Front Page Titles (by Subject) Spain and Political Ideology - Literature of Liberty, Spring 1980, vol. 3, No. 1
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Spain and Political Ideology - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Spring 1980, vol. 3, No. 1 
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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Spain and Political Ideology
“La ideodinámica politica española, entre Rousseau y Marx.” Revista de Estudios Politicos 3(May-June 1978):121–132.
Professor Beneyto traces the diffusion of revolutionary ideas in Spain from the middle of the eighteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. He also describes the zealous efforts of certain regimes during this period to halt the spread such notions. Beneyto thus provides an overview of Spain’s contact with European intellectual currents over a century and a half.
The last half of the eighteenth century witnessed the Spanish government’s most concerted efforts to suppress revolutionary ideas in Spain and in its far-flung colonies. During this period, ministers of the Spanish kings attempted to establish a military “cordon sanitaire” across the Pyrenees. In so doing, they hoped to stem the flow of books and pamphlets from the increasingly free-thinking capital of France. Yet, despite this formidable barrier, seditious material crossed the frontier in large quantities, often in the most unexpected ways—in the linings of hats, as wrapping paper, etc.
Precautions were also taken to prevent ‘contamination’ from other Spaniards. In 1790, King Carlos IV forbade any of his vassals to study abroad without his express permission To discourage the desire to travel or to read subversive literature, Carlos imposed severe restrictions on the teaching of foreign languages. In 1791, the government ordered all newspapers to cease publication—with the sole exception of the authorized Diario de Madrid.
Nonetheless, the idea of popular sovereignty continued to make inroads among Spaniards of all classes. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, a new genre was invented to popularize anti-monarchist ideas—the Catecismos, question-and-answer propaganda manuals modeled after Roman Catholic catechisms. They often contained revolutionary liturgies and Credos, one of which began: “I believe in the French Republic, one and indivisible, creator of equality and freedom. And in General Bonaparte, its only son, our defender. . .”
The books of foreign authors circulated in editions printed abroad, in manuscript form, or in abridged translations. The most avidly read writers included Rousseau, Montesquieu, Benjamin Constant, Destutt de Tracy, De Pract, and Jeremy Bentham. During periods of relative intellectual freedom, the Ateneo de Madrid, a major center of liberal thought, undertook translations of these authors’ principal works. Later in the century, Lamennais, De Maistre, De Toqueville, Vico, Gibbon, and Thiers enjoyed periods of wide circulation, often in spite of official disapproval.
The final great ideological influence from abroad was that of Marxism. The Communist Manifesto appeared in the Madrid weekly La Emancipación in 1872, as well as in the Barcelona weekly El Obrero ten years later. Translations of Das Kapital would be issued successively in 1883, 1906, and 1931. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party distinguished itself as the most informed exponent of Marxist thought.
Intellectual life in Spain from 1850 to 1930 offers the fascinating spectacle of determined censorship alternating with almost unbridled freedom. The head-or-tail pattern makes Spanish intellectual life a most difficult, yet worthwhile field of study. This and other articles penned by Prof. Beneyto are aimed at elucidating this significant, but neglected chapter in the ideological history of the West.
Women, Family, and Freedom
The following summaries delve into the condition of women and the family from the perspective of rights and freedom. The beginning traces of feminism in Europe and the United States is discussed by examining the writings of the few philosophers who did address the condition of women’s status: Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Charles Fourier, Saint-Simon, Thomas Hobbes, and John Stuart Mill. The various opinions these men presented had far reaching effects on the development of feminism—both negative, as in the case of Rousseau, and positive, as with John Stuart Mill. As a general rule, before the 19th Century the role of women was a topic that warranted no discussion. Throughout history, women have been considered subordinate to men in every manner— biologically, intellectually, and emotionally. The epigram of Rousseau: “Women are made for man’s delight,” roughly summarizes women’s status in western civilization. The philosophers, such as Saint-Simon, who did address women’s rights were considered avant-garde and even ridiculed. The classical liberal John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women was a landmark in providing an intellectual basis for improving the status of women.
Contemporary views of feminism and its rising influence in the twentieth century are explored in summaries discussing Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, the cultural reaction to lesbianism, the representation of female protagonists in literature, and the political spectrum within feminism. Beauvoir searches out the reasons behind female acquiescence to male domination. She suggests women willingly agree to subordination, believing they are finding both economical and emotional security in their role as a subservient. Other summaries study the evolution of attitudes toward feminism in this century, particularly in literature and politics.
The final summaries discuss the opinion of the populace toward the role of women in modern society and the meaning of family and children. Research studies have detected a continued bias against the worth of women, despite the attention given to women’s rights and freedoms. A study by Eulah Laucks on the value of children discovered a change in attitudes that is trending toward the importance of family life.
These articles cover a brief overview of subjects within the context of women’s freedom, the reasons for the inferior status of women, and how the modern world is responding to the change of women’s roles.