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

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

6
Challenge from the Right: Pi's Hegemony, 1870

DURING the first half of 1870 the Federal party was completely reorganized and by the end of May Pi had been accepted as its official leader. It was he, as President of the newly established Directory, who had to meet the changing conditions brought about in the latter half of the year by the declaration of a republic in France, by the election in the Cortes of Amadeo of Savoy as the new king of Spain, by the increase in the activity of the International which threatened to wean potential supporters away from the party, and by the revival within the republican movement itself of an extremist wing, with a secret organization and devoted to violent revolution.

From January until the end of May, when the new organization was established, three aspects of Federal activity are paramount. These are: the reaction of the party to the changing governmental situation; next, the first Federal Assembly, called to reorganize the party, which set up a central Directory under Pi's presidency; finally, the aftermath of decisions reached at the Assembly in which resentment at Pi's dominance led to an internal struggle for leadership and the demand for a restatement and clarification of federal theory culminating in the Declaration of the Press, the defeat of the Unitarians' attempt to capture the party, and the confirmation of Pi's position.

Although Prim had removed the immediate Federal threat by suppressing the autumn revolts his position in the Government was no stronger. If anything, the removal of opposition had enabled internal differences to assume a more vigorous form, exposing the divisions within the revolutionary coalition. His relations with the Unionists had deteriorated with his adamant

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