The Federal Republic in Spain: Pi Y Margall and the Federal Republican Movement, 1868-74

By C. A. M. Hennessy | Go to book overview

3
The September Revolution in the Provinces

IN three months the Republicans became the most serious threat facing the Provisional Government. Within this time it had to crush two bloody revolts and to disarm forcibly the militias in the four towns of Seville, Jerez, Cádiz, and Málaga. These conflicts expressed the disillusion felt after the juntas had been dissolved before many points in their programmes had been put into effect. Hopes had centred on the local juntas, the traditional Spanish reaction to revolutionary situations, and an analysis of their actions and their programmes reveals the extent of popular hatreds and ambitions.

The juntas' programmes showed remarkable consistency.1 Anticlericalism, led by the many masons in the juntas, was common to all and varied only in intensity. It was the expression of hatred against a church which had been a willing ally in enforcing political uniformity. This hatred was particularly strong against the Jesuits, who as in 1836 and 1854 were immediately expelled, and other orders which had been infiltrating since the Concordat of 1851 were disbanded; convents were demolished, usually as a means of providing work for the unemployed, religious liberty was proclaimed, permission was ostentatiously granted to Protestants to build chapels, cemeteries were secularized, and in the more extreme juntas at Seville, Málaga, and Cádiz, separation of Church and State was demanded.

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1
For junta activities see Bermejo, op. cit. i. 154 et seq., 349-54; Pirala, op. cit. iii. 230-3; Rubio, op. cit. ii. 345 et seq.; the clerical Vilarrasa and Gatell, op. cit. i. 459 et seq. J. Tassara González, Apuntes para la historia de la Revolución de Septiembre en Sevilla, Seville, 1919; C. Roure, op. cit. i. 232-46. Religious toleration and Protestant activity during and after 1868 is dealt with in J. D. Hughey, Religious freedom in Spain, London, 1955, chs. iii et seq. The reports of British consuls in F.O. 72/1190, 1191, 1192 are useful for the economic aspects. No detailed work has yet been done on either the juntas' composition or their programmes.

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