War and liberal revolution (1808-1814)

  • The crisis of the reign of Charles IV: A year after Charles IV (1788-1808) came to the throne, the French Revolution began. The king of Spain joined the international coalition against France, hoping to stop the spread of liberal ideas. However, the French armies defeated Spain (1793-1795). This led to a change of strategy by Manuel Godoy, Charles IV’s prime minister. He made an alliance with Napoleon against England, France’s main enemy. The Treaty of Fontainebleau (1807) allowed French troops to pass through Spain to invade Portugal, an ally of the British.
  • The Napoleonic invasion: The presence of French troops in Spanish territory and the intrigues of Ferdinand, the eldest son of Charles IV, against his father led to the popular Mutiny of Aranjuez (1808). As a result, Godoy resigned and the king. abdicated in favour of his son, Ferdinand VII. Napoleon then persuaded Charles IV and Ferdinand VIl to give the spanish crown to his brother, Joseph Bonaparte (abdications of Bayonne).
  • The War of Independence: Angered by the French occupation, a popular revolt began in Madrid on 2 May 1808. It spread rapidly across the country and started the War of Independence. Its most important phases were:
  1. popular resistance (1808). Irregular troops began guerrilla warfare and the Spanish army stopped the French advance southwards at the Battle of Bailén.
  2. French offensive (1808 – 1812). Napoleon controlled the army and occupied most of Spain. Some besieged cities, such as Girona and Zaragoza, resisted attack for several months. Once he had control over the country, Napoleon took many of his troops to invade Russia in 1812.
  3. Anglo-Spanish victories (1812 – 1814). The British army commanded by General Wellington attacked from Portugal in support of the Spanish troops, defeating the French in The Battle of Salamanca (Los Arapiles) in 1812.

In December 1813, the French signed the Treaty of Valençay. They withdrew from Spain and returned the crown to Ferdinand VI.

THE CÁDIZ CORTES AND THE 1812 CONSTITUTION: The abdications of Bayonne left power in the hands of a foreign monarch. This situation stimulated the formation of local Juntas composed of patriots opposed to the occupation. Their goal was to repel the invasion and create a legitimate government to represent the Spanish people. In 1810, the Central Supreme Junta was established to coordinate the efforts of various local and provincial Juntas. The Junta convened a Cortes in Cadiz, a city that was not occupied by the French, with the aim of drafting a constitution. Representatives of the Juntas throughout the country, most of them liberals, met in Cádiz. The Constitution, adopted in 1812, established national sovereignty, the separation of powers, universal male suffrage and recognised broad individual freedoms. The Parliament also approved a series of reforms to abolish the Ancien Régime, to end privilege and to create a liberal regime in Spain. However, the vicissitudes of war made it difficult to implement the Constitution and to consolidate liberalism.

Goya and the birth of contemporary art: Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) is one of the most important artists in Spanish history. He is considered one of the precursors of contemporary art. Goya was born in Fuendetodos (Zaragoza) and trained as a Baroque and Rococo painter. He was also a printmaker. He developed his own, deeper and more critical stvle around the time he became deaf. Goya mastered many different techniques: tapestry cartoons, frescos (San Antonio de la Florida), oil painting (portraits and scenes) and prints (Los Caprichos and The Disasters of War), The themes of his art ranged from scenes from everyday life and portraits to religious themes and mythology.

A: A COSTUMBRISTA PAINTER: Goya was exceptionally gifted at drawin works were tapestry cartoons for royal palace. These paintings were influenced by the Rococo and were happy, optimistic portrayals of ordinary people, landscapes and scenes from everyday life.

B: COURT PAINTER: In 1775, Goya became court painter and painted various portraits of the families of Charles Ill and Charles IV and the Spanish nobility. His portraits have a psychological depth and show the personality of his subjects, who are surrounded by an atmosphere reminiscent of Velazquez’s use of aerial perspective.

C: PRECURSOR OF CONTEMPORARY ART: Goya’s deafness influenced his art from 1792. His work became more pessimistic, with an emphasis on the defec and superstitions of 19 century society. The complex compositions and the use of dark colours transport us to ° world of dreams and imagination. Goya is considered the precursor of both Expressionism (the 1814-1820 Black Paintings series} and Impressionism.

D: WITNESS OF THE CRISIS OF THE ANCIEN RÉGIME: Goya was the chronicler of the crisis of the Ancien Régime. Some of his painings, such as Los Caprichos, were a critique civeligious fanaticism and superstitions of ins ere. Goya painted many violen; scenes that he himself had witnessed during the War of Independence, seen in works such as The Third of May 1808 and The Second of May 1808 (The Charge of the Mamelukes) In The Disasters of War, a series of prints, Goya revealed the cruel effects of the war on civilians and the brutality of war. Goya identified with the liberal Enlightenment ideas of the French Revolution, which explains why he isolated himself when Ferdinand VIl returned, and went into exile in France after the Liberal Triennium.

