Éamon de Valera
Overview
 
Éamon de Valera was one of the dominant political figures in twentieth century Ireland, serving as head of government of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 and head of government and head of state of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

. He also introduced the Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

.

De Valera was a leader of Ireland's struggle for independence from Britain in the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

 and of the anti-Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 forces in the ensuing Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

 (1922–23). In 1926, he founded Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

 and was head of government from 1932 to 1948, 1951 to 1954 and 1957 to 1959 and President of Ireland
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

 from 1959 to 1973.
De Valera was born in New York City in 1882 to an Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 mother; his parents, Catherine Coll
Catherine Coll
Catherine Wheelwright , was the mother of Irish President and Taoiseach Éamon de Valera.-Biography:...

 (subsequently Mrs Wheelwright), an immigrant from Bruree
Bruree
Bruree is a village in south-eastern County Limerick, Ireland, on the River Maigue. It takes its name from the nearby ancient royal fortress, the alternative name of which from the earliest times into the High Middle Ages was Dún Eochair Maigue or the Fortress on the Brink of the Maigue.- History...

, County Limerick
County Limerick
It is thought that humans had established themselves in the Lough Gur area of the county as early as 3000 BC, while megalithic remains found at Duntryleague date back further to 3500 BC...

, and Juan Vivion de Valera, a Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n settler and sculptor of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 descent, were reportedly married on 18 September 1881 at St.
Encyclopedia
Éamon de Valera was one of the dominant political figures in twentieth century Ireland, serving as head of government of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 and head of government and head of state of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

. He also introduced the Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

.

De Valera was a leader of Ireland's struggle for independence from Britain in the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

 and of the anti-Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 forces in the ensuing Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

 (1922–23). In 1926, he founded Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

 and was head of government from 1932 to 1948, 1951 to 1954 and 1957 to 1959 and President of Ireland
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

 from 1959 to 1973.

Early life

De Valera was born in New York City in 1882 to an Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 mother; his parents, Catherine Coll
Catherine Coll
Catherine Wheelwright , was the mother of Irish President and Taoiseach Éamon de Valera.-Biography:...

 (subsequently Mrs Wheelwright), an immigrant from Bruree
Bruree
Bruree is a village in south-eastern County Limerick, Ireland, on the River Maigue. It takes its name from the nearby ancient royal fortress, the alternative name of which from the earliest times into the High Middle Ages was Dún Eochair Maigue or the Fortress on the Brink of the Maigue.- History...

, County Limerick
County Limerick
It is thought that humans had established themselves in the Lough Gur area of the county as early as 3000 BC, while megalithic remains found at Duntryleague date back further to 3500 BC...

, and Juan Vivion de Valera, a Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n settler and sculptor of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 descent, were reportedly married on 18 September 1881 at St. Patrick's Church in Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City is the seat of Hudson County, New Jersey, United States.Part of the New York metropolitan area, Jersey City lies between the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay across from Lower Manhattan and the Hackensack River and Newark Bay...

. However, archivists have not located any such marriage certificate or any birth, baptismal or death certificate information for anyone called Juan Vivion de Valera or de Valeros, an alternative spelling. On de Valera's original birth certificate, his name is given as George De Valero and his father is listed as Vivion De Valero. The first name was changed in 1910 to Edward and the surname corrected to de Valera.

There were a number of occasions when de Valera seriously contemplated the religious life like his half-brother, Fr. Thomas Wheelwright, but ultimately did not pursue a vocation. As late as 1906, when he was 24 years he approached the President of Clonliffe Seminary in Dublin for advice on his vocation. De Valera was throughout his life portrayed as a deeply religious man, who in death asked to be buried in a religious habit. While his biographer, Tim Pat Coogan
Tim Pat Coogan
Timothy Patrick Coogan is an Irish historical writer, broadcaster and newspaper columnist. He served as editor of the Irish Press newspaper from 1968 to 1987...

, speculated that questions surrounding de Valera's legitimacy may have been a deciding factor in his not entering religious life, being illegitimate would have been a bar to receiving orders only as a secular or diocesan cleric, not as a member of a religious order
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

.

Juan Vivion died in 1885 leaving Catherine Coll and her child in poor circumstances. Éamon was taken to Ireland by his Uncle Ned at the age of two. Even when his mother married a new husband in the mid-1880s, he was not brought back to live with her but reared instead by his grandmother Elizabeth Coll, her son Patrick and her daughter Hannie, in County Limerick. He was educated locally at Bruree National School, County Limerick and C.B.S. Charleville
C.B.S. Charleville
C.B.S. Charleville is a secondary school located in Charleville, County Cork, Republic of Ireland.-Notable alumni:*Éamon de Valera - Politician, statesman, the founder of the Fianna Fáil party...

 County Cork. Aged sixteen, he won a scholarship. He was refused entry to two colleges in Limerick but was accepted at Blackrock College at the instigation of his local curate. He played rugby there and later during his tenure at Rockwell College
Rockwell College
Rockwell College, founded in 1864, is a private Catholic secondary school near Cashel, South Tipperary in Ireland. It offers day as well as full boarding. Rockwell is run by the Holy Ghost Fathers.-Politics:...

, he joined the school's rugby team where he played fullback on the first team, which reached the final of the Munster Senior Cup. De Valera went on to play for the Munster rugby
Munster Rugby
Munster Rugby is an Irish professional rugby union team based in Munster, that competes in the RaboDirect Pro12 and Heineken Cup.The team represents the Irish Rugby Football Union Munster Branch which is one of four primary branches of the IRFU, and is responsible for rugby union in the Irish...

 team in the mid-1900s in the fullback position and remained a lifelong devotee of rugby, attending numerous international matches up to and towards the end of his life despite near blindness.He told the British Ambassador in 1967, " For my part I have always preferred rugby". He also developed an intensely close relationship with the Holy Ghost Order
Holy Ghost Fathers
The Congregation of the Holy Spirit is a Roman Catholic congregation of priests, lay brothers, and since Vatican II, lay associates...

 and its Blackrock College school from this time.

Always a diligent student, at the end of his first year in Blackrock College
Blackrock College
Blackrock College is a Catholic voluntary secondary school for boys aged 14–18, located in Williamstown, Blackrock, County Dublin, Ireland. The College was founded by French missionaries in 1860, to act as a school and civil service training centre. Set in of grounds, it has an illustrious...

 he was Student of the Year. He also won further scholarships and exhibitions and in 1903 was appointed teacher of mathematics at Rockwell College
Rockwell College
Rockwell College, founded in 1864, is a private Catholic secondary school near Cashel, South Tipperary in Ireland. It offers day as well as full boarding. Rockwell is run by the Holy Ghost Fathers.-Politics:...

, County Tipperary
County Tipperary
County Tipperary is a county of Ireland. It is located in the province of Munster and is named after the town of Tipperary. The area of the county does not have a single local authority; local government is split between two authorities. In North Tipperary, part of the Mid-West Region, local...

. It was here that de Valera was first given the nickname "Dev" by a teaching colleague, Tom O'Donnell. In 1904, he graduated in mathematics from the Royal University of Ireland
Royal University of Ireland
The Royal University of Ireland was founded in accordance with the University Education Act 1879 as an examining and degree-awarding university based on the model of the University of London. A Royal Charter was issued on April 27, 1880 and examinations were opened to candidates irrespective of...

. He then studied for a year at Trinity College Dublin but owing to the necessity of earning a living did not proceed further and returned to Dublin to teach at Blackrock College
Blackrock College
Blackrock College is a Catholic voluntary secondary school for boys aged 14–18, located in Williamstown, Blackrock, County Dublin, Ireland. The College was founded by French missionaries in 1860, to act as a school and civil service training centre. Set in of grounds, it has an illustrious...

. In 1906, he secured a post as teacher of mathematics at Carysfort Teachers' Training College
Our Lady of Mercy College, Carysfort
Our Lady of Mercy College, Carysfort was an important College of Education in Dublin, Ireland from its foundation in 1877 until its closure in 1988...

 for women in Blackrock, County Dublin. His applications for professorships in colleges of the National University of Ireland
National University of Ireland
The National University of Ireland , , is a federal university system of constituent universities, previously called constituent colleges, and recognised colleges set up under the Irish Universities Act, 1908, and significantly amended by the Universities Act, 1997.The constituent universities are...

 were unsuccessful, but he obtained a part-time appointment at Maynooth
Maynooth
Maynooth is a town in north County Kildare, Ireland. It is home to a branch of the National University of Ireland, a Papal University and Ireland's main Roman Catholic seminary, St. Patrick's College...

 and also taught mathematics at various Dublin schools, including Castleknock College
Castleknock College
Castleknock College is a private , secondary school for boys aged between 13 and 18, which is situated in the residential suburb of Castleknock, 8 km west of the city centre in Dublin, Ireland.-History:...

 (1910–1911; under the name Edward de Valera) and Belvedere College
Belvedere College
Belvedere College SJ is a private secondary school for boys located on Great Denmark Street, Dublin, Ireland. It is also known as St. Francis Xavier's College....

.

De Valera's children were five sons: Vivion
Vivion de Valera
Vivion de Valera was an Irish scientist, businessman, lawyer and politician. He was the eldest child of the former Taoiseach and President, Éamon de Valera and Sinéad de Valera and was named after his paternal grandfather, Juan Vivion de Valera...

, Éamon, Brian, Ruairi and Terence (Terry), and two daughters: Máirín and Emer. Brian de Valera predeceased his parents.

Early political activity

As a young Gaeilgeoir (Irish speaker), he became an activist for the language. In 1908 he joined the Árdchraobh of Conradh na Gaeilge
Conradh na Gaeilge
Conradh na Gaeilge is a non-governmental organisation that promotes the Irish language in Ireland and abroad. The motto of the League is Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin amháin .-Origins:...

 (the Gaelic League), where he met Sinéad Flanagan
Sinéad de Valera
Sinéad de Valera, also known as Sinéad Ní Fhlannagáin and Sinéad Bean de Valera , was the wife of the Irish republican leader and third President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera.-Background:...

, a teacher by profession and four years his senior. They were married on 8 January 1910 at St Paul's Church, Arran Quay, Dublin.

