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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

With Antonio Maura at its head


the very material progress

of the country, resulting in a betterment of the condition of the poor, though their lot is still far from being an enviable one, has awakened desires among the masses of which their ancestors never dreamed; and the relative prosperity of many of the _indianos_ (nabobs of the Indies), as returned Spanish emigrants are called, has led to a widespread belief that men can do better anywhere than under the "_mal gobierno_" of Spain. The average Spaniard of the working classes takes little interest in his right of suffrage (although this is more particularly true of the country districts than it is of the cities), for he is convinced that it makes no difference; he is helpless and hopeless in the face of a government which seems quite apart from him. Many believe, however, that there is a panacea for existing conditions, and groups have sprung up representing a variety of social, economic, and political ideas, such as single tax (_georgismo_,--from Henry George), socialism, and republicanism. The desire for a republic has grown steadily since its first public expression in 1854, and has now swept across the northern provinces of Spain, from Galicia to Catalonia, cutting through the formerly Carlist, or absolutist, country, although manifesting itself more in the cities than elsewhere. If no serious outbreak for the establishment of a republic has taken place, it is in large degree a tribute to the king. Alfonso has frequently declared himself ready to accept the wishes of the Spanish
people in this matter, saying only a few years ago that if Spain should so decide he "would be the first to draw his sword in defence of the republic." Too much weight should not be given to these political gropings of the Spanish people, for the forces of conservatism,--such as the nobles and the wealthy, the clergy, and the devoutly faithful (notably in the rural districts),--are still very powerful. Even the king has recently been charged with a tendency to become reactionary. In 1917 serious internal disturbances occurred, and it is said that Alfonso did not rise to the situation in the same liberal spirit as formerly. Whether this is the mere unfounded expression of party feeling, or whether the king has in truth experienced a change of heart, it is as yet too early to say. Whatever may be the exact composition of the elements against them, there is no doubt that the majority of the people feel a deep resentment against the prevailing government. In one respect this has led to consequences of a serious character. The old regional spirit of the Catalans has reasserted itself, and a distinct Catalan national feeling, sustained by a revival of Catalan as a literary tongue, has manifested itself. One event stands out from the rest in recent times, with regard to which all elements in Spanish life have had occasion to express their political views. That is the celebrated Ferrer case.

[Sidenote: The Ferrer case and the "Maura, si!" and "Maura, no!"]

In June, 1909, when a Conservative government was in power, with Antonio Maura at its head, credits were voted for a campaign in Morocco against some tribesmen who had attacked a railway leading to mines in the control of Spanish capitalists. There was an immediate outbreak


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