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Parnell, Charles Stewart (1846–1891)

William H. Mulligan, Jr.


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Charles Stewart Parnell, known as the “uncrowned king” of Ireland, was an Irish nationalist leader who gained great popularity among Irish patriots in both Ireland and America. He was instrumental in developing the Irish National Land League, which waged a protracted campaign for land reform known as the Irish Land War. Parnell also emerged as the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, actively agitating for home rule. Parnell was born at Rathdrum, Avondale, County Wicklow, on June 27, 1846. The Parnells were an established Anglo-Irish gentry family into which his mother, who was from New Jersey, had married. His grandfather, William Parnell (1780–1821), had been a member of the Irish parliament and an opponent of its abolition by the Act of Union in 1800. The Parnells were known as nationalists and as good landlords who were friendly to Catholics and the Roman Catholic religion. In all of this, they were not at all typical of their class. Parnell attended Cambridge University, but left without taking a degree. He was expelled for punching a train conductor who had mocked his Irish accent. Such conduct was considered unbecoming of a gentleman, who was expected to ignore the behavior of his social inferiors. In 1875 Parnell was elected to the British parliament from County Meath and joined a faction led by Isaac Butt that was committed to home rule for Ireland. Butt was a veteran ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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