While he was already involved in the Gaelic Revival
Gaelic Revival
The Gaelic revival was the late-nineteenth-century national revival of interest in the Irish language and Irish Gaelic culture...

, de Valera's involvement in the political revolution began on 25 November 1913 when he joined the Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland"...

 formed to oppose the Ulster Volunteers and ensure the enactment of the Irish Parliamentary Party
Irish Parliamentary Party
The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons at...

's Third Home Rule Act
Home Rule Act 1914
The Government of Ireland Act 1914 , also known as the Third Home Rule Bill, was an Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to provide self-government for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.The Act was the first law ever passed by the Parliament of...

 won by its leader John Redmond
John Redmond
John Edward Redmond was an Irish nationalist politician, barrister, MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1900 to 1918...

. After the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in August 1914, de Valera rose through the ranks and it was not long before he was elected captain of the Donnybrook
Donnybrook, Dublin
Donnybrook is a district of Dublin, Ireland. It is situated on the southside of the city, in the Dublin 4 postal district, and is home to the Irish state broadcaster RTÉ. It was once part of the Pembroke Township...

 company. Preparations were pushed ahead for an armed revolt, and he was made commandant of the Third Battalion and adjutant of the Dublin Brigade. He took part in the Howth gun-running
Howth gun-running
The Howth gun running took place in Ireland on 26 July 1914. It was a key step in providing arms to the Irish Volunteers, and played a role in the run-up to the Easter Rising of 1916.- The gun-running plan :...

. He was sworn by Thomas MacDonagh
Thomas MacDonagh
Thomas MacDonagh was an Irish nationalist, poet, playwright, and a leader of the 1916 Easter Rising.-Early life:MacDonagh was born in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary...

 into the oath-bound Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

, which secretly controlled the central executive of the Volunteers. He opposed secret societies but this was the only way he could be guaranteed full information on plans for the Rising.

Easter Rising

On 24 April 1916 the Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

 began. De Valera's forces occupied Boland's Mill
Boland's Mill
Boland's Mill is located on the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin, Ireland at the corner of Pearse Street and Barrow St. The majority of the complex consists of silos built in the 1940s. The mill stopped production in 2001 and the site is now derelict...

, Grand Canal Street in Dublin, his chief task being to cover the southeastern approaches to the city. After a week of fighting the order came from Patrick Pearse
Patrick Pearse
Patrick Henry Pearse was an Irish teacher, barrister, poet, writer, nationalist and political activist who was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916...

 to surrender. De Valera was court-martialled, convicted, and sentenced to death, but the sentence was immediately commuted to penal servitude for life. It has been argued that he was saved by four facts. First, he was one of the last to surrender and he was held in a different prison from other leaders, thus his execution was delayed by practicalities. Second, the US Consulate in Dublin made representations before his trial while the full legal situation (i.e., was he actually a United States citizen and if so, how would the United States react to the execution of one of its citizens?) was clarified. The fact that the UK
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 was trying to bring the USA into the war in Europe at the time made the situation even more delicate, though this did not prevent the execution of Tom Clarke
Tom Clarke (Irish republican)
Thomas James "Tom" Clarke was an Irish revolutionary leader and arguably the person most responsible for the 1916 Easter Rising. A proponent of violent revolution for most of his life, he spent 15 years in prison...

 who had been a US citizen since 1905. Third, when Lt-Gen Sir John Maxwell
John Maxwell (British Army officer)
General Sir John Grenfell Maxwell GCB, KCMG, CVO, DSO, PC was a British Army officer and colonial governor. He served in the Mahdist War in the Sudan, the Boer War, and in the First World War, but he is best known for his role in the suppression of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland and subsequent...

 reviewed his case he said "Who is he? I haven't heard of him before. I wonder would he be likely to make trouble in the future?" On being told that de Valera was unimportant he commuted the court-martial's death sentence to life imprisonment. De Valera had no Fenian
Fenian
The Fenians , both the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood , were fraternal organisations dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th century. The name "Fenians" was first applied by John O'Mahony to the members of the Irish republican...

 family or personal background and his MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 file in 1916 was very slim, only detailing his open membership of the Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland"...

. Fourth, by the time de Valera was court-martialled on 8 May, political pressure was being brought to bear on Maxwell to halt the executions; Maxwell had already told the Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Herbert Asquith that only two more were to be executed, Seán Mac Diarmada and James Connolly
James Connolly
James Connolly was an Irish republican and socialist leader. He was born in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, Scotland, to Irish immigrant parents and spoke with a Scottish accent throughout his life. He left school for working life at the age of 11, but became one of the leading Marxist theorists of...

, although they were court-martialled the day after de Valera. His late trial, representations made by the American Consulate, his lack of Fenian background and political pressure all combined to save his life, though had he been tried a week earlier he would probably have been shot.

De Valera's supporters and detractors argue about de Valera's bravery during the Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

. His supporters claim he showed leadership skills and a meticulous ability for planning. His detractors claim he suffered a nervous breakdown
Nervous breakdown
Mental breakdown is a non-medical term used to describe an acute, time-limited phase of a specific disorder that presents primarily with features of depression or anxiety.-Definition:...

 during the Rising. According to accounts from 1916 de Valera was seen running about, giving conflicting orders, refusing to sleep and on one occasion, having forgotten the password, almost getting himself shot in the dark by his own men. According to one account, de Valera, on being forced to sleep by one subordinate who promised to sit beside him and wake him if he was needed, suddenly woke up, his eyes "wild", screaming, "Set fire to the railway! Set fire to the railway!" Later in the Ballykinlar internment
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

 Camp, one de Valera loyalist approached another internee, a medical doctor, recounted the story, and asked for a medical opinion as to de Valera's condition. He also threatened to sue the doctor, future Fine Gael
Fine Gael
Fine Gael is a centre-right to centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland. It is the single largest party in Ireland in the Oireachtas, in local government, and in terms of Members of the European Parliament. The party has a membership of over 35,000...

 Teachta Dála
Teachta Dála
A Teachta Dála , usually abbreviated as TD in English, is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas . It is the equivalent of terms such as "Member of Parliament" or "deputy" used in other states. The official translation of the term is "Deputy to the Dáil", though a more literal...

 (TD) and minister, Dr. Tom O'Higgins, if he ever repeated the story. De Valera's latest biographer, Anthony J. Jordan, writes of this controversy, "Whatever happened in Boland's Mills, or any other garrison, does not negate or undermine in any way the extraordinary heroism of Dev and his comrades". After imprisonment in Dartmoor
Dartmoor (HM Prison)
HM Prison Dartmoor is a Category C men's prison, located in Princetown, high on Dartmoor in the English county of Devon. Its high granite walls dominate this area of the moor...

, Maidstone
Maidstone (HM Prison)
HM Prison Maidstone is a Category C men's prison, located in Maidstone, Kent, England. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.-History:...

 and Lewes
Lewes (HM Prison)
HM Prison Lewes is a local men's prison, located in Lewes in East Sussex, England. The term 'local' means that the prison holds people on remand to the local courts, as well as sentenced prisoners. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service....

 prisons, de Valera and his comrades were released under an amnesty in June 1917. On 10 July 1917 he was elected member of the House of Commons for East Clare
East Clare (UK Parliament constituency)
East Clare was a UK Parliament constituency in Ireland, returning one Member of Parliament 1885–1922.Prior to the United Kingdom general election, 1885 the area was part of the Clare constituency...

 (the constituency which he represented until 1959) in a by-election caused by the death of the previous incumbent Willie Redmond
William Hoey Kearney Redmond
William Hoey Kearney Redmond was an Irish nationalist politician. He was a Member of Parliament in the Irish Parliamentary Party for 34 years, a land reform agitator imprisoned three times, a determined advocate of Irish Home Rule, a barrister and a First World War fatality.-Family background:He...

, brother of the Irish Party Leader John Redmond who had died fighting in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. In the 1918 general election he was elected both for that seat and Mayo East. In 1917 he was elected president of Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

, the party which had been blamed incorrectly for provoking the Easter Rising. This party became the political vehicle through which the survivors of the Easter Rising channelled their republican ethos and objectives. The previous president of Sinn Féin, Arthur Griffith
Arthur Griffith
Arthur Griffith was the founder and third leader of Sinn Féin. He served as President of Dáil Éireann from January to August 1922, and was head of the Irish delegation at the negotiations in London that produced the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.-Early life:...

, had championed an Anglo-Irish dual-monarchy based on the Austro-Hungarian model, with independent legislatures for both Ireland and Britain. This solution would, mutatis mutandis, emulate the situation following the Constitution of 1782
Constitution of 1782
The Constitution of 1782 is a collective term given to a series of legal changes which freed the Parliament of Ireland, a Medieval parliament consisting of the Irish House of Commons and the Irish House of Lords, of legal restrictions that had been imposed by successive Norman, English, and later,...

 under Henry Grattan
Henry Grattan
Henry Grattan was an Irish politician and member of the Irish House of Commons and a campaigner for legislative freedom for the Irish Parliament in the late 18th century. He opposed the Act of Union 1800 that merged the Kingdoms of Ireland and Great Britain.-Early life:Grattan was born at...

, until Ireland was legislatively subsumed into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 in 1801.

President of Dáil Éireann

Sinn Féin won a huge majority in the 1918 general election
Irish (UK) general election, 1918
The Irish general election of 1918 was that part of the 1918 United Kingdom general election that took place in Ireland. It is seen as a key moment in modern Irish history...

, largely thanks to the British executions
John Maxwell (British Army officer)
General Sir John Grenfell Maxwell GCB, KCMG, CVO, DSO, PC was a British Army officer and colonial governor. He served in the Mahdist War in the Sudan, the Boer War, and in the First World War, but he is best known for his role in the suppression of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland and subsequent...

 of the 1916 leaders, the threat of conscription with the Conscription Crisis of 1918 and the first past the post ballot. They won 73 out of 105 Irish seats, with about 47% of votes cast. 25 seats were uncontested. On 21 January 1919, 27 Sinn Féin MPs (the rest were imprisoned or impaired), calling themselves Teachtaí Dála
Teachta Dála
A Teachta Dála , usually abbreviated as TD in English, is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas . It is the equivalent of terms such as "Member of Parliament" or "deputy" used in other states. The official translation of the term is "Deputy to the Dáil", though a more literal...

