Arthur Griffith

Griffith, Arthur, 1872–1922, Irish statesman, founder of Sinn Féin. He joined the nationalist movement as a young man. In 1899 he founded the United Irishman, in which he advocated that Irish members of Parliament withdraw from Westminster and organize their own assembly. His goal was the creation of a dual monarchy of England and Ireland, like that of Austria-Hungary. His ideas found adherents who, in 1905, formed the Sinn Féin. Griffith took no part in the Easter Rebellion of 1916, but he was imprisoned several times (1916–18) by the British. Elected to Parliament in 1918, he joined the other Sinn Féiners in forming Dáil Éireann and was elected its vice president. He led the Irish delegation that negotiated the treaty (1921) establishing the Irish Free State. When Eamon De Valera, president of the Dáil, rejected the treaty, Griffith succeeded to his office. He died suddenly at the beginning of the civil war.

See biographies by P. Colum (1959) and V. E. Glandon (1985); study by C. Younger, A State of Disunion (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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