Front Page Titles (by Subject) Nineteenth Century Spanish Liberalism - Literature of Liberty, October/December 1979, vol. 2, No. 4
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Nineteenth Century Spanish Liberalism - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, October/December 1979, vol. 2, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Nineteenth Century Spanish Liberalism
“L'emigrazione liberale spagnola in Inghilterra e in Francia (1823–1834). Un problema storiographico aperto.” [“Liberal Spanish Emigration in England and France (1823–1834): An Open Historical Problem”] Nuova Rivista Storica 62 (January 1978): 133–152.
The tumultuous state of politics in Spain during the nineteenth century drove many into exile. Each change of regime precipitated an emigration both of the leaders and often of the soldiers of the losing party. The importance of this emigration to the evolution of political thought in Spain has long been ignored. Using as his focus the liberal émigrés defeated by Ferdinand VII in 1823, Prof. Stiffoni details the inadequacies of studies which have dealt with this exile group and describes several fruitful questions for future historical analysis.
The Spanish historian Gregorio Marañon has observed that “the Spanish tendency toward isolation has been, to a certain degree, counterbalanced by political emigrations.” The emigrations have been fruitful, in Marañon's view, to the extent that the spirit of revenge makes way for a more open, future-directed stance. This open spirit frees energies from vain dreams of restoring past order and allows for a receptive attitude toward the ideas and mores of the country of exile. Having absorbed these new ideas, returning exiles spur the intellectual and social development of their homeland.
On the intellectual plane, several cases illustrate this process of the exiles' receptivity to new ideas. For example, Alvaro Flórez Estrada's landmark Curso de Economia Politica (1828) reflects the mature fruits of the author's stay in both France and England. His writing demonstrates a critical assimilation of the thoughts of Smith, Ricardo, Malthus, John Stuart Mill, MacCulloch, and even Owen and Saint-Simon. Joaquín Abreu-Orta, exiled liberal member of the Cortes, became a personal friend of Fourier. He participated in the experiment at Condésur-Vesgres and, upon his return in 1834, became a passionate proponent of Fourier's doctrines in Spain. Also, General Espoz y Mina worked together with Jeremy Bentham on a project to define a democratic constitution for Spain.
Among such academic exiles, contact with the Industrial Revolution revealed the pitiful backwardness of Spanish economic development. It likewise demonstrated the need for Spanish liberals to devise a viable agrarian policy for their primarily agricultural nation.
Future historians must go beyond this sketchy description of intellectual influence to provide in-depth, individual profiles of prominent exile thinkers. Lacking this, scholars will persist in their impoverished understanding of subsequent Spanish liberal movements in the nineteenth century, namely the Biennio (1854–1856) and the Sessennio (1868–1873).
Stiffoni also issues a call to elaborate a historical sociology of the liberal movement in exile. Liberal members of the Spanish aristocracy, bourgeoisie, and soldier-laborer class all fled Ferdinand VII's mounting oppression. Analyses of their assimilation or lack of it into the life of the country of exile would significantly clarify any social impact they may have had on Spain after their return in 1834. Such a sociology could also elucidate an important factor in the liberal movement's failure to win the masses of Spaniards to its cause, i.e., the complicity of liberal politicians with the Spanish propertied classes, which had led time after time to the dilution and abandonment of liberal principles for the sake of expedient “moderation.” Until we explore the neglected areas of Spanish liberalism, we will remain ignorant of a significant portion of Western political tradition.