Non-Violence in Ireland’s Independence

Authored by: Patrick Van Inwegen

The Routledge History of World Peace Since 1750

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138069138
eBook ISBN: 9781315157344
Adobe ISBN:


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Ireland’s independence represents a particularly striking example of how prominent violence is remembered and how underdeveloped non-violent history is within historical literature. This is particularly true in 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising—a violent nationalist rebellion that erupted in Dublin for a week during World War I (1914–1918). The commemorations of that event have become synonymous with Ireland’s independence, even though the uprising failed. While violence’s role in the struggle lives on in the historical record, non-violent action also played a crucial and underappreciated role in Ireland’s independence. This alternative non-violent narrative—the focus of this chapter—reveals that much of Ireland’s struggle for independence was won because of tactics advocated by non-violent activists. It was the boycotts, protests, petitions, noncooperation and mobilization of alternative governments that mobilized the political will to create an independent Ireland. What follows is a summary of non-violence in Irish history during the vital period of 1910 to 1923.

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