In June 1919, de Valera made his way to America to secure international recognition of the self-declared independent and republican nature of Ireland. This lofty goal was not realised, and much of the money raised to fund the nascent state never made it back to Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish American group, Friends of Irish Freedom, disagreed with de Valera's approach and split, arguably splintering their own political power. De Valera had been lionised by vast crowds, but had also met political opposition for the first time. So while his American experience boosted his ego, it also paradoxically accentuated his insecurity, which may explain a lot about what happened after his return to Ireland.
This is the seventh lecture in our War of Independence Centenary Series with Executive Director Dr. Elizabeth Stack.