Eamon de Valera: A Will to Power | Reviews in History
Why do people side with either Collins or de Valera and not both? course of action, but the issue of the treaty polarized them (and the people.). Hence it took de Valera almost 10 years to prove that Collins was that de Valera opposition to the Treaty revolved around the partition issue. Éamon de Valera was a prominent statesman and political leader in 20th-century Ireland. . I wonder would he be likely to make trouble in the future? . De Valera and Collins would later become opponents during the Irish Civil War. . Relations between the new Irish government, which was backed by most of the Dáil and.
Moreover, the revived Sinn Fein party had all the appearances of a paramilitary organisation during the election campaign and in its subsequent evolution. In contrast to other political parties in Ireland at the time, Sinn Fein was not prepared to accept the legitimacy of the British state or its parliamentary system. Basing their reasoning on nationalism, Sinn Fein apologists argued that the basis for decision making was the island of Ireland rather than the British state and therefore decisions arrived at in Ireland were superior to those agreed by the British parliament.
De Valera achieved national prominence as a result of his election and his leadership during the opposition to conscription. He successfully brought the Irish Bishops on board and neutralised the influence of more moderate politicians. However, there is little justification for such a view in international law or theology at the time. While it did not make the demand for independence legitimate in international law, it did provide a democratic justification for such a demand.
Sinn Fein had fought the election on an abstentionist basis and for an independent republic, while demanding representation at the Paris Peace Conference. However, the Irish case was rejected by President Wilson and the allied powers at the conference. De Valera was preparing for war in and his language is suffused with militaristic images. Nor was the President prepared to abandon his support for the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom.
The discussion on the divisions that appeared in Irish nationalist politics during negotiations with the British government in is compelling and persuasive. Despite his enormous prestige, de Valera refused to go to London to negotiate with Britain. The Irish delegation was ill-prepared and outmatched by its British counterparts during the negotiations.
By remaining outside the negotiations and holding himself as the final arbiter of the outcome, de Valera undermined his own authority. The limits to individual agency can be appreciated here. De Valera believed he could undermine the Treaty because he opposed it, but failed to do so. Yet, despite this he refused to accept the will of the majority over his will on this as on other issues.
He quickly associated himself with the most intransigent sections of the republican moment and in effect created the political conditions for civil war. Another reading might be that de Valera remained an extremist and continued to identify with a militarist anti-political belief system.
There is evidence from his speeches at this time to sustain such a view and when the civil war came he fully identified with the insurgents. Here again agency is relevant.
What might have happened if de Valera had stood aside from the conflict? He might not have prevented the civil war, but he might have limited its impact. However, he refused to take up arms during the civil war recognising the dangers inherent in doing just that. His colleagues who fought believed that his absence weakened the military position of the insurgents.
The standing he had acquired was undermined and he never again regained the authority or loyalty he had experienced between and The years between and provided the incentive for de Valera to finally become a democratic politician, perhaps for the first time. He reluctantly recognised that the Irish Free State had majority support and had gained legitimacy among the public and republicans had to come to terms with this.
While de Valera was prepared to challenge the new state and indeed destabilise it, he was not prepared to use violence to do so. This acknowledged political reality but it also recognised that democratic politics could achieve what force could not. De Valera never admitted that the civil war was wrong but in practice every political decision he made between and sustains such a view. In reviewing this period Fanning concludes that de Valera achieved his main aims: Irish democracy was not secure by this time, but it was stronger than it had been in By Ireland was a republic in all but name, though the state remained a Dominion.
Its sovereignty was widely recognised and the Anglo-Irish Agreements provided de Valera with the means to declare Ireland neutral in the Second World War.
Change was incremental if not gradual and the British state did not seriously confront the new administration as it moved further away from the Treaty settlement. Though incremental, the changes were radical.
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Fanning is particularly attentive to foreign policy, rightly so as de Valera was Minister for External Affairs from to as well as head of government Taoiseach after My reservation here is that the emphasis on foreign policy deflects the reader from other equally important achievements.
It established a republican foundation for political order while reconciling the competing demands of Catholicism, democracy, liberalism and nationalism. It also proved flexible enough to negotiate the challenges from a changing society aftersometimes in ways that de Valera would not have intended.
Many later criticisms of the constitution are a-historical as Fanning shows. This is the case in respect of the articles dealing with religion. Though personally pious, de Valera drafted these articles on an inclusive basis and rejected the integralist and authoritarian Catholicism promoted by the Vatican. While recognising the special position of the Catholic Church, the constitution also recognised the Protestant churches and the Jewish Community in Ireland. Military victory must be allowed to rest for the moment with those who have destroyed the Republic.
