10 January 2016

On This Day: Irish Free State elects Griffith president

It was On This Day in 1922 that Arthur Griffith was elected President of the newly established Irish Free State.

Griffith, in 1905, founded Sinn Fein, which was dedicated to the independence of all of Ireland. The political power became almost synonymous with militant Irish groups who struggled to end the British rule. In 1918, despite the party being able to establish an independent Irish Parliament and despite declaring Ireland a sovereign republic, the British still ruled. In 1919 the Irish Volunteers (preamble to the Irish Republican Army) began a guerrilla like campaign against the British. A cease fire was finally declared in 1921. In 1922 Griffith and other Sinn Fein leaders signed a treaty with Britain for an autonomous Ireland. The six northern counties however would remain under British rule.

The Irish Free State continued until 1937. That year a new constitution was voted on and approved. It named the country Ireland, as we know it today.

Griffith elected president of Irish Free State. This Day in History. History.com. 10 January 1922.

On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.             

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016
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