Constitutionalism in the Hispanic World
Summary and Keywords
The concept of a constitution, a political entity that determines how a people are governed, emerged in ancient times. The government of the Roman Republic (509–27 BC) influenced the Western world. Later, Romanized Visigoths adopted a charter, the Fuero Juzgo (654), in the Iberian Peninsula that integrated Roman and Visigothic legal systems. The document influenced regional political entities throughout the Middle Ages. In the 13th century, each of the realms of the Iberian Peninsula adopted individual rather than shared fundamental codes. In 1265, King Alfonso X established Castilla’s and Leon’s first constitution, the Siete Partidas. The New World obtained its own legal system, known as the Derecho Indiano (Laws of the Indies). Like the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, those of America created a compact between the monarch and the citizens of each realm rather than Hispanic America as a whole. These systems of uncodified legislation evolved to meet changing circumstances and societal norms. They provided corporations and individuals expanding opportunities for indirect and direct experience in self-government.
In 1808, an unexpected upheaval transformed the Hispanic world. The French invaded Spain. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte lured the royal family into France, compelled them to abdicate in his favor, and then granted the Spanish monarchy to his brother, José. The Spanish people did not accept the usurper king, José I. They formed the Junta Central to oppose the invaders. As the French continued to conquer the nation, they convened a Cortes, which met on September 24, 1810, in the port of Cádiz. Approximately 220 deputies, including sixty-five Americans and two Filipinos, eventually participated in the extraordinary Cortes of Cádiz. Deputies representing overseas dominions played a central role in developing the most progressive constitution of the 19th century. Despite the political chaos that surrounded the constituent congress, the delegates debated and eventually reached consensus on a modern, flexible charter that reconciled the competing interests of the multiplicity of areas and ideological positions represented at the assembly. They produced a constitution for the entire Hispanic world that made the executive and the judiciary subordinate to the legislature. It also increased the scope of political activity by establishing representative government at three levels: the city or town with a thousand or more inhabitants (constitutional ayuntamiento), the province (provincial deputation), and the monarchy (Cortes). The charter transferred political power from the center to the localities, and incorporated large numbers of people into the political process for the first time by redefining the concept of active citizenship (i.e., those eligible to vote). This fundamental document formed the basis for constitutional development throughout the Hispanic monarchy and for most charters promulgated in the nations that emerged after the breakup of that political entity.
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles, or established precedents, governing a political entity or other organization. If these rules exist in a number of written documents, or if the established precedents are widely known but not written, they may constitute an unwritten constitution. If the charter consists of a single comprehensive document, it is considered a written or a codified constitution. Those documents, however, are incomprehensible in isolation. It is necessary to take into account the conditions in which they came into being. In some cases, a single individual ruler dictated the elemental principles, or a series of rulers established precedents over time. In others, assemblies of various forms determined these central or structural tenets. The author or authors acted within a particular temporal and socioeconomic milieu. This article examines major aspects of constitutional development in the Hispanic world.
Since the English constitution is not written, most people associate the origins of constitutions with the charters of the United States (1787) and France (1791-1793-1795). Other scholars consider the code of justice issued by the Sumerian king Urukagina of Lagash (c. 2,300 BC) in ancient Mesopotamia to be the first constitution. However, we only know that charter through other accounts. Although the Code of Ur-Nammu of Ur (c. 2050 BC) is the oldest document in existence, other charters appeared in the region about the same time. Perhaps the best known legal code is the charter of Hammurabi of Babylonia (c. 1772 BC).
However, the traditions of the ancient Greeks and Romans are the most relevant for understanding constitutional development in the Western world. As Paul Cartledge states: “Much of our political terminology is Greek in etymology: aristocracy, democracy, monarchy, oligarchy, plutocracy, tyranny, to take just the most obvious examples, besides politics itself and its derivatives. Most of the remainder—citizens, constitution, dictatorship, people, republic and state—have an alternative ancient derivation, from the Latin.”1
Unlike the Greek city-states, Rome was a republic rather than a direct democracy. Romans admired the Greeks, particularly the Athenians, and translated their major works into Latin, thus preserving those classic texts. Nevertheless, the government of the Roman Republic (509–27 BC influenced most political theorists in the West over the centuries. Indeed, most contemporary regimes are modeled on the government of the Republic of Rome, which is considered a mixed government because it included the rulers (two consuls), an aristocratic elite (the senate), and the people (the assembly). “According to Polybius [a Greek living in Rome in the 2nd century BC], it was the balance of these three institutions that gave Rome its exceptional stability. The three powers checked and balanced each other, thus avoiding the abuses of power that afflicted all pure constitutions (monarchy, aristocracy or democracy) . . .”2
As Rome declined, about 300 Romanized tribal clans of Visigoths entered the Iberian Peninsula in the 5th century and eventually came to dominate it. About 20,000 Visigoths controlled a million Hispano-Romans, most of whom were Roman Catholics. In order to rule that majority, the reformer king Leovigildo merged Roman and Germanic governing practices and convened Catholic Church councils in the capital city of Toledo. In 589, shortly after Leovigildo’s death, his successor officially converted to Catholicism. In time, the mixture of Roman and Visigoth law was finished in 654 as Liber Iudiciorum, a document that became the basis for Christian law through the Middle Ages. Later, in 1241, scholars translated the document with some modifications from Latin to Castellano (now known as Spanish) and called it the Fuero Juzgo.3
In 711, Muslims invaded Iberia, defeated the Hispano-Visigoth kingdom, and eventually conquered most of the peninsula. Although the Christians only retained the north, they slowly conducted the reconquista (the reconquest of territory from the Muslims) over centuries. The process led to the creation of small kingdoms and other autonomous polities. Two kingdoms, Castilla and Aragon, became most important in the 13th century. Nevertheless, there were other polities that established charters; some were called fueros and one a constitucions. The following established those documents: Valencia (1238), Aragón (1247), Navarra (1253), Castilla (1255), Cataluña (1283), Guipúzcoa (1397), Alava (1417), Vizcaya (1452), and Portugal (1595).4
A Shared Political Culture
During the Middle Ages, Western Europe developed a common political culture. The works of scholars who created a Western legal and political culture circulated throughout Europe because they were written in Latin, the language of erudition. Some of these treatises advanced the theory of a mixed government. Based upon the political cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, mixed government was a regime in which the one, the ruler; the few, the prelates and the nobles; and the many, the people, shared sovereignty. Mixed governments were considered the best and most lasting because they limited the arbitrary or tyrannical power of the king, the nobles, and the people.5
During the 12th to 15th centuries, cities and commerce expanded in Western Europe, creating a new class who were neither vassals nor nobles. These urban residents emerged as significant political actors in 12th-century Iberia. The cities and towns gained power and influence in León-Castilla because their financial and physical resources, particularly their militias, proved crucial to the Crown during the reconquista.6 In 1188, King Alfonso IX convened the Cortes, the first assembly in Europe that included the three states: the clergy, the nobility, and the cities. Later, King Alfonso X commissioned a group of jurists, members of the chancellery, to prepare a uniform body of normative rules for the kingdom, which was completed in 1265. Originally called the Libro de las Leyes (Book of Laws), it is better known today as the Siete Partidas (Seven Parts). It was Castilla’s first constitution.7