Ferdinand VII: the restoration of absolutism: The French troops withdrew in 1814 and Ferdinand VII, known as ‘the Desired’, returned to Spain. His aim was to re-establish an absolutist monarchy.

  • Six years of absolutism (1814-1820): After reclaiming the throne with the support of absolutists (Manifiesto de los Persas), Ferdinand VII repealed the Constitution of 1812 and the reforms proposed by the Cádiz Cortes. Spain returned to absolutism. Liberals, who had hoped for a constitutional monarchy, were persecuted. Even so, groups of liberals organised pronunciamentos. The defence of absolutism demanding the reinstatement of the Constitution, but they were not successful. Many liberals were forced into exile and others were executed.
  • The Liberal Triennium (1820-1823): In 1820, a pronunciamento led by Colonel Rafael del Riego in Cabezas de San Juan (Seville) was successful, and the king was forced to reinstate the Constitution of 1812. The National Militia, made up of armed liberal volunteers, was created to defend the Constitution and oppose absolutism. Ferdinand VI felt intimidated by the liberals and appealed to other European absolute monarchs to defend Spain against them. In 1823, a coalition of European monarchs called the Holy Alliance sent troops (the Hundred Thousand Sons of Saint Louis) that restored absolutism under the command of the Duke of Angoulême.
  • The Ominous Decade (1823-1833): The return to absolutism during the last ten years of Ferdinand VIl’s reign annulled all the legislation of the Liberal Triennium. The war against the French had made Spain bankrupt, and the independence of the colonies in the Americas caused a major loss of revenue. A fiscal reform that would make the privileged classes pay taxes was proposed to overcome the economic crisis. The crisis intensified in 1830 with the birth of Ferdinand VIl’s daughter, Isabella, who was prevented from reigning because of Salic Law, which excluded women from the right to inherit the throne. In order to ensure his daughter’s reign, Ferdinand VIl issued the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830, which repealed Salic Law. The most intransigent absolutists opposed it, and argued that the throne belonged to the king’s brother Charles, a fervent absolutist.

Carlists, defenders of the Ancien Régime:

A: THE ISABELINOS: On the death of Ferdinand VIl in 1833, the absolutists refused to recognise his three-year-old daughter, Isabella, as a legitimate successor to the Crown, and instead backed Infante Carlos. They started an uprising against the government of Maria Christina of Bourbon, who acted as regent on behalf of her daughter. Maria Christina had the support of liberals (called isabelinos or cristinos), who formed a moderate liberal government and implemented reforms to build a new constitutional monarchy in Spain. The new liberal government had the support of some. of the privileged classes and most of the army, but above all, they were supported by the bourgeoisie and most of the urban population.

B: THE SOCIAL BASES OF CARLISM: Carlism was a political movement of people of different social groups who were reluctant to accept liberalism. The privileged (the rural nobility and the clergy) feared having to pay taxes on their land and losing some of their property. The Church was also worried about its loss of power and social influence. There were also many peasants who feared losing access to the common land if the liberals privatised them, and worried about the implications of the abolition of manorialism. Most Carlists came from the more traditional rural areas. They were strongest in the Basque Country and Navarre and in the mountainous areas of Catalonia, Aragón and Valencia, where they defended their ancient traditions and regional privileges. Major cities on the other hand remained loyal to Isabella It and the liberal government.

C: THE IDEALS OF CARLISM: ‘GOD, COUNTRY, FUEROS AND KING’: was the motto of Carlism, which defended the divine origin of the monarchy, the absolute power of the king, the active presence of the Church in public life and the maintenance of the fueros. They represented a rural society, mistrusfful of the new, liberal urban society. Their roots in the Basque Country and Cataionia were linked to the recognition of fueros. They demanded the continuation of the rights and privileges of the kingdoms of the Crown of Aragon and Navarre, i.e. their traditional institutions, their own tax system and exemption from military conscription (quintas).

  • The First Carlist War (1833-1839) began in the Basque Country and, despite having experienced commanders like Zumalacárregui, the Carlists were defeated by the Liberal army of General Espartero. Peace was signed at the Convention of Vergara (1839).
  • Despite their defeat, the Carlists continued to exist as defenders of tradition, with significant popular support and their own line of succession. Between 1846 and 1848 there were significant Carlist uprisings in Catalonia (Revolt of the Matiners).

Six years of democracy (1868-1874): In September 1868, the crisis of the monarchy led to the ‘Glorious Revolution’, an insurrection to overthrow Isabella lI and establish a democratic political system.

