Spain in the 19th Century Part III

By | January 18, 2022

The names of Ferdinand of Portugal, of the Duke of Genoa, of Espartero, of the Duke of Montpensier, of the Prince of Asturias, in favor of whom his mother Isabella II had abdicated, of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern were named: but they were either discarded or refused the offer; and the candidacy of the latter only served to start the war between France and Prussia. Finally, the eyes fell on Amedeo di Savoia duke of Aosta, despite the opposition of the republicans, the legitimists, the Carlists and the supporters of the Duke of Montpensier, al Prim succeeded in gathering a slight majority on his name in the Cortes (November 16, 1870); and on 4 December 1870 the Savoyard prince accepted the crown. But, tragic beginning of the reign, the new sovereign had not yet arrived in his own state, and already the Prim was falling victim to an attack. Then Amedeo I, deprived of his major supporter, found himself alone in a country which tended to consider him a foreigner and to be hostile to him: because those in favor of the other candidates remained firmly opposed; the Catholic party did not hide its hostile sentiments against the son of a king who was in conflict with the pope; the nobility did not approve of the democratic tendencies of the monarch, in full antithesis with the traditional pomp of the court. Moreover, even in the party that had called him to Madrid, and which had lost its leadership with the Prim, dissensions began. Thus the elections of 1871 gave strength to the opposition; this made the sovereign’s policy of pacification impossible; the parties multiplied, sometimes an expression of rancor and personal hatred rather than ideas; the government took turns with a jumble of ministries, each with its own program, worked out through transactions and intrigues. The king faced the situation with lelatà and with courage, of which he gave clear proof on July 18, 1871, when he attempted to attack his life and his wife. But some success reported on the Carlists having calmed the concerns of the liberals: they ended up coalescing against the sovereign and the elections of 1872 were against Amedeo. Then, as had been the rule of his government, once again opposed to the use of force, the king preferred to resign;

In the following two years of troubled republican rule (1873-1874) the revolution of 1868 resumed its development. Other major reforms were added to the previous ones. But the communist approach had the upper hand in Malaga; supported by Py y Margall, the federalist tendency emerged, sponsoring the full autonomy of the regions and municipalities, united by a voluntary pact and a central government entrusted only with affairs of common interest; the Carlist movement became dangerous again; the revolt began to spread through the colonies, especially on the island of Cuba; serious socialist and anarchist agitations were added. In such conditions, the attempt made by Emilio Castelar, head of the unitary republican party, to assume the presidency with dictatorial powers was in vain (September 1873). Accusing him of following a too conservative policy, after a few months, on the night of 2 to 3 January 1874, the Cortes denied him their trust; and he withdrew from the government, not wanting to use the military force offered him by General Pavia. Power was assumed by the Serrano; but the latter, if he succeeded in stopping the advance of the Carlists, who had come to besiege Bilbao, did not know how to defeat them definitively, so that the guerrillas continued, unnerving and exhausting; and, on the other hand, having asked for the help of the conservatives, indirectly increased the strength of the monarchist party. A new if he succeeded in stopping the advance of the Carlists, who had come to besiege Bilbao, he did not know how to defeat them definitively, so that the guerrillas continued, unnerving and exhausting; and, on the other hand, having asked for the help of the conservatives, indirectly increased the strength of the monarchist party. A new if he succeeded in stopping the advance of the Carlists, who had come to besiege Bilbao, he did not know how to defeat them definitively, so that the guerrillas continued, unnerving and exhausting; and, on the other hand, having asked for the help of the conservatives, he indirectly increased the strength of the monarchist party. A newmilitary pronunciation, organized by General Martinez Campos and well received by the tired country, made the prince of Asturias ascend to the throne (29 December 1874); and Alfonso XII on January 14, 1875 was able to enter Madrid amid enthusiastic cheers.

It seemed once again that the political life of Spain was on the point of finding its own rule of unitary development. The Carlists were defeated, and Estella, their citadel, had to capitulate (February 1874). In 1876 the state had its constitution, destined to remain in force for forty-seven years, which tempered the liberal one of 1869 in a reactionary sense, but accepted some of its principles.

Spain in the 19th Century 3