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The Politics of the Irish Civil War$
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Bill Kissane

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273553

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273553.001.0001

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The Doctrine of Self-determination and the Treaty Split

The Doctrine of Self-determination and the Treaty Split

(p.39) 3 The Doctrine of Self-determination and the Treaty Split
The Politics of the Irish Civil War

Bill Kissane (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the role that the concept of self-determination played in the Sinn Fein movement up to 1921, and assesses the extent to which it conditioned responses to the Treaty settlement. It suggests that Sinn Fein was in many ways an anti-colonial movement, and that dominion status was seen by many as incompatible with the case Sinn Fein had made for independence between 1917 and 1921. Nevertheless, geo-political pressures, notably the weak support for Irish republicanism in the English-speaking world, meant that independence outside the Empire was perceived by many as impossible. To outsiders it was undesirable. Once attitudes to the compromise became bound up with questions of democratic legitimacy, long standing constitutional ambiguities within Irish nationalism resurfaced during the Treaty debate.

Keywords:   Anglo-Irish Treaty, colonialism, democracy, Sinn Fein, geo-politics

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