Reflections on the Political Thought of the Irish Revolution
Transactions of the Royal Historical Society
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Examining the political thought of the Irish Revolution poses two distinct problems. First we need to establish how we should date the Revolution for the purposes of intellectual history. There is no doubting that the 1916 Easter Rising was an event in British and Irish politics, but it was also an event in the world of ideas. Any serious consideration of this episode and its aftermath therefore needs to trace its origins to patterns of thought as well as shifts in affairs, and the two processes do not necessarily coincide. The second requirement for understanding the role of political thought in the Revolution is to reconstruct carefully the actual doctrines articulated and deployed. Irish historians have been reluctant to engage in this process of interpretation. Yet a more searching account of political ideas in the period has the potential to change our approach to the Revolution as a whole.
- History