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The 1918 Election in Ireland


The 1918 Election in Ireland                                       Gerry O'Shea

The armistice ending the First World War was signed on November 11th 1918. Shortly afterwards the British Government called a general election for December 14th, and the results of that election one hundred years ago changed Irish history, leading directly to the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the establishment of an independent government in Dublin.

 After achieving Home Rule, John Redmond , the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) leader, urged Irishmen to support the British war effort. For him, Ireland was part of the Empire and was thus duty bound to stand behind  British war policy. Young Irishmen responded positively, some driven by the payments accruing to their poor families, while many others were motivated by a youthful sense of adventure.

Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and their comrades urged Irishmen not to enlist in the British army and instead to focus on gaining freedom for their own country. This advice did not resonate with most Irish people, especially in the early years of a war that was predicted by leaders in London to end in a few months.

The 1916 Rising did not generate much support in Dublin or throughout the country. However, the mood  started to change as the British began executing the leaders of the rebellion. To the rulers in Dublin Castle the rebels were traitors colluding with the hated Germans, but to many Irish nationalists they came to be seen as brave men, martyrs who defied the might of the British Empire.

Westminster postponed the implementation of Home Rule until after the war and changed the terms to allow for partition of the island with a second government in Belfast. Meanwhile, Sinn Fein, led mostly by survivors of the 1916 Rebellion, organized politically throughout the country. They wanted complete freedom from Britain, declaring their allegiance to an Irish Republic.

There were four by-elections in Ireland in 1917 which pitted representatives of the IPP against SF candidates with victories for Republicans in all four constituencies. However, the IPP showed their strength by winning three by-elections in the spring of 1918.

When the December general election was announced the scene was set for a showdown between the two nationalist parties, one for complete independence from Britain and the other for Home Rule within the Empire.

They were both fiercely opposed to Prime Minister Lloyd George's  proposal for conscription, introduced in response to a major German military offensive in the spring of 1918. Defiant opposition by SF and the IPP  to forcing young Irishmen to fight in what was now recognized as a savage war in Europe was supported by the Catholic clergy and the British eventually dropped the idea.

The Representation of the People Act, signed into law in Westminster in  February, 1918, extended the franchise to all men over 21 and to women over 30 who met some property requirements. The results of this Act in Ireland were dramatic with the number of voters tripling from around 620,000 in the previous Westminster election in 1910 to approximately two million in 1918.

The new electorate consisted largely of young people and most of them sided with the radical policies of Sinn Fein. J.J. Horgan, a leading IPP representative in Cork was disgusted by the number of raw and "irresponsible" young people canvassing for his SF opponents.

It certainly didn't help the IPP that they had in previous years opposed in Westminster extending the franchise to women. Furthermore, at the SF 1917 ard-fheis or national conference, women were accorded equal status with men in the organization.

Heated debates between the two branches of nationalism sometimes did not end with just verbal differences. For instance, Kevin O'Shiel, a SF candidate in Belfast, complained that he was pelted with rotten eggs and dead rats by the more traditional  Ancient Order of Hibernians supporters working for the IPP.

The IPP, without the leadership of John Redmond, who died in March of that year, pointed to their major successes in greatly diminishing the landlords' power and changing the land ownership system in Ireland as well as finally achieving a credible Home Rule Bill.

 Real progress indeed but a combination of what was perceived with good reason as Westminster's  anti-Catholic  and pro-Unionist policies on Home Rule as well as the impact of populist rhetoric led by the American  President Wilson, encouraging small nations to assert their rights to sovereignty, moved nationalist thinking towards the more radical demand for full independence.

Sinn Fein contested almost every constituency and had a very good organization throughout the country. By comparison two thirds of the Irish Party MP's were returned unopposed in 1910, leaving them scrambling to put together a good election team when they faced a serious opponent.

The results were a blowout for Sinn Fein. They won 73 of the 105 seats with their nationalist opponents taking just six. SF ran as an abstentionist  party, meaning that they would not take their seats in Westminster. Instead they convened an Irish Dail or parliament in Dublin, claiming their right to legislate for Ireland.

 The War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty followed, ushering in the Irish Free State, an outcome that would have been unthinkable a few years earlier at the beginning of the Great War.

