Building Barricades Against Reform: The Legalist Right, 1931–3

  • Paul Preston


The victory of republican and Socialist candidates in the big towns in the municipal elections of 12 April 1931 generated considerable apprehension among many members of the middle and upper classes. The subsequent decision of Alfonso XIII to leave Spain, and the coming of the Republic on 14 April, signified for them rather more than a simple change of regime. The monarchy symbolised in their minds a hierarchical concept of society, with education controlled by the Church and the social order jealously guarded against change. Hitherto, growing popular resentment of harsh industrial conditions and a manifestly unjust distribution of land had been kept in check by the Civil Guard and, in moments of greater tension, the army. Until 1923, albeit with increasing difficulty, the monarchy’s parliamentary system was so managed by means of electoral falsification that universal suffrage never seriously challenged the monopoly of power enjoyed by the great oligarchical parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives. However, in that year, the parties had been supplanted by the Dictatorship. Those of the old politicians who did not throw in their lot with the Dictator never forgave the King for his unceremonious destruction of the constitutional system. Now the Dictator had gone and the King too in his wake.


Socialist Party Agrarian Reform Mass Support Wheat Price Youth Movement 
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© Paul Preston 1978

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  • Paul Preston

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