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F.S.L Lyons, From War to Civil War (1973)

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  1. Introduction
  2. The meaning of independence
  3. Days of decision
  4. The great debate
  5. Conclusion

Violence was one of the means of Irish nationalism (but not the only one). Until 1916, Redmond conception of the Home Rule was a desirable and attainable ideal. Lyons argues that Redmond has only achieved little more than a glorified local government. Other conceptions existed; Michael Griffith attacked the IPP on the ground that as long as the Irish would have to ask London for permission there would be no step towards self-reliance. He argued that the Irish MP should leave Westminster and create their own parliament.

Nevertheless, his conception of independence and of this secession was unclear. The Sinn Fein was willing to reach absolute independence and thus an All-Ireland Republic. Padraig Pearse thought that ?Free Ireland was Gaelic and Gaelic Ireland was free?. Finally, Connolly advocated a workers' republic.

It changed after 1916: British failure to implement Home Rule after the uprising led to the decline of constitutional nationalism and of the IPP. Social-democratic trend of the government was shot with Connolly. The republic was not seen as a worker's republic anymore. De Valera managed to bring the republicans and Sinn Fein closer. The Sinn Fein triumphed at the general election of 1918, after the cult of the Republic was established. It won 73 out of the 105 Irish seats. This victory gave them the opportunity to proceed to the withdrawal of Westminster and to open the first Dail on 21 January 1919. The Proclamation of 1916 was ratified. The Republic stopped to be an aspiration and became, or was in process to become, a fact.

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