Why did O'Connell succeed in emancipating the Catholics but not in repealing the Act of Union?

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Why did O'Connell succeed in emancipating the Catholics but not in repealing the Act of Union?

  • The sheer mass of the emancipation movement is effectively what made it possible. By forming the Catholic Association and 'Catholic rent', Daniel O'Connell forged a bond with the masses of Catholics in the electorate. However, the 'Repeal Rent' was not quite as effective- the Church shied away from secularlism, thinking it too much of 'European Liberalism'. 
  • It was the bond between the Catholics and O'Connell that meant he could not get the support of the rest of the Irishmen. His victory in 1829 sealed the bond between the name O'Connell with the Catholics. 
  • Many feared for the Irish economy should the Union be repealed. Whilst nationalists argued that the Irish economy suffered because of the Union, many others believed that the Union was a useful connection to the most powerful connection in the world.
  • O'Connell's leadership was questioned by the Young Ireland movement. These were a different kind of nationalists- nationalists who saw the romanticism of revolution. O'Connell however stuck to

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