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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

The Carlists had under arms a force of 45


[Sidenote:

The Spanish republic.]

The Republicans now had their innings, but the time could hardly have been worse for the trial of their ideas. The Carlists had under arms a force of 45,000 men in 1873, which swelled to 75,000 by the close of 1875. The south received the proclamation of the republic with a resort to self-governing, jealous particularism, as if the day of democratic _taifa_ states had dawned, for they were able to agree on one thing alone,--that of refusing to pay taxes to the central government. One Figueras had been proclaimed _ad interim_ president until a _Cortes_ could be elected, but he became terrified by the republic when he saw it, and fled before the _Cortes_ could meet. There were three more presidents in 1873. Pi y Margall was a federalist who believed that the newly won freedom would provide a remedy for the prevailing disorder,--but it did not. He was therefore put aside, and Salmer?n, a unitary Republican, took the helm. Salmer?n initiated vigorous measures to crush the forces of disintegration, but, as he was about to succeed, drew back before the fear of militarism. Castelar was put in his place, and he revived the army. This measure strengthened the central authority, but it killed Republicanism, which had made the abolition of enforced military service one of the cardinal tenets of its creed. It was now only a question of time before the Alfonsists would take control. Carlists of constitutional leanings went over to that

side as did many Republicans, since it now seemed clear that the accession of Alfonso was the only alternative to the enthronement of the Carlist representative. In December, 1874, Alfonso issued a proclamation, promising an amnesty and constitutional government. With hardly a struggle the republic fell.

[Sidenote: Alfonso XII and the establishment of a conservative monarchy.]

The reign of Alfonso XII (1874-1885) marked the beginning of a new era, based upon the acceptance of pseudo-democracy under constitutional forms, and accompanied by a growing tendency toward internal peace. Minor outbreaks in Spain, now of Carlists, now of Republicans, continued to require military attention down to 1886, but no such disorder as had so long been the rule again prevailed. A new constitution was promulgated in 1876 which had the effect of conciliating the clergy, since it provided for state support of the church, although that institution did not receive all it had been promised; indeed, it protested bitterly against the grant of toleration to other faiths. The constitution of 1876, which with some modifications is still operative, was patterned after that of 1845, with the addition of certain of the more recent reforms. Some of its provisions were the following: the _Cortes_ was to be composed of two houses, respectively the senate and the congress; the senate was to contain eighty members in their own right, such as princes of the royal family, grandees, presidents of the great councils, archbishops, and captain-generals, one hundred more by royal appointment, and one hundred and eighty elected for a term of five years by municipal and provincial assemblies, universities, and taxpayers of the highest class; congress was to be made up of 431 deputies, representing districts of 50,000 people each, chosen by an electorate which was limited by the imposition of a property qualification,--changed in 1889 by the restoration of universal manhood suffrage; legislative power was vested in the _Cortes_ with the king; the king was made irresponsible, but his decrees had to be countersigned by a responsible minister; and the jury system was abolished,--although it was restored early in the next reign. The net result was a centralized monarchy in the control of the conservative elements. Many principles of the Liberal program, taken especially from the constitution of 1869 when Prim was in power, have since been added. The death of the king, who had ruined his health as the result of excesses which recalled the scandals of his mother's reign, seemed likely to raise fresh difficulties at the close of the year 1885. The queen was then pregnant, and it was not until 1886 that her son, the present Alfonso XIII, was born. The ex-queen, Isabella II, attempted to intervene, but only succeeded in strengthening the position of the queen-mother, Mar?a Cristina of Austria, who ruled henceforth as regent until Alfonso attained his majority in 1902.


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