 (TDs), assembled in the Mansion House
Mansion House, Dublin
The Mansion House on Dawson Street, Dublin, is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715.-Features:The Mansion House's most famous features include the "Round Room", where the First Dáil assembled on 21 January 1919 to proclaim the Irish Declaration of Independence...

 in Dublin and formed an Irish parliament, known as Dáil Éireann
First Dáil
The First Dáil was Dáil Éireann as it convened from 1919–1921. In 1919 candidates who had been elected in the Westminster elections of 1918 refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom and instead assembled as a unicameral, revolutionary parliament called "Dáil Éireann"...

 (translatable into English as the Assembly of Ireland). A ministry or Aireacht
Aireacht
The Aireacht or Ministry was the cabinet of the 1919–1922 Irish Republic. The Ministry was originally established by the Dáil Constitution adopted by the First Dáil in 1919, after it issued the Irish Declaration of Independence...

 was formed, under the leadership of the Príomh Aire
President of Dáil Éireann
The President of Dáil Éireann was the leader of the revolutionary Irish Republic of 1919–1921. The office, also known as Príomh Aire , was created in the Dáil Constitution adopted by Dáil Éireann, the parliament of the Republic, at its first meeting in January 1919. This provided that the...

 (also called President of Dáil Éireann
President of Dáil Éireann
The President of Dáil Éireann was the leader of the revolutionary Irish Republic of 1919–1921. The office, also known as Príomh Aire , was created in the Dáil Constitution adopted by Dáil Éireann, the parliament of the Republic, at its first meeting in January 1919. This provided that the...

)
Cathal Brugha
Cathal Brugha
Cathal Brugha was an Irish revolutionary and politician, active in the Easter Rising, Irish War of Independence, and the Irish Civil War and was the first Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann.-Background:...

. De Valera had been re-arrested in May 1918 and imprisoned and so could not attend the January session of the Dáil. He escaped from Lincoln Gaol
Lincoln (HM Prison)
HM Prison Lincoln is a Category B men's prison, located in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.-History:...

, England in February 1919. As a result he replaced Brugha as Príomh Aire in the April session of Dáil Éireann. However, the Dáil Constitution
Dáil Constitution
The Constitution of Dáil Éireann , more commonly known as the Dáil Constitution, was the constitution of the 1919–22 Irish Republic. It was adopted by the First Dáil at its first meeting on 21 January 1919 and theoretically remained in force for four years. As adopted it consisted of only five...

 passed by the Dáil in 1919 made clear that the Príomh Aire (or President of Dáil Éireann as it came to be called) was merely prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

—the literal translation of Príomh Aire—not a full head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

, according to its holder, Éamon de Valera, in the Dáil debate on replacing the post with President of the Republic in August 1921.

In the hope of securing international recognition, Seán T. O'Kelly
Sean T. O'Kelly
Seán Thomas O'Kelly was the second President of Ireland . He was a member of Dáil Éireann from 1918 until his election as President. During this time he served as Minister for Local Government and Minister for Finance...

 was sent as envoy to Paris to present the Irish case to the Peace Conference
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

 convened by the great powers at the end of the World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. When it became clear by May 1919 that this mission could not succeed, de Valera decided to visit the United States. The mission had three objectives: to ask for official recognition of the Irish Republic
Irish Republic
The Irish Republic was a revolutionary state that declared its independence from Great Britain in January 1919. It established a legislature , a government , a court system and a police force...

, to float a loan to finance the work of the Government (and by extension, the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

), and to secure the support of the American people for the republic. His visit lasted from June 1919 to December 1920 and had mixed success. One negative outcome was the splitting of the Irish-American organisations into pro- and anti-de Valera factions. He met the young Harvard-educated leader from Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, Pedro Albizu Campos
Pedro Albizu Campos
Don Pedro Albizu Campos was a Puerto Rican politician and one of the leading figures in the Puerto Rican independence movement. He was the leader and president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party from 1930 until his death...

, and forged a lasting and useful alliance with him.

De Valera managed to raise a sum of $5,500,000 from American supporters, an amount that far exceeded the hopes of the Dáil. Of this, $500,000 was devoted to the American presidential campaign in 1920 which helped him gain wider public support there. In 1921 it was said that $1,466,000 had already been spent, and it is unclear when the net balance arrived in Ireland. Recognition was not forthcoming in the international sphere. He also had difficulties with various Irish-American leaders, such as John Devoy
John Devoy
John Devoy was an Irish rebel leader and exile.-Early life:Devoy was born near Kill, County Kildare. In 1861 he travelled to France with an introduction from T. D. Sullivan to John Mitchel...

 and Judge Daniel F. Cohalan
Daniel F. Cohalan
Daniel Cohalan was an Irish-American leader and judge of the Supreme Court of New York State .Born in Middletown, New York where he joined and became a prominent member of the Democratic Party and later involved in the leadership of the Tammany Society .In 1912, Cohalan was appointed a Judge of...

, who resented the dominant position he established, preferring to retain their control over Irish affairs in the United States.

Meanwhile in Ireland, conflict between the British authorities and the Dáil (which the British declared illegal in September 1919) escalated into the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

. De Valera left day-to-day government, during his eighteen-month absence in America, to Michael Collins
Michael Collins (Irish leader)
Michael "Mick" Collins was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, he was both Chairman of the...

, his 29-year-old Minister for Finance
Minister for Finance (Ireland)
The Minister for Finance is the title held by the Irish government minister responsible for all financial and monetary matters. The office-holder controls the Department of Finance and is considered one of the most important members of the Government of Ireland.The current Minister for Finance is...

.

President of the Republic

In January 1921, at his first Dáil meeting after his return to a country gripped by the War of Independence, de Valera introduced a motion calling on the IRA
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 to desist from ambushes and other tactics that were allowing the British to successfully portray it as a terrorist
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 group, and to take on the British forces with conventional military methods. This they strongly opposed, and de Valera relented, issuing a statement expressing support for the IRA, and claimed it was fully under the control of the Dáil. He then, along with Cathal Brugha and Austin Stack
Austin Stack
Austin Stack was an Irish revolutionary and politician.-Early life:Stack was born in Ballymullen, Tralee, County Kerry. He was educated at the Christian Brothers School in Tralee. At the age of fourteen he left school and became a clerk in a solicitor's office. A gifted Gaelic footballer, he...

, brought pressure to bear on Michael Collins to undertake a journey to the U.S. himself, on the pretext that only he could take up where de Valera had left off. Collins successfully resisted this move, and stayed in Ireland. In the elections of May 1921
Irish elections, 1921
Two elections in Ireland took place in 1921, as a result of the Government of Ireland Act 1920 to establish the House of Commons of Northern Ireland and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland. The election was used by Irish Republicans as the basis of membership of the Second Dáil...

, all candidates in Southern Ireland
Southern Ireland
Southern Ireland was a short-lived autonomous region of the United Kingdom established on 3 May 1921 and dissolved on 6 December 1922.Southern Ireland was established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920 together with its sister region, Northern Ireland...

 were returned unopposed, and Sinn Féin secured some seats in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. Following the Truce of July, 1921 that ended the war, de Valera went to see David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

 in London on 14 July. No agreement was reached, and by then the parliament of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 had met. In August 1921, de Valera secured Dáil Éireann approval to change the 1919 Dáil Constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 to upgrade his office from prime minister or chairman of the cabinet to a full President of the Republic
President of the Irish Republic
President of the Republic was the title given to the head of the Irish ministry or Aireacht in August 1921 by an amendment to the Dáil Constitution, which replaced the previous title, Príomh Aire or President of Dáil Éireann...

. Declaring himself now the Irish equivalent of King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

, he argued that as Irish head of state, in the absence of the British head of state from the negotiations, he too should not attend the peace conference called the Treaty Negotiations
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 (October–December 1921) at which British and Irish government leaders agreed to the effective independence of twenty-six of Ireland's thirty-two counties
Counties of Ireland
The counties of Ireland are sub-national divisions used for the purposes of geographic demarcation and local government. Closely related to the county is the County corporate which covered towns or cities which were deemed to be important enough to be independent from their counties. A county...

 as the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

, with Northern Ireland choosing to remain under British sovereignty. It is generally agreed by historians that whatever his motives, it was a mistake for de Valera not to have travelled to London.

Having done so, a boundary commission came into place to redraw the Irish border. Nationalists
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

 expected its report to recommend that largely nationalist areas become part of the Free State, and many hoped this would make Northern Ireland so small it would not be economically viable. A Council of Ireland
Council of Ireland
The Council of Ireland may refer to one of two councils, one established in the 1920s, the other in the 1970s.-Council of Ireland :...

 was also provided in the Treaty as a model for an eventual all-Irish parliament. Hence neither the pro- nor anti-Treaty sides made much complaint about partition
Partition of Ireland
The partition of Ireland was the division of the island of Ireland into two distinct territories, now Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . Partition occurred when the British Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1920...

 in the Treaty debates
Treaty Debates (Ireland)
The Treaty Debates was a series of debates of the Second Dáil sitting in Dublin between the supporters and opponents of the Treaty signed on 6 December 1921 between representatives of the Irish Republic and the coalition government of Lloyd George...

. They all expected it would prove short-lived.

Anglo-Irish Treaty

The Republic's delegates to the Treaty Negotiations
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 were accredited by President de Valera and his cabinet as plenipotentiaries
Plenipotentiary
The word plenipotentiary has two meanings. As a noun, it refers to a person who has "full powers." In particular, the term commonly refers to a diplomat fully authorized to represent his government as a prerogative...

 (that is, negotiators with the legal authority to sign a treaty without reference back to the cabinet), but were given secret cabinet instructions by de Valera that required them to return to Dublin before signing the Treaty. However, the Treaty proved controversial in Ireland insofar as it replaced the Republic by a dominion
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

 of the British Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 with the King represented by a Governor-General of the Irish Free State
Governor-General of the Irish Free State
The Governor-General was the representative of the King in the 1922–1937 Irish Free State. Until 1927 he was also the agent of the British government in the Irish state. By convention the office of Governor-General was largely ceremonial...

