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How effectively did Irish Catholic and nationalist leaders advance their cause in the years 1801-1921

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Introduction

How effectively did Irish Catholic and nationalist leaders advance their cause in the years 1801-1921? Many Catholic and Irish nationalist leaders attempted to advance their cause in the years 1801-1921, but to what extent they were effective, was dependent on the methods they adopted. However, some Historians have argued that the Economic and Political situation within Ireland, for example the Famine in 1845 and continued changing public opinion dictated how effective each leader would be. O' Connell mobilised the Catholic Church, made them more politically aware, and gained mass support by setting up the Catholic association in 1823 and the introduction of the Catholic rent. Hoppen claims making the Catholic Church more politically aware was a huge success for the cause as it laid down a platform for the whole movement. In 1828 another success was achieved when O'Connell became an MP for county Clare even though he was a catholic which built upon the platform which had already been created therefore making this achievement seem more successful. Kee argued "The real victory consisted in the fact that the trodden Catholic masse had taken on the government and won". A major success in 1829 was the Emancipation and many historians do believe it was passed due O'Connell being able to gain mass support making Peel's government fear a mass uprising. ...read more.

Middle

(Pearse adopted this idea for his Easter Uprising in 1916) It was in the USA that he came in contact with Fenians. Mitchell was less effective in advancing the cause as he decided to use radical methods when the Irish people were not quite ready for it, especially coming out of a period of conservatism with O'Connell. Out of the rebels that escaped to America, John O'Mahony founded the Fenians who recognized the importance of the rural community. Again, the Fenians decided to use radical means to advance their cause but this was still less effective as the people of Ireland were not ready for it, even after the famine. In 1867 they failed in their attempt of a nationalist rising centered on Dublin. Also in 1867 they managed to free Captain Kelly but whether this can be seen as a success which advanced the cause is also debatable, however it did gain sympathy as five Irishmen were killed (Manchester Martyrs), none of whom fire a shot. They were also responsible for destroying Clerkenwell Prison where many nearby houses were also ruined, lost support (especially from the Catholic Church), thus less effectively advancing their cause. The cause was furthered through the Fenians however, as the intense violence actually scared the English Prime Minister into making small concessions such as the Irish Church Act in 1869 and the Land Act in 1870. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also helped set up the Irish Volunteers and joined the Young Ireland founded Irish Republican Brotherhood. He became the prime mover of the 1916 Easter Rising (commander in chief of Volnteers and president of Provision Government). However, this turned out to be a major failure for Pearse as he had used deceiving methods in order to get the Uprising into action. He had told the Volunteers that the English had treacherous plans to make the Rising inevitable. When Eoin MacNeill heard of Pearse's deception, he ordered his men to stand down. The plan also failed as he found out all his arms had ended up at the bottom of the sea. He therefore continued the Rising with 1500 ill-armed men. (He knew he would fail by this stage but wanted to gain sympathy by "spilt blood.") This part of his plan failed too making him less effective overall as the Irish people felt it unfair to attack the British while they were fighting a World War, however Irish public opinion did begin to sway after his and the other rebel's executions, thus boosting Sinn Fein. Collins and De Valera intended to advance the cause in the same way as Pearse; using violent methods. Both became involved with Sinn Fein after their involvement in the Easter Rising. ...read more.

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