Explain why Catholic Emancipation was passed in 1829
There are a number of reasons as to why Catholic Emancipation was eventually passed in 1829, after initially being refused by George III in 1801. The main reasoning comes down to the various influences of Daniel O’Connell who, by chain-of-events, got enough support to win Catholic Emancipation.
Firstly and arguable most importantly, Daniel O’Connell formed the Catholic Association in 1823. This ‘group’ was impacting in a number of ways: The introduction of the ‘Catholic Rent’ meant that the Association became a national organisation, Also, the policy if ‘brinkmanship’ proved to be hugely successful in drumming up support for the Catholic Association which in turn increased the number of people arguing for Catholic Emancipation. This extra support proved to be futile in the County Clare Election, as O’Connell won an easy victory and the Emancipation Bill was, as a result, passed through the House of Commons in 1829. Therefore, the Catholic Association, founded by O’Connell played a huge part in the passing of Catholic Emancipation.
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Another reason for the passing of Catholic Emancipation, aside from the Country Clare Election, was the general election of 1826. This factor contributed greatly to Catholic Emancipation as the Catholic Association called upon the voters to support only pro-Emancipation candidates. This meant that Catholic 40-shilling freeholders were defying Protestants. As a result of the Catholic Association’s interference in the 1826 election, great support was achieved by Catholic Voters, which increased the backing of the Catholic Association and the amount of opposition against Catholic Emancipation was decreasing.
One last reason for granting Catholic Emancipation is the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in February 1828. As a result of this, it became increasingly difficult for Tory Leaders to ignore the issue of Catholic Emancipation. This led to the issue become better known and also got people talking about the Catholic Association.
All in all, the three factors listed above contributed greatly to the passing of Catholic Emancipation in 1829 but it all comes down the influence of Daniel O’Connell. Had O’Connell not created the Catholic Association, the support in favour of Catholic Emancipation would have been a lot lower. The creating of the Catholic Association enabled the group to appeal to voters in the County Clare Election and so it can be said that the Catholic Association is what won Daniel O’Connell the election in 1828. Moreover, the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, arguable brought light to the issue of Catholic Emancipation and so the Catholic Association could take advantage and appeal to a greater demographic, therefore giving them support to win the election. All in all, the Catholic Association led to the repealing of the Test and Corporation Acts as well as victory for O’[Connell in the Country Clare election therefore resulting in passing of Catholic Emancipation.