Charles Stewart Parnell, an Irish nationalist politician and one of the most powerful figures in the British House of Commons in the 1880s.
Born into a wealthy and powerful Anglo-Irish Protestant landowning family, he entered the House of Commons in 1875. He was a land reform agitator, and became leader of the Home Rule League in 1880, insisting on operating independently of the Liberals, and winning great influence by his balancing of constitutional, radical, and economic issues, and by his skillful use of parliamentary procedure. He was imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol in 1882 but, a very capable negotiator, was released when he renounced violent extra-Parliamentary action. That same year he reformed the Home Rule League as the Irish Parliamentary Party, which he controlled minutely as either Ireland’s or Britain’s first disciplined democratic party.