. The Irish Treaty delegates Arthur Griffith
Arthur Griffith
Arthur Griffith was the founder and third leader of Sinn Féin. He served as President of Dáil Éireann from January to August 1922, and was head of the Irish delegation at the negotiations in London that produced the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.-Early life:...

, Robert Barton
Robert Barton
Robert Childers Barton was an Irish lawyer, soldier, statesman and farmer who participated in the negotiations leading up to the signature of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. His father was Charles William Barton and his mother was Agnes Childers. His wife was Rachel Warren of Boston, daughter of Fiske...

, and Michael Collins supported by Robert Erskine Childers
Robert Erskine Childers
Robert Erskine Childers DSC , universally known as Erskine Childers, was the author of the influential novel Riddle of the Sands and an Irish nationalist who smuggled guns to Ireland in his sailing yacht Asgard. He was executed by the authorities of the nascent Irish Free State during the Irish...

 as Secretary General set up their delegation headquarters at 22 Hans Place
Hans Place
Hans Place, London, England, is a residential garden square situated immediately south of Harrods in Chelsea. It is named after Sir Hans Sloane, 1st Baronet, PRS , who was a physician and collector, notable for bequeathing his collection to the British nation which became the foundation of the...

 in Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge is a road which gives its name to an exclusive district lying to the west of central London. The road runs along the south side of Hyde Park, west from Hyde Park Corner, spanning the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea...

. It was there, at 11.15am on 5 December 1921, that the decision was made to recommend the Treaty to the Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...

; the Treaty was finally signed by the delegates after further negotiations which closed at 02:20 on 6 December 1921.

De Valera balked at the agreement. His opponents claimed that he had refused to join the negotiations because he knew what the outcome would be and did not wish to receive the blame. De Valera claimed that he had not gone to the treaty negotiations because he would be better able to control the extremists at home, and that his absence would allow leverage for the plenipotentiaries to refer back to him and not be pressured into any agreements. Because of the secret instructions given to the plenipotentiaries, he reacted to news of the signing of the Treaty not with anger at its contents (which he refused even to read when offered a newspaper report of its contents), but with anger over the fact that they had not consulted with him, their president, before signing. His ideal drafts, presented to a secret session of the Dáil during the Treaty Debates and publicised in January 1922, were ingenious compromises but they included dominion status, the Treaty Ports, the fact of partition subject to veto by the parliament in Belfast, and some continuing status for the King as head of the Commonwealth. Ireland's share of the imperial debt was to be paid.

After the Treaty was narrowly ratified by 64 to 57, de Valera and a large minority of Sinn Féin TDs left Dáil Éireann. He then resigned and Arthur Griffith was elected President of Dáil Éireann
President of Dáil Éireann
The President of Dáil Éireann was the leader of the revolutionary Irish Republic of 1919–1921. The office, also known as Príomh Aire , was created in the Dáil Constitution adopted by Dáil Éireann, the parliament of the Republic, at its first meeting in January 1919. This provided that the...

 in his place, though respectfully still calling him 'The President'. On a speaking tour of the more republican province of Munster
Munster
Munster is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the south of Ireland. In Ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial purposes...

, starting on 17 March 1922, de Valera made controversial speeches at Carrick on Suir, Lismore
Lismore, County Waterford
Lismore is a town in County Waterford, Ireland. It is located where the N72 road crosses the River Blackwater.-History:It was founded by Saint Mochuda, also known as Saint Carthage. In the 7th century, Lismore was the site of the well-known Lismore Abbey. It is also home to Lismore Castle, the...

, Dungarvan
Dungarvan
Dungarvan is a town and harbour on the south coast of Ireland in the province of Munster. Dungarvan is the county town and administrative centre of County Waterford. The town's Irish name means "Garbhan's fort", referring to Saint Garbhan who founded a church there in the seventh century...

 and Waterford
Waterford
Waterford is a city in the South-East Region of Ireland. It is the oldest city in the country and fifth largest by population. Waterford City Council is the local government authority for the city and its immediate hinterland...

, saying that: "If the Treaty were accepted, [by the electorate] the fight for freedom would still go on, and the Irish people, instead of fighting foreign soldiers, will have to fight the Irish soldiers of an Irish government set up by Irishmen." At Thurles
Thurles
Thurles is a town situated in North Tipperary, Ireland. It is a civil parish in the historical barony of Eliogarty and is also an ecclesiastical parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly...

, several days later, he repeated this imagery and added that the IRA: "...would have to wade through the blood of the soldiers of the Irish Government, and perhaps through that of some members of the Irish Government to get their freedom." In a letter to the Irish Independent
Irish Independent
The Irish Independent is Ireland's largest-selling daily newspaper that is published in both compact and broadsheet formats. It is the flagship publication of Independent News & Media.-History:...

 on 23 March de Valera accepted the accuracy of their report of his comment about "wading" through blood, but deplored that the newspaper had published it.

De Valera objected to the statement of fidelity that the treaty required Irish parliamentarians to take to the King. He also was concerned that Ireland could not have an independent foreign policy as part of the British Commonwealth when the British retained several naval ports (see Treaty Ports
Treaty Ports (Ireland)
Following the establishment of the Irish Free State, three deep water Treaty Ports at Berehaven, Queenstown and Lough Swilly were retained by the United Kingdom as sovereign bases in accordance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921...

) around Ireland's coast. As a compromise, de Valera proposed "external association" with the British Empire, which would leave Ireland's foreign policy in her own hands and a republican constitution with no mention of the British monarch (he proposed this as early as April, well before the negotiations began, under the title "Document No. 2"). Michael Collins was prepared to accept this formula and the two wings (pro- and anti-Treaty) of Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 formed a pact to fight the Irish general election, 1922
Irish general election, 1922
The Irish general election of 1922 took place in Southern Ireland on 16 June 1922, under the provisions of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty to elect a constituent assembly paving the way for the formal establishment of the Irish Free State...

 together and form a coalition government afterwards. Collins later called off the pact on the eve of the election. De Valera's opponents won the election and civil war broke out shortly afterwards in late June 1922.

Civil War

Relations between the new Irish government, which was backed by most of the Dáil and the electorate, and the anti-Treatyites under the nominal leadership of de Valera, now descended into the Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

 (June 1922 to May 1923), in which the pro-treaty Free State forces defeated the anti-Treaty IRA. Both sides had wanted to avoid civil war, but fighting broke out over the takeover of the Four Courts
Four Courts
The Four Courts in Dublin is the Republic of Ireland's main courts building. The Four Courts are the location of the Supreme Court, the High Court and the Dublin Circuit Court. The building until 2010 also formerly was the location for the Central Criminal Court.-Gandon's Building:Work based on...

 building in Dublin by anti-Treaty members of the IRA. These men were not loyal to de Valera and initially were not even supported by the executive of the anti-Treaty IRA. However, Michael Collins was forced to act against them when Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 threatened to re-occupy the country with British troops unless action was taken. When fighting broke out in Dublin between the Four Courts garrison and the new Free State army, republicans backed the IRA men in the Four Courts and civil war broke out. De Valera, though he held no military position, backed the anti-Treaty IRA or "Irregulars" and said that he was re-enlisting in the IRA as an ordinary volunteer. On 8 September 1922, he met in secret with Richard Mulcahy
Richard Mulcahy
Richard James Mulcahy was an Irish politician, army general and commander in chief, leader of Fine Gael and Cabinet Minister...

 in Dublin, to try to halt the fighting. However, according to de Valera, they "could not find a basis" for agreement.

Though nominally head of the anti-Treatyites, de Valera had little influence. He does not seem to have been involved in any fighting and had little or no influence with the military republican leadership - headed by IRA Chief of Staff, Liam Lynch
Liam Lynch (general)
Liam Lynch was an officer in the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence and the commanding general of the anti-Treaty Irish Republican Army during the Irish Civil War.-Early life:...

. De Valera and the anti-Treaty TDs
Teachta Dála
A Teachta Dála , usually abbreviated as TD in English, is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas . It is the equivalent of terms such as "Member of Parliament" or "deputy" used in other states. The official translation of the term is "Deputy to the Dáil", though a more literal...

 formed a "republican government
Irish republican legitimatism
A concept within Irish republicanism, Irish republican legitimatism denies the legitimacy of the political entities of Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and posits that the pre-partition Irish Republic continues to exist...

" on 25 October 1922 from anti-Treaty TDs to "be temporarily the Supreme Executive of the Republic and the State, until such time as the elected Parliament of the Republic can freely assemble, or the people being rid of external aggression are at liberty to decide freely how they are to be governed". However it had no real authority and was a pale shadow of the republican Dáil government of 1919–21, which had provided an alternative government to the British administration. In March 1923, de Valera attended the meeting of the IRA Army Executive to decide on the future of the war. He was known to be in favour of a truce but he had no voting rights and it was narrowly decided to continue hostilities. The leader of the Free State, WT Cosgrave, insisted that there could be no acceptance of a surrender without disarming. On 30 May 1923, the IRA's new Chief of Staff Frank Aiken
Frank Aiken
Frank Aiken was a commander of the Irish Republican Army and later an Irish politician. A founding-member of Fianna Fáil, Aiken was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1923 and at each subsequent election until 1973...

 (Lynch had been killed) called a ceasefire and ordered volunteers to "dump arms". De Valera, who had wanted an end to the internecine fighting for some time, backed the ceasefire order in a famous speech in which he called the anti-Treaty fighters "the Legion of the Rearguard", saying that "the republic can no longer be successfully defended by your arms ... Further sacrifice on your part would now be in vain and the continuance of the struggle in arms unwise in the national interest. Military victory must be allowed to rest for the moment with those who have destroyed the Republic". After this point many of the republicans were arrested in Free State "round ups" when they had come out of hiding and returned home. De Valera was arrested in County Clare
County Clare
-History:There was a Neolithic civilisation in the Clare area — the name of the peoples is unknown, but the Prehistoric peoples left evidence behind in the form of ancient dolmen; single-chamber megalithic tombs, usually consisting of three or more upright stones...

 and interned
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

 until 1924.

