How Successful were English PM Sir 'Robert Peel's policies towards Ireland between 1841-46?

Essay by camrostiA+, January 2004

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Cameron Seymour


"How successful were Peel's policies towards Ireland between 1841-6?"

Success, I this context, can be considered as:

- Making the other members of the Tory party content,

- Making the Public of Ireland content,

In more still more detail, success can be defined by judging:

- If the Irish Protestants were content,

- If the Irish Catholics were content,

- If the policy contradicted past opinions/ views.

If Peel's policy can satisfy all of the above criteria then that would be a success ratio of 6:6, if the English and Irish Catholics weren't happy, the success ratio would be just 3:5.

Act of Union - 4:5 successful:

Daniel O'Connell set up the 'Repeal Association' in 1841. It's main objective between 1841-6 was to repeal the Act of Union, but Peel - being a Tory (and thus against change) - threats to use 'governmental force' to uphold the act.

This makes the Tory party happy, as well as the English and Irish Public, but O'Connell's Repeal Association is not happy. O'Connell plans to hold a big meeting to highlight the importance of the act's repeal. This would make the Irish public feel great vengeance, so Peel bans the meeting by passing a 'Coercion act', then arresting O'Connell on grounds of conspiracy. After this the Repeal Association breaks down and this is success in Peel's eyes. But in mine, Peel only satisfies the criteria for success by abusing his power.

Other areas of failure as a leader lie with the Irish Nationalists. This is because once O'Connell's peaceful measures were shown as unsuccessful, the Irish Nationalists became much more violent as this was seen as the only way to bring about political change.

The Devon Commission (1843) was set up by Peel, looking into the conditions for...