Irish agitators had acted deliberately to obstruct, but not to hinder the British administration. Peaceful tactics produced mass support and a hold on the balance of power pushing both Conservatives and Liberals to bid for support via offering concessions. Nevertheless, there was a deep seated undercurrent of mistrust towards the British and although some nationalists aimed to provide an ambiguous solution to the Irish Question, the problem still mutated into an unsolvable entity.
The misdeeds of the government prepared the fervent nationalists to radicalize causing politicization. The Irish issue became unsolvable, proceeding to have no bearing on the true social issues of the time. The division of the Fenians and Irish agitators blocked a resolution, as they were incapable of uniting under one strong leadership in a single direction, as many would never be ready to compromise with the government.
John Mitchel, the founder of Fenianism set this negativity in motion as his writings in 1868 expressed a stubbornness to accept a British administration and a hatred of non-violent activity. It is obvious from writing, there was a divide between the diplomacy of many such as Parnell who believed in a “more christian and charitable way”, and the aggression of Mitchel and others that followed, Parnell and Mitchel both presupposed nationalists had dissimilar aims and this in itself hindered a solution.
O’Connell’s ineffective political reforms such as Roman Catholic Emancipation and Repeal impeded the social changes needed within Ireland, as they were “policies whose immediate benefits were scarcely likely to improve the conditions of peasant society. ” Roman Catholic Emancipation actually reduced the size of the electorate to just 1/7th of the population mass whereas the socio- economics of Ireland, the backward agricultural crisis of land tenure remained unanswered as Mitchell stated bluntly, “O’Connell led them, as I believe, all wrong for forty years.
His guidelines were constantly linked with the British, and the Act of Union; O’Connell’s principles were peaceful and he did want to bring about a long-term solution but the courses of action pursued was always political as Norman points out it was just a redefinition of the “direction of sovereignty” and delayed the feats carried out by Salisbury and Gladstone.
It wasn’t just O’Connell but Davitt and the Land Leaguers whose harmful hindrance meant a solution failed to be solved, as their pessimistic views of the British government, “No British statesmen ever officially tells the truth”(Mitchel) made it impossible to find a solution, even though by the end of 1922, socially, the problem had been dissipitated. They “exploited the (rural) disorders for political purposes. ” There was also a belief that Fenians wouldn’t be satisfied until an independent state was set up as it was “unclear whether Home Rule would have been enough to satisfy nationalist aspirations.
Nonetheless, the boycott was a peaceful means of obstruction as there was mass support for the Irish Nationalists, enlarging the number of seats by 27 between 1874 and the Liberals under Gladstone and Conservatives under Salisbury were forced to bargain with Parnell who held the balance of power. They were forced to entice him social reforms or Home Rule as Parnell’s idea of completely ostracizing landlords and agents who failed to co-operate with the terms of the various Land Acts was ingenious.
This rejection from society and “isolating him from the rest of the country as if he were the leper of old” gained him huge support. Parliamentary business was brought to a complete standstill by “filibustering” or delaying the parliament by introducing amendments to every clause of every bill and discussing each aspect at length. He forced parliament to introduce certain reforms, and fairer rents as demonstrated by their effectiveness whose impact of mass support meant the House of Lords was forced to stop them. As a body they were a positive obstruction due to its massive size.