Founding of Fianna Fáil and entry into Free State Dáil

After the IRA dumped their arms rather than surrender them or continue a now fruitless war, de Valera returned to political methods. In 1924 he was arrested in Newry
Newry
Newry is a city in Northern Ireland. The River Clanrye, which runs through the city, formed the historic border between County Armagh and County Down. It is from Belfast and from Dublin. Newry had a population of 27,433 at the 2001 Census, while Newry and Mourne Council Area had a population...

 for "illegally entering Northern Ireland" and held in solitary confinement
Solitary confinement
Solitary confinement is a special form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff. It is sometimes employed as a form of punishment beyond incarceration for a prisoner, and has been cited as an additional...

 for a month in Crumlin Road Gaol
Crumlin Road Gaol
HMP Belfast, also known as Crumlin Road Gaol, is a former prison situated on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is the only Victorian era prison remaining in Northern Ireland and has been derelict since 1996...

, Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

.

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. He tried to convince the Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 party to accept this new line. However, a vote to accept the Free State Constitution (contingent on the abolition of the Oath of Allegiance
Oath of Allegiance (Ireland)
The Irish Oath of Allegiance was a controversial provision in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which Irish TDs and Senators were required to take, in order to take their seats in Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann .-Text of the Oath:The Oath was included in Article 17 of the Irish Free State's 1922...

) narrowly failed. Soon afterward, de Valera resigned from the presidency of the party and in March 1926, with Seán Lemass
Seán Lemass
Seán Francis Lemass was one of the most prominent Irish politicians of the 20th century. He served as Taoiseach from 1959 until 1966....

, Constance Markievicz and others, formed a new party, Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

 (The Warriors of Destiny), a party that was to dominate twentieth century Irish politics. While Sinn Féin still held to an abstentionist line, Fianna Fáil was dedicated to republicanising the Free State from within if it gained power.

The newly-minted party made swift electoral gains in the 1927 general election
Irish general election, 1927
Two general elections were held in the Ireland in 1927:*Irish general election, June 1927*Irish general election, September 1927...

, taking much of Sinn Féin's previous support. It won 44 seats to Sinn Féin's five. However, it refused to take the Oath of Allegiance (spun 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.

The oath was actually largely the work of Michael Collins and based on three sources: British oaths in the dominions, the oath of the Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

 and a draft oath prepared by de Valera in his proposed Treaty alternative, Document No.2). De Valera began a legal case to challenge the requirement that his party take the Oath, but the assassination of the Vice-President of the Executive Council
Vice-President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State
The Vice-President of the Executive Council was the deputy head of government of the 1922–1937 Irish Free State, and the second most senior member of the Executive Council...

 (deputy prime minister) Kevin O'Higgins
Kevin O'Higgins
Kevin Christopher O'Higgins was an Irish politician who served as Vice-President of the Executive Council and Minister for Justice. He was part of early nationalist Sinn Féin, before going on to become a prominent member of Cumann na nGaedheal. O'Higgins initiated the An Garda Síochána police force...

 led the Executive Council
Executive Council of the Irish Free State
The Executive Council was the cabinet and de facto executive branch of government of the 1922–1937 Irish Free State. Formally, the role of the Executive Council was to "aid and advise" the Governor-General who would exercise the executive authority on behalf of the King...

 under W. T. Cosgrave to introduce a Bill requiring all Dáil candidates to promise on oath that if they were elected they would take the Oath of Allegiance. 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 in 1927, though de Valera himself described the Oath as "an empty political formula."

De Valera never organised Fianna Fáil in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 and it was not until 7 December 2007 that Fianna Fáil was registered there by the UK Electoral Commission.

President of the Executive Council

In the 1932 general election
Irish general election, 1932
The Irish general election of 1932 was held on 16 February 1932, just over two weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on 29 January. The newly elected 153 members of the 7th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 9 March 1932 when the new President of the Executive Council and Executive Council of...

 Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

 secured 72 seats and became the largest party in the Dáil, although without a majority. De Valera had realised that to win power he had to appeal to as wide a possible of constituency. This was best demonstrated in Mayo over the appointment of a Protestant librarian. De Valera appealed to all the vested interests and was rewarded when Fianna Fail won an extra Dail seat in Mayo in the 1932 election. Some Fianna Fail members arrived at the first sitting of the new Dáil carrying arms, amid fears that Cumann na nGaedheal would not voluntarily surrender power. However, the transition was peaceful. De Valera was appointed President of the Executive Council
President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State
The President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State was the head of government or prime minister of the Irish Free State which existed from 1922 to 1937...

 (Prime Minister) by Governor-General James McNeill
James McNeill
James McNeill was an Irish politician and diplomat, who served as first High Commissioner to London and second Governor-General of the Irish Free State....

 on 7 March.

He at once initiated steps to fulfil his election promises of abolishing the oath and withholding land annuities owed to Britain for loans provided under the Irish Land Acts
Irish Land Acts
The Land Acts were a series of measures to deal with the question of peasant proprietorship of land in Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Five such acts were introduced by the government of the United Kingdom between 1870 and 1909...

 and agreed as part of the 1921 Treaty. This launched the Anglo-Irish Trade War
Anglo-Irish Trade War
The Anglo-Irish Trade War was a retaliatory trade war between the Irish Free State and the United Kingdom lasting from 1932 until 1938...

 when Britain in retaliation imposed economic sanctions against Irish exports. De Valera responded in kind with levies on British imports. The ensuing "Economic War" lasted until 1938.

On his advice the appointment of James McNeill
James McNeill
James McNeill was an Irish politician and diplomat, who served as first High Commissioner to London and second Governor-General of the Irish Free State....

 as Governor-General was terminated by King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 on 1 November 1932 and a 1916 veteran, Domhnall Ua Buachalla, was appointed Governor-General in his place. To strengthen his position against the opposition in the Dáil and Seanad, de Valera called a snap election in January 1933
Irish general election, 1933
The Irish general election of 1933 was held on 24 January 1933. The newly elected members of the 8th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 8 February when the new President of the Executive Council and Executive Council of the Irish Free State were appointed....

 and won 77 seats, giving him an overall majority. Under his leadership, Fianna Fáil won further general elections in 1937
Irish general election, 1937
The Irish general election of 1937 was held on 1 July 1937, just over two weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on 14 June. A plebiscite to ratify the Constitution of Ireland was held on the same day...

, 1938
Irish general election, 1938
The Irish general election of 1938 was held on 17 June 1938. The 138 newly elected members of the 10th Dáil assembled on 30 June when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed....

, 1943
Irish general election, 1943
The Irish general election of 1943 was held on 23 June 1943. The 138 newly elected members of the 11th Dáil assembled on 1 July when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed....

 and 1944
Irish general election, 1944
The Irish general election of 1944 was held on 30 May 1944, three weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on 9 May. The 138 newly elected members of the 12th Dáil assembled on 9 June when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed....

.

De Valera took charge of Ireland's foreign policy as well by acting as his own Minister for External Affairs. In that capacity he attended meetings of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. He was president of the Council of the League on his first appearance at Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 in 1932 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. In 1934, he supported the admission of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 into the League. In September 1938 he 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.

De Valera's government followed the policy of unilaterally dismantling the Treaty of 1921. In this way he would be pursuing republican policies and lessening the popularity of republican violence and the IRA. De Valera encouraged IRA members to join the Irish Defence Forces
Irish Defence Forces
The armed forces of Ireland, known as the Defence Forces encompass the Army, Naval Service, Air Corps and Reserve Defence Force.The current Supreme Commander of the Irish Defence forces is His Excellency Michael D Higgins in his role as President of Ireland...

 and the Gardaí. He also refused to dismiss from office those Cumann na nGaedheal, Cosgrave supporters, who had previously opposed him during the Civil War. He did, however, dismiss Eoin O'Duffy
Eoin O'Duffy
Eoin O'Duffy was in succession a Teachta Dála , the Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army , the second Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, leader of the Army Comrades Association and then the first leader of Fine Gael , before leading the Irish Brigade to fight for Francisco Franco during...

 from his position as Garda Commissioner after a year. Eoin O'Duffy was then invited to be head of the Army Comrades Association (ACA) formed to protect and promote the welfare of its members, previously led by J.F O'Higgins, Kevin O'Higgins brother. This organisation was an obstacle to de Valera's power as it supported Cumann na nGaedheal and provided stewards for their meetings. Cumann na nGaedheal meetings were frequently disrupted by Fianna Fáil supporters following the publication of the article: No Free Speech for Traitors by Peadar O'Donnell
Peadar O'Donnell
Peadar O'Donnell was an Irish republican and socialist activist and writer.-Early life:Peadar O'Donnell was born into an Irish speaking family in Dungloe, County Donegal in northwest Ireland, in 1893. He attended St. Patrick's College, Dublin, where he trained as a teacher...

, an IRA member.

The ACA changed its name to the "National Guard" under O'Duffy. They adopted the uniform of black berets and blue shirts, used the straight armed salute and were nicknamed 'The Blueshirts
The Blueshirts
The Army Comrades Association , later named the National Guard and better known by the nickname The Blueshirts , was a right-wing Irish political organisation active in the 1930s....

'. They were outwardly fascist and planned a march in August 1933 through Dublin to commemorate Michael Collins, Kevin O'Higgins and Arthur Griffith. This march struck parallels with Mussolini's March on Rome (1922), in which he had created the image of having toppled the democratic government in Rome by staging a march. 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. Within a few weeks O'Duffy's followers merged with Cumann na nGaedhael and the Centre Party to form "United Ireland" or Fine Gael, and O'Duffy became its president. Smaller local marches were scheduled for the following weeks, under different names. However, internal dissension set in when the party's TDs distanced themselves from O'Duffy's extreme views, and his movement fell asunder.

