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

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

7
Challenge from the Left: Benevolents and Intransigents, 1871-2

FOR the next two years Spain was a democratic monarchy ruled by a king determined to give no cause for offence to national pride and by ruling constitutionally to avoid the accusation that he was a 'party King'. But, ridiculed and lampooned by Alphonsists, Carlists, and Republicans, he was forced to rely on those who had voted for him in the Cortes. He remained the 'King of the 191'. Among these were not only the 'pure' Amadeist supporters of the Progressive-Democrat coalition but the majority of the Unionists under Serrano, who, Montpensierists at heart, reconciled themselves to Amadeo and threw their energies into preventing him from becoming the tool of the Progressives. Serrano's policy, therefore, was to agitate for a ministry of conciliation in which the Unionists might be able to exert an influence out of proportion to their numerical strength. As this coincided with Amadeo's desire to prevent his subordination to any single party the first ministry of his reign was one of conciliation in which Progressives, Democrats, and Unionists were represented.

However, Amadeo's position was insecure from the outset because of mutual hatred among the Amadeist parties. Progressives and Democrats distrusted Serrano's intentions, but they were unable to ignore him because of his influence in the Army. Neither Sagasta nor Zorrilla, the two contenders for Prim's position as leader of the Progressives, had much influence among the officers; they were the civilian managers who found themselves tied by a promotion policy which Prim had been forced to adopt to keep the Army loyal. These promotions had irritated the older generals, who now found their champion in Serrano. He was a political opportunist, an inveterate intriguer, vacillating and dominated by

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