Daniel O'Connell and the Repeal Year

Helen F. Mulvey, Lawrence J. McCaffrey
1967 American Historical Review  
Preface DANIEL O'CONNELL remains a neglected man of Victorian history, although he was the most discussed figure of his time. Members of the British Establishment despised this Irish demagogue. Their newspapers and periodicals described him as a mendacious, avaricious vulgarian agitating nationalism to collect contributions from ignorant and impoverished Irish peasants. The British public was told that O'Connell was the leader of a vast conspiracy dedicated to subverting the British
more » ... by imposing Popery on the British Isles. He was the principal target of no-Popery sentiment-the basic ingredient in British nativism. The aristocracy allover the Western World viewed him as a menace to privilege, and liberals and democrats considered him their champion. He was the symbol of hope for those attacking the Metternich system. In 1829 he had confronted the British aristocracy on the Catholic emancipation issue, and he had left the field victorious. O'Connell deserves the attention of historians because he was the most controversial man of his time and because he presents an interesting case study in public opinion and image and in political legend and symbol. But O'Connell was more than an image, a symbol, or a legend. He was an active politician-a shaper of institutions, viii PREFACE
doi:10.2307/1859320 fatcat:4xg5zl76kzcsleyjexddhf3x2a