De Valera's new constitution

During the 1930s, de Valera had systematically stripped down the Irish Free State constitution
Constitution of the Irish Free State
The Constitution of the Irish Free State was the first constitution of the independent Irish state. It was enacted with the adoption of the Constitution of the Irish Free State Act 1922, of which it formed a part...

 that had been drafted by a committee under the nominal chairmanship of his rival, Michael Collins. In reality, de Valera had been able to do that only due to three reasons. First, though the 1922 constitution originally required public plebiscite for any amendment
Constitutional amendment
A constitutional amendment is a formal change to the text of the written constitution of a nation or state.Most constitutions require that amendments cannot be enacted unless they have passed a special procedure that is more stringent than that required of ordinary legislation...

 beyond eight years after its passage, the Free State government under W. T. Cosgrave had amended that period to sixteen years. This meant that, until 1938, the Free State constitution could be amended by the simple passage of a Constitutional Amendment Act through the Oireachtas
Oireachtas
The Oireachtas , sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the "national parliament" or legislature of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of:*The President of Ireland*The two Houses of the Oireachtas :**Dáil Éireann...

. Secondly, while in theory the Governor-General of the Irish Free State could reserve or deny the Royal Assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

 to any legislation, in practice the power to advise the Governor-General so to do as and from 1927 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 Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

, the fundamental law of the state. However, that requirement had been removed only a short time before de Valera gained power. Thus, with all the checks and balances that had been provided to preserve the Treaty settlement neutralised, de Valera had a free hand to change the 1922 constitution at will.

The Oath of Allegiance was abolished, as were appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. Established by the Judicial Committee Act 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King in Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is one of the highest courts in the United...

. The opposition-controlled Senate
Seanad Éireann (Irish Free State)
Seanad Éireann was the upper house of the Oireachtas of the Irish Free State from 1922–1936. It has also been known simply as the Senate, or as the First Seanad. The Senate was established under the 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State but a number of constitutional amendments were...

, when it protested and slowed down these measures, was also abolished. And finally in December 1936, de Valera used the sudden abdication of King Edward VIII
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January to 11 December 1936.Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay...

 as king of his various realms including King of Ireland to pass two Bills; one amended the constitution to remove all mention of the King and Governor-General, while the second brought the King back, this time through statute law, for use in representing the Irish Free State at diplomatic level.

In 1931, the British parliament had passed the Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

, which established the legislative equal status of the self-governing dominions of the British Empire, including the Irish Free State, and the United Kingdom. Though many 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. In July 1936, de Valera as constitutionally the King's Irish Prime Minister, wrote to King Edward in London indicating that he planned to introduce a new constitution, the central part of which was to be the creation of an office de Valera provisionally intended to call President of Saorstát Éireann, which would replace the governor-generalship. The title ultimately changed from President of Saorstát Éireann (Uachtarán Shaorstát Éireann) to President of Ireland (Uachtarán na hÉireann), but it still remained the central feature of his new constitution, to which he gave the new Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

 name Bunreacht na hÉireann (meaning literally the Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

). The text of the 1937 Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

is available as amended to 2004.

The constitution contained a number of reforms and symbols intended to assert Irish sovereignty. These included:
  • a new name for the state, "Éire
    Éire
    is the Irish name for the island of Ireland and the sovereign state of the same name.- Etymology :The modern Irish Éire evolved from the Old Irish word Ériu, which was the name of a Gaelic goddess. Ériu is generally believed to have been the matron goddess of Ireland, a goddess of sovereignty, or...

    "
    (in Irish) and "Ireland" (in English);
  • a claim that the national territory was the entire island of Ireland, thereby challenging Britain's partition settlement
    Partition of Ireland
    The partition of Ireland was the division of the island of Ireland into two distinct territories, now Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . Partition occurred when the British Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1920...

     of 1921;
  • the removal of references to the king of Ireland
    Monarchy of Ireland
    A monarchical polity has existed in Ireland during three periods of its history, finally ending in 1801. The designation King of Ireland and Queen of Ireland was used during these periods...

     and the replacement of the monarch's representative, the Governor-General, with a popularly elected President of Ireland
    President of Ireland
    The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

    , who takes "precedence over all other persons in the State and who shall exercise and perform the powers and functions conferred on the President by this Constitution and by law";
  • recognition of the "special position" of Roman Catholicism;
  • a recognition of the Roman Catholic concept of marriage which excluded civil divorce;
  • the declaration that the Irish language was the "national language" and the first official language of the nation although English was also included as "a" second official language;
  • the use of Irish language terms to stress Irish cultural and historical identity (e.g., Uachtarán, Taoiseach, Tánaiste, etc.); and


Criticisms of some of the above constitutional reforms include that:
  • the anti-partition articles needlessly antagonised Unionists in Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

    , while simultaneously attracting criticism from hardline republicans by recognising the de facto situation.
  • similarly, the recognition of the "special position" of the Catholic Church was inconsistent with the identity and aspirations of northern Protestants (leading to its repeal in the 1970s
    Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
    The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland removed from the constitution a controversial reference to the "special position" of the Roman Catholic Church as well as recognition of certain other named religious denominations...

    ), while simultaneously falling short of the demands of hardline Catholics and the Church for Catholicism to be explicitly made the state religion.
  • the affirmation of Irish as the national and primary official language neither reflected contemporary realities nor led to the language's revival
  • though the King was removed from the text of the constitution, he retained a leading role in the state's foreign affairs, and the legal position of the President of Ireland was accordingly uncertain; there was also concern that the presidency would evolve into a dictator
    Dictator
    A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

    ial position
  • elements of Catholic social teaching incorporated into the text, such as the articles on the role of women, the family and divorce, were inconsistent both with the practice of the Protestant minority and with contemporary liberal opinion


As Bew (2007) concludes, in the Constitution of 1937 he was "trying to placate left-wing Republicans with national phrases and pious people with expressly Catholic bits" and "patriarchal Catholicism."

Catholic social policy

Éamon de Valera led his party Fianna Fáil to adopt conservative social policies, since he believed devoutly that the Catholic church and the family were central to Irish identity. He added clauses to the new Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

 (1937) to "guard with special care the institution of marriage" and prohibit divorce. His constitution also recognised "the special position" of the Catholic Church and recognised other denominations including the Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 and Jewish congregations, whilst guaranteeing the religious freedom of all citizens. He resisted an attempt to make Roman Catholicism the state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 and his constitution forbids the establishment of a state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

. His policies were welcomed by a largely devout, conservative and rural electorate. The unenforcable articles in the constitution which reinforced the traditional view that a woman's place was in the home further illustrate the direction in which Ireland was moving. An act of 1935 prohibited the importation or sale of contraceptives. The most rigorous censorship laws in western Europe complete the picture.

The specific recognition of Roman Catholicism was deleted by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland removed from the constitution a controversial reference to the "special position" of the Roman Catholic Church as well as recognition of certain other named religious denominations...

 (1973) and the prohibition of divorce was removed by the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
The Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland repealed the constitutional prohibition of divorce. It was effected by the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1995, which was approved by referendum on 24 November 1995 and signed into law on 17 June 1996.-Changes to the...

 (1996). Nevertheless, the Irish Supreme Court declared in 1973 that the 1935 contraception legislation was not repugnant to the Constitution and therefore remained valid.

Taoiseach 1937–48

Fianna Fáil having won the election
Irish general election, 1937
The Irish general election of 1937 was held on 1 July 1937, just over two weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on 14 June. A plebiscite to ratify the Constitution of Ireland was held on the same day...

 held the same day as the plebiscite that ratified the constitution, de Valera continued as President of the Executive Council until 29 December 1937, when the new constitution was enacted and his office automatically became that of Taoiseach—a position with considerably more power, including the authority to dismiss ministers individually and to request a dissolution of the Dáil.

Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement

With the new constitution in place, de Valera determined that the changed circumstances made swift resolution to Ireland's ongoing trade war
Anglo-Irish Trade War
The Anglo-Irish Trade War was a retaliatory trade war between the Irish Free State and the United Kingdom lasting from 1932 until 1938...

 with Britain more desirable for both sides—as did the growing probability of the outbreak of war across Europe. In April 1938, de Valera and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 signed the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement
Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement
The Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement was signed on 25 April 1938 by Ireland and the United Kingdom. It aimed to resolve the Anglo-Irish Trade War which had been on-going from 1933....

, lifting all duties imposed during the previous five years and ending British use of the Treaty Ports
Treaty Ports (Ireland)
Following the establishment of the Irish Free State, three deep water Treaty Ports at Berehaven, Queenstown and Lough Swilly were retained by the United Kingdom as sovereign bases in accordance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921...

 it had retained in accordance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The return of the ports was of particular significance, since it ensured Irish neutrality during the oncoming Second World War.

The Emergency (World War II)

By September 1939, a general European war was imminent. On 2 September, de Valera advised Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...

 that neutrality was the best policy for the country. This policy had overwhelming political and popular support, though some advocated Irish participation in the War on the Allied side, while others, seeing "England's difficulty as Ireland's Opportunity", were pro-German. Strong objections to conscription in the North were voiced by de Valera. The government secured wide powers for the duration of the Emergency, such as internment, censorship of the press and correspondence, and the government control of the economy. The Emergency Powers Act
Emergency Powers Act 1939
The Emergency Powers Act 1939 is an act of the Oireachtas enacted on 3 September 1939 after an official state of emergency had been declared on 2 September 1939...

finally lapsed on 2 September 1946, though the State of Emergency declared under the constitution was not lifted until the 1970s. This status remained throughout the war, despite pressure from Chamberlain and Churchill. However, de Valera did respond to a request from Northern Ireland for fire tenders to assist in fighting fires following the Belfast Blitz
Belfast Blitz
The Belfast Blitz was an event that occurred on the night of Easter Tuesday, 15 April 1941 during World War II. Two hundred bombers of the German Air Force attacked the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Nearly one thousand people died as a result of the bombing and 1,500 were injured. In terms...

.

De Valera sent a personal note of congratulations to Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhas Chandra Bose known by name Netaji was an Indian revolutionary who led an Indian national political and military force against Britain and the Western powers during World War II. Bose was one of the most prominent leaders in the Indian independence movement and is a legendary figure in...

 upon his declaration of the Azad Hind (Free India) government in 1943, although Ireland did not extend diplomatic recognition to it.

Controversially, and against the advice of some advisers, de Valera formally offered his condolences to the German Minister in Dublin on the death of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 in 1945, in accordance with diplomatic protocol. This did some damage to Ireland, particularly in the United States - and soon afterwards de Valera had a bitter exchange of words with Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 in two famous radio addresses after the end of the war in Europe.

