In 1916, members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (forerunners of the Irish Republican Army) decided they would wait no longer for long-delayed British legislation to grant Ireland Home Rule. A force of about 1,600 rebels mounted what would come to be known as the Easter Rising. They took over key buildings, centered on the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, Dublin. On Easter Monday, Padraic Pearse, head of a Provisional Government of the Irish Republic, read from the steps of the General Post Office the following proclamation that he and his colleagues had written.
The proclamation, a revolutionary political document for its time, announces the birth of a sovereign, self-determined Irish Republic based on the ideals of liberty and equality for all Irish people, both men and women. It also invokes the rebel-leaders’ ethic of blood sacrifice.
Easter 1916 Proclamation of an Irish Republic
Poblacht Na h-Eireann
The Provisional Government
To the People of Ireland
IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her ﬂag and strikes for her freedom.
Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionaryorganisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open militaryorganisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patientlyperfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to revealitself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children inAmerica and by gallant allies in Europe,
>> note 1 but relying in the ﬁrst on her ownstrength, she strikes in full conﬁdence of victory.
We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and tothe unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. Thelong usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has notextinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destructionof the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their rightto national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundredyears they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right andagain asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the IrishRepublic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and thelives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and ofits exaltation among the nations.
The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of everyIrishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty,equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve topursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts,cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of thedifferences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided aminority from the majority in the past.
Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of apermanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Irelandand elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the ProvisionalGovernment, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs ofthe Republic in trust for the people.
We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most HighGod, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one whoserves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In thissupreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by thereadiness of its children to sacriﬁce themselves for the common good, proveitself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.
Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:
THOMAS J. CLARKE
SEAN Mac DIARMADA
P. H. PEARSE