Although the English Magna Carta of 1215 is often considered the foundation of representative government, the first true English parliament, which included the representatives of cities, met in 1275. And though regions of France created parlements (autonomous courts), the first true French congress, the States-General, met in 1302. Subsequently, other areas of Europe also established representative assemblies. All of those bodies convened randomly when the ruler required counsel, and especially when he sought tax increases.8
After the violence of the conquest in which oppressed Indians in the continent supported the Spaniards against Aztecs and Incas, a legal structure was established that recognized the rights of the natives. All the political institutions were the same as the ones that had existed in the Iberian Peninsula. The first settlers established cities and towns with their own governments because those institutions provided them with sovereignty and, therefore, authority.9
The república was the base of government both in the peninsula as in the Indies. There were two repúblicas in the Indies—la República de españoles (the Republic of the Spaniards) and la República de indios (the Republic of Indians). Both possessed forms of representation and autonomy. Although the capital cities of the República de españoles claimed to represent their entire regions, the República de indios also defended their own interests. They sent procuradores to the peninsula from the beginning. Various studies, particularly Woodrow Borah’s and Brian Owensby’s analyses of the Juzgado General de los Indios (general court of the Indians), demonstrate that the natives successfully defended their interests, both in the New World and in the Old. They relied extensively on the judicial system to protect them from other groups in New Spain, which to an amazing degree supported their claims.10
Spanish America originally consisted of two viceroyalties, New Spain and Peru; the Crown further subdivided South America when it established the viceroyalties of New Granada and the Río de la Plata in 1739 and 1776, respectively. But the most enduring territorial units were those areas administered by the audiencias (high courts), often referred to as reinos (kingdoms). With the exception of the two audiencias of New Spain, these were the areas that became the new nations of Spanish America. New Spain possessed two audiencias, Mexico and Guadalajara. The other audiencias of Spanish America consisted of Guatemala (Central America), Santa Fé de Bogotá (New Granada), Caracas (Venezuela), Quito (Quito), Charcas (Alto Perú), Lima (Peru), Santiago (Chile), Buenos Aires (Río de la Plata), Santo Domingo (Caribbean), and Manila (Philippines). All those territories were governed by cities that were governed by ayuntamientos, which administered smaller towns.
The people of the New World also demanded the right to exercise authority in their lands. Indeed, they claimed that they should have a virtual monopoly of cargos (offices). Many tratadistas (legal scholars) in Spain and the overseas kingdoms supported this view. Perhaps the most distinguished exponent of that concept was the eminent Castilian jurist and royal official Juan de Solórzano Pereira, who insisted that natives should have preference in appointments not only to civil but also to clerical cargos. His Política indiana, published in 1649 after nearly two decades of experience in the Indies, held that the New World polities were kingdoms of the Spanish monarchy that “must be ruled and governed as if the king who holds them all together were king only of each one of them.”11 It was a view that 18th-century Americans embraced and repeated often. As Fray Servando Teresa de Mier, one of the most distinguished defenders of the rights of Americans, declared:
it is evident that under the constitution granted by the kings of Spain to the Americas, these lands are kingdoms independent of her [Spain] without any other link but the king who according to political theorists, must govern us as though he were the king of each of them [the American realms]. When I refer to the social pact of the Americans, I do not refer to Rousseau’s implicit pact. Rather, it consists of the pact between the Kingdom of New Spain and the sovereign of Castile. The rupture or suspension of that pact results, as an inevitable consequence, in the resumption of sovereignty by the Nation. When that occurs, sovereignty reverts to the original owner.12
Revolution in the Hispanic World
The government of the Roman Republic (509–27 BC) had influenced political theorists in the West over the centuries. Polybius’s work on the Roman Republic, which 18th-century intellectuals translated into contemporary European languages, became widely known throughout the Western world, influencing intellectuals and politicians in Europe and in America. Indeed, the Republic of Rome provided the United States virtually all its political concepts, such as the two-member executive branch (president and vice president), the senate, and the assembly (house of representatives), as well as an independent judiciary, the separation of powers, term limits, regularly scheduled elections, checks and balances, quorum requirements, vetoes, block voting, and dilatorily tactics known as the filibuster.13 Many of these principles also are found in the charters of other Western nations because they constituted a substantial part of their common heritage.
Neither the independence of the United States nor the French Revolution convinced the people of Spanish America to sever ties with the Spanish monarchy. Instead, an unexpected upheaval transformed the Hispanic world. In 1808, the French invaded Spain; Emperor Napoleon lured the royal family into France, compelled them to abdicate in his favor, and then granted the Spanish monarchy to his brother, José. The ouster of the Spanish royal family, however, was a new phenomenon in the Hispanic world, which threatened the legitimacy of the monarchy. The usurper king, José I, was not accepted because he represented the atheist French, whose actions threatened the very foundations of Hispanic society—God’s representative on earth (the Church) and the representative of Hispanic rights and liberties (the legitimate king, Fernando VII). Moreover, unlike previous dynastic changes, no Cortes confirmed the transformation.
Although the governing elites in Spain capitulated, the people of the peninsula and the New World were virtually unanimous in their opposition to the French. The external threat underscored the factors that united them: one faith, one monarchy, one general culture, and one society in crisis. They were members of what soon was identified as la Nación Española (the Spanish Nation), a composite nation consisting of the peninsula and the overseas kingdoms. Inspired by the legal foundations of the monarchy, most agreed that in the absence of the king, sovereignty reverted to the people, who possessed the authority and the responsibility to defend the nation.14
The people of America responded to the 1808 crisis of the monarchy with great patriotism and determination. Americans of all races and classes were unanimous in expressing their fidelity to Fernando VII, their opposition to Napoleon, and their determination to defend their faith and their patrias from French domination. They recognized Fernando VII as their legitimate and beloved king, rejected Napoleon, contributed funds to support the war in the peninsula, and prepared to defend the nation from French oppressors. Religion played a prominent role during that time of crisis. The people of Spanish America held public prayers, formal masses, and Te Deums on behalf of the king and the nation.15
In the peninsula, juntas originally formed to govern their provinces and to oppose the French established a Junta Suprema Central y Gubernativa de España e Indias (Supreme Central Governing Committee of Spain and the Indies) that convened on September 25, 1808, to govern a Nación Española that included the peninsula and America and to coordinate the struggle against the invaders. On January 22, 1809, it decreed that each of the ten kingdoms of America and Asia—the viceroyalties of New Spain, New Granada, Peru, and the Río de la Plata and the captaincies general of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guatemala, Venezuela, Chile, and the Philippines—elect a deputy to represent them in the national government.16
Like much of the rest of Western Europe, the Junta Central could not halt the French advance. Forced to retreat into the southern corner of Spain, many citizens of the Nación Española bitterly criticized the junta for its failure. In an attempt to create a more effective government, the junta appointed a regency of five and dissolved itself at the end of January 1810. Elections for the new representative government occurred while warfare engulfed Spain and America. Because many of the occupied provinces of Spain could not hold elections, and because distance delayed the arrival of many American deputies, the regency decreed that individuals residing in Cádiz from the occupied provinces and from overseas elect fifty-three suplentes (substitutes), among them thirty for America and the Philippines.
