I part of the British Empire, leading to

I agree to a fair extent that the Emancipation Act of 1829
was the most significant event in improving the lives of Irish Catholics, as it
was the starting point of what would become the campaign for Irish
independence. However, it could be strongly argued that the 1921 Anglo-Irish
Treaty was more significant, as it effectively ended the Anglo-Irish war, as
Northern Ireland became part of the British Empire, leading to the formation of
the Republic of Ireland, freeing the people from British rule at last. I would
argue that it is not the most important reason because there would have been no
hope of the Anglo-Irish Treaty occurring if not for the major step that the
Emancipation act made almost 100 years before.

 

The Anglo-Irish treaty did have some negative impacts, as
Ireland was effectively split, and it failed to completely fulfil the vision
people had of a ‘free Irish state’. The treaty did not deliver on what the
people had been fighting for years to achieve. The death of Michael Collins the
following year was in many ways a symbolic end to the vision people had for
Ireland.

 

Gladstone’s reforms were also highly import in influencing
the lives of Irish Catholics, as the disestablishment of the Anglican Church by
the Irish Church Act 1689 meant that people no longer had to pay taxes to it,
as well as enabling people to fully practice as Roman Catholics. Additionally, the
First Irish Land Act was a benefit to the people as it improved agriculture,
and lead to a decreased amount of pressure that was placed upon the land after
the famine. The famine decreased the population of Ireland drastically, as so
many people died of starvation. Changes to faming were made in order to help
Ireland move away from its over-dependence on potato farming and branch into
other areas. 200,000 smallholdings were gone due to the famine and by 1851, 50%
of farms were over 15 acres in size. The reduction of people meant that
remaining farmers had far more space and the land was being far less over
exhausted, meaning that crops would grow to be far more successful. However,
the failure of the first two home rule bills meant that Gladstone failed to
give the people the degree of independence they wanted.

 

The 1800 Act of Union was another factor in affecting the
lives of Irish Catholics, as it enabled Ireland to become part of the wider
British economy. This was beneficial become this encouraged economic growth in
Ireland, allowing it to expand from being predominantly rural to establishing
infrastructure. It was successful to an extent, as by merging Ireland with
Britain, the hatred that was felt for each other was slightly undermined
because they began to share similarities in life style. The reason it was
unsuccessful was because the Irish fundamentally did not want to be associated
with Britain. They loathed the British and putting them under a British rule
meant that their hunger for total Home Rule grew stronger. Overall, The Act of
Union made the problem worse, as the people did not want to be merged with the
British.

 

Overall, The Emancipation Act was the most significant
reason in improving the lives of Irish Catholics as it fundamentally was the
starting point for other important factors, such as the 1921 Anglo-Irish
Treaty, which may otherwise may not have occurred. Therefore the end to the
Anglo-Irish war and the splitting up of Ireland can be traced back to the
significance of the Emancipation act, which gave Roman Catholics the
empowerment to take their stand for independence.