Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847) was an Irish politician who campaigned for civil rights in 19th century Ireland. He's known as the Emancipator as he worked tirelessly to lift the Irish population from British oppression. He was born into a distinguished Catholic family, which had lost most of its wealth during British rule.

There had been a long history of religious prejudice dating back to dynastic struggles for the English throne. The Penal Laws illustrated this prejudice. For example, Catholics, 85% of the population, were unable to vote, join the military, and couldn't even own a horse worth more than five pounds. These laws were gradually and successfully challenged.

Using politics to advance social justice, O'Connell avoided violence. He founded the Catholic Association in 1823 to fight for Catholic emancipation as Catholics weren't allowed to serve in the Westminster Parliament. Winning an election in County Clare in 1828, O'Connell was denied his seat in Parliament. Wishing to avoid an open rebellion, English politicians supported O'Connell. The Emancipation Act granted Catholics the right to serve in Parliament. He took his seat in 1830 after a second election.

O'Connell also campaigned against the tithes for the United Church of England and Ireland. He worked for the dissolution of the Act of Union of 1801 which bound Ireland to the United Kingdom.

He inspired Frederick Douglas, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

More Info: en.wikipedia.org