The Irish Counter-revolution, 1921-1936: Treatyite Politics and Settlement in Independent Ireland

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Gill & Macmillan, 2001 - Counterrevolutionaries - 475 pages

In 1921, Collins argued that the Anglo-Irish treaty offered nationalists the freedom to achieve freedom. In 1926, Kevin O'Higgins went to London with a proposal to have the British monarch crowned king of a reunited Ireland. In 1933, Eoin O'Duffy, leader of the Blueshirts, advocated a corporatist state on the Fascist Italian model, within a republican settlement. All three men had accepted the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921

John M. Regan explains how such contrasting political views were reconciled within an evolving treatyite position. To understand the development of the new state and the establishment of democracy, it must first be recognised that a dedicated counter-revolution underpinned the post-revolutionary settlement.

The book offers a radical re-examination of the treaty negotiations. It argues that there existed elements of anti-democratic culture on both sides of the treaty divide, not least Collins himself. It emphasises the central role of Kevin O'Higgins in using the spoils system of the new state to undermine his opponents within the regime. Based on ten years' research in archives in Ireland, Britain, France and the USA, this is a radical reappraisal of the Irish Free State.

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A work of considerable scholarship this book has ploughed a new vein in this specific genre of Irish history by significantly challenging the accepted vision of the Cumann na nGaedheal regime and how ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

John M. Regan was the first Irish Government Senior Scholar at Hertford College Oxford in 1994. He is currently a Research Fellow at Wolfson College Oxford.

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