At the beginning of the 19th century catholics were still excluded by law from public and political life, and there was still much popular antipathy and mistrust of them. This book examines the sequence of events that brought about their emancipation. It shows how Daniel O'Connell's "glorious and bloodless victory" at the election in County Clare in 1828 pushed the Duke of Wellington's government towards a change in the law. It then examines the negotiations between Wellington and the King, who opposed the Bill on the grounds that to do so would violate his coronation oath, and the final dramatic surrender which allowed O'Connell to take his seat in the Commmons in May 1829. Wendy Hinde also considers the Bill's relation to other important aspects of the contemporary political scene - the pressure for parliamentary reform, the changing relationship between the Lords and the Commons, the declining power of the monarch, and the rise of Irish nationalism. She shows that emancipation neither undermined the British constitution, as some feared, nor brought peace and prosperity to Ireland, as others hoped.