In this assignment I will explain some history behind The Fenian Proclamation as well as The Fenian Movement.
I will talk about the aims they wished to achieve and some of the things that Irish people have suffered under and because of British Rule. Fenians were people who wanted independence from British rule for Ireland. If they were not able to get this they were ready to fight for it. The Fenian movement started in 1848 when a group of Irishmen formed ‘Young Ireland’ as a reaction to the impact of the famine and the lack of help from Britain during the famine. They had a failed attempt of a rising against the British Government but although they failed they still influenced figures such as John O’Mahony and James Stephens.
James Stephens and John O’Mahony supported a militant approach. They wanted total separation from the British Empire by force and organised a secret oath bound, universal membership in Ireland and overseas. After the rising failed the two men left Ireland to escape punishment. In 1853 O’Mahony went to America to try and gain support from those who left Ireland during the Famine. O’Mahony became the leader of the new organisation called ‘The Fenian Brotherhood’ which attracted thousands of young supporters in Ireland and abroad, from all classes including the British forces. It organised many uprisings in Ireland yet all failed to some extent.Stephens returned to Ireland in 1856 and formed the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1858.
This was a secret society that aimed for independence for Ireland. He also founded the ‘Irish People’ which enabled them to maintain a popular profile. Stephens role as leader of the IRB was taken over by Colonel T.J Kelly. He was determined to prepare for a rising.
Kelly and a man named Cluseret went on to London and founded a provisional government of the Irish Republic.On the 5th March 1867, the Fenian Proclamation was given to ‘The Times’ newspaper from the provisional Government. Thousands of men met across Dublin and headed towards Tallaght. Although the largest Fenian turnout was in Tallaght there were other smaller uprisings across Dublin and Ireland.’At Stepaside and Glencullen, men led by the American Civil War veteran Patrick Lennon carried a green flag into battle emblazoned with the words ‘REMEMBER EMMET’.’The uprising failed and the Fenians were being hunted by the British Army to be jailed.In the Proclamation the provisional Government stated that they had suffered outrage, poverty, and misery.
Their freedom had been trampled on. They refer to the British as ‘Alien Aristocracy’ who have treated the Irish people as foes and taken all the material riches from Ireland. The people of Ireland have been removed to make room for cattle and driven across the ocean to seek means of living, with their political rights denied at home.
In my opinion this could refer to the millions of Irish people who had to emigrate their homes during the Great Famine while British people came to Ireland and were able to take over the now unoccupied land.Through all this though, the provisional Government states that the people of Ireland never lost hope.The Proclamation states some aims that they have for the people of Ireland. They aim at founding a Republic ‘based on universal suffrage which shall secure to all the intrinsic value of their labour’. They are founding a Republic of Ireland as it is what most people in Ireland wanted. They wanted their freedom and independence and their right to make this decision and break away from British Rule.
Another one of their aims was to separate church and state. This may have came from the fact that the Roman Catholic Church was not supportive of the Fenian Movement and strongly condemned Fenianism. The power that local priests had over their communities meant that could turn people from wanting whatever influence the Fenians tried to establish. Eventually this led to papal censorship of 1870.A third aim of the Proclamation was to restore the soil of Ireland to the people of Ireland. It states that Ireland was in possession of an oligarchy who have control of Ireland when it does not belong to them.Lastly the Proclamation aims to have no war against English people, just people who have taken over Ireland. It refers to these people as ‘aristocratic locusts’, who have eaten the fresh green colours of Irish fields.
In conclusion, I think they set out very fair aims that would have benefited the people of Ireland very well. Unfortunately not all of their aims were met but because of this Proclamation and the fighting that the Fenians carried out, it made more Irish people fight for freedom from British Rule and evidently did contribute hugely in history towards the fight for a Republic.