born 6th June 1880,
educ Christian Bros school, Malahide Rd, Marino (now Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre),
entered father's publican's business,
attended first Sinn Fein convention 1905,
Dublin Corporation councillor 1909 - most of period to 1922,
joined Irish Volunteers 1913,
fought in Easter Rising 1916 under Eamonn Ceannt at the South Dublin Union, sentenced to death, commuted to penal servitude for life, interned in Frongoch, Wales,
released under general amnesty Jan 1917,
Sinn Fein MP 1917-8, elected as Sinn Fein MP for Kilkenny city in by-election, 10 Aug 1917, a poster says "VOTE FOR COSGRAVE - A FELON OF OUR LAND", _Sinn Fein TD 1918-22, elected for Sinn Fein in Dec 1918 general election in Kilkenny North, (unopposed), James O'Mara won in Kilkenny South, _treasurer of Sinn Fein, imprisoned again, released 1919, _Member of the 1st Dail, Jan 1919,_Minister for Local Government 1919-21 in the new underground government, with the job of organising non-cooperation with the British authorities and establishing an alternative system, _mar June 1919 to Louisa Flanagan [born 28th Aug 1882], _although on the run, he did much to undermine the existing institutions of local government, particularly after Sinn Fein swept the 1920 council elections, _supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Dec 1921,_[Ward, 1983] tells story of a plan by Cumann na mBan members to protest the Treaty by raising the Union Jack over the building housing the Treaty debates (to denote the betrayal that was taking place), they went to large shops looking for a Union Jack, "But Mrs. Cosgrave .. happened to be in the exclusive shop of Switzers" [on Grafton St] "and was told of what was happening. She of course immediately reported the plot.", _Treaty was passed Jan 1922, _(pro-Treaty) Sinn Fein TD 1922-23, re-elected TD for (pro-Treaty) Sinn Fein, Carlow-Kilkenny, general election, mid-June 1922,_Civil War started end-June 1922, _Prime Minister 1922-32, _after death of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins Aug 1922, W.T. became head of the pro-Treaty side,_when the constitution of the Irish Free State was enacted Oct 1922, he became "President of the Executive Council" or head of government, _first prime minister of Ireland ("President of the Executive Council"), 1922-32, covering the governments of 1922-23 and 1923-27 and 1927 and 1927-32.
His legacy: On the other hand, he did establish the southern state on a firm footing, avoiding fascism, communism and corruption, to establish a true parliamentary democracy, which, at one point in mid-20th cent, would be one of only a handful of democracies left in the world. Today, only 10 countries out of 200 in the world have been continuous (unbroken) democracies as long as Ireland. _And in its ethos his state was more modern and secular than the more sectarian Catholic state later established by de Valera. W.T. appointed an enlightened mix of scholars and Anglo-Irish to the Senate, and the 1922 Constitution was reasonably secular and tolerant (later replaced by de Valera's more Catholic, sectarian, 1937 Constitution). _There were exceptions to this though - when a Protestant woman was appointed to a library job in Co.Mayo in 1931, the Bishops protested at "a Protestant being allowed choose what Catholics would read". W.T. initially opposed the bigotry, but then did a deal to transfer her to another library job. De Valera supported the Bishops. _It is also noted that, despite the fears about what the Treaty meant at the time, under Cosgrave the Treaty really did mean effective independence for southern Ireland. As [Wallace, 1983] puts it: "by the time he was defeated by Eamon de Valera in the 1932 election, he had established a secure parliamentary democracy and had achieved in dominion status a cordial and almost complete independence from the UK". The absurd and self-destructive Economic War with the UK would never have happened under Cosgrave's government. _Finally it is noted that when the republicans, who only a couple of years before had opposed the very existence of the state, finally won a fair election, Cosgrave did, like a true democrat, peacefully surrender power - even though many Free Staters at the time were strongly opposed to surrendering power to de Valera.