Irish Political Pamphlets, 1914-1922

Project Description and Selection Policy

The Irish War for Independence from Great Britain, and the resulting Irish Civil War, are topics whose aftermath still echos in both Ireland and the Irish diaspora to this day. Although the civil war may have ended in 1922, the decisions and results of that time are still being resolved within Ireland, and many within Irish America feel strong ties to the issue. The years following the Civil War, and, later, flare-ups of conflict with Great Britain have directly resulted in spikes of Irish immigration to America and other parts of the Irish diaspora, both from the Free State and the North. The Archives of Irish America has compiled a collection of pamphlets related to the conditions of Ireland before, during, and after its attempts to gain freedom from Great Britain and the later Troubles in Northern Ireland. The collection stretches the length of the twentieth century and beyond, with new material constantly added to the collection.

However, the most interesting part of the collection, and the part that would be of particular interest to many as the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising approaches in 2016, is those pamphlets that relate to the politics of Irish freedom in the years leading up to the Easter Rising, the resulting war with Great Britain, and then the internal conflict within Ireland as a result of the treaty signed to end the war. While there are a great many pamphlets of interest, the highlights of the collection would probably be the original pamphelts written by, among others, James Connely and Eamon de Valera, major figures in the tensions.

The collection consists entirely of these pamphlets. Any digital project would involve the digitization of the pamphlets themselves. Simply transcribing the text contained in them for posting on a web site would cause the user to lose something, as a big part of the meaning behind these pamphlets is that they were created in a format that would allow for distribution to a wider public. The collection itself is a fairly large one, but narrowing the focus of the collection to those pamphlets produced in the years between 1914 and 1922 would help to make a much more manageable project.

Many people still feel a strong connection to the events of that time, and there are a lot of strong feelings, and, in some cases, misperceptions of what occurred and how the events played themselves out. Hopefully, by making these pamphlets available to a wider audience, it will allow the events to be viewed through a lens that may not have been possible for a majority of those interested in these events.

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