Regenerationism: The Revolt of the Middle Classes

Sebastian Balfour

in The End of the Spanish Empire, 1898–1923

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780198205074
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676482 | DOI:
Regenerationism: The Revolt of the Middle Classes

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The Disaster stimulated anguished enquiries into the history and the soul of the nation in Spain. On all sides of the political spectrum, writers, journalists and politicians and, no doubt, amateur philosophers in cafes and casinos, delved into the reasons for Spain's decline and the nature of its identity. The resulting search for the essence of nationhood was informed by a determination on the part of many to avoid the rhetoric of the past. Accordingly, such philosophical enquiry was accompanied by eminently practical proposals for Spain's redemption. This movement of opinion came to be known as Regenerationism. In the ferment that followed the Disaster, no concrete alternative to the political system emerged from among the disaffected sectors of the middle classes. Divided by distinct economic and regional interests and disdaining any alliance with anti-dynastic organizations, the regenerationist movement failed to capitalize on the crisis of legitimacy of the established order. But regenerationism profoundly altered the way many Spaniards saw their country.

Keywords: Spain; national identity; middle class; regenerationist movement; political system

Chapter.  12071 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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