Robert Emmet

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Robert Emmet

Robert Emmet (Dublin, March 4, 1778-Dublin, September 20, 1803) was an Irish nationalist leader of the rebellion of 1803, for which he was arrested, tried and executed.

Emmet was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1778. His father served as a surgeon to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and members of the British Royal Family on his visit to Ireland, but despite his privileged position in Irish society Emmet, as many of his contemporaries, he was attracted to republican revolutionary politics.

He began his education at Trinity College in Dublin, at which time he joined the patriotic society called Society of United Irishmen. This group initially campaigned for parliamentary reform and an end to religious discrimination against Catholics (although Emmet and many Irish were Protestants). However, society was banned after the declaration of war between French and British revolutionaries in 1793. It is from this year when society was forced to go underground and devote their efforts to the achievement of Irish independence with French help. In 1798 the rebellion begins but it is frustrated and many of its members are forced to flee to France.

Thomas Addis Emmet, brother of Robert Emmet, was a senior official in the society of the United Irishmen and had to flee to France to escape persecution for treason. The rebellion of 1798 was crushed but Emmet and others sought exile in France, joining groups of revolutionaries emigrated to Paris.

In 1802 during a brief period of calm in the Napoleonic wars, Emmet joined the Irish delegation to ask for the support of Napoleon. However, the delegation returned unsuccessfully.

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