Furthermore

Furthermore, it could be argued that revolutionary nationalism achieved more than constitutional nationalism in the 19th century despite the number of reforms made by the constitutional cause. The formation of the Fenians in 1867 whose aim were to achieve Irish independence through the rejection of constitutional methods can be regarded as vital to the revolutionary movement. The Fenians are commonly regarded as failures, most specifically due to their lack of support due to fear of excommunication (in regards to its secrecy) and because of its clear disorganization. The poorly executed attack on a van in Manchester in hopes of releasing their leader ‘Col.Tom Kelly’ resulted in the accidental shooting of a police officer, consequently leading to arrests and the severe conviction of ‘murder’ of the rebels. The response of the British was vital in the overturn of public opinion toward the Fenian movement and the success of the revolutionary movement is perfectly encapsulated in source A where the view of the execution of the ‘Manchester martyrs’ were recognized as a miscarriage of justice. The author of the source, Fredrich Engel is a philosopher and journalist and therefore a figure of such educated position may have a keen awareness of the events that he is relating to, thus making the source more valuable. Also, the source being a letter is a very useful indication that it was not intended to be read by a large audience, hence its content might be of a more candid and revealing nature, providing a more intimate and honest glimpse into the effect of the executions. By claiming that ‘the only thing the Fenians lacked were martyrs’, this clearly supports the view that the Fenians were initially unpopular and therefore this highlights how the attack was of huge symbolic significance and vital in the overturn of public opinion towards empathy and support. The brutal response of the British was essential in accomplishing ‘the final act of separation between England and Ireland’ which is most evident in the harsh methods used by the police. For example, the incorrect arrest of Maguire (an Irish marine) and the release of Edward Condon, (one of the masterminds of the attack) as a result of his American citizenship further emphasises the Fenian view that the real crime of their cause was to be Irish. However, to an extent the source is limited as Engel is a Marxist philosopher and therefore his blame and critical tone towards the Tories and the British are less convincing due to the likely possibility that his views are influenced by extreme left-wing ideals. The source was intended to be read by Karl Marx, founder of the political Marxist theory and therefore this may affect the way the source is written as it may be more Inclined towards radical socialist policies. This suggests that that the purpose of this source may be to encourage the idea that the rebels were ‘martyrs’ to confirm their own beliefs and therefore would more likely omit general responses of the British or the Tories in favour of such political views. Also, the source fails to mention that the crime was contained under ‘constructive murder’ and therefore by the standard of the time, the ‘execution of the three’ isn’t unjust. Hence, the omissions by the source emphasizes the view that it is clearly trying to portray the rebels as victims of injustice which further heightens their roles as ‘martyrs’. Therefore, the bias undertones greatly reduces the reliability of the source.