Parnell, Charles Stewart

Parnell, Charles Stewart
   An Irish nationalist politician, Charles Stewart Parnell, although raised Protestant, nonetheless came to the fore of a deeply Catholic movement and mastered both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary tactics in pursuit of the cause of Home Rule. During the Irish Land War of 1879–1882, Parnell resorted to boycott tactics to wring concessions from the Liberal government of William Gladstone. He entered parliament in 1875 and in 1880 was elected chairman of the Irish parliamentary party.
   In the election of 1885, Parnell and the Nationalist Party captured 85 seats at Westminster and as a consequence controlled the balance of parliamentary power between the Liberals and the Conservatives. When Gladstone returned to office in 1886, he tabled the first Home Rule Bill but was defeated when 93 Liberals voted against it. The defeat triggered a new election that same year, and a Conservative majority was returned. Parnell’s fortunes thereupon went into steep decline, in part because of wholly fallacious charges leveled against him by his political enemies but also as a consequence of a wholly genuine affair with the wife of a friend that led to divorce court and ended in his removal as leader of the Irish party.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
    Hurst, Michael. Parnell and Irish Nationalism. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968;
    Lyons, F.S.L. Charles Stewart Parnell. Dundalk: Dublin Historical Association, 1963.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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