The Rise of Irish Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century Essay

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Discuss the significance of the political developments within revolutionary and constitutional Irish nationalism from the period 1798 to 1867

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The nineteenth century was a revolutionary and constitutional period in Irelands history, that somewhat shaped the Ireland that we live in today. This essay will explore the political developments, within revolutionary and constitutional Irish nationalism in the period 1798 to 1867.

The late eighteenth century marked the beginning of what was to map Ireland’s future through the nineteenth century and to the present day. Ireland at this time was a deeply divided society. Catholic’s and Presbyterians made up eighty five percent of the population, yet they had no power what so
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Ulster Protestants now came to regard the union as the essential basis for their prosperity. (Beckett 1981).

The first threat of nationalism after the union came in the form of an uprising by Robert Emmet. Emmet had a poorly armed army and almost certainly knew that chances of success were faint. But his rebellion was not about success. It was to remind everyone that 1798 was not forgotten and he wanted to spur on the rebels in their quest against the British. Emmet was evidently captured and sentenced to death. He did however have one small victory in his final speech. He requested that ‘no man write his epitaph until his county be free’. This speech had long lasting historical value, motivating republicans and nationalist movements from then to the present day.

Daniel O’Connell became a great political influence in Ireland during the 1820’s. He had a significant effect on the political landscape in fighting for the rights of Catholics. He brought the grievances of Catholic’s to the forefront of constitutional Irish nationalism. The creation of Catholic rent and linking politics with religion made great strides in his campaign for Catholic Emancipation. O’Connell had always said that emancipation was only the first stage in his programme and that repeal of the union was his ultimate goal. He didn’t believe in the rebellions that went before him. He always felt it was best to assert themselves politically rather than use
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