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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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‘Defending the Republic’ and the Rise of Fianna Fail

‘Defending the Republic’ and the Rise of Fianna Fail

(p.177) 8 ‘Defending the Republic’ and the Rise of Fianna Fail
The Politics of the Irish Civil War

Bill Kissane (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the anti-Treaty interpretation of the civil war and its evolution after the formation of a Fianna Fail government in 1932. It shows how the anti-treatyites had a constitutionalist interpretation of the civil war, which was shared by moderate and hardline republicans. Common to both was a conviction that British pressure rather than divisions within Irish nationalism was responsible for the outbreak of fighting, so establishment of the Free State was essentially a neo-colonial project. Under the leadership of de Valera, this outlook increasingly concentrated on the oath of allegiance as their main grievance with the Free State, which enabled Fianna Fail to combat the accusation that their position in 1922 was fundamentally anti-democratic. Indeed, the abolition of the oath enabled de Valera to call for all republicans to recognize the Free State and claim that his party had helped the society recover from the civil war.

Keywords:   Constitutional Republicanism, anti-treatyites, Eamon de Valera, oath of allegiance, democracy, Irish Free State

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