The Spanish Constitution of 1812 and the Rise of Liberalism

Classified in History

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UNIT 1: The Spanish Constitution of 1812

As the principal aim of the new constitution was the prevention of arbitrary and corrupt royal rule, it provided for a limited monarchy which governed through ministers subject to parliamentary control. Suffrage favored the position of the commercial class. The constitution set up a rational and efficient centralized administrative system. So the 1812 Constitution established the principles of universal suffrage, national sovereignty, constitutional monarchy, freedom of the press, and supported land reform and free enterprise.

UNIT 2: The Rise of Liberalism in Spain

The liberals of this period were divided into two sides:

Divisions within Liberalism

  • Sovereignty: Parliament and Monarch / National Sovereignty
  • Setting up the Parliament: 2 Chambers / 1 Chamber
  • Suffrage: Census Suffrage / Wide Census Suffrage, almost universal
  • Principles: Centralism, public order, private property / Freedom of the press, meeting, and association.
  • Religion: Confessional (c) / Non-confessional. Secular state (lay)
  • Social Support: Aristocracy and middle class / Low bourgeoisie and other commoners.

Pronunciamientos and Political Instability

Pronunciamiento: Military coup d'état in Spain followed a special pattern. The first step is a public declaration where the military complain and ask for a change in government. Then the rebels wait for the rest of the armed forces to declare for or against.

The Restoration: From 1843 Isabella II made the Liberal Conservatives (moderates) to be in power (except for two pro-years). During the Revolutionary 6 years, there were new parties: Democrats, republics... In this period another two constitutions were proclaimed: 1869 and 1873 Liberal and Republican. During this period, Spanish old chronic political instability continued. The new era was also known as the "Canovas System". It was corrupted and unfair. It carried on the traditional backwardness and injustice of Spanish society, losing the opportunity for change for another half a century. In the 19th century, the Bases of a Liberal State were established, finishing definitively with Absolutism and changing the economy, the society, and the culture of the time.

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