Arthur Griffith

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Griffith, Arthur

Griffith, Arthur, 1872–1922, Irish statesman, founder of Sinn Féin. 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 Éireann 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.


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

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.