Catholic Association campaigned for the repeal of the Act of Union, the end of the Irish tithe system, universal suffrage and a secret ballot for parliamentary elections.
although O'Connell rejected the use of violence he constantly warned the British government that if reform did not take place, the Irish masses would start listening to the "counsels of violent men".
authorities tried to ban the Association in 1825, O'Connell simply changed its name to preserve its legal status.
'The principle of my
political life … is, that all ameliorations
and improvements in political institutions can
be obtained by persevering in a perfectly
peaceable and legal course, and cannot be
obtained by forcible means, or if they could be
got by forcible means, such means create
more evils than they cure, and leave the
country worse than they found it.'
Writing in The Nation newspaper, 18 November, 1843