Spain in the 19th Century Part II

By | January 11, 2022

But soon new reasons were added to the old reasons for dissent; and the regime was discredited by many court intrigues and, among other things, by a sensational scandal for the construction of railways, in which the queen mother Maria Cristina and her lover, later morganatic husband, the Muñoz, were involved. Then, a victorious military revolt led by generals Dulce and O ‘Donnell (28 June 1854), who at first gave power to Espartero, seemed to mark the beginning of a new life for the country. In fact, the queen mother was forced to take the path of exile; reforms began; when O ‘Donnell came to power (1858), success returned to smile also at Spanish arms, in a war in Morocco, which ended with the victory of Tetuán (February 4, 1860); and the troops and ships of Isabella II participated in the early days in the Mexican enterprise. However, this time too the agreement was short-lived. The struggles between the various parties, the ministerial crises, the fluctuations in the directives to be followed in the government were renewed; the army began to conspire, ready as it was to participate actively in all conflicts of ideas and interests; and while the politicians were exhausted in interminable doctrinal discussions on the general directions to be given to the internal and foreign policy of the state, in the country the abuses of power, poverty, the taxation imposed by the very serious financial crisis began to deepen the discontent and disorder, and to feed in the mass aspirations and resentments, difficult to satisfy and controllable. In January 1866, a military revolt promoted by General Prim was succeeded in stifling; and some other attempts of the kind had the same fate. But then the Narváez, supported by the moderates, turned decisively to the right and began a severe reaction, taking serious measures against the bureaucracy, the army, the press. Then, to give some effective unity to the action of the liberal-monarchists, the republicans and the army, to popularize the movement and to ensure its triumph, the loss of any trust in the queen, who by now did not even conceal her own reactionary tendencies, collaborated suppression of all liberties, mass deportations, disgust for the embezzlement of public money, the widespread discontent in the army for the numerous punishments, the lack of skill and energy in the government, which at the moment in which it had chosen its own policy he had been reduced to counting on the help of the least suited to action, and he did not even know how to use his few strengths. The revolt broke out in September 1868. At first the navy moved, under the orders of Admiral Topete, who agreed with the Prim; then the revolution was joined by men of the most disparate tendencies: the republicans, the progressives such as Prim, the followers of O ‘Donnell, former ministers or favorites of Isabella, such as Serrano. On 28 September the latter won the Marquis of Novaliches at the bridge of Alcolea in La Mancha; and, after the queen’s departure (September 30), he assumed power on October 5.

On October 26, the Gaceta de Madrid he published the program of the new government, in which they tried to agree on the requests made by the various revolutionary juntas which had directed the movement in the historical regions of the country; the elections were in favor of a continuation of the monarchical regime, albeit with another dynasty; extensive reforms followed; in 1869 the new constitution was approved which took into account the ideals of 1812 and those of the time. And, undoubtedly, at least part of the legislative activity was suitable for renewing the life of the country, in many respects still backward compared to that of the more civilized states of Europe, and could lead to the belief that the previous doctrinarianism was outdated and possible the ‘address concrete political problems. But the revolution of September 1868 had not founded a great national party on the ruins of the ancients, but they continued to contend for the direction of the life of the state; and in such conditions the debate on the reforms to be implemented must have become particularly dangerous, in which more and more vast classes tended to participate, and the hope of giving an orderly development to the movement had to prove chimerical. Moreover, spirits divided when it came to designating the new sovereign: the army, dissatisfied with a reduction in the cadres, became agitated again; a reaction provoked the appointment as regent of Serrano, which should have pleased everyone because, pending the agreement, it left the question unprejudiced, and instead seemed to attribute the fruits of the revolution to only one. pronunciamientos and unrest, in a continuous sway of men and ideas, which changed opinion and direction from day to day: the multiple appeals for harmony launched in the country having proved useless and the Carlist party having regained vigor.

Spain in the 19th Century 2