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William Thomas Cosgrave

Cosgrave, William Thomas (kŏzˈgrāv) [key], 1880–1965, Irish statesman; father of Liam Cosgrave. A member of Sinn Féin, he fought in the Easter Rebellion (1916) and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Freed a year later, he was elected to the British Parliament in 1918 but protested British rule by refusing to take his seat. He helped organize an independent Irish Assembly, the Dáil Éireann in 1919. Minister for local government in the revolutionary cabinet, Cosgrave supported the 1921 treaty with Great Britain that set up the Irish Free State (see Ireland). After the deaths of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins, he was elected president and served from 1922 to 1932. He was opposition leader of his Fine Gael, or United Ireland, party from 1932 until his resignation in 1944.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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