The Roman Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 was the mostsignificant factor to a fair extent. The 1800’s had been not been a time ofgreat hope for the Irish. King George III, as his father before him, had beenin stiff opposition to Catholic Emancipation all through his regency, from1811-1820.
This meant that every bill for emancipation was rejected before1820. In 1821 a bill managed to get a majority in the Commons but was rejectedby the Lords. The situation would have been hopeless. However, due to O’Connellmaking the decision to change the methods of the Irish, the Roman CatholicEmancipation Act came about in 1829. This not only gave the Irish hope thatthey had not had before, but it also gave them power inside the House ofCommons, as for the first time Catholic MP’s were allowed to hold office andO’Connell, having won the vote for two years straight, was able to take up hisseat and argue for the Catholics in Ireland. This was very significant as itwas the root of everything that was to come in terms of Irish independence. Withoutthe Emancipation Act allowing Irish MP’s into the House of Commons, there wouldhave been no chance for Irish independence at any stage and certainly not theAnglo-Irish treaty in 1921 as Ireland would have been unable to properlynegotiate with the British government and people like Michael Collins and ArthurGriffith would not have had the power to negotiate and sign the treaty with theBritish Government.
As a result, the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act was themost important factor to a fair extent as, while the Anglo-Irish treaty wasimportant to the extent that it gave the majority of Ireland it’s freedom, itwould have been impossible without the rights that the Emancipation Act awardedthem. The Anglo-Irish Treaty was the most significant factor to aslight extent. This is because it was the foundation upon which the Republic ofIreland that we know today was built. Prior to 1922 and the treaty, a bitterwar had been fought between the Irish and Britain. The IRA, led by MichaelCollins, had been fighting against British control and British forces, theBlack and Tans predominantly. There were brutal incidences, such as the IRA’sorganised murder of 14 British intelligence operatives, and the Black and Tans’retaliation of going into Croke park and opening fire, killing fourteencivilians and wounding 65. The Anglo-Irish Treaty put an end to this damagingstrife and made the majority of Ireland free and independent. This improved thelives of many Irish citizens exponentially, giving them freedom form theoppression of the British.
However, it split Ireland and led to the Death of abrilliant leader, Michael Collins. All of Ulster, apart from County Donegal,remained part of the Union with Britain. Many Irish nationalists saw this as abetrayal of the original principals of the movement, but Michael Collins saw itas the best that Ireland was going to get and signed the Treaty. As a result,the blame was put upon him and he was targeted and eventually killed byNationalists who had once been under his command. Ireland lost a charismaticleader and a strong military presence as a result, something that would havebeen incredibly useful for further negotiations with Britain or theestablishment of an Irish government. Therefore the Anglo Irish treaty cannotbe as significant as the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act as it had somenegative impacts, splitting Ireland for one, and it could never have beenbrought into fruition if it wasn’t for the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act. In conclusion, the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829was the most significant factor to a fair extent.
While the Anglo-Irish Treatywas important, having given the Irish people freedom and independence, the RomanCatholic Emancipation Act was the beginning if everything. Without it, therewould have been no Irish MP’s in the House of Commons, and no chance of a freeIreland and the Anglo-Irish Treaty would never have become a reality.