Spanish Constitution of 1812 characteristics end Consequences

Spanish Constitution of 1812

Constitutional text promulgated in 1812 by the Spanish General Courts, in the city of Cádiz. In this article we will provide you the information about the Spanish Constitution of 1812.

The Spanish Constitution of 1812, also known as the Constitution of Cádiz, was a constitutional text promulgated in 1812 by the Spanish General Courts, meeting in the city ​​of Cádiz .

Its importance lies in the fact that it was the first constitution in Spanish history. It was in force from its promulgation, on March 19, 1812 , until its repeal, on May 4, 1814 , after the end of the Spanish War of Independence and the return to the throne of King Ferdinand VII.

Later it was applied again from March 8, 1820, when Fernando VII was forced to swear by the rebellion of Rafael de Riego , until the end of the Liberal Triennium, in 1823. It was in force again between 1836 and 1837 , while the Constitution of 1837 was being written.

Due to its defense of individual rights , its willingness to modify or suppress certain institutions of the Old Regime and its ideal of improving society, it is considered one of the most liberal constitutions of the time.

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Historic context S

In 1806, in the context of the Napoleonic wars , the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte established a continental blockade on Great Britain that prevented the British from having any type of commercial exchange with the rest of Europe, with the aim of causing their economic ruin.

Faced with Portugal’s refusal to abide by this blockade, Napoleon decided to invade this kingdom, and the Spanish King Carlos IV authorized the French troops to cross the territory of Spain to reach Portugal.

The attitude of Carlos IV generated unrest in Spain, so an opposition movement was created led by Fernando, the king’s eldest son. In some regions, conflicts broke out between the local population and French forces.

In March 1808 a rebellion known as the Mutiny of Aranjuez broke out in Madrid , which demanded that Carlos IV cede power to his son, who was crowned Fernando VII.

In May, Napoleon Bonaparte offered to mediate between father and son and, for this purpose, summoned them to his palace in Bayonne, in southern France. Once Carlos IV and Fernando VII concurred, Napoleon captured both of them and handed over the crown of Spain to his brother José Bonaparte.

The Spanish formed government boards in the territories not yet conquered by the French to organize the resistance. In Seville, a Central Board with representatives of said boards, assumed sovereignty to govern Spain on behalf of Fernando VII, until he regained his freedom.

At the beginning of 1810 the French occupied Seville. The Central Board was dissolved and several of its members took refuge in Cádiz, which was protected by the British fleet. A Regency Council was then formed to continue the fight against the French. That government summoned the Spanish General Courts , which on March 19, 1812 approved the Constitution of Cádiz.

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Characteristics of Spanish Constitution of 1812

The main characteristics of the Constitution of Cádiz were the following:

  • It established the sovereignty of the Nation , not that of the king.
  • It established the constitutional monarchy as a form of government, establishing the division of powers and thus limiting the authority of the monarch.
  • He proclaimed indirect universal male suffrage .
  • It established the freedom of the press , of industry, of commerce and the right to private property .
  • He abolished the feudal lordships.
  • He granted Spanish citizenship to all those born in the American colonies, whether they were Creole, mestizo or indigenous.
  • It consecrated Spain as a Catholic confessional state , since it expressly prohibited any other religion.
  • It did not recognize any rights for women.

Consequences of its abolition

The main consequences of the abolition of the Constitution of Cádiz, in 1814, were the following:

  • The restoration of monarchical absolutism and the institutions of the Old Regime. This restoration was supported by Napoleon‘s enemy European monarchies and was consecrated by the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
  • The repression of the supporters of liberalism, including the deputies of the Cortes who sanctioned the Constitution. Many of them were arrested by order of the king, such is the case of Ramón Olaguer Feliú, who was tried and sentenced to 8 years in prison.
  • The option for armed insurrection and / or for the declaration of independence by the majority of the independentist Creoles in the face of the intransigence of the Crown. This process concluded in 1825, with the consolidation of American independence. Only Cuba remained part of the Spanish Empire.

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