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The Politics of the Irish Civil War$
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Bill Kissane

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273553

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273553.001.0001

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Protective Democracy and the Establishment of the Free State

Protective Democracy and the Establishment of the Free State

Chapter:
(p.151) 7 Protective Democracy and the Establishment of the Free State
Source:
The Politics of the Irish Civil War
Author(s):

Bill Kissane (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273553.003.0007

This chapter explores the ideological arguments that justified the Free State's prosecution of the civil war. It shows how heavily they were influenced by the 19th-century liberal conception of the state as the protector of private property and individual liberty. This enabled them to represent their opponents as enemies of society in their propaganda, and in this they were heavily influenced by the Catholic Church's attitude to the IRA. As IRA violence grew, both concurred that the survival of the moral fabric of Irish society was now at stake. The pro-Treaty government's subsequent failure to covert their military victory in 1923 into long-term electoral dominance is explained by the failure of their economic policies, as well by as their inflexible commitment to the Treaty settlement. Nonetheless, their conception of the Irish state had a long-term impact on its subsequent development.

Keywords:   protective democracy, Irish Free State, propaganda, IRA, Catholic Church, social fabric

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