Unlike earlier Cortes, the congress which met on September 24, 1810, was truly a modern national assembly. It met as one body and its members represented the entire Spanish world. When the Cortes convened, 104 deputies were present, thirty of them representing the overseas territories. Twenty-seven Americans and two Filipinos had been selected as suplentes in Cádiz. Only one of the thirty-six proprietary deputies elected in America arrived in time to attend the opening session. Other proprietary representatives joined the governing body when they arrived. Approximately 220 deputies, including sixty-five Americans and two Filipinos, eventually participated in the extraordinary Cortes in Cádiz. The composition of the Cortes was varied: one-third were clergymen, about one-sixth were nobles, and the remainder were members of the third estate who, because of their professions, might be called “middle class.”17
The writing of the Hispanic Constitution of 1812 was a contentious process. Despite a heated debate among delegates with opposing convictions, a majority compromised with their opponents from Spain and America to the General and Extraordinary Cortes. In session from September 24, 1810, until September 20, 1813, they produced a document in March 1812 that transformed the Spanish monarchy. The Constitution of 1812 was not a Spanish document; it was a charter for the Hispanic world. Indeed, the Constitution of Cádiz would not have taken the form it did without the participation of the representatives of the New World.
The most revolutionary aspects of the Constitution of 1812 were making the executive and judiciary subordinate to the legislature and extending the franchise to the majority of the male population, thereby introducing political participation. The judiciary received little independent power and the executive was subservient to the legislature. Indeed, national sovereignty resided in the Cortes. The Charter of 1812 also dramatically increased the scope of political activity by establishing representative government at three levels: cities or towns with a thousand or more inhabitants (constitutional ayuntamiento), the province (provincial deputation), and the monarchy (Cortes). The constitution transferred political power from the center to localities, as large numbers of people were incorporated into the political process for the first time. Although the elite clearly dominated polities, hundreds of thousands of middle- and lower-class men, including Indians, mestizos, and castas (colored), became involved in politics in a meaningful way and made their presence felt.
The Constitution of 1812, the most radical charter of the 19th century, abolished seigneurial institutions, Indian tribute, forced labor—such as the mita in South America and personal service in Spain—and asserted the state’s control of the Church. It created a unitary state with equal laws for all parts of the Spanish monarchy, substantially restricted the authority of the king, and entrusted the legislature with decisive power. When it enfranchised all adult men, except those of African ancestry, without requiring either literacy or property qualifications, the Constitution of 1812 surpassed all existing representative governments, including those of Great Britain, the United States, and France, in providing political rights to the vast majority of the male population.
The new system required the development of new procedures such as population and electoral censuses and entities such as electoral officials to hold and determine the validity of elections. Since completing these tasks was more difficult in some regions than in others, the pace of implementing the new system varied throughout the Hispanic world. The constitutional elections of 1812–1814 were the first popular elections held in the former Kingdom of New Spain. Nearly one thousand constitutional ayuntamientos were established, the vast majority of them in Indian towns. In some areas, cities and towns held three successive ayuntamiento elections during 1812–1814. Five regions created provincial deputations. Novohispanos (the people of New Spain) elected forty-one deputies to the 1813–1814 ordinary Cortes that met in Madrid and a comparable number for the 1815–1816 congress. The scope of political participation was extraordinary. Hundreds of thousands of citizens, including Indians, mestizos, castas, and blacks, participated in elections and in government at the local, provincial, and monarchy-wide levels.18
The Constitution of Cádiz divided the former Kingdom of Guatemala into two provincial deputations, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The preparatory junta determined that, with a population of 840,000 inhabitants, Central America had the right to elect twelve deputies. Although the documentation is vague, it is probable that local residents established more than a hundred constitutional ayuntamientos in the two provincial deputations, including indigenous people and castas. Only one elected deputy served in the Ordinary Cortes of 1813–1814 in Madrid. However, many Central Americans who had been deputies to the Cortes of Cádiz served as suplentes in the Cortes of Madrid.19
An armed struggle to maintain autonomy that had emerged in South America complicated the electoral process in those realms. Civil wars ravaged the former Kingdom of Venezuela from 1810 to 1814. Royalists and insurgents gained and subsequently lost control of various provinces. In this unstable situation, the six provinces that escaped most of the conflict—Maracaibo, Valencia, Coro, Barcelona, Cumaná, and Margarita—elected constitutional ayuntamientos. Although Caracas attempted to hold elections for deputies to the Cortes of 1813–1814 and the Provincial Deputation of Venezuela when the royalists were in power, researchers have not found definitive evidence that elections occurred.20
The former Kingdom of New Granada also endured civil wars among the centralist State of Cundinamarca headed by Santa Fé de Bogotá, the confederalist United Provinces of New Granada directed by Cartagena de la Indias, and the royalist forces of the provinces of Santa Marta and Panama. The capitals of the royalist provinces formed constitutional ayuntamientos. It is probable that the small towns of those two provinces also established constitutional ayuntamientos, but scholars have not found evidence to substantiate elections.21
It is striking that popular elections occurred in royalist areas in the midst of a violent insurgency. The 1813–1814 elections in the Provincial Deputation of Quito provide an example. Royalist forces under the command of General Toribio Montes crushed the second junta of Quito at the end of 1812, leaving much of northern New Granada in autonomist hands. However, as required by the Hispanic Constitution, General Montes initiated the process of holding popular elections. After months of effort, in June 1813 officials completed the electoral census of the Provincial Deputation of Quito—which included the highland provinces from Pasto and Popayán in the north to Loja in the south; Marañon, Mainas, and Jaén de Bracamoros in the eastern jungles; and the northern coastal provinces of Barbacoas and Esmeraldas. In the period September 1813 to January 1814, residents formed over thirty constitutional ayuntamientos. Since some regions were occupied by the enemy, the authorities determined that the Provincial Deputation of Quito had the right to elect six proprietary deputies and two suplentes. The election of deputies to the Cortes and the provincial deputation in the former Kingdom of Quito proved to be lengthy and complicated. Finally, eighteen representatives met in Quito on August 24–26, 1814, to elect six deputies to the Cortes, two suplentes, and seven deputies to the provincial deputation. As occurred in other areas of the New World, the quiteños selected Americans rather than peninsulares to represent them. Ironically, what they had been unable to win by force, the quiteños accomplished through the ballot.22
The Constitution of Cádiz divided the former Kingdom of Peru into two provincial deputations, Peru and Cuzco. The preparatory junta determined in February 1813 that with a population of 1,180,669 inhabitants, Peru had the right to elect twenty-two deputies to the Cortes.23 However, only eight deputies managed to attend the Cortes of Madrid. The provincial deputation was formally established on April 30, 1813; it functioned until October 1814, when news arrived that Fernando VII had restored the Antiguo Régimen. Although it is evident that communities throughout the Provincial Deputation of Peru formed constitutional ayuntamientos, scholars only have carried out detailed studies of events in Lima.24
The Constitution of 1812 had a far-reaching impact in Cuzco. There the provincial deputation functioned from September 1813 to November 1814. The provincial government held elections for its seven deputies to the Cortes in April 1813. None of the deputies arrived in Madrid to participate in the first ordinary session of the legislature. At the local level, residents held elections for constitutional ayuntamientos in the entire provincial deputation. However, scholars have only carried out detailed studies of events in Cuzco and Puno. This research demonstrates that the populace recognized the importance of the opportunities provided by the new system to defend their interests, particularly the areas independent from Lima. Instead of returning to the Antiguo Régimen as the restored King Fernando VII ordered, local leaders established an autonomous junta.25
The situation in Charcas (present-day Bolivia) is unclear. Royalist forces from Peru and armies from Buenos Aires invaded the region, and the population endured unrelenting warfare. No evidence has emerged to indicate that residents formed the Provincial Deputation of Charcas. Although some researchers assert that officials took steps to organize elections for deputies to the Cortes in 1812, that does not seem probable because there was insufficient time and political stability to hold elections. Moreover, documents in the peninsula only refer to one deputy from Charcas who was in Cádiz as a suplente. However, local populations did hold elections for constitutional ayuntamientos.26 Scholars of the region are engaged in research that will expand our understanding of events in this area and in other Andean regions.
