Dr. Patrick Geoghegan is Professor in Modern History at Trinity College Dublin. An expert on the tensions between constitutional nationalism and republicanism in Ireland the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, he is the author of books on the Irish Act of Union, Robert Emmet, and an acclaimed two-volume study of Daniel O’Connell. An experienced broadcaster, he presents the award-winning weekly radio programme, ‘Talking History’ on Irish radio. For the centenary of the 1916 Rising he developed an online series of lectures and interviews called ‘Ireland in Rebellion’, covering the period 1798 to 1923.
Daniel O’Connell v. The Chartists.
The intensity of Daniel O’Connell’s campaign against Chartism in the late-1830s stunted their efforts to gain support in Ireland, and undermined the movement in Britain. The reasons for his opposition have never been fully understood, and becomes more confusing when it is revealed that he played a key role in its foundation. This paper will explore how O’Connell, the Liberator who had led a successful civil rights campaign in Ireland in the 1820s, became involved in the movement in the 1830s, and the factors which led to him breaking from it. By examining the way O’Connell prescribed Chartism in Ireland, and destroyed its attempts to gain support, it is possible to re-evaluate his later political leadership and the changing nature of Irish society. Viewed in this way, O’Connell’s war against the Chartists was nothing less than a battle for the future direction of nationalism in Ireland, and reflected his deeper concerns about class, society, and the use of violence.
Presented in association with the University of Notre Dame.