Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Charles Stewart Parnell, one of the outstanding Irish nationalists of the nineteenth century, is somewhat of a paradox. Although he was of English descent, a landlord, and a Protestant, he became the great champion of the Irish Catholic peasantry. Lacking all the gifts or graces of a popular speaker, he nevertheless made himself a power to contend with in the English Parliament where his words were listened to with attention and respect. Cold, reserved, aloof with friend and foe alike, apparently indifferent to praise or blame, he was the very antithesis of the typical Irish revolutionary leader. Yet he was greatly loved and unquestioningly served by the Irish people. At the height of his power he was known as the "uncrowned king of Ireland." In his brief career of sixteen years, he made himself ·leader of a united Irish party and master of the House of Commons with both Liberals and Tories bidding for bis support. Then, within sight of his goal of achieving independence for Ireland, he was involved in a scandal and died in less than a year.

This paper will attempt to explain the forces which made Parnell a nationalist. It will describe his rise to prominence, the difficulties with which he had to contend, and the means which he- used to compel the English Parliament to concern itself with Irish affairs and to change the question of Ireland's legislative independence from an impractical dream into a necessity so urgent that it was made part of the program of one of England's great parties.