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Sinn Féin

Karen C. Glenn


Sinn Féin, “We Ourselves” or “Ourselves Alone” in Gaelic, was created by Arthur Griffith in 1905, and began as a nationalist political party whose goal was to create an Irish republic free from British control. The party entered the centuries-old conflict between the majority Irish Catholics of southern Ireland and the minority Protestant groups of northern Ireland at a time when the idea of home rule, or Irish self-rule, was being hotly debated in Britain's parliament. A Home Rule Bill passed through parliament, but the outbreak of World War I stalled its implementation. Discontent concerning the suspension of the bill caused many Irish, including some members of Sinn Féin, to rebel against the British in 1916. Known as the Easter Rising , this uprising was unsuccessful in gaining home rule for the Irish. However, after the British martyred 15 rebel leaders by executing them, Sinn Féin experienced an unexpected windfall of increased membership. The conflict grew more intense when it became clear that the six primarily Protestant counties in northern Ireland, the province of Ulster, wished to remain under the control of the British rather than be a part of a unified Ireland. With its increased popular support, Sinn Féin won many seats in the British parliament in the 1918 election, but due to the fact that home rule had yet to be granted, these newly elected members of parliament, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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