The Constitution of Cádiz divided the Caribbean into three provincial deputations: Cuba with the two Floridas, Puerto Rico, and Santo Domingo. Residents of towns and villages in the first two provincial deputations held elections for constitutional ayuntamientos. It also appears that there were elections for the Cortes and the provincial deputation.27 Scholars have only begun to study this period in Santo Domingo.
Had all the provinces of America eligible to elect deputies exercised that right, 149 delegates would have represented the New World, just a few less than the number from Spain. However, circumstances in America prevented many elections from taking place. Sixty-five deputies from the New World participated in the ordinary Cortes of October 1, 1813, to May 10, 1814. Only twenty-three were elected under the new constitutional system. The other forty-two were suplentes. American deputies in the 1813–1814 Cortes represented the following provinces: Cuba (3 representatives), the Floridas (1), Puerto Rico (1), Santo Domingo (1), New Spain (19), Guatemala (7), Venezuela (3), New Granada (2), Panama (1), Quito (1), Guayaquil (1), Peru (18), Charcas (1), Montevideo (1), Río de la Plata (3), and Chile (1). After the defeat of the French, King Fernando VII returned from captivity in France and abolished the Constitution of Cádiz on May 4, 1814.28
Spanish American Constitutions
The dramatic French victories of 1809, which drove the Junta Central to Cádiz, convinced many Americans and some peninsulares in the New World that Spain might not survive as an independent nation. Fear of domination by the French emperor, widely known in the Spanish world as el tirano (the tyrant), strengthened the desire of many in America to govern at home. In 1809–1810, movements for autonomy emerged in Charcas, Quito, Venezuela, Río de la Plata, New Granada, New Spain, and Chile, all seeking to establish local juntas in the name of the imprisoned King Fernando VII. The American juntas based their actions on the same juridical principle that their peninsular counterparts invoked: In the absence of the king, sovereignty reverted to the people. As Quito declared: “the imperious circumstances had forced it to ensure the sacred interests of its religion, its prince, and its patria.”29
Several factors complicated the subsequent struggle: Some Spaniards and Americans in the New World who believed that the Council of Regency was, indeed, the legitimate government opposed the formation of local juntas; some provinces within the American kingdoms concluded that they too possessed the right to form their own local governments, a view that their capital cities rejected with force; in some regions, the elites were divided among themselves; and in some instances, conflict broke out between the cities and the countryside. Thus, civil wars erupted in the New World that pitted supporters of the Spanish national government against the American juntas, the capitals against the provinces, the elites against one another, and urban groups against rural groups.30
The people of the South American regions that had not fully participated in the political revolution carried out by the Cortes during the years 1810–1814 lacked a clear sense of their options. Whereas the Spanish Cortes had introduced popular elections, the South American autonomists had restricted representation to the established groups of society. In addition, they failed to resolve the conflicts between capital cities, which insisted upon centralism, and the provinces, which favored federalism. South American autonomists could not agree on the type of government best suited for their countries. Whereas some favored establishing republics, others preferred monarchies. All were influenced to some degree by the debates of the Cortes of Cádiz. They believed that the Catholic Church was the only one permitted. Although they accepted the three branches of government, which came from ancient Rome, like the Cortes they favored strong legislatures and weak executives and justices.
In an effort to unite the Kingdom of Venezuela, the Junta Suprema in Caracas convened a congress to determine the future of the area. Since the Junta Central’s decree for elections to the Cortes had been received by the provincial cities, the Caracas government reluctantly granted all cities and towns the right to hold elections during the months of October and November 1810 for a General Congress of Venezuela to meet in Caracas in March 1811. Despite the fact that the moderate elites who controlled the congress were concerned with preserving social order in the region, regional autonomists successfully pressured the assembly to declare independence on July 5, 1811. The congress, influenced by the Cortes of Cádiz, completed drafting the constitution on December 21, 1811. The new charter abolished hereditary and institutional privileges, eliminated the slave trade (but not slavery), created a federal system, continued legislative dominance, and retained the weak triumvirate as the executive. While it decreed legal equality for all free men, it retained privileges based on property requirements for active citizenship. Moreover, the government established a national guard to regulate slaves, and introduced vagrancy laws and restrictions on the llaneros who worked in the countryside. It was a regime by and for the elite. Although the acta de independencia did not refer to a republic, the short-lived government of Venezuela (July 15, 1811–July 25, 1812) is generally known as the First Republic. It was ousted by the royalists on July 25, 1812.31
New Granada, present-day Colombia, recognized the authority of the imprisoned king Fernando VII and convened representatives of the provinces to organize a government. Since most provinces were establishing their own autonomous governments, the capital, Santa Fé de Bogotá, convened an assembly to write a constitution. In March 1811, the assembly created the State of Cundinamarca, which recognized “Don Fernando VII by the Grace of God and by the will of the people, legitimately and constitutionally authorized, King of the cundimarqueses.”32
The congress promulgated the Act of Federation of the United Provinces of New Granada on November 27, 1811. The new charter created a confederation of autonomous provinces with an extremely weak national government in which most authority was vested in the congress. The president, “if there were one with separate attributes, or . . . the executive power, if it were created,” would be subordinate to the congress of the confederation. In the meantime, the executive consisted of three individuals. Five provinces (Antioquia, Cartagena, Neiva, Pamplona, and Tunja) approved the act, and two (Cundinamarca and Chocó) rejected it.33 Thus, the congress convened to promote national unity only succeeded in splitting New Granada. Three contending political blocs existed at the end of 1811—the areas under royalist control, the State of Cundinamarca, and the United Provinces of New Granada.
