University College Dublin Press (May 2002)
This book is the most systematic account yet of why Ireland remained democratic after independence.
Taking issue with many conventional assumptions, the author questions whether Irish democracy after 1921 was really a surprise by relating the outcome to the level of socio-economic development, the process of land reform and the emergence of a strong civil society under the Union.
On the other hand, things did not go according to plan in 1922, and two chapters are devoted to the origins and nature of the civil war. In the remaining chapters, which are concerned with analysing how democracy was rebuilt after the civil war, Kissane questions whether that achievement was entirely the work of the pro-Treatyites. Indeed, by focussing on the continued divisiveness of the Treaty issue, the nature of constitutional republicanism, and the significance of the 1937 constitution, the author argues that Irish democracy was not really consolidated until the late 1930s and that the achievement was largely the work of de Valera.
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