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Why were some forms of opposition more successful than others in the period 1798-1921?

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Why were some forms of opposition more successful than others in the period 1798-1921? The Act of Union, 1801. Ireland was to be joined to Great Britain into a single kingdom, the Dublin parliament was to be abolished. Ireland was to be represented at Westminster (all were Anglicans), the Anglican Church was to be recognised as the official Church of Ireland, no Catholics were to be allowed to hold public office and there was to be no Catholic Emancipation. Immediately we can see from this that any form of opposition would be to destroy this act. Fundamentally it destroyed all catholic rights and forced them to renounce their Catholic faith and take on a Protestant one. In Ireland Daniel O'Connell developed a reputation for his radical political views. By the early 1920's the Irish people started to listen to O'Connell's views and he gathered a large group of supporters. O'Connell had many aims in his political career. O'Connell's goal was to repeal against the act of union. When the Act of Union was passed in 1801 it did not help the Irish. It simply brought problems and distrust to the Irish people. O'Connell organised a meeting to discuss the repeal of the Act of Union, three quarters of a million Irish turned up. They were known as 'Monster Meetings'. We can see that O'Connell successfully created an Irish nation movement and completely changed the British view of the Irish. ...read more.


The Third Home Rule Bill seemed to confirm to Nationalists that Ireland's day had come; unlike the first two bills, it was a well thought out piece of legislation. Parnell had achieved what O' Connell or any Republican movement before him i.e. Fenians and Young Ireland had dreamed of. Parnell had got the home rule through Parliament however it was to be rejected by the House of Lords. Parnell had came to his peak he had achieved so much for the nationalist cause through the British parliamentary procedure however 1889 Parnell was found to having an affair with Kitty O Shea Gladstone and the Catholic church both condemn him, which ended his career he later dies in 1891. Therefore, we can see from this that constitutional nationalism was fairly successful in achieving it aims, by working through the system the opposition had nearly got what it wanted, but due to the nature of politics, the affair with a married woman spelt the end of his opposition. Concerning the revolutionary nationalism, the most famous attempt was the Easter Uprising. It was a failure. It lacked the support of the general public and was defeated by the British military. At the time of the Uprising, there was greater support for Constitutional Nationalism, which supported Home Rule. Both Connolly and Pearse understood that the Uprising would fail but they hoped that their efforts would open the doors to freedom and unify the nationalist movement. ...read more.


The power of the local priests was great and their influence within a local community, and especially among the older members of such communities, meant that they could undermine whatever influence the Fenians or any other form of opposition tried to establish. Thus we can see that if opposition were to be successful then it would need the support of the church due to it's powerful grip over the people's lives. Thus the general opposition to union did not have this support and so it ultimately failed In conclusion we can see that constitutional nationalism was more effective than revolutionary nationalism, however there were some forms of successful revolutionary nationalism, though not successful in the conventional terms perhaps. For example Michael Collins. Like all legends, he was captured in the cruellest yet effective way possible. Collins achievements were many: he helped fight the British to a stalemate by changing the rules of warfare and setting up an intelligence network to rival the Empire's. He helped negotiate a treaty, which gave Ireland the first stepping stone to become a Republic, and oversaw Ireland's turbulent transition to democracy. His achievements were, however, not without a price. He precipitated the bloody War of Independence against the British and the treaty deal brought back from London split the country into two fiercely opposing halves and plunged the country into the throes of a traumatic civil war. Thus ultimately opposition needed to be well organised and have enough support to succeed, constitutional nationalism had this through its methods of working through the system. ...read more.

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