The Reception of the Irish Constitution: May–July 1937

  • Donal K. Coffey
Part of the Palgrave Modern Legal History book series (PMLH)


The fact that the Constitution was drawn up by a small group meant that it was unclear how it would be treated when it was released to the wider world. The other parties in the Free State perceived it as a party measure and opposed it. Significantly, the provisions relating to women prompted a feminist response and a campaign for equality in the Constitution. Notwithstanding this opposition, the measure passed. The document was inspired by continental constitutions, and the reaction of countries in Europe and internationally is also assessed here.


  1. Beaumont, Caitriona. “Women and the Politics of Equality: The Irish Women’s Movement, 1930–1943.” In Women and Irish History: Essays in Honour of Margaret MacCurtain, edited by Maryann Gialanella Valiulis and Mary O’Dowd, 173–188. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  2. “Current Events.” Irish Jurist III (1937): 17.Google Scholar
  3. “Éire—the new Constitution.” Irish Law Times and Solicitors’ Journal (15 May 1937): 120.Google Scholar
  4. Faughnan, Sean. “The Jesuits and the Drafting of the Irish Constitution of 1937.” Irish Historical Studies 101 (1988): 79–102.Google Scholar
  5. Foster, Robert Fitzroy. Modern Ireland 1600–1972. London: Penguin Books, 1988.Google Scholar
  6. Girvin, Brian. “The Republicanisation of Irish Society 1932–48.” In A New History of Ireland: Volume VII Ireland, 1921–84, ed. J.R. Hill, 127–160. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.Google Scholar
  7. Harkness, David. “Mr de Valera’s Dominion: Irish Relations with Britain and the Commonwealth, 1932–1938.” Journal of Commonwealth Political Studies 8 (1970): 206–228.Google Scholar
  8. Harrigan, William. “Nazi Germany and the Holy See, 1933–1936: The Historical Background of Mit Brennender Sorge.” The Catholic Historical Review 47 (1961): 164–198.Google Scholar
  9. Kelly, John Maurice. Fundamental Rights in Irish Law and the Constitution. Dublin: Allen Figgis, 1961.Google Scholar
  10. Keogh, Dermot. “The Constitutional Revolution: An Analysis of the Making of the Constitution.” In The Constitution of Ireland 1937–1987, ed. Frank Litton, 4–84. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 1988.Google Scholar
  11. Keogh, Dermot, and Andrew McCarthy. The Making of the Irish Constitution 1937: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Cork: Mercier Press, 2007.Google Scholar
  12. Laffan, Michael. Judging W.T. Cosgrave. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 2014.Google Scholar
  13. Lowry, Donal. “The Captive Dominion: Imperial Realities behind Irish Diplomacy, 1922–49.” Irish Historical Studies 36 (2008): 202–226.Google Scholar
  14. Luddy, Maria. “A ‘Sinister and Retrogressive’ Proposal: Irish Women’s Opposition to the 1937 Draft Constitution.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 15 (2005): 175–195.Google Scholar
  15. McGinty, Mary. A Study of the Campaign For and Against the Enactment of the 1937 Constitution. M.A. thesis, Galway: University College, 1987.Google Scholar
  16. McMahon, Deirdre. Republicans and Imperialists: Anglo-Irish Relations in the 1930s. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  17. Rao, B. Shiva. Select Constitutions of the World. Madras: The Madras Law Journal Press, 1934.Google Scholar
  18. Sinnott, Richard. Irish Voters Decide: Voting Behaviour in Elections and Referendums since 1918. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  19. Smith, Rhea Marsh. The Day of the Liberals in Spain. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1938.Google Scholar
  20. Ward, Margaret. Unmanageable Revolutionaries: Women and Irish Nationalism. London: Pluto Press, 1995.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donal K. Coffey
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for European Legal HistoryFrankfurt am MainGermany

Personalised recommendations