Evaluate the Strengths and Weaknesses of Parnell’s Political Strategy between 1875 and 1886.
To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Parnell’s political strategy between these two time periods we must look at individual political strategies. At the beginning of his political career Parnell was elected for Parliament of Meath; this will be evaluated. We will also evaluate Parnell’s allies early in his career and his methods in government. We shall continue to when Parnell was elected President of the “Irish National Land league” and determine whether his tactics in controlling this league where negative or positive. We will then look at how Parnell tries to shape the image of his party and how he becomes its ultimate leader; we will look at whether this has positive or negative effects. We will end by how Parnell grew his alliances with parties and people and check how helpful they where and whether or not they where good allies.
It was in 1875 when Charles Stewart Parnell’s political career really began. In 1875 Parnell was elected for Parliament of Meath. Parnell’s parents where both MP’s, therefore Parnell had grown up in a political family; constantly increasing his knowledge of government and of Westminster. This provided Parnell with an incredibly good background and knowhow of how Westminster worked. It was 1876 Parnell first came into the public eye by denouncing in the House of Commons that he believed no murder had taken place by Fenians in Manchester. This gained an interest from the physical force IRB whom staged a rebellion the same year. Parnell’s political strategy was already gaining him allies, even if his allies used tactics of which he would not use himself. Parnell was an extremely good politician with incredibly good oral skills. He used a very unusual method of gaining attention; he would use his skills of public speaking to talk hours on end at Westminster. This completely disrupted government and was an unapproved method by most MP’s however it did get the attention of Westminster and with the help of his ally Gladstone he used these disruptions to make gains for the Irish nationalist cause. Parnell’s position at Westminster proved a priceless resource. “Lord Haldane described him as the strongest man the British House of Commons had seen in 150 years” http://wapedia.mobi/en/Charles_Stewart_Parnell
In 1879 Parnell was appointed president of the newly formed “Irish National Land League”. The “National Land Leagues” main policies where the 3 “F’s”: Fixed rent, Free tenure and Free sale of land; in other words Parnell’s main aim was to allow Irish farmers to own their own land. After land reform was defeated in the House of Lords the Land League resorted to the use of violence. Parnell did not stop the use of violence even though he was against it; instead he urged people to shun:
"When a man takes a farm from which another has been evicted you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him, you must shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him in the shop, you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the marketplace, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him in a moral Coventry, by isolating him from the rest of his country as if he were the leper of old, you must show your detestation of the crime he has committed." http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/charles_stewart_parnell.htm
This tactic was used against a land agent called “Boycott” which replaced the word shun. Violence escalated however which caused Great Britain to force new legislation upon Ireland. This is obviously a weakness in Parnell’s political strategy; although he himself did not impose violence he had created himself the face of the “Irish National Land League” which was using violence as a means of protest. This created a new law rather than getting rid of any. The violence and Parnell’s general acts against Britain led to his imprisonment...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document