland. De Valera was elected president of the Dail. The Irish Republican Army, the armed wing of Sinn Fein, began a guerrilla war against Crown forces. After two years of violence, a truce was agreed and a treaty with the British negotiated by a Sinn Fein deputation, which de Valera chose not to join. Michael Collins, who led the Sinn Fein negotiating party, described the result as 'the freedom to achieve freedom'. But de Valera opposed the agreement, because it involved the partition of Ireland and did not create an independent republic. The treaty was passed by a narrow margin in the Dail and de Valera resigned as president. He led the anti-treaty side in a bitter civil war against the government of the new Free State. Despite killing Collins, the irregulars were defeated. De Valera opposed the treaty that established the Irish Free State, but went on to lead and shape the new state. Looking over each of the Constitutional Nationalist Leaders it is a fair assumption that Parnell was not the most effective leader, yes he set the structure for the Home Rule Bill, which in theory set into motion the work of Redmond and De Valera, however, Redmond was effective in securing British support, whereas De Valera managed to rally the Irish people as well as gaining a treaty from the British, through the use of Collins, which freed Southern Ireland from British rule. ...read more.

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