Shortly before the enactment of the Act of Federation, on November 11, 1811, Cartagena declared independence from the monarchy. Although Cartagena’s acta de independencia, unlike the one from Caracas, indicted the rule of the Spanish monarchy, its criticisms were mild and perfunctory. The acta concentrated on the rupture of the ancient compact in 1808, the subsequent chaotic governments in Spain, the threats of the Council of Regency, and the failure of the Cortes to grant equal representation to Americans. The acta concluded by declaring: “The Province of Cartagena of the Indies is from today, in fact and by law, a free, sovereign, and independent state.” In many ways, Cartagena’s declaration of independence was an indictment of Bogotá’s pretentions to speak for and dominate the former viceroyalty. The Act of Federation established a Presidente Gobernador associated with two consultants who deliberated, and all three had to sign if their decisions were to be accepted. The legislature represented the public.
Although constituent assemblies were meeting in many provinces, none followed Cartagena’s example of declaring independence. Instead, several promulgated constitutions as called for in the Act of Federation. Tunja took the lead in establishing a republic on December 9, 1811. Antioquia and Cartagena formed states on May 3 and June 14, 1812, respectively. The constitutions of the federal states, like the Act of Federation, established weak executives and powerful legislatures.34 While they sought autonomy, they remained hesitant about independence.
Civil war between the centralists and the federalists engulfed New Granada during the next three years. The arrival of Venezuelan émigrés in 1814 altered the balance of power in favor of the federation. Bogotá fell on December 12, 1814. On January 23, 1815, the federal government of the United Provinces established its capital in Bogotá. New Spanish forces ended the civil war. No longer hampered by the Hispanic Constitution of 1812, the royalist forces occupied Bogotá in May 1816.35
The elites of the city of Quito, capital of the Kingdom of Quito, fearful that the French were conquering Spain, established a junta on August 9, 1809, to govern. The quiteños were surprised that the other provinces of the kingdom did not support their action. The junta reached an agreement with the deposed authorities and formed a Junta Superior on September 12, 1810. For a second time, the other provinces rejected the capital’s actions. Civil war ensued, pitting Quito against the most important provinces. The situation was temporarily resolved when Bishop Cuero y Caicedo was appointed president of the Junta Superior.
The new regime convened a congress to determine the appropriate course of action. The ayuntamiento, the ecclesiastic cabildo, the secular clergy, and the regular orders each elected one deputy; the nobility two; and Quito’s five parishes, one each. In addition, the administration allocated one representative to each of the provincial capitals of Ibarra, Otavalo, Latacunga, Ambato, Riobamba, Guaranda, and Alausí, the sierra regions that the junta controlled. Half of those elected were clergymen.
The eighteen-member congress met in Quito in December 1811. The growing threat of the royalist provinces that encircled Quito convinced many representatives, including some montúfaristas (those who supported Montufar), that the time had come to end relations with the Council of Regency and the Cortes of Cádiz. On December 11, the congress voted to establish an autonomous government, “subject only to the supreme and legitimate authority of Señor Don Fernando VII . . .”36 Three distinguished clergymen and intellectuals, the Canon Manuel Guizado, Dr. Miguel Antonio Rodríguez, and Dr. Calixto Miranda, each submitted a draft constitution. On February 15, 1812, the congress promulgated Rodríguez’s Solemn Pact of Association and Union Among the Provinces of the State of Quito; the charter stated that it “recognizes and will recognize as its monarch Señor Don Fernando VII, provided that free of French domination, . . . he is able to govern [the kingdom] without prejudice to this Constitution.”37 The new charter established a representative government with a plural executive, a legislature, and a judiciary. At the end of the year, the royalists defeated Quito. In March of 1813, General Toribio Montes published the Constitution of Cádiz and held elections for constitutional ayuntamientos and deputies to the Cortes and the Provincial Deputation of Quito. The Hispanic constitutional system lasted until late 1814, when the king abolished the Constitution of Cádiz.38
The leaders of the viceroyalty of New Spain, the largest, most populous, and richest of Spanish America, responded rapidly to the news of 1808 that the French had invaded Spain and that the king was in prison. The ayuntamiento of Mexico City proposed convening a congress of cities to determine what to do. The Spanish elite overthrew the viceroy and established a regime controlled by them. In time, their action caused movements for autonomy. On September 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo directed a movement for autonomy that lasted until July 1811 when he was defeated, tried, and executed. He was succeeded by several movements, the most important being that of Father José María Morelos, who dominated large parts of New Spain. The overwhelming majority of the population, even the royalists, favored the formation of a monarchy that provided elected government at the local, provincial, and monarchial levels. Royalists introduced the Constitution of Cádiz in areas under their control, and in late 1812 the authorities held elections for the three levels of government. The government functioned for two years before the king returned to Madrid and abolished the Hispanic charter late in 1814. Before the monarch restored the old regime, the insurgent leader Morelos sought to legitimize the insurgent government by convening elections in June 1813 for a congress to be held in September. As a result of the chaotic conditions in the insurgent-held territory, the eight-member Congress of Chilpancingo included only one elected delegate; the authorities appointed seven substitute deputies. These individuals were persons who currently held positions within the insurgent movement. On November 6, the congress approved a declaration of independence. The legislature appointed Morelos generalísimo (military leader), and he attacked the city of Valladolid, the capital of Michoacán. However, when new royalist troops defeated the insurgent forces, the congress fled. In that problematic context, three of the deputies drafted the Decreto Constitucional para la Libertad de la Américana Mexicana (Constitutional Decree for the Liberty of Mexican America).
