‘Assess the significance of the role O’Connell played in the development of political attitudes in Ireland 1815-1847’
Daniel O’Connell was born on the 6th August 1775 at Cahersiveen, in the county Kerry. He was born into a once-rich Roman Catholic family that had been dispossessed of its lands. In his early years he familiarized himself with the pro-democracy radicals of the time and committed himself to bringing equal rights and religious tolerance to his own country.
The catholic emancipation of 1829 played a very significant role in the development of political attitudes in Ireland 1815-47. This emancipation was a process which occurred in the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland in the late 18th century and early 19th century that involved reducing and removing many of the restrictions on Roman Catholics that were introduced by the Act of Uniformity, the Test Laws and the Penal laws. The role O’Connell played in this was the part he played in the Catholic Association. O’Connell set up this organisation which campaigned for Catholic Emancipation. The organisation used predominately non-violent methods to campaign. O’Connell managed to win a by-election that he stood in for county Clare. However a requirement for a member of parliament was to take the Oath of Supremacy, which O’Connell couldn’t take as it was incompatible with Catholicism. The Prime Minister, Duke of Wellington and Home secretary, Sir Robert Peel all saw that denying O’Connell his seat would have caused outrage and may lead to another rebellion or uprising in Ireland which was about 85% catholic and although they were all opposed to Catholic participation in Parliament convinced George IV that the Catholic Emancipation needed to be established. With the help of the Whigs, it became law in 1829. This shows how significant the role that O’Connell played in the development of political attitudes in Ireland 1815-47. He had managed to force the Catholic Emancipation through in Ireland which majorly changed the political attitudes towards Catholics in 1815-1847.