Chapter

Heading towards ‘disaster’

José Álvarez-Junco

in Spanish Identity in the Age of Nations

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780719075797
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701737 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719075797.003.0011
Heading towards ‘disaster’

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Up until 1898, nation-building in Spain had been achieved with some degree of success. Though feeling somewhat inferior to its more wealthy neighbours and with visible colonial scars, the nation had so far survived without amputations to its Peninsular body and had even held on to a part of its possessions in the Americas and Australasia, not to mention the promise of a future in Africa. However, reality is never far away. A State cannot survive by resting on its laurels. National projects cannot merely look to the past, but have to look forward to future goals. Without a forward-looking programm—at that time, Spanish nationalism had none—the field is left open for rivals to demonstrate that the ‘nation’ sleeps. In the Spanish case, this rude awakening came in 1898. The United States of America, though a young country with no history was already the world's leading industrial power and there was pressure from within industrial and political circles to expand its political influence in the Caribbean and the Pacific. In both areas, particularly the nearby Caribbean, the old Spanish monarchy offered a perfect target for such ambition.

Keywords: Spain; nation-building; nationalism; United States; Spanish monarchy

Chapter.  13174 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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