Opposition Leader, 1948–51

Having spent sixteen years in power—without answering the crucial questions of partition and republican status—the public demanded a change from Fianna Fáil government. In the 1948 election
Irish general election, 1948
The Irish general election of 1948 was held on 4 February 1948. The 147 newly elected members of the 13th Dáil assembled on 18 February when the First Inter-Party government in the history of the Irish state was appointed....

, de Valera lost the outright majority he'd enjoyed since 1933. It initially looked like the National Labour Party
National Labour Party (Ireland)
The National Labour Party was an Irish political party active between 1944 and 1950. It was founded in 1944 from a rebel faction of the Labour Party, inspired by the intransigence of the incumbent leadership of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union against the majority of the party.The...

 would give Fianna Fáil enough support to stay in office as a minority government, but National Labour insisted on a formal coalition agreement—something de Valera was unwilling to concede. However, while Fianna Fáil was six seats short of a majority, it was still by far the largest party in the Dáil, with 37 more TDs than the next largest party, Fine Gael
Fine Gael
Fine Gael is a centre-right to centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland. It is the single largest party in Ireland in the Oireachtas, in local government, and in terms of Members of the European Parliament. The party has a membership of over 35,000...

 (the successor to Cumann na nGaedheal). Conventional wisdom held that de Valera would remain Taosieach with the support of independents.

However, the other parties realised that if they banded together, they would have only one seat fewer than Fianna Fáil, and would be able to form a government with the support of seven independents. The result was the First Inter-Party Government, with compromise candidate John A. Costello
John A. Costello
John Aloysius Costello , a successful barrister, was one of the main legal advisors to the government of the Irish Free State after independence, Attorney General of Ireland from 1926–1932 and Taoiseach from 1948–1951 and 1954–1957....

 of Fine Gael as Taoiseach
Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

. The following year, Costello declared Ireland as a republic, leaving partition as the most pressing political issue of the day.

De Valera, as leader of the opposition, embarked on a world campaign to address the issue of partition. He visited the United States, Australia, New Zealand and India, and in the latter country, was the last guest of the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten of Burma
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS , was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 before the handover of Indian independence. In Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

, Australia, he was feted by the powerful Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix
Daniel Mannix
Daniel Mannix was an Irish-born Australian Catholic bishop. Mannix was the Archbishop of Melbourne for 46 years and one of the most influential public figures in 20th century Australia....

, at the centenary celebrations of the diocese of Melbourne. He attended mass-meetings at Xavier College
Xavier College
Xavier College is a Roman Catholic, day and boarding school predominantly for boys, with its main campus located in Kew, an eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia....

, and addressed the assembled Melbourne Celtic Club
Melbourne Celtic Club
The Melbourne Celtic Club is a social organisation for Melburnians of Celtic ancestry or descent.- Overview :Founded on 26 September 1887, the Club was originally a semi-political association, supportive of Irish Home Rule amongst Melbourne's sizeable Irish population; and championing the rights...

. A key message in de Valera's campaign was that Ireland could not join the recently established North Atlantic Treaty Organization as long as Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 was in British hands; although the coalition government favored alliance with NATO, de Valera's approach won more widespread support and prevented the state from signing onto the treaty.

Taoiseach, 1951–54 and 1957–59

Returning to Ireland, during the Mother and Child Scheme
Mother and Child Scheme
The Mother and Child Scheme was a healthcare programme in the Republic of Ireland that would later become remembered as a major political crisis involving primarily the Irish Government and Roman Catholic Church in the early 1950s....

 crisis that racked the First Inter-Party Government, de Valera kept a dignified silence as Leader of the Opposition, preferring to stay aloof from the controversy. That stance helped return de Valera to power in the 1951 general election
Irish general election, 1951
The Irish general election of 1951 was held on 30 May 1951. The newly elected members of the 14th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 13 June when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed....

, but without an overall majority. His and Fianna Fáil's popularity was short-lived, however; his government introduced severe, deflationary budgetary and economic policies in 1952, causing a political backlash that cost Fianna Fáil several seats in the Dáil in by-elections of 1953 and early 1954. Faced with a likely loss of confidence in the Dáil, de Valera instead called an election
Irish general election, 1954
The Irish general election of 1954 was held on 18 May 1954. The newly elected members of the 15th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 2 June when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed....

 in May, 1954, in which Fianna Fáil was defeated and a Second Inter-Party Government was formed with Costello again as Taoiseach.

On 16 September 1953 de Valera met with Churchill for the first and only time, at 10 Downing Street. He surprised the UK Prime Minister by claiming that if he had been in office in 1948 Ireland would not have left the Commonwealth.

It was during this period that de Valera's eyesight began to deteriorate and he was forced to spend several months in the Netherlands, where he had six operations.

Like the first coalition government, the second lasted only three years, gaining a reputation as perhaps the worst government in the history of the state. At the general election of 1957, de Valera, then in his seventy-fifth year, won an absolute majority of nine seats, the greatest number he had ever secured. This was the beginning of another sixteen year period in office for Fianna Fáil. A new economic policy emerged with the First Programme for Economic Expansion. In July 1957, in response to the Border Campaign (IRA)
Border Campaign (IRA)
The Border Campaign was a campaign of guerrilla warfare carried out by the Irish Republican Army against targets in Northern Ireland, with the aim of overthrowing British rule there and creating a united Ireland.Popularly referred to as the Border Campaign, it was also referred to as the...

, Part II of the Offences Against the State Act was re-activated and he ordered the internment
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

 without trial of Republican suspects, an action which did much to end the IRA's campaign.

President of Ireland

While Fianna Fáil remained popular among the electorate, 75-year-old de Valera had begun to be seen by the electorate as too old and out of touch to remain at the head of government. At the urging of party officials, de Valera decided to retire from government and the Dáil and instead seek the nonpolitical Presidency of Ireland
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

. This almost became a political necessity as Noel Browne had controversially raised the matter of de Valera continuing in the role of Controlling Director of the Irish Press LTD in Dail Eireann. He won the presidential election on 17 June 1959 and resigned as Taoiseach, leader of Fianna Fáil and TD for Clare six days later, handing over power to Seán Lemass
Seán Lemass
Seán Francis Lemass was one of the most prominent Irish politicians of the 20th century. He served as Taoiseach from 1959 until 1966....

.

De Valera was inaugurated President on 25 June 1959. He was re-elected president in 1966 aged 84, still a world record for the oldest elected head of state. At his retirement in 1973 at the age of 90, he was the oldest head of state in the world.

As President, de Valera received many state visits, including the 1963 visit of American President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

. Five months later, de Valera attended the state funeral for Kennedy in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 and accompanied a group of 24 Defence Forces cadets who performed a silent drill at his grave site. In June 1964 he returned to Washington as the second President of Ireland to address the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

.

In 1966, the Dublin Jewish community arranged the planting and dedication of the Éamon de Valera Forest in Israel, near Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

, in recognition of his consistent support for Ireland's Jews.

In January 1969, de Valera became the first President to address both houses of the Oireachtas
Oireachtas
The Oireachtas , sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the "national parliament" or legislature of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of:*The President of Ireland*The two Houses of the Oireachtas :**Dáil Éireann...

, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...

.

In 1969, seventy three countries sent goodwill messages
Apollo 11 Goodwill Messages
The Apollo 11 goodwill messages are statements from leaders of 73 countries around the world on a disc about the size of a 50-cent piece made of silicon that was left on the Moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts....

 to NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 for the historic first lunar landing. These messages still rest on the lunar surface and de Valera's message on behalf of Ireland stated, "May God grant that the skill and courage which have enabled man to alight upon the Moon will enable him, also, to secure peace and happiness upon the Earth and avoid the danger of self-destruction."

Death

Éamon de Valera died in Linden Convalescent Home, Blackrock, County Dublin
County Dublin
County Dublin is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Dublin Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the city of Dublin which is the capital of Ireland. County Dublin was one of the first of the parts of Ireland to be shired by King John of England following the...

 on 29 August 1975 aged 92. His wife, Sinéad de Valera
Sinéad de Valera
Sinéad de Valera, also known as Sinéad Ní Fhlannagáin and Sinéad Bean de Valera , was the wife of the Irish republican leader and third President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera.-Background:...

, four years his senior, had died the previous January, on the eve of their 65th wedding anniversary. He is buried in Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery , officially known as Prospect Cemetery, is the largest non-denominational cemetery in Ireland with an estimated 1.5 million burials...

.

Overview

De Valera's political creed evolved from militant republicanism to social and cultural conservatism.

Ireland's dominant political personality for many decades, de Valera received numerous honours. He was elected Chancellor of the National University of Ireland
National University of Ireland
The National University of Ireland , , is a federal university system of constituent universities, previously called constituent colleges, and recognised colleges set up under the Irish Universities Act, 1908, and significantly amended by the Universities Act, 1997.The constituent universities are...

 in 1921, holding the post until his death. Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

 bestowed on him the Order of Christ
Order of Christ (papacy)
The Supreme Order of Christ is the highest order of chivalry being awarded by the Pope. According to some scholars owes its origin to the same Order of Christ of the Knights Templar, from which came the Order of Christ that was awarded by the Kings of Portugal and the Emperors of Brazil...

. He received honorary degrees from universities in Ireland and abroad. In 1968 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), a recognition of his lifelong interest in mathematics. He also served as a member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

 (for Down
Down (Northern Ireland Parliament constituency)
Down was a county constituency of the Parliament of Northern Ireland from 1921 - 1929. It returned eight MPs, using the single transferable vote method of proportional representation.-Boundaries:...

 from 1921 to 1929 and for South Down
South Down (Northern Ireland Parliament constituency)
South Down was a constituency of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.-Boundaries:South Down was a county constituency comprising part of southern County Down. It was created when the House of Commons Act 1929 introduced first-past-the-post elections throughout Northern Ireland...

 from 1933 to 1937), although he held to the Republican policy of abstentionism
Abstentionism
Abstentionism is standing for election to a deliberative assembly while refusing to take up any seats won or otherwise participate in the assembly's business. Abstentionism differs from an election boycott in that abstentionists participate in the election itself...

 and did not take his seat in Stormont
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

. He retired from the Presidency in June 1973, having served for fourteen years, the longest period allowed under the Constitution.

