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1 Background Despite widespread beliefs that both Spain and the United States are exceptional ,both have shared in the modern struggles of national integration. Their paths to becoming modern democratic nations embracing diverse populations have not been easy.1 Local or regional loyalties have interfered with the building of a strong national identity or hindered the construction of a powerful state. Tensions between industrial development and agricultural wealth have brought economic elites into conflict. Religious convictions have produced at least as much division as unity. Powerfully entrenched forces that looked toward the past have contended with dynamic groups oriented toward the future. Ideologies that claimed supreme importance have collided. These various internal stresses contributed in each case to a highly destructive civil war, and in each nation the legacies of that conflict have been long lasting. In brief sections on first Spain and then the United States, this chapter attempts to provide a minimal amount of background information— enough to make later comparisons intelligible and useful. Spain’s Torturous Path to Modern European Democracy We consider ourselves, in the cultural and ideological plane, as the heirs of the historical-religious spirit of Trent, of the Counter-Reformation, of the Syllabus, of the battle of the Catholic Church against the grave rationalist errors . . . the “false modern civilization.” José Pemartín Sanjuán, quoted in Raúl Morodo, Los Orígenes ideológicos del franquismo History can deceive us greatly by showing us not the native aptitudes of a people, but rather only those that have been allowed to develop. Miguel de Unamuno, Collected Works 3:716 8 · Uncommonly Savage We are much better off than 30 years ago. King Juan Carlos de Borbón, February 24, 2011 Throughout its long history, Spain developed both within and apart from Europe. By the sixteenth century it had become Europe’s greatest imperial power with extensive New World possessions blessed by the papacy. But its rise to power came after centuries of Arab occupation, the wars of the Reconquest, and the slow and partial extension of monarchical power over various independent regions and cultures. Before Columbus sailed to the Americas, the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, installed the Holy Office of the Inquisition, which pursued heretics and nonbelievers as Spain expelled the Jews and the Moors. Then, as the Reformation caught fire in much of Europe, Felipe II embraced the Counter-Reformation and made his kingdom the chief defender of the Catholic faith. Thus Spain’s period of greatness was closely tied to orthodox Catholicism in Europe and in its New World empire, and as Spain’s imperial power declined, its distance from European currents of change increased. Orthodox Catholic Spain remained isolated from and hostile to Protestantism, the Enlightenment , and substantial elements of economic development. The Napoleonic wars and the events of the nineteenth century introduced modern ideas of constitutionalism, economic liberalism, and widespread suffrage, as well as the beginnings of industrialization. But Spain entered the twentieth century as a society that was only beginning to modernize and still deeply influenced by strong conservative elements that fought against such changes. Thus thinking observers often embraced the idea of“the two Spains”—one that was inspired by the Enlightenment,that was modernizing, attracted to liberalism and democracy, and oriented to Europe, and another centered on the Catholic Church, social and religious orthodoxy,and resistance to all secular and modern thought.2 By the end of the nineteenth century a traditional, hierarchical, and less-advanced country had developed within itself conflicting elements of modern thought and change. On the one hand, patriots opposed to Napoleon’s invasion had written a constitution in 1812 in Cadiz that became“the model for advanced democrats from St. Petersburg to Naples.” Liberal governments in the 1830s had sold church lands in hopes of opening up the economy and creating a class Background · 9 of substantial peasant farmers. After 1890 universal suffrage was the basis of supposedly democratic institutions. On the other hand, those institutions had been“perverted by a selfish oligarchy” and election returns were “manipulated and falsified at will.” The sale of church lands ended up benefiting existing landowners and other powerful groups, while “rural misery ” increased among landless laborers and small proprietors. Most rural dwellers were uneducated and strongly influenced by the local priest. The power of the church, in alliance with large landowners and local notables, remained great, and a standard text for seminaries and Catholic schools taught that the “Holy Office [of the Inquisition] is...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813048932
Print ISBN
9780813049410
MARC Record
OCLC
870646847
Pages
256
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-15
Language
English
Open Access
N
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