A: THE REVOLUTION AND THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT (1868-1869): The Revolution of 1868 was triggered by the progressives and democrats, who were joined by unionists and led by Admiral Topete, General Prim (progressive) and General Serrano (unionist). Revolutionary Juntas were formed all over the country. In September 1868 the Battle of Alcolea finally forced Queen Isabella II and her heir Alfonso into exile. The same year, a provisional government was formed to establish a democratic political system. The Cortes drafted a new constitution based on democratic principles, and it was ratified in 1869. The Constitution established national sovereignty and universal male suffrage, recognised the individual’s rights and decreed the separation of Church and state

B: THE MONARCHY OF AMADEO I (1870-1873): Amadeo of Savoy, who was from a liberal monarchy that had contributed to the unification of Italy, was chosen to take the throne A few days before his arrival, his main supporter, General Prim, was assassinated. Amadeo I was supported by progressives, unionists and democrats, and the government introduced new measures to help economic recovery and Spain’s democratisation process. However, he had two strong opponents: the moderates and some representatives of the Church who remained loyal to the Bourbons. A new war began when the Carlists declared Charles VIl as king and the republicans aspired to establish a republic. Many problems, which culminated in a war on the island of Cuba

(1869), forced Amadeo I to abdicate and leave the country.

Isabella I and the building of the liberal state: The building of the liberal state began in Spain when Isabella I/ was a child (1833-1843).

A: The regency of Maria Christina (1833-1840): Initially, Maria Christina supported the moderate liberals, who began making small reforms. However, a series of military uprisings (the Mutiny of La Granja, 1836) and popular revolts forced her to hand power over to the progressive liberals. Juan Alvarez Mendizábal, the leader of the progressive liberals? began the abolishment of the Ancien Régime by introducing fiscal reform, dissolving manorialism, and through the disentailment of property and the confiscation of Church property. The payment of tithes, the Mesta, internal custom duties and guilds were also abolished. A new progressive Constitution was drafted in 1837.It recognised national sovereignty with census suffrage, the separation of powers and the two chambers (the Congress of Deputies and the Senate); and it granted many rights and individual liberties.

B: The regency of Espartero (1840-1843): In 1837 moderate liberals with increasingly conservative policies took control of the government. Maria Christina was forced to step down and the progressive General Espartero was appointed regent. Espartero’s authoritarian ideas and his introduction of free trad measures that were damaging to the emerging Spanish industry created strong opposition. Isabella lI was then declared of age in 1843, at 13 years of age, and she was proclaimed queen.

C: The Moderate Decade (1843-1854): During almost the entire reign of Isabella I as an adult, Spain’s Moderate Liberal Party, led by General Narvez, remained in power. The new Cortes adopted a moderate Constitution (1845), in which suffrage was highly restricted, civil liberties were limited and sovereignty was shared between the Cortes and the Crown. State and municipal administration was reorganised and only the Basque Country and Navarre held on to their statutory laws. The moderate liberals also adopted measures to centralise taxes, create a penal code (1848) and develop a national education System. in 185, the state signed the Concordat with the Holy see, in which it agreed to finance the Church and stop the privatisation of its properties In 1844 the Guardia Civil was set up to maintain law in the countryside. The authoritarian tendencies of political leaders like Narvaez and Bravo Murillb, the influence of the political cliques (camarillas) and electoral fraud caused another progressive military revolt.

D: The Progressive Biennium (1854-1856): In 1854, the Vicálvaro pronunciamento (also known as the Vicalvarada or the Spanish Revolution of 1854), led by General O’Donnell, brought the progressive liberals to power. The National Militia fought in the Vicalvarada and revolutionary Juntas were formed.Isabella II was pressured to give power to the progressives who turned to Espartero’s leadership again/ The Cortes drafted a new Constitution (1855), which was not approved, and the government made major economic reforms concerning three fundamental laws:

  • The confiscation of common and municipal property (Confiscations of Madoz, 1855).
  • The General Railway Law and the Mining Act to boost the railway system and the mining industry, although they were financed by foreign capital.

E: The system in decline (1856-1868): A new crisis in Espartero’s government caused Isabella (I to hand the government over to O’Donnell, who had created a new centralist party called the Liberal Union. From 1856, unionists and moderates alternated in power, while progressives stayed in the sidelines. The government remained very authoritarian, acting without the authorisation of the Cortes and repressing opposition. During this period, a colonialist foreign policy was implemented, as seen in the military campaigns in Morocco, Indochina and an international military intervention in Mexico. Opposition to the moderate regime grew and new political groups emerged: the democrats, who defended universal male suffrage, and the republicans, who aspired to end the monarchy and establish a republic. In 1866, Isabella’s reign deteriorated as an economic crisis led to further social unrest and a new military revolt.