Saturday, October 1, 2011
US Presidential Election 1908
Of the seven members of the original cabinet (the signatories all of whom were executed) two were teachers, Pearse and McDonagh, McDonagh at one stage having studied to be a priest. Two had severe illnesses McDermott had polio and Plunkett had TB. Thomas Clarke was a tobacconist a business that is practically outlawed in today’s Ireland. Eamonn Ceannt was an accountant at Dublin Corporation.
With the 2011 Irish Presidential campaign rumbling across the country few people would have known that one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising had experience of campaigning during a Presidential campaign. James Connolly while in the United States was involved in the campaign of Socialist Party of America candidate in the 1908 Presidential election Eugene Debs. Debs (1855 – 1926) finished third in the poll which was won by Republican William Taft. Connolly had founded the Irish Socialist Federation and used the newspaper of his organisation ‘The Harp’ to drum up support for Debs’ campaign along the socialist Irish communities along the east coast of America. Connolly returned to Ireland in July 1910 to become secretary of the Socialist Party of Ireland and as the man would say ‘the rest is history’.