Influenced by the Constitution of Cádiz, the Constitution of Apatzingán, as it is widely known, declared in Article 1 that the Catholic Church was the only one permitted. It created a national government divided into three branches: congress, executive, and justice; sovereignty resided in the legislature. However, it differed from other charters in the Hispanic monarchy by only establishing governing bodies at the national level; it made no provisions for local or provincial government. Under the decree, Afro-Americans enjoyed the same political, economic, and social rights as males of other ethnicities. The royal forces defeated the insurgents; the authorities tried Morelos and executed him on December 22, 1815. The Constitution of Apatzingán was never implemented and exercised little influence on subsequent constitutional development in Mexico.39
The Río de la Plata obtained its autonomy by default because it was distant and isolated from Spain. The leaders of Buenos Aires sought to dominate the former viceroyalty, but the provinces opposed the capital. On March 24, 1816, thirty deputies representing thirteen provinces met in Tucumán province to unify the country. The majority favored a constitutional monarchy. After much discussion, the deputies agreed in January 1817 to transfer the assembly to Buenos Aires. The new congress convened in April. They drafted and promulgated the Constitution of the United Provinces in South America on April 22, 1819. The conservative, centralist charter granted considerable power to a national government in Buenos Aires. Although ostensibly a republic, the executive branch provided for an orderly transformation into a constitutional monarchy. The constitution established an aristocratic senate and a chamber of representatives from the “common” class. Most of the provinces rejected the centralist document. The federalist forces occupied the capital and abrogated the constitution within a few months. The region’s independence was assured by 1820, but the process of national unification and consolidation of civilian authority did not take place until the second half of the 19th century. Many scholars identify the promulgation of the Constitution of 1853, which established the República Argentina, as the beginning of that transformation.40
The Chilean autonomist movement was defeated at Rancagua on October 1, 1814. The royalist government in Chile, whose repressive policies increased discontent in the area, contributed to the successful formation and ultimate triumph of the liberation of the former Captaincy General by the Army of the Andes, led by General José de San Martín. The distinguished Chilean leader Bernardo O’Higgins, who joined the Army of the Andes in February 1816, became San Martín’s principal Chilean collaborator, providing the essential leadership for his compatriots. During January 1817, South America’s summer, when the passes were free of snow, the Army of the Andes marched across the towering mountains. On February 12, 1817, forward elements of the Army of the Andes, commanded by O’Higgins, surprised and easily defeated the royalists at Chacabuco. Two days later, the victors entered Santiago. On February 15, a junta of notables in the capital elected San Martín governor, investing him with total power. When the general, whose goal was to conquer Peru, declined the honor, the following day the junta chose O’Higgins supreme director.
Bernardo O’Higgins served as supreme director of Chile from February 18, 1817, to January 28, 1823. Neither O’Higgins nor any other Chilean was certain about the nature of government their country should have. Some advocated a monarchy; others preferred a republic. The supreme director appointed a commission of seven leading intellectuals to prepare a constitution for Chile. The new charter ratified the authority of the supreme director and established a senate of five members chosen by the executive that would function until a general congress met at some future date. After a plebiscite ratified the new charter, O’Higgins promulgated the constitution on October 23, 1818. The arrangement worked reasonably well for a couple of years. Both the executive and the senate respected each other’s power. Relations between the two branches deteriorated when O’Higgins raised property taxes and the senate attempted to usurp his authority to regulate provincial officials.
In May 1822, after failing to resolve his conflict with the senate, O’Higgins convened a congress to write a new constitution. The assembly established a centrist conservative government with a supreme director who would serve for a period of six years. The legislature consisted of two houses, a senate and a chamber of deputies; in addition, the charter created a court of representatives to serve as a moderating body. Only citizens could participate in elections or hold public office. Expecting to remain supreme director for a new six-year term, O’Higgins promulgated the constitution in October 1822. But he soon faced opposition in the provinces. After Concepción and Coquimbo rose in revolt and tensions mounted in the capital, the supreme director resigned on January 28, 1823. Another decade would pass before the nation achieved stability.41
Militarists, not civilians, also dominated the autonomous movement in northern South America. On November 1, 1817, the republicans of Venezuela established a council of government. That body appointed Simón Bolívar supreme chief. On July 17, 1817, they captured the city of Angostura, which became the temporary capital of a restored Republic of Venezuela. While both sides controlled much territory, it was the royalists who governed the most densely populated provinces, including Caracas, the wealthiest province of Venezuela. The military impasse prompted civilian republicans to challenge Bolívar’s autocratic rule. On October 1, 1818, he asked the council of state to convene elections. Since the nation was at war, the body determined that it could not implement the electoral requirements of the Venezuelan Constitution of 1811. Instead, it allocated five deputies to each of Venezuela’s six provinces and five to Casanare in New Granada because that province had joined the Venezuelan republicans in fighting for independence. At the time, only the provinces of Margarita and Guayana, which were in republican hands, elected their own representatives. Most deputies were selected by military and political officials in republican territory, and several represented provinces other than their own.
The Congress of Angostura met on February 15, 1819, with twenty-six deputies representing Caracas, Barcelona, Cumaná, Barinas, Guayana, and Margarita. The supreme chief of the republic inaugurated the congress by reading a proposed constitution. Although it accepted many of Bolívar’s constitutional proposals, including discarding the federalism of the First Republic and introducing centralism, the congress rejected the hereditary senate and the lifetime presidency. On December 17, 1819, the congress approved the Fundamental Law of the Republic of Colombia, whereby the former New Kingdom of Granada became a single state. The new constitution, however, recognized the significance of the former viceroyalty’s semiautonomous regions when it declared: “The Republic of Colombia will be divided into three large departments: Venezuela, Quito, and Cundinamarca . . . The capitals of these departments will be the cities of Caracas, Quito, and Bogotá.” A new national congress would convene the following year in the town of Rosario de Cúcuta. In the interim, Bolívar would serve as president of the republic, Juan Germán Rocio, vice president of Venezuela, and Francisco de Paula Santander, vice president of New Granada. Quito would receive a vice president after the liberating armies defeated the royalist armies that controlled the department.42 The congress that established the new nation of Colombia contained no representatives from Quito, very few from New Granada, and only suplentes for most provinces of Venezuela, including the most populous, Caracas. The leaders of the new nation ignored regional and provincial interests, which quickly reemerged, requiring many areas to remain under martial law until the 1830s.
Spanish and American liberals grew increasingly dissatisfied with the autocratic government of Fernando VII. In March 1820, liberals in Spain forced the king to restore the Constitution of Cádiz.43 The return of constitutional order transformed the Hispanic political system for the third time in a decade. Constitutional elections dominated the political life of most royalist areas, particularly in North America. Viceroy Juan Ruiz de Apodaca distributed more than a thousand copies of the constitution to the cities and towns of New Spain, while Captain General Carlos Urrutia disseminated about five hundred copies in the Kingdom of Guatemala. In New Spain, for example, elections for its six provincial deputations occurred between August and October 1820. The provinces held two separate elections for deputies to the Cortes: one rapidly in the autumn of 1820 for the 1821–1822 parliament and a second starting in December for the 1822–1823 session of the Cortes. In addition, local communities conducted more than a thousand elections in December for the constitutional ayuntamientos of 1821. Thus, from June 1820 to March 1821, electioneering and elections preoccupied the politically active population of New Spain—perhaps numbering into the hundreds of thousands.44 Similarly intense political participation occurred in the Kingdom of Guatemala, Cuba with the two Floridas, Puerto Rico, and Santo Domingo. They not only held elections for constitutional ayuntamientos, but also for deputies to the Cortes of Madrid and to their provincial deputations.45
Extensive warfare in South America limited electoral politics to royalist controlled areas. The majority of the population of Venezuela, including Caracas, rejected the Constitution of Angostura and instead elected numerous constitutional ayuntamientos, deputies to the Cortes of Madrid and to the Provincial Deputation of Venezuela. As a result, Bolívar had to conquer Venezuela in order to liberate it.46 In the years that followed, he subdued large parts of New Granada, Quito, Peru, and Charcas because those kingdoms also preferred the Constitution of Cádiz.
