The Easter Rising: Revolution and Irish Nationalism

The Easter Rising: Revolution and Irish Nationalism

The Easter Rising: Revolution and Irish Nationalism

The Easter Rising: Revolution and Irish Nationalism


In this innovative work, Alan Ward uses the pivotal event in twentieth-century Irish history as a prism through which to survey Irish history from the twelfth century to the present.

By asking why the Easter Rising occurred, Ward is able to review the history of Anglo-Irish relations, from the time of Norman settlement to World War I, as well as the development of several kinds of Irish nationalism in the nineteenth century. Then, by asking what the effects of the Rising have been, Ward discusses the Irish war of independence, the creation of the Irish Free State, and the Irish civil war, pondering the influence of the various strands of Irish nationalism on the modern state.

Finally, the book reviews the conflict in Northern Ireland from the 1960s all the way to the fall of 2002, making this distinctive and analysis ideal for use as a core text in Irish history or superb supplementary reading for survey courses in British, European, and World History.


This is a substantially revised version of a book I published in 1980. I was prompted to write the original by the fact that Irish nationalists and the British Army had been fighting each other for ten years in Northern Ireland. Because of that conflict I wanted to consider the troubled history of British-Irish relations, and the Rising provided a window through which I could approach the subject. It allowed me to explore some very important themes in Irish history without pretending to write a comprehensive history. In particular, I could write about nationalism in its various Irish forms and enter into the debate about the role of revolutionary violence in Ireland that the controversy in the north had reopened. By asking why the Rising occurred and what its effects have been I thought I could throw some light on the subject.

The Northern Ireland conflict was still not finally resolved when the century ended, twenty years after the book was published, which perhaps explains why there was still some demand for it. But by then the book was dated. If the book were to continue to be sold, I decided it should be rewritten. Twenty years of scholarship had to be incorporated to keep the book relevant, and it was also clear that the final chapter, on the effects of the Rising, required extensive revision because of the changes we have seen in Ireland, north and south.

As before, I drew heavily on my own research for this revision, including my book, The Irish Constitutional Tradition: Responsible Government and Modern Ireland, 1782 to 1992 (Washington, DC, and Dublin, 1994), and the substantial literature that exists on this subject, which I have tried to acknowledge in the bibliography. I continue . . .

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