Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Al Congreso: Grande fue la honra que merecí a la Nación española, eligiéndome para ocupar un trono...Creí que la corta experiencia de mi vida en el arte de mandar sería suplida por la lealtad de mi carácter, y que hallaría poderosa ayuda para conjurar los peligros y vencer las dificultades que no se ocultan a mi vista en la simpatía de todos los españoles amantes de su patria...Conozco que me engañó mi buen deseo. Dos años largos hace que ciño la Corona de España, y la España vive en constante lucha, viendo cada día más lejana la era de paz y ventura que tan ardientemente anhelo. Si fuesen extranjeros los enemigos de su dicha, entonces, al frente de estos soldados tan valientes como sufridos, sería el primero en combatirlos; pero todos los que con la espada, con la pluma, con la palabra, agravan y perpetran los males de la Nación, son españoles, todos invocan el dulce nombre de la patria, todos pelean y se agitan por su bien; y entre el fragor del combate… entre tantas y tantas opuestas manifestaciones de la opinión pública, es imposible atinar cuál es la verdadera, y más imposible todavía, hallar el remedio a tantos males. Lo he buscado ávidamente dentro de la ley, y no lo he hallado. Fuera de la ley, no ha de buscarlo quien ha prometido observarla. Éstas son, señores Diputados, las razones que me mueven a devolver a la Nación, y en su nombre a vosotros, la Corona que me ofreció el voto nacional, haciendo renuncia de ella por mí, por mis hijos y sucesores. Estad seguros de que, al desprenderme de la Corona, no me desprendo del amor a esta España tan noble como desgraciada, y de que no llevo otro pesar que el de no haberme sido posible procurarle todo el bien que mi leal corazón para ella apetecía.                                                                                        
Amadeo de Saboya, 10 febrero 1873

This text is historical and circumstantial text because it is about the abdication of Amadeus of Savoy.
Through this paper the king justifies his decision to leave the Spanish crown. It’s written for the Spanish people, but addressed to the deputies of the Cortes. By this speech he wishes to express  his discontent and decisions. It is a primary source.
Amadeo was the second son of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy, of the House of Savoy, and Adelaide of Austria (great-granddaughter of Charles III of Spain, great great grandfather of Amadeo). The exile of Isabel II led to a provisional government headed by Serrano but in 1869 constitution, a constitutional monarchy was established, therefore it was decided to look for a new monarch which was Amadeo, because he had all the necessary qualities. His ruled was between 16th of November, 1870 to 11th of February, 1873.

We are in the Democratic Sexenio (1868-1874), a period between the Isabella’s dethroning by the Glorious Revolution and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy with Alfonso XII. In this context we find a strong instability in power.
Amadeus, King Victor Emmanuel´s son of Italy, swore the Constitution in 1871. Amadeus I´s reign was a failure because governments rapidly changed. The Spanish population did not accept a foreign king, also had the support of the army. There were many problems that led him to abdicate and leave Spain in 1873.
Amadeus  only had the support of General Prim who was murdered before  Amadeus ‘ arrival  in Spain. Also there were a lot of problems like a new Carlist War, an independence war in Cuba, Republicans who wanted to end the monarchical regime and the disputes between the monarchic parties and the attempts to restore the Bourbon dynasty. This year Amadeus I abdicated and the first Republic was proclaimed (1873-1874).

Main idea: Amadeus I’s decision to abdicate: Amadeus states that "Spain lives in constant struggle" and the enemies of the country are all the factions that are more worried to fight one other and access the power  than governing a state that carries multiple problems from a long time ago. Amadeus explains that he has tried to rule, but as he can’t do anything else to improve the people’s lives, he has decided to leave
Amadeo think that the main enemies of Spain are among the Spaniards, and belong to all social classes. He complains about the lack of support among political groups.
At the beginning of October, a Provisional Government was formed, presided by General Serrano and made up by 5 progressives and 4 unionists only. They ordered the dissolution of the revolutionary boards and the disarmament of the Freedom Volunteers (Voluntaries de la Libertad, urban militia appeared in September). The boards that resisted were dissolved by force. They made economic decisions also and call of the elections to Constituent Cortes, which wrote the 1869 Constitution, which included universal suffrage, as the manifesto promised. As the Cortes decided that Spain would continue to be a monarchy, General Serrano was appointed Regent and General Prim became prime minister and was in charge of looking for a monarch for the country. There were several candidates, discarded by different reasons (Duke of Montpensier, Ferdinand of Coburg, Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Espartero…). Finally, the Italian Amadeus of Savoy accepted and was voted by the Cortes, but some days before his arrival, on the 30th December 1870, Prim was killed.
The provisional government also had to face the outbreak of an independence war in Cuba (Ten Years´War or Great Cuba War, between 1868 and 1878) started in October 1868 with the Cry of Yara, an independence manifesto issued by the Creole Carlos Manuel Céspedes who promised the abolition of slavery. But the sugar oligarchy of the West of the island opposed and confronted both the rebels and Spanish government.
Amadeus I had very little support from the beginning because the aristocrats didn´t accept him, the hierarchy of the church and the people too.  Besides, there were continuous disputes in the government coalition and the progressive party split up into two groups (constitutional, led by Sagasta and radicals, led by Zorrilla). The workers and peasants also lost patience, because the expected reforms didn´t arrive. In addition a new Carlist War (the third one) broke up in 1872 with a new pretender to the throne (Charles VII). Finally Amadeus I had a confrontment with the government due to some military appointments in the artillery crops and decide to abdicate on the 10th February 1873. As there wasn´t any option the Cortes, voted for the Republic on the 11th February. It lasted for 11 months and was characterized by its permanent instability and the accumulation of difficulties made it impossible to put any program into practice.

This text is an example of constitutional monarchy: the king is aware that the power he has comes from the people and, as he can’t do his work as he expected, he gives the power back to the people.
With the arrival of the Republic the problems of Amadeus I’s reign didn´t solve, like the Carlist war which didn’t end until 1876 and the conflict with Cuba, which lasted until 1878.

Finally the period of Democratic Sexenio culminates with failure due to the restoration of the Bourbons’ Monarchy with Alphonse XII in 1875.

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