Gerry OShea blogs at  wemustbetalking.com

 



 
The 1918 Election in Ireland                                       Gerry O'Shea
The armistice ending the First World War was signed on November 11th 1918. Shortly afterwards the British Government called a general election for December 14th, and the results of that election one hundred years ago changed Irish history, leading directly to the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the establishment of an independent government in Dublin.
 After achieving Home Rule, John Redmond , the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) leader, urged Irishmen to support the British war effort. For him, Ireland was part of the Empire and was thus duty bound to stand behind  British war policy. Young Irishmen responded positively, some driven by the payments accruing to their poor families, while many others were motivated by a youthful sense of adventure.
Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and their comrades urged Irishmen not to enlist in the British army and instead to focus on gaining freedom for their own country. This advice did not resonate with most Irish people, especially in the early years of a war that was predicted by leaders in London to end in a few months.
The 1916 Rising did not generate much support in Dublin or throughout the country. However, the mood  started to change as the British began executing the leaders of the rebellion. To the rulers in Dublin Castle the rebels were traitors colluding with the hated Germans, but to many Irish nationalists they came to be seen as brave men, martyrs who defied the might of the British Empire.
Westminster postponed the implementation of Home Rule until after the war and changed the terms to allow for partition of the island with a second government in Belfast. Meanwhile, Sinn Fein, led mostly by survivors of the 1916 Rebellion, organized politically throughout the country. They wanted complete freedom from Britain, declaring their allegiance to an Irish Republic.
There were four by-elections in Ireland in 1917 which pitted representatives of the IPP against SF candidates with victories for Republicans in all four constituencies. However, the IPP showed their strength by winning three by-elections in the spring of 1918.
When the December general election was announced the scene was set for a showdown between the two nationalist parties, one for complete independence from Britain and the other for Home Rule within the Empire.
They were both fiercely opposed to Prime Minister Lloyd George's  proposal for conscription, introduced in response to a major German military offensive in the spring of 1918. Defiant opposition by SF and the IPP  to forcing young Irishmen to fight in what was now recognized as a savage war in Europe was supported by the Catholic clergy and the British eventually dropped the idea.
The Representation of the People Act, signed into law in Westminster in  February, 1918, extended the franchise to all men over 21 and to women over 30 who met some property requirements. The results of this Act in Ireland were dramatic with the number of voters tripling from around 620,000 in the previous Westminster election in 1910 to approximately two million in 1918.
The new electorate consisted largely of young people and most of them sided with the radical policies of Sinn Fein. J.J. Horgan, a leading IPP representative in Cork was disgusted by the number of raw and "irresponsible" young people canvassing for his SF opponents.
It certainly didn't help the IPP that they had in previous years opposed in Westminster extending the franchise to women. Furthermore, at the SF 1917 ard-fheis or national conference, women were accorded equal status with men in the organization.
Heated debates between the two branches of nationalism sometimes did not end with just verbal differences. For instance, Kevin O'Shiel, a SF candidate in Belfast, complained that he was pelted with rotten eggs and dead rats by the more traditional  Ancient Order of Hibernians supporters working for the IPP.
The IPP, without the leadership of John Redmond, who died in March of that year, pointed to their major successes in greatly diminishing the landlords' power and changing the land ownership system in Ireland as well as finally achieving a credible Home Rule Bill.
 Real progress indeed but a combination of what was perceived with good reason as Westminster's  anti-Catholic  and pro-Unionist policies on Home Rule as well as the impact of populist rhetoric led by the American  President Wilson, encouraging small nations to assert their rights to sovereignty, moved nationalist thinking towards the more radical demand for full independence.
Sinn Fein contested almost every constituency and had a very good organization throughout the country. By comparison two thirds of the Irish Party MP's were returned unopposed in 1910, leaving them scrambling to put together a good election team when they faced a serious opponent.
The results were a blowout for Sinn Fein. They won 73 of the 105 seats with their nationalist opponents taking just six. SF ran as an abstentionist  party, meaning that they would not take their seats in Westminster. Instead they convened an Irish Dail or parliament in Dublin, claiming their right to legislate for Ireland.
 The War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty followed, ushering in the Irish Free State, an outcome that would have been unthinkable a few years earlier at the beginning of the Great War.
Gerry OShea blogs at  wemustbetalking.com
 

