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The Dáil Debates: the premises of the split? (14th of December 1921 ? 7th of January 1922)

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  1. Did the divide between both sides appear as a genuine divide on principles or a 'quibble of words' triggered by personal rivalries within the cabinet?
  2. The arguments of the two sides and the use of various tactics
  3. The end of the Treaty debates: the premises of the civil war

After the Anglo-Irish war of 1919-1921, the British government proposed in July 1921 to negotiate a Treaty with the Cabinet of the Dáil. The five plenipotentiaries sent by the Cabinet signed a Treaty on the 6th of December 1921, by which Ireland was granted a large autonomy, but was split into two and had to remain within the Commonwealth. There is a contradiction between the pivotal role of those debates, which are regarded as the premise of the split and the civil war and the "tragic comedy" described by the Irish Times on the final day of the Treaty debates. We will try to understand why the Dáil debates can be regarded as the premises of the split between Free Staters and Republicans, by looking at the content of the debates and at the mechanisms and the functioning of the debates. Did the divide between both sides appear as a genuine divide on principles or a "quibble of words" triggered by personal rivalries within the cabinet?

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