Chapter

The Revolution from Above

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205074.003.0008
The Revolution from Above

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The strategy of the so-called revolution from above, associated with Francisco Silvela and above all with his successor as leader of the Conservatives, Antonio Maura, was a coherent attempt to regenerate the regime in the troubled conditions of post-Disaster Spain. Because they had both been long-standing critics of the status quo, their very appointment as party leaders was a clear sign that the political establishment was conscious of the urgent need for change. Indeed, the more far-sighted amongst them believed that unless the political system was radically reformed, it would be swept aside by a revolution from below. The failure of the revolution from above was due to the intractable problems of early 20th-century Spain, which were summed up earlier as the dual crisis of legitimacy and modernization — the legacy of the wars of 1895–8, the rise of mass politics, the contradictions between modernity and tradition, and the ideological polarization which all this encouraged.

Keywords: Spain; political system; political change; revolution; Francisco Silvela; Antonio Maura

Chapter.  10374 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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