Kilmainham Treaty

Kilmainham Treaty

The Kilmainham Treaty was an agreement between the British government under William Ewart Gladstone and the Irish nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell. It was seen as a major triumph for Irish nationalism as they managed to get reform from a British government. The agreement extended the terms of the 1881 Second Land Bill that Gladstone had put forth to be on a fairer basis to Irish peasants. When that bill failed to satisfy Charles Parnell he questioned the "civility" of the English and warned of possible violence in England because of the legislation. Parnell was not endorsing violence, trying only to give warning. Subsequently, Charles Parnell was imprisoned in the Kilmainham gaol and eventually Gladstone wanted his freedom enough (in order to quiet disruptions from the people) that he amended the bill. It was brokered by Joseph Chamberlain and the O'Sheas, and Parnell supported the act as a condition of his release.

The fact that it was called a treaty is important. Since treaties were usually signed between two nations, it began to spread the possibility and the idea that Ireland could become a country that was separate from Britain. Parnell managed to place a spin on the treaty itself and so it became popular in Ireland and it strengthened Irish nationalism as Parnell had managed to force concessions from Britain.

It was signed May 2nd 1882 in Kilmainham as this was where Parnell had been imprisoned. After the treaty was signed Parnell was released from gaol and he was transformed from a respected leader to a national hero. However, this event was overshadowed by the Phoenix Park Murders that occurred four days later.

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