Daniel O’Connell was an acknowledged leader of the anti-slavery movement in the 1830s and 1840s. To American abolitionists, he embodied an Irish opposition to slavery. Yet, many, such as Frederick Douglass, saw a contrast between the Irish in Ireland and those in America when it came to the issue of slavery. The Irish in America were among the most ardent opponents of abolitionism. An examination of some of the leading nationalist newspapers opinion of the American Civil War and emancipation indicate that contrast between the Irish abroad and at home on the slavery question is exaggerated. Influential Irish opinion makers had a racial sense of Irishness which trumped O’Connell’s universalist call for emancipation.