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Jason Knirck
Central Washington University (Ellensburg, WA 98926-7500)
Learning Democracy: Political Opposition in the Irish Free State

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the history of parliamentary opposition in the Irish Free State (1922-1937).

This project studies the development of parliamentary opposition in the Irish Free State. The normalizing of such opposition is a crucial aspect of the success of any democracy and Ireland had no traditions or notions of a loyal parliamentary opposition when the Free State was created. The major Irish pre-revolutionary party sought to leave the Westminster parliament via Home Rule and often used obstructionist tactics to achieve that end. The revolution had placed a premium on unity and the post-revolutionary division of Irish politics into parties was often depicted as a deplorable fall—motivated by base desires such as greed or ambition—from the previous state of revolutionary unity. In addition, those hostile to the revolutionary settlement took up arms against the new Irish parliament and initially abstained from it. The development of notions of opposition in the face of these many obstacles proved a key factor in explaining the ultimate perseverance of democracy in Ireland.

Project fields:
European History; Political History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2019 – 7/31/2019