Republican Social Attitudes and Perceptions of the Free State



The preceding chapter examined the social attitudes, animosities, and perceptions that underlay pro-treaty critiques of the republican movement during the civil war. This chapter will take up the other side of the treaty split by examining the social content of anti-treaty or republican discourses in the civil war, particularly concerning how republicans viewed their opponents in the conflict. As with the pro-treaty camp, issues of nationalist legitimacy initially dominated republican discourses. From the republican perspective, former comrades who accepted the treaty were unprincipled apostates and ‘sell-outs’, the Free State itself was merely a British puppet regime, and support for the new government resulted from materialism, fear, ‘slave-mindedness’, a pro-English outlook, and weak national principles. Countering the pro-treaty camp’s rhetorical efforts to paint the anti-treaty IRA as post-truce recruits overcompensating for their earlier apathy and cowardice, republican propagandists seized on Free State recruitment of demobilized British Army soldiers, ex-RIC men, unemployed workers, and other non-Sinn Féin elements as evidence of the ‘un-Irish’ and ‘mercenary’ character of enemy forces.1 Taken together, these attitudes might appear to justify historians’ tendency to emphasize the political fundamentalism, anti-materialism, militarism, moral elitism, and revolutionary vanguardism of the anti-treaty movement.2


Labour Party Preceding Chapter Irish People Corrupt Party Idealistic Zealot 
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Copyright information

© Gavin Maxwell Foster 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Concordia UniversityCanada

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