Elections for constitutional ayuntamientos, provincial deputations, and the Cortes of Madrid with some variation were held in Quito, Peru, Cuzco, and Charcas. During the months of February to June 1821, more than forty proprietary deputies arrived in Madrid from New Spain, six from Guatemala, one from Cuba, one from Panama, and three from Venezuela.47 They and the suplentes who remained in the new session constituted a powerful coalition of seventy-eight deputies. Although the Cortes approved a majority of American demands, the congress did not pass legislation to give the Americans complete autonomy.
When the Spanish majority in the Cortes rejected their proposal to create three autonomous American kingdoms, the leaders of New Spain chose to secede and established the Mexican Empire. Mexico achieved independence in 1821 not because royalist forces were defeated militarily but because novohispanos no longer supported the monarchy politically. The newly independent Mexicans carefully followed the precedents of the Spanish constitutional system. Although they initially established an empire, they eventually formed a federal republic in 1824. They modeled their new constitution on the Hispanic charter because it had been part of their recent experience. Like Mexico, the new Central American republic established a federation based on Hispanic constitutional practices.48
In 1823, Mexicans elected a constituent congress, which promulgated a federal constitution in 1824. The charter of 1824 was modeled on the Hispanic Constitution of 1812, not, as often asserted, on the U.S. Constitution of 1787. Although superficially similar to the second U.S. charter, and although it adopted a few practical applications from the U.S. Constitution, such as the executive, the Mexican document was based primarily on Hispanic constitutional and legal precedents. For example, although the Constitution of 1824 created a president, in Mexico the office remained subordinate to the legislature. Entire sections of the Constitution of Cádiz were repeated verbatim in the Mexican document because Mexicans did not reject their Hispanic heritage and because some of the individuals who drafted the new republican constitution had served in the Cortes of Cádiz and had helped write the 1812 charter. Both the Hispanic Constitution of 1812 and the Mexican Constitution of 1824 established powerful legislatures and weak executives. But it would be an error to consider the Constitution of 1824 a mere copy of the 1812 document. Events in Mexico, particularly the assertion of states’ rights by the former provinces, forced the congress to frame a constitution to meet the unique circumstances of the nation. The principal innovations—republicanism, federalism, and a presidency—were adopted to address Mexico’s new reality. Federalism arose naturally from Mexico’s earlier political experience. The provincial deputations created by the Constitution of Cádiz simply converted themselves into states. However, unlike the 1812 document, the Mexican charter gave the states significant taxing power.49
In 1823, the former Audiencia (or Kingdom) of Guatemala became an independent country known as the United Provinces of the Center of America. Like its neighbor to the north, the new nation based its new republican government on the Spanish Constitution, which its representatives earlier had helped to create. Distinguished centroamericano parliamentarians such as Antonio Larrazábal had contributed to the formation of that political heritage.50
On August 6, 1821, the Congress of Cúcuta, the second charter, promulgated the constitution that established the Republic of Colombia with a bicameral legislature that granted vast power to the president. The new government possessed a highly centralized administration divided into departments, governed by intendants appointed by the president. The former Captaincy General of Venezuela was divided into three departments: Orinoco, Venezuela, and Zulia; New Granada into four: Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Cauca, and Magdalena; and the Kingdom of Quito into three: Guayaquil, Cuenca, and Quito. The new regime retained pre-1808 Spanish law, provided it did not contradict the constitution. For example, the Royal Ordinance of Intendants of New Spain governed the administration of the departments. As a result, the widely accepted principle of separation of powers, a concept enshrined in the U.S. and Spanish constitutions, was abrogated. Many government officials in Colombia now possessed civil, military, and judicial authority. While the congress abolished the odious distinction between active and passive citizens, the people were granted little role in their government. “The people,” as Article 10 indicated, “will not by itself exercise any attributes of sovereignty other than primary elections.”51 The new regime constituted a return to enlightened despotism. While effective during the conduct of war, the new system of government would quickly foster provincial unrest once peace was restored.
On September 7, the congress chose Bolívar president and the leader of New Granada, and Santander was chosen to be vice president. Bolívar appointed leading military men intendants of the liberated departments and delegated the day-to-day administrative responsibilities of the nation to Santander so that he could devote himself to prosecuting the war with the Spanish monarchy. The new constitution provided the legal framework to raise the men, money, and equipment necessary to extend the struggle to the regions of Colombia that remained in royalist hands. In the next few years, Bolívar conquered the Kingdom of Quito, incorporating it into Colombia with the name Ecuador. During this period, General San Martín confronted a chaotic situation in Peru, where absolutists, liberals, and nationalists struggled for power. When he pushed north into Peru, he sought a political settlement rather than embracing the scorched-earth policy adopted by Bolívar. San Martín’s strategy failed. He took the capital, Lima, but was unable to defeat the royalists. When Bolívar turned his attention to Peru and Charcas in 1822–1824, he confronted South America’s oldest viceroyalty.
Before Bolívar’s invasion of the highlands, the Peruvian congress, which convened on September 20, 1822, met with only fifty of its 107 deputies present. Although indirect elections, like those for the Spanish Cortes, were held in six of the country’s eleven provinces, five—Cuzco, Arequipa, Huamanga, Puno, and Huancavelica—were under royalist control and, therefore, represented by suplentes. As one of its first acts, the congress established a triumvirate executive branch composed of José de La Mar, Felipe Alvarado, and Francisco Salazar Baquíjano. Although the legislature issued a constitution on August 6, 1823, the triumvirate lasted only five months. The congress soon splintered into factions and proved unable to govern the nation. As a result, Bolívar was able to form a strong army to confront the royalist forces in the highlands.
In late 1824, General José Antonio de Sucre stalked the royalist forces. Indians, who continually harassed the republicans, protected the royalists. After uniting the royalist constitutionalist armies, General José de La Serna engaged the republican general at Ayacucho on the morning of December 9, 1824. The royalist line broke after hours of fierce fighting. General La Serna was captured and the royalists surrendered.
Shortly thereafter, Bolívar began the descent to Lima with a portion of the republican army. He occupied the city in early December 1824. Bolívar reconvened the remnants of the congress on February 10, 1825. The legislators confirmed his dictatorship for a year and adjourned. He named a council of government composed to help him administer the internal affairs of Peru. The most pressing problem, however, was the status of Charcas, which Peru sought to incorporate. General Sucre, however, maintained that the region should become an independent country because its people desired it. Bolívar agreed.
The Charcas constituent assembly, convened by Sucre, met at Chuquisaca on July 10, 1825. Although only thirty-nine deputies were present at the inauguration, ultimately forty-eight were seated. Because of property and literacy qualifications, the elite dominated the congress. Most were well educated; thirty were graduates of the University of San Francisco in Chuquisaca. After extensive debate, on August 6, 1825, the assembly decided by a vote of forty-five to two to declare Charcas independent from all nations in the Old World and the New. The assembly adopted Bolívar’s name for the new country, calling it Bolivia, and requested that he write its constitution.