 
The 1918 Election in Ireland                                       Gerry O'Shea
The armistice ending the First World War was signed on November 11th 1918. Shortly afterwards the British Government called a general election for December 14th, and the results of that election one hundred years ago changed Irish history, leading directly to the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the establishment of an independent government in Dublin.
 After achieving Home Rule, John Redmond , the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) leader, urged Irishmen to support the British war effort. For him, Ireland was part of the Empire and was thus duty bound to stand behind  British war policy. Young Irishmen responded positively, some driven by the payments accruing to their poor families, while many others were motivated by a youthful sense of adventure.
Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and their comrades urged Irishmen not to enlist in the British army and instead to focus on gaining freedom for their own country. This advice did not resonate with most Irish people, especially in the early years of a war that was predicted by leaders in London to end in a few months.
The 1916 Rising did not generate much support in Dublin or throughout the country. However, the mood  started to change as the British began executing the leaders of the rebellion. To the rulers in Dublin Castle the rebels were traitors colluding with the hated Germans, but to many Irish nationalists they came to be seen as brave men, martyrs who defied the might of the British Empire.
Westminster postponed the implementation of Home Rule until after the war and changed the terms to allow for partition of the island with a second government in Belfast. Meanwhile, Sinn Fein, led mostly by survivors of the 1916 Rebellion, organized politically throughout the country. They wanted complete freedom from Britain, declaring their allegiance to an Irish Republic.
There were four by-elections in Ireland in 1917 which pitted representatives of the IPP against SF candidates with victories for Republicans in all four constituencies. However, the IPP showed their strength by winning three by-elections in the spring of 1918.
When the December general election was announced the scene was set for a showdown between the two nationalist parties, one for complete independence from Britain and the other for Home Rule within the Empire.
They were both fiercely opposed to Prime Minister Lloyd George's  proposal for conscription, introduced in response to a major German military offensive in the spring of 1918. Defiant opposition by SF and the IPP  to forcing young Irishmen to fight in what was now recognized as a savage war in Europe was supported by the Catholic clergy and the British eventually dropped the idea.
The Representation of the People Act, signed into law in Westminster in  February, 1918, extended the franchise to all men over 21 and to women over 30 who met some property requirements. The results of this Act in Ireland were dramatic with the number of voters tripling from around 620,000 in the previous Westminster election in 1910 to approximately two million in 1918.
The new electorate consisted largely of young people and most of them sided with the radical policies of Sinn Fein. J.J. Horgan, a leading IPP representative in Cork was disgusted by the number of raw and "irresponsible" young people canvassing for his SF opponents.
It certainly didn't help the IPP that they had in previous years opposed in Westminster extending the franchise to women. Furthermore, at the SF 1917 ard-fheis or national conference, women were accorded equal status with men in the organization.
Heated debates between the two branches of nationalism sometimes did not end with just verbal differences. For instance, Kevin O'Shiel, a SF candidate in Belfast, complained that he was pelted with rotten eggs and dead rats by the more traditional  Ancient Order of Hibernians supporters working for the IPP.
The IPP, without the leadership of John Redmond, who died in March of that year, pointed to their major successes in greatly diminishing the landlords' power and changing the land ownership system in Ireland as well as finally achieving a credible Home Rule Bill.
 Real progress indeed but a combination of what was perceived with good reason as Westminster's  anti-Catholic  and pro-Unionist policies on Home Rule as well as the impact of populist rhetoric led by the American  President Wilson, encouraging small nations to assert their rights to sovereignty, moved nationalist thinking towards the more radical demand for full independence.
Sinn Fein contested almost every constituency and had a very good organization throughout the country. By comparison two thirds of the Irish Party MP's were returned unopposed in 1910, leaving them scrambling to put together a good election team when they faced a serious opponent.
The results were a blowout for Sinn Fein. They won 73 of the 105 seats with their nationalist opponents taking just six. SF ran as an abstentionist  party, meaning that they would not take their seats in Westminster. Instead they convened an Irish Dail or parliament in Dublin, claiming their right to legislate for Ireland.
 The War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty followed, ushering in the Irish Free State, an outcome that would have been unthinkable a few years earlier at the beginning of the Great War.
Gerry OShea blogs at  wemustbetalking.com
 