Other means must be sought to safeguard the nation's right. De Valera remained in hiding for several months after the ceasefire was declared; however, he emerged in August to stand for election in County Clare. Making a campaign appearance in Ennis on 15 August, de Valera was arrested on the platform and interned at Arbour Hill prison until Inhe was arrested in Newry for "illegally entering Northern Ireland" and held in solitary confinement for a month in Crumlin Road GaolBelfast.
During this time, de Valera came to believe that abstentionism was not a workable tactic in the long term. He now believed that a better course would be to try to gain power and turn the Free State from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. However, a vote to accept the Free State Constitution contingent on the abolition of the Oath of Allegiance narrowly failed. It refused to take the Oath of Allegiance portrayed by opponents as an 'Oath of Allegiance to the Crown' but actually an Oath of Allegiance to the Irish Free State with a secondary promise of fidelity to the King in his role in the Treaty settlement.
British oaths in the dominions, the oath of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and a draft oath prepared by de Valera in his proposed Treaty alternative, "Document No. De Valera began a legal case to challenge the requirement that members of his party take the Oath, but the assassination of the Vice-President of the Executive Council deputy prime minister Kevin O'Higgins on 10 July led the Executive Council under W.
Forced into a corner, and faced with the option of staying outside politics forever or taking the oath and entering, de Valera and his TDs took the Oath of Allegiance on 12 Augustthough de Valera himself described the Oath as "an empty political formula".
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However, the transition was peaceful. He at once initiated steps to fulfil his election promises to abolish the oath and withhold land annuities owed to the UK for loans provided under the Irish Land Acts and agreed as part of the Treaty. De Valera responded in kind with levies on British imports. The ensuing an "Economic War" which lasted until De Valera took charge of Ireland's foreign policy as well by also acting as Minister for External Affairs.
- Éamon de Valera
In that capacity, he attended meetings of the League of Nations. He was president of the Council of the League on his first appearance at Geneva in and, in a speech that made a worldwide impression, appealed for genuine adherence by its members to the principles of the covenant of the league. Inhe supported the admission of the Soviet Union into the league. In Septemberhe was elected nineteenth president of the Assembly of the League,  a tribute to the international recognition he had won by his independent stance on world questions.
In this way he would be pursuing republican policies and lessening the popularity of republican violence and the IRA.
He also refused to dismiss from office those Cumann na nGaedhealCosgrave supporters, who had previously opposed him during the Civil War. This organisation was an obstacle to de Valera's power as it supported Cumann na nGaedheal and provided stewards for their meetings. The ACA changed its name to the National Guard under O'Duffy and adopted the uniform of black berets and blue shirts, using the straight armed salute, and were nicknamed The Blueshirts.
This march struck parallels with Mussolini's march on Romein which he had created the image of having toppled the democratic government in Rome. De Valera revived a military tribunal, which had been set up by the previous administration, to deal with the matter.
O'Duffy backed down when the National Guard was declared an illegal organisation and the march was banned. Smaller local marches were scheduled for the following weeks, under different names.
Internal dissension set in when the party's TDs distanced themselves from O'Duffy's extreme views, and his movement fell asunder. In reality, de Valera had been able to do that only due to three reasons. First, though the constitution originally required a public plebiscite for any amendment beyond eight years after its passage, the Free State government under W.
Cosgrave had amended that period to sixteen years. This meant that, untilthe Free State constitution could be amended by the simple passage of a Constitutional Amendment Act through the Oireachtas.
Secondly, while the Governor-General of the Irish Free State could reserve or deny Royal Assent to any legislation, fromthe power to advise the Governor-General to do so no longer rested with the British government in London but with His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State, which meant that, in practice, the Royal Assent was automatically granted to legislation; the government was hardly likely to advise the governor-general to block the enactment of one of its own bills.
Thirdly, in theory the constitution had to be in keeping with the provisions of the Anglo-Irish Treatythe fundamental law of the state. However, that requirement had been removed only a short time before de Valera gained power. The opposition-controlled Senatewhen it protested and slowed down these measures, was also abolished.
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Inthe British Parliament had passed the Statute of Westminsterwhich established the legislative equal status of the self-governing Dominions of the then British Commonwealthincluding the Irish Free State, to one another and the United Kingdom. Though a few constitutional links between the Dominions and the United Kingdom remained, this is often seen as the moment at which the Dominions became fully sovereign states.
The constitution contained reforms and symbols intended to assert Irish sovereignty. Criticisms of some of the above constitutional reforms include that: He added clauses to the new Constitution of Ireland to "guard with special care the institution of marriage" and prohibit divorce.