De Valera was criticised for ending up as co-owner of one of Ireland's most influential group of newspapers, Irish Press Newspapers
The Irish Press
The Irish Press was an Irish national daily newspaper published by Irish Press plc between 5 September 1931 and 25 May 1995.-Foundation:...

, funded by numerous small investors who received no dividend for decades. De Valera is alleged by critics to have helped keep Ireland under the influence of Catholic conservatism, though that is explained by the large role Catholicism has played in Irish history. De Valera rejected, however, demands by organisations like Maria Duce
Maria Duce
Maria Duce was a small ultra-conservative Catholic group in Ireland, founded in 1945 by Fr Denis Fahey, a priest associated with antisemitic opinions....

 that Roman Catholicism be made the state religion of Ireland, just as he rejected demands by the Irish Christian Front that the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 support Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

.

De Valera’s preoccupation with his part in history, and his need to explain and justify it, are reflected in innumerable ways. His faith in historians as trustworthy guardians of his reputation was not absolute. He made many attempts to influence their views and to adjust and refine the historical record whenever he felt this portrayed him, his allies or his cause inaccurately or unfavourably to his mind, these could often mean the same thing. He extended these endeavours to encompass the larger Irish public. An important function of his newspaper group, the Irish Press group, was to rectify what he saw as the errors and omissions of a decade in which he had been the subject of largely hostile commentary.


In recent decades his role in Irish history has no longer been unequivocally seen by historians as a positive one, and a biography by Tim Pat Coogan
Tim Pat Coogan
Timothy Patrick Coogan is an Irish historical writer, broadcaster and newspaper columnist. He served as editor of the Irish Press newspaper from 1968 to 1987...

 alleges that his failures outweigh his achievements, with de Valera's reputation declining while that of his great rival in the 1920s, Michael Collins, is rising. The most recent work on de Valera by historian Diarmaid Ferriter
Diarmaid Ferriter
Diarmaid Ferriter is an Irish author, historian, and university lecturer. He has authored several books on the subject of Irish history. Diarmaid attended St. Benildus College in Kilmacud in Dublin.-Career:...

 presents a more positive picture of de Valera's legacy.
Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern
Patrick Bartholomew "Bertie" Ahern is a former Irish politician who served as Taoiseach of Ireland from 26 June 1997 to 7 May 2008....

, at a book launch for Diarmaid Ferriter's biography of de Valera, described de Valera's achievements in political leadership during the formative years of the state:
One of de Valera’s finest hours was his regrouping of the Republican side after defeat in the civil war, and setting his followers on an exclusively peaceful and democratic path, along which he later had to confront both domestic Fascism and the IRA. He became a democratic statesman, not a dictator. He did not purge the civil service of those who had served his predecessors, but made best use of the talent available.


A notable failure was his attempt to reverse the provision of the 1937 Constitution in relation to the electoral system. On retiring as Taoiseach in 1959, he proposed that the Proportional Representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 system enshrined in that constitution should be replaced. De Valera argued that Proportional Representation had been responsible for the instability that had characterised much of the post war period. A constitutional referendum to ratify this was defeated by the people. One aspect of de Valera's legacy is that since the foundation of the state, a de Valera has nearly always served in Dáil Éireann. Éamon de Valera served until 1959, his son, Vivion de Valera
Vivion de Valera
Vivion de Valera was an Irish scientist, businessman, lawyer and politician. He was the eldest child of the former Taoiseach and President, Éamon de Valera and Sinéad de Valera and was named after his paternal grandfather, Juan Vivion de Valera...

, was also a Teachta Dála (TD). Éamon Ó Cuív
Éamon Ó Cuív
Éamon Ó Cuív is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He has been a Teachta Dála for the Galway West constituency since 1992 and was previously a member of Seanad Éireann.-Early life:...

, his grandson, is currently a member of the Dáil while his granddaughter, Síle de Valera
Síle de Valera
Síle de Valera , is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician. She was first elected a Teachta Dála in 1977 serving as a member of Dáil Éireann until 1981, and then again from 1987 to 2007, as well as being a Member of the European Parliament for Dublin from 1979 to 1984...

 is a former TD. Both have served in ministries in the Irish Government.

In recent years historians have focused more on his failures, comparing him unfavourably to his great rival Michael Collins. Critics complain that de Valera's duplicity and betrayal of the Treaty process, and his rejection of agreed upon democratic procedures led to civil war and nearly destroyed Ireland at birth. Liberals decry his conservative social policies and his close relationship with the Catholic bishops. He was morally certain to the point of arrogance with a keen eye for his own political self-preservation. Yet for all that, he remained a deeply committed republican, consistent in his dream of creating a truly Irish Ireland that the Gaelic revivalists of the early twentieth century would have approved. That he failed in this task remained perhaps his greatest disappointment. In his devout Catholicism, his rejection of material ostentation, his determination to revive the Irish language, and his inability to comprehend Protestant Ulster's fears of Catholic domination, a historian portrays de Valera as representative of his generation in southern Ireland.

In popular culture

  • De Valera's portrait illustrated the front cover of the March 25, 1940 issue of TIME
    Time (magazine)
    Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

    magazine accompanying the article EIRE: Prime Minister of Freedom.


De Valera was portrayed by:
  • Andre Van Gyseghem
    Andre Van Gyseghem
    André van Gyseghem was an English actor and theatre director who also appeared in many British television programmes.- Early life :...

     in a 1970 episode of ITV Playhouse
    ITV Playhouse
    ITV Playhouse was a UK comedy-drama TV series that ran from 1967 to 1983, which featured contributions from playwrights such as Dennis Potter, Rhys Adrian and Alan Sharp. The series began in black and white, but was later shot in colour and was produced by various companies for the ITV network, a...

    entitled "Would You Look at Them Smashing all Those Lovely Windows?"
  • Sonn Connaughton in a 1981 episode of The Life and Times of David Lloyd George
    The Life and Times of David Lloyd George
    The Life and Times of David Lloyd George is a BBC Wales drama serial broadcast in 1981 on the BBC1 network which starred Philip Madoc, Elizabeth Miles, Kika Markham and David Markham....

    entitled "Win or Lose"
  • Barry McGovern
    Barry McGovern
    Barry McGovern is an Irish stage, film and television actor. He was educated at Castleknock College, Dublin.-Background:McGovern is a former member of the RTÉ Players and the Abbey Theatre Company. He has worked in theatre, film, radio and television, as well as written music for many shows, and...

     in the 1991 TV movie The Treaty
    The Treaty
    The Treaty is a 1991 Irish historical television film directed by Jonathan Lewis.The film is about the Anglo-Irish Treaty that Michael Collins bargained for with the British government in 1921. It is almost all factually accurate, and it shows how negotiations actually worked...

    , which concerned the Anglo-Irish Treaty
    Anglo-Irish Treaty
    The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

    .
  • Arthur Riordan in the 1990s RTÉ
    RTE
    RTÉ is the abbreviation for Raidió Teilifís Éireann, the public broadcasting service of the Republic of Ireland.RTE may also refer to:* Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 25th Prime Minister of Turkey...

     television show Nighthawks.
  • Alan Rickman
    Alan Rickman
    Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman is an English actor and theatre director. He is a renowned stage actor in modern and classical productions and a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company...

     in the 1996 film Michael Collins
    Michael Collins (film)
    Michael Collins is a 1996 historical biopic written and directed by Neil Jordan and starring Liam Neeson as General Michael Collins, the Irish patriot and revolutionary who died in the Irish Civil War. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival....

    , which depicted the events surrounding Ireland's struggle for independence from Britain.
  • Andrew Connolly in the 2001 TV mini-series Rebel Heart
    Rebel Heart (film)
    Rebel Heart is a 2001 British television drama miniseries starring James D'Arcy as the fictional Ernie Coyne, an Irish nationalist. It is in four parts, and set during the Irish War of Independence from 1916 until the end of the Civil War. Michael Collins was idolised by Ernie, and was...

    concerning the 1916 Rising.

Governments

The following governments were led by de Valera:
  • 6th Executive Council of the Irish Free State
  • 7th Executive Council of the Irish Free State
  • 8th Executive Council of the Irish Free State
  • 1st Government of Ireland
  • 2nd Government of Ireland
  • 3rd Government of Ireland
  • 4th Government of Ireland
  • 6th Government of Ireland
  • 8th Government of Ireland

See also


Further reading

  • Bew, Paul. Ireland: the politics of enmity, 1789–2006 (2007)
  • Bowman, John. De Valera and the Ulster Question 1917–73 (1982),
  • Carroll, J. T. Ireland in the War Years 1939–1945 (1975).
  • Chapple, Phil. "'Dev': The Career of Eamon De Valera Phil Chapple Examines a Titanic and Controversial Figure in Modern Irish History", History Review Issue: 53. 2005. pp 28+ in Questia
  • Coogan, Tim Pat. De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow (1995)
  • Dunphy, Richard. The Making of Fianna Fáil Power in Ireland, 1923–1948 (1995) 346 pp. online edition
  • Dwyer, T. Ryle. Big Fellow, Long Fellow: A Joint Biography of Collins and De Valera (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Dwyer, T. Ryle. De Valera's Finest Hour 1932–59 (1982)
  • The Earl of Longford and Thomas P. O'Neill, Eamon de Valera. Gill and MacMillan, Dublin 1970. ISBN 717104850
  • Ferriter, Diarmaid. Judging Dev: A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Eamon De Valera. (2007) ISBN 1-904890-28-8

Jordan, Anthony J. "Eamon de Valera 1882-1975. Irish: Catholic; Visionary". (2010) ISBN 9780952444794.
  • Kissane, Bill. "Eamon De Valera and the Survival of Democracy in Inter-War Ireland", Journal of Contemporary History 2007 42(2): 213–226
  • Lee, Joseph, and Gearoid O'Tuathaigh. The Age of de Valera (1982)
  • Lee J. J. Ireland, 1912–1985: Politics and Society (1989).
  • Murphy, J. A., ed. De Valera and His Times (1983).
  • O'Carroll, J. P. and John A. Murphy, eds. De Valera and His Times (1993) excerpt and text search

External links

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