~ The Treaty ~
The Anglo-Irish Treaty, officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom and representatives of the de facto Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of Independence. It established an Irish dominion, known as the Irish Free State, within the British Empire and provided Northern Ireland, which had been created by the 1920 Government of Ireland Act, an option to opt out of the Irish Free State, which it duly exercised.
The treaty was signed in London by representatives of the British government and envoys plenipotentiary of the Irish Republic (i.e., negotiators empowered to sign a treaty without reference back to their superiors) on December 6, 1921. Threefold ratification of the treaty by Dáil Éireann, the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and the British Parliament was required. The Irish side was split on the Treaty, and it was only narrowly ratified in the Dáil. Though the treaty was duly enacted, the split led to the Irish Civil War, which was ultimately won by the pro-treaty side.
The Irish Free State created by the Treaty came into force on 6 December 1922 by royal proclamation after its constitution had been enacted by the Third Dáil and the British parliament.
In Britain the House of Commons approved the Treaty on 14 December 1921 by a vote of 401 to 58.
The Dáil debates lasted much longer and exposed the diversity of opinion in Dublin. Opening the debate on 14 December, President De Valera stated his view on procedure: it would be ridiculous to think that we could send five men to complete a treaty without the right of ratification by this assembly. That is the only thing that matters. Therefore it is agreed that this Treaty is simply an agreement and that it is not binding until the Dáil ratifies it. That is what we are concerned with. However when the Treaty was ratified on 7 January, he refused to accept it.
Private sessions were held on 15, 16 and 17 December, and a.m. on 6 January, to keep the discord out of the press and the public arena.
The public sessions lasted 9 days from 19 December to 7 January. On 19 December Arthur Griffith moved: That Dáil Eireann approves of the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, signed in London on December 6th, 1921.
By 6 January, the day before the vote, De Valera acknowledged the deep division within his cabinet: When these Articles of Agreement were signed the body in which the executive authority of this assembly, and of the State, is vested became as completely split as it was possible for it to become. Irrevocably, not on personalities or anything of that kind or matter, but on absolute fundamentals.
The Second Dáil formally ratified the Treaty on 7 January 1922 by a vote of 64 to 57. De Valera resigned as President on 9 January and was replaced by Arthur Griffith, on a vote of 60 to 58. Griffith as President of the Dáil worked with Michael Collins who chaired the new Provisional Government of Ireland, theoretically answerable to the House of Commons of Southern Ireland, as the Treaty laid down. In December 1922 a new Irish constitution was enacted by the Third Dáil, sitting as a Constituent Assembly.
The House of Commons of Southern Ireland, which was made up largely of the same membership as the Dáil, but which was in British constitutional theory the parliament legally empowered to ratify the Treaty, did so unanimously on 14 January 1922.
Opponents of the Treaty mounted a military campaign of opposition which produced the Irish Civil War (1922-23).