The democratic Six-Years

The Revolution of September of 1868 overthrew Isabel II, who started to the exile accompanied by her confessor, saint Antoni Maria Claret. It was opened a constituent period, governed by the general Joan Prim, that rehearsed reforms never shits in the Spanish State: the masculine universal suffrage, the abolition of the slavery, the freedom of cults, the monetary unit and the economic liberalism, the freedom of the press, the abolition of the military service, the federalism, the reduction in the child work, the legal development of the worker’s movement... It lasted six years, with three periods: provisional government of general Prim (October 1868- December 1870), constitutional monarchy of Amadeus I (January 1871- February 1873) and Second Spanish Republic (February 1873 - December 1874). The Revolution of 1868 had an anti Bourbon component fort in Catalonia. In Barcelona, the symbol of their repression, the Ciutadella was assaulted, which would be demolished and transformed into park. In the first elections with masculine universal suffrage, they won the federal republicans. They intended to fit Catalonia in the new democratic state loyally, without renouncing to its singularity and retrieving part of its self-government. They aspired to an Iberian federal republic, which included Portugal and Cuba. In those moments, the only republics that there were the Helvetica Confederation and the United States of America, that were the models of the Catalans. But in Spain they won the monarchists, and the Parliament approved of a new monarchic, unitary and centralist constitution. As a reaction, in Catalonia there was a republican raising on September of 1869, of some 8.000 armed men. On the 1st October, the city of Reus -among other- proclaimed the Federal Democratic Republic, in the middle of a big peaceful party. A Revolutionary Board was constituted, who invited all the Spanish people to joining in with it, which they did not achieve. Also Reus was the first city of the state that instituted the civil marriage and that registered a baby civilly. Simultaneously, had started the war of Cuba among the insurgents and the Spanish State, which had strong repercussions in Catalonia, due to the great common interests fruit of the Catalan emigration to the Antilles and to the recruitment of Catalan soldiers on the part of the Spanish government to send them to the island to suffocate the revolt. Thus, in March of 1870 there was a mutiny in the plan of Barcelona against the military service, for repressing which the town of Grace was bombed. Joan Prim had to search a king out of the family Bourbon. The Portuguese and German candidates renounced to the Spanish Crown, letting only the option of Amadeus of Savoy, son of Victor Manuel II, the Usurper in the Pope of the Pontific States and the city of Rome, which provoked a great scandal of the Catholic public opinion of Catalonia and of Spain. Joan Prim i Prats died murdered on the 30th December of 1870, a day before the arrival of the brilliant Amadeus I. Gaudí always commended Prim as a ruler. He said many years afterwards, in 1917: "If did not have a so miserable end, he would have marked ways of salvation in the hapless Spain". And in 1921 he repeated the praises, comparing the political constitutions with the architectural projects and taking into account that Prim, as a ruler, made immortal the name of the city of Reus. To the disciple Cèsar Martinell, he told that "Prim seed the political situation of his time best than anybody". In April of 1872 the Third Carlist War burst. Charles VII promised that, if he won, he would give back the Catalans the jurisdictions abolished by Philip V. In Catalonia, the Carlist were more forts than before, and conquered cities that had never been theirs in the two former wars. Thus, on 30 June of 1872 they entered into Reus, and one of the battles took place in the street Sant Joan, in front of the hut of the Gaudí. Amadeus I -that had visited Reus on the 11th September of 1871- abdicated. On the 11th February of 1873 the First Spanish Republic was proclaimed. In Spain it was seen like an interference and imposition of the Catalans in the government of Spain, and the press of Madrid manifested again and stocked up again the most virulent anti Catalans. To discredit the Republic, they presented it like a Catalan thing. In Catalonia, nevertheless, it continued the civil war. On the 25th July of 1873, the Carlist entered into Riudoms, from where they were frightened away by a column of volunteers of Reus. Everything passed very near the Mas de la Calderera. The Catalan bourgeoisie -social group in which the Gaudí i Cornet wanted their sons to place, through the university studies- kept on distancing in little in little of the Democratic Six-Year. They showed contrary to pioneering the progressive abolition of the slavery in Puerto Rico (where there were very few slaves and an experimental prolog was from the one that would spend in Cuba, where there were hundreds of thousands, many of them property of Catalans) and to the gradual implantation of the free trade. To measure that it passed the time, many became frightened of the power of the working organizations and of the impossibility about the democratic regime of winning to the Carlist and to the independence movement Cuban. Finally, because of that, they gave enthusiastic support to the triumphant disembarkation of the son of the ex-queen Isabel II, Alfonso XII, in Barcelona on the 7th January of 1875, with which the Restoration started.

Josep Maria Tarragona, April 4, 2007

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Last update: 06/05/2016