CooperToons HomePage Caricatures Alphabetical Index Random Selection Previous Next

Eamon De Valera

Eamon De Valera

To keep with tradition - even if it's only a tradition of a few years, CooperToons continues with caricatures of people that virtually no one - that is, at least virtually no Americans - will know.

The truth is one time Eamon de Valera - the most dominant politician in Ireland for a good chunk of the twentieth century - was also one of the most famous men in the world. Yes, in the world, and he was [note past tense] famous in America even though today if you walk down Main Street USA and say the words Fianna Fail, most people will think you're talking about a new brand of aluminum kitchen wrap.

But for those non-Hibernians who do know of Eamon as the unblemished, Godlike, and fearless soldier/diplomat/international leader painted in his authorized biography, it comes as quite a shock to read how the later tomes increasingly trashed the great man. Certainly the consensus that emerged among historians and writers in the late twentieth century was that Eamon's reputation did not merit the enthusiastic accolades of his early admirers. But in Ireland Eamon was trashed pretty soundly throughout his own lifetime, and it can honestly be said that if he was the most idolized man in Eire he was also the most hated.

Of course history is not static and historical judgment reflects the times and politics of the historians as much as the subject of the study. After the turn of the Millennium, some assessments of Dev - as he was called by his friends - have more favorable. After all, it's kind of hard to argue that a man who was elected to political office in every single election from 1918 to 1959 and headed the Irish government for eighteen of those years was really a total disaster to his country. Still today some people argue just that, and Eamon remains one of the most controversial figures in Irish history, while increasingly forgotten in the country of his birth.

Yes, the country of his birth. So for a bit more about the American citizen with a Spanish surname who became the most long-tenured politician in Ireland, click here.