Arthur Griffith


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Griffith, Arthur,

1872–1922, Irish statesman, founder of Sinn FéinSinn Féin
[Irish,=we, ourselves], Irish nationalist movement. It had its roots in the Irish cultural revival at the end of the 19th cent. and the growing nationalist disenchantment with the constitutional Home Rule movement.
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. He joined the nationalist movement as a young man. In 1899 he founded the United Irishman, in which he advocated that Irish members of Parliament withdraw from Westminster and organize their own assembly. His goal was the creation of a dual monarchy of England and Ireland, like that of Austria-Hungary. His ideas found adherents who, in 1905, formed the Sinn Féin. Griffith took no part in the Easter Rebellion of 1916, but he was imprisoned several times (1916–18) by the British. Elected to Parliament in 1918, he joined the other Sinn Féiners in forming Dáil ÉireannDáil Éireann
[Irish,=diet of Ireland], the popular representative body of the Oireachtas, or National Parliament, of the Republic of Ireland. The second, smaller chamber, the Saenad Éireann, or Senate, has very limited powers, and the executive, as
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 and was elected its vice president. He led the Irish delegation that negotiated the treaty (1921) establishing the Irish Free State. When Eamon De Valera, president of the Dáil, rejected the treaty, Griffith succeeded to his office. He died suddenly at the beginning of the civil war.

Bibliography

See biographies by P. Colum (1959) and V. E. Glandon (1985); study by C. Younger, A State of Disunion (1972).

Griffith, Arthur

 

Born Mar. 31. 1872, in Dublin; died there Aug. 12, 1922. Irish political figure. Bourgeois nationalist and professional journalist.

Griffith was one of the founders of the Sinn Fein Party (1905) and was the leader of its right wing. From 1910 to 1917 he was chairman and then vice-chairman of the party. He refused to take part in the Irish uprising of 1916. During the guerrilla war against Great Britain (1919–21), Griffith was in prison from 1920 and negotiated with the British government from there. On Dec. 6, 1921, he signed the Anglo-Irish treaty that created the Irish Free State (Eire) in southern and central Ireland while preserving British dominance of Northern Ireland. Having become in January 1922 the head of the new state, he took part in organizing reprisals against the opponents of the treaty.

L. I. GOL’MAN

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Connolly was unrelenting in his criticism of constitutional nationalism and the Irish Parliamentary Party, but he enthusiastically embraced republicanism and believed that by courting Arthur Griffith, Maud Gonne, and other leaders of the republican movement he could win them to his belief that the struggle for national independence must also be the struggle for socialism.
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