From utopia to chaos.
The First Republic (1873-1874) is one of the most important but least known episodes in the history of Spain. It arose as a consequence of the forced failure of the monarchy of Amadeo of Savoy, and not as a result of a plebiscite or a movement of opinion. Indeed, Spain was still a monarchy when the republic was proclaimed on February 11, 1873.
La Federal, as it was known, was expounded as a political and social utopia that would bring peace, prosperity and happiness. However, the ruling elite demonstrated their contempt for democracy by preferring revolution and coup d’état to legality, consensus and education. During the brief year of the republican government’s existence, five presidents succeeded one after the other. Their mandates were marked by war, European scorn, public disorder, military indiscipline and the threat of war with the United States, as well as by the questioning of national unity with the proclamation of the Catalan State and the expansion of the cantonalista movement that originated in Cartagena. The Republic’s collapse took down with it a blind trust in the exercise of liberties, and damaged the democratic evolution of Spain.