 
The 1918 Election in Ireland                                       Gerry O'Shea
The armistice ending the First World War was signed on November 11th 1918. Shortly afterwards the British Government called a general election for December 14th, and the results of that election one hundred years ago changed Irish history, leading directly to the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the establishment of an independent government in Dublin.
 After achieving Home Rule, John Redmond , the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) leader, urged Irishmen to support the British war effort. For him, Ireland was part of the Empire and was thus duty bound to stand behind  British war policy. Young Irishmen responded positively, some driven by the payments accruing to their poor families, while many others were motivated by a youthful sense of adventure.
Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and their comrades urged Irishmen not to enlist in the British army and instead to focus on gaining freedom for their own country. This advice did not resonate with most Irish people, especially in the early years of a war that was predicted by leaders in London to end in a few months.
The 1916 Rising did not generate much support in Dublin or throughout the country. However, the mood  started to change as the British began executing the leaders of the rebellion. To the rulers in Dublin Castle the rebels were traitors colluding with the hated Germans, but to many Irish nationalists they came to be seen as brave men, martyrs who defied the might of the British Empire.
Westminster postponed the implementation of Home Rule until after the war and changed the terms to allow for partition of the island with a second government in Belfast. Meanwhile, Sinn Fein, led mostly by survivors of the 1916 Rebellion, organized politically throughout the country. They wanted complete freedom from Britain, declaring their allegiance to an Irish Republic.
There were four by-elections in Ireland in 1917 which pitted representatives of the IPP against SF candidates with victories for Republicans in all four constituencies. However, the IPP showed their strength by winning three by-elections in the spring of 1918.
When the December general election was announced the scene was set for a showdown between the two nationalist parties, one for complete independence from Britain and the other for Home Rule within the Empire.
They were both fiercely opposed to Prime Minister Lloyd George's  proposal for conscription, introduced in response to a major German military offensive in the spring of 1918. Defiant opposition by SF and the IPP  to forcing young Irishmen to fight in what was now recognized as a savage war in Europe was supported by the Catholic clergy and the British eventually dropped the idea.
The Representation of the People Act, signed into law in Westminster in  February, 1918, extended the franchise to all men over 21 and to women over 30 who met some property requirements. The results of this Act in Ireland were dramatic with the number of voters tripling from around 620,000 in the previous Westminster election in 1910 to approximately two million in 1918.
The new electorate consisted largely of young people and most of them sided with the radical policies of Sinn Fein. J.J. Horgan, a leading IPP representative in Cork was disgusted by the number of raw and "irresponsible" young people canvassing for his SF opponents.
It certainly didn't help the IPP that they had in previous years opposed in Westminster extending the franchise to women. Furthermore, at the SF 1917 ard-fheis or national conference, women were accorded equal status with men in the organization.
Heated debates between the two branches of nationalism sometimes did not end with just verbal differences. For instance, Kevin O'Shiel, a SF candidate in Belfast, complained that he was pelted with rotten eggs and dead rats by the more traditional  Ancient Order of Hibernians supporters working for the IPP.
The IPP, without the leadership of John Redmond, who died in March of that year, pointed to their major successes in greatly diminishing the landlords' power and changing the land ownership system in Ireland as well as finally achieving a credible Home Rule Bill.
 Real progress indeed but a combination of what was perceived with good reason as Westminster's  anti-Catholic  and pro-Unionist policies on Home Rule as well as the impact of populist rhetoric led by the American  President Wilson, encouraging small nations to assert their rights to sovereignty, moved nationalist thinking towards the more radical demand for full independence.
Sinn Fein contested almost every constituency and had a very good organization throughout the country. By comparison two thirds of the Irish Party MP's were returned unopposed in 1910, leaving them scrambling to put together a good election team when they faced a serious opponent.
The results were a blowout for Sinn Fein. They won 73 of the 105 seats with their nationalist opponents taking just six. SF ran as an abstentionist  party, meaning that they would not take their seats in Westminster. Instead they convened an Irish Dail or parliament in Dublin, claiming their right to legislate for Ireland.
 The War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty followed, ushering in the Irish Free State, an outcome that would have been unthinkable a few years earlier at the beginning of the Great War.
Gerry OShea blogs at  wemustbetalking.com
 
 




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