Persian´s manifest

 -The proposed text, the Persian manifest, is a primary source. It´s a text in which the most conservative deputies from the Legislative Cortes that had been elected in 1813 addresses King Fernando VII, who has just returned to Spain after six years of captivity in France under Napoleon Bonaparte.

It is a “manifest”, because the deputies formulate a political program while they propose the King what to do regarding the Cortes and the liberal political regime that had been established in the country during the French occupation. The authors are the so-called “serviles“  deputies in Cortes. They are not yet a political party, but they are a group of deputies with a conservative ideology, and they are against the liberal system.

It is known as the “Persians” manifest because the text starts with a comparison between the situation the country had experienced during the six years the King was in captivity with the five days of anarchy the ancient Persians allowed before appointing a new king for the country.


The main aim of the “serviles” deputies in addressing this manifest to the King is to position themselves against the changes that 1812 constitution has established and to ask the king to abolish the constitution and the Cortes and restore absolute monarchy.

They defend absolute monarchy as a system according to reason, a system that respects divine order and that is not arbitrary.
They –therefore- ask the King to abolish the constitution and all the decrees of the Cortes and to call the traditional Cortes by estates and restore the traditional absolute monarchy.


Liberalism had had an early and brilliant start in Spain. However, it did not have the support of the majority of the population when the war was over, and forces that resisted change, led by the King himself, fought against the establishment of Liberalism. The new system, however, was definitively set up after 1833, when Maria Cristina was forced to support the Liberals in order to preserve the throne for her daughter, Isabel II. The ones that still defended the restoration of the Old Regime and absolutism supported Fernando VII’s brother Carlos María Isidro, and were defeated in the three Carlist wars between 1833 and 1876


  • During these six years, Napoleon appointed his brother, Jose I, as king. A six-year war against French domination had been led by the Spanish population, and a new political regime had been established, ruled by the liberal constitution of 1812.
  • In the Treaty of Valencay(1813), Napoleon had given him back his rights to the throne, but he was not freed until 1814. The executive power in Spain was at the moment in the hands of a Regency that exercised power in the name of the King, but a decree of the Cortes had declared that the Regency wouldn´t obey Fernando as King until he had admitted 1812 constitution.
  • Fernando did not go straight to Madrid. He went to Valencia, where there were  the constitution that he had to sign, and the 69 servile deputies with the manifest.
  • The “serviles” deputies want to abolish the work of the Cadiz Cortes. These Cortes had been called in 1810, while the country was occupied by the French army, and under the monarchy of José I.
  • The resistance of the Spanish population against French rule had resulted in a 6-year long war of Independence, and the resistance organized a parallel government that assumed power in the name of King Fernando.
  • This government was organized in Juntas Locales, Juntas provincials, and then a Central Junta, that with the authority of the king, started a process of political reform and called elections to Cortes. These Cortes were not called by estates, as in the Old Regime, but as representatives and substitutes of those from each of the provinces, meeting in a single chamber representing the Nation.
  • This new Cortes assumed the task of defining a new political, economic and social system based on  the principles of liberty and equality of all, the rights of the individuals, and on sovereignty of the nation and representative government. The Cortes of Cadiz (1810-1812), abolished the Old Regime and established a liberal system based on a Constitution and a series of decrees.
  • The constitution established a constitutional monarchy and limited the power of the King. Sovereignty rested on the Nation, that held the legislative power through representatives in the Cortes. The King had the executive power under the supervision of the Cortes. The old social division in estates was abolished and all citizens were declared equal in front of the law. Privileges were abolished and a uniform system of administration of the country was established.
  • Further decrees of the Cortes dismantled the Old Regime, abolishing jurisdictional seigneuries and feudal institutions, decreeing the Disentailment of property and establishing economic freedom.
  • Fernando VII declared the Constitution of 1812 and all the Decrees of the Cadiz Cortes nul and void and restored absolutism and the Old Regime
  • He was not the only king in Europe to restore the Old Regime. The defeat of Napoleon brought about the Restoration period in Europe, and all the absolutist monarchies that Napoleon had overthrown were restored to their thrones and to their absolute power. Liberalism was persecuted, and the Holy Alliance was created to protect Europe from revolution and liberalism.
  • Fernando VII persecuted liberals and Frenchified, who went on exile or conspired in secret societies. Finally, General Riego issued a successful pronunciamiento in 1820 in favour of the restoration of 1812 Constitution. A three-year liberal period started, during which Fernando VII was forced to govern under a liberal Regime. In 1823, however, the 100.000 sons of Saint Louis put an end to this liberal period and absolutism was again restored for 10 years until Fernando VIIs death in 1833.