Democracy and dissent in the Irish Free State

Opposition, decolonization, and majority rights

By Jason Knirck

Democracy and dissent in the Irish Free State


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6627-2
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: January 2023
  • BIC Category: Irish History, Modern History, History, British and Irish Politics, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, Humanities / National liberation & independence, post-colonialism, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Humanities / British & Irish history, European history: medieval period, middle ages, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century


Presenting a new analysis of the difficulties in normalising opposition in the Irish Free State, this book examines the collision between nineteenth-century monolithic nationalist movements with the norms and expectations of multiparty parliamentary democracy. The Irish revolutionaries' attempts to create a Gaelic, postcolonial state involved resolving tension between these two ideas. Smaller economically driven parties such as the Labour and Farmers' parties attempted to move on from the revolution's unnatural focus on nationalist political issues, while the larger revolutionary parties descended from Sinn Féin attempt to recreate or restore notions of revolutionary unity. This conflict made democracy and opposition hard to establish in the Irish Free State.


1 Democracy, historians and the civil war
2 Opposition and revolution
3 Decolonising the state
4 Making politics normal
5 A slightly constitutional opposition
6 Cults of little personality
Coda: multiparty democracy in the Irish Free State


Jason Knirck is Professor of History at Central Washington University

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout