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

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

5
Opposition Politics, the Pacts and Revolts, 1869

THE political problem facing the Republicans in 1869 was how to organize from the centre a minority movement depending for its momentum on peripheral provincial enthusiasm. Their failure to solve this problem during the first six months was a direct cause of the collapse of the revolts of September and October. This failure can be attributed to a variety of factors; the revolutionary legacy of September 1868 and the feeling of betrayal stimulated by the idea of republican participation in the September Revolution; the imprecise definition of republican aims and confusion over the implications of federalism; the difficulty experienced by many Federal deputies with a revolutionary past to submit themselves to the discipline of a minority opposition party, and finally the absence of clear undisputed leadership during the critical immediate post-revolutionary period.

The Federals' dilemma was well illustrated by their two main activities between February and July. On one side there was the attempt to make themselves a compact opposition party in the Cortes. On the other, was the provincial organization exemplified by the signing of the federal pacts of May and June. The main feature of federal republicanism in 1869 was the failure to co-ordinate these two activities or to define the relationship between the elected representatives in the Cortes and the new organization set up by the pacts. Two viewpoints conflicted; one, represented unequivocally by Pi, stressed the importance of parliamentary opposition by a small compact Federal Republican party exploiting the differences in the revolutionary coalition, combined with 'the greatest moral agitation' in the press and the clubs. The other, representing purely local interests, repudiating any sort of

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