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Birth of a State: The Anglo-Irish Treaty


October 2021

Mícheál Ó Fathartaigh & Liam Weeks

In its centenary year, this book examines the Anglo-Irish Treaty’s legacy and its implications for the state that it created.


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The Irish state came into being as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Signed by a Sinn Féin delegation and the British government at 10 Downing Street in the early hours of 6 December that year, the Treaty was the culmination of both a revolutionary movement that had begun in the previous decade and of centuries of separate nationalist attempts to gain autonomy from the United Kingdom.

Although it is the founding document of the Irish state, the Treaty has been the subject of very little critical analysis, certainly in proportion to its significance. In its centenary year, this book examines the Treaty’s legacy and its implications for the state that it created. It explores three key elements of the Treaty: the contemporary circumstances that produced it; its significance from a comparative and an international perspective; and its historical and political consequences.

Birth of a State is unique in that it is written by academics from two different disciplines – history and political science – who each bring their own perspectives on the Treaty and its impact, both then and now.

1. Negotiating the Treaty
2. The Second Dáil
3. Debating the Treaty
4. The Irish Free State and the dominions
5. The politics of the Treaty
6. The Anglo-Irish Treaty: the document
Conclusion: the case for a reappraisal of the Treaty


About the Authors
Mícheál Ó Fathartaigh is a lecturer and historian based in the Social Sciences Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway, and Dublin Business School. His broad-ranging research on both the political and material development of the Irish state has been published widely. This is his fourth book.
Liam Weeks is a lecturer and political scientist in the Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork. His research on Irish politics, about which he has written in the Irish Times, Irish Examiner and Sunday Independent, has won a number of prizes and grants. This is his fifth book.

Praise for Birth of a State

‘Expertly researched, impeccably fair-minded’
Sunday Business Post

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