The assembly adopted Bolívar’s constitution on July 11, 1826. The Bolivarian charter declared that the government “is popular representative.” But it established a lifetime president with vast power, including the right to designate his successor, a clear indication of Bolívar’s distrust of democratic institutions and his preference for enlightened despotism. As he insisted: “A lifetime president, with the right to elect his successor, is the most sublime inspiration of republican ideas . . . This measure avoids elections which are the greatest scourge of republics and produce only anarchy, which . . . is the most immediate and most terrible danger of popular governments.” The legislature, with three chambers composed of tribunes, senators, and censors, was subservient to the executive. The constitution disenfranchised the vast majority of Bolivians when it divided the people into citizens, who possessed the right to vote and to hold office, and Bolivians, who enjoyed civil but not political rights. Citizens had to “know how to read and write, possess some employment or industry, or profess some science or art without being subject to another in the category of domestic service.”52
Determined to consolidate his power, Bolívar decided to impose his constitution upon Peru. On August 16, 1826, he convened a constituent assembly in Lima, which adopted the Bolivarian charter and elected him lifetime president of Peru. Although initially acceptable to Bolivians, the document shocked the politically active population in Peru and Colombia. As Manuel Quijano Otero observed, “when studying this constitution, many will ask if the bloodshed and the sacrifices made to shake off the yoke of the king of Spain were worth it.”53 Opposition soon emerged among liberals in Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. Bolívar returned to Colombia in September 1826 in hopes of introducing the Bolivian constitution in that nation. In 1830, a constituent congress, known as the Admirable Congress, failed to resolve the issues that divided the nation. On May 6, an assembly in Venezuela declared its independence and seceded from the union. A week later Quito, now called Ecuador, followed suit.
The Future of Spanish America
Two competing political traditions emerged during the independence period: One, forged in more than a decade of war, emphasized strong executive power; the other, based on constitutions and on the civilian parliamentary experience, insisted upon legislative dominance. They epitomized a fundamental conflict about the nature of government. New Spain, which achieved independence through political compromise rather than by force of arms, is representative of the civil tradition. There the Hispanic constitutional system triumphed and continued to evolve. In contrast, military force ultimately liberated northern South America. Unlike Mexico, in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia the men of arms dominated the men of law. The Hispanic constitutional experience exerted little influence in the region. The three newly independent South American nations established strong centralist governments with powerful chief executives and weak legislatures. In 1830, Colombia—sometimes called Gran Colombia—splintered into three countries: Venezuela, New Granada, and Ecuador. The preponderance of the men of arms, however, was harder to eradicate. Peru and Bolivia, like their northern neighbors in South America, endured extended rule by military and civilian caudillos who defended the competing economic and political interests of their supporters by dominating the legislatures. Rebellions became the most important form of regime change within the region. Regionalism rather than ideology became the most important factor within these unconsolidated states. The southern cone, which also had won independence by force, did not fall under the control of military men. The region endured only limited warfare with royalist forces. Most armed conflicts occurred between and among provinces. Although Santiago and Buenos Aires toyed with federalism, Chile established a highly centralized oligarchical republic, whereas in the Río de la Plata, the various provinces formed a loose confederation. Despite vast differences in the nature of their regimes, civilians dominated both nations.
During the last half of the 19th century, the new political systems of Spain and Spanish America were consolidated on the basis of the liberal tradition of constitutional government and political representation that had emerged in the Cortes of Cádiz and its rival regimes in America. Despite power struggles, such as those between monarchists and republicans, centralists and federalists, and parliamentarians and caudillos, a liberal, representative, constitutional government remained the political ideal of the Spanish-speaking nations. Indeed, even caudillos and dictators have been forced to acknowledge, at least in principle, the supremacy of the rule of law and the ultimate desirability of civilian, representative, constitutional government.
Discussion of the Literature
The composite Spanish monarchy dominated the Atlantic world for nearly 300 years. When that worldwide polity disintegrated, Great Britain and its former colony, the United States, assumed that role during the 19th and 20th centuries. As a result, most Anglophone historians base their analysis of development of constitutional government on English experience. These scholars generally maintain that the English Magna Carta of 1215 is the basis of modern constitutional thought. This perspective distorts the history of constitutional development and omits the contributions of ancient written and unwritten legal codes and charters around the Mediterranean basin including the Roman Republic, and the evolution of constitutionalism in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period. Thus, the contributions of Spaniards and the impact of Greek and Roman contributions to Spanish constitutional development are dismissed.
After World War II, some scholars began to reinterpret the evolution of political thought in the Western world. Some demonstrated that ancient Greek and Rome were the basis of modern government. Others reinterpreted the evolution of Hispanic charters and governmental institutions, placing them in the forefront of European constitutional thought. Many scholars share my view that the most important contribution to reevaluation in English was The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, by the eminent British historian Quentin Skinner, which demonstrated that there was a shared Western European political culture and that the Hispanic Neo Scholastics made significant contributions to the development of modern political thought. In the 1990s, Mónica Quijada, the distinguished Argentine historian at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Madrid, authored fundamental works that expanded our understanding of this complex process.54
In 1912, a few Spanish and Spanish American historians published works to commemorate the centennial of the promulgation of the Constitution of Cádiz, the most progressive constitution of the 19th century. During most of the 20th century, however, Hispanic American political historians focused on the struggle for independence in their countries rather than broader studies of state formation. Only a few discussed the first constitutions of their nations. In 1973, John Lynch published the most detailed analysis of the process of independence, but the work did not mention either the Cortes of Cádiz or the Constitution of 1812. Nevertheless, his The Spanish American Revolution, 1808–1826 remains the most popular book of this critical period in American history.55
Scholarly work on the Cortes and the Constitution reemerged in the mid-1940s when the University of Texas historian Nettie Lee Benson began publishing articles and books on the impact of the Constitution of Cádiz on Mexico.56 She was particularly interested in questions relating to representation, including elections and governing structures at the local, provincial, and national levels. Most Anglophone historians dismissed her findings because these findings challenged their view that the Hispanic world was an unenlightened backwater in Europe that made little or no contribution to modern political thought and political institutional development. Because in this period many male professional historians in Europe and the United States undervalued scholarly work by women, her work primarily influenced scholars in the Spanish-speaking world.
In the 1950s and 1960s, two Spanish historians, the conservative Federico Suárez and the liberal Miguel Artola, and one U.S. historian, the liberal Gabriel Lovett, wrote about the period leading up to the Constitution of Cádiz.57 As a student of Benson, I began studying the 1812 charter at the University of Texas in the late 1960s. Since 1971, I have devoted my research to the process of independence in Hispanic America including a careful analysis of the nature of the Constitution of Cádiz and its impact on the Hispanic world. Three of my books are syntheses of my research; the first is a comparative examination of the process of the Hispanic revolution in Spanish America, and two focus on individual countries, Ecuador and Mexico. The three volumes, which deal with the process of independence, also include analyses of the congressional debates about the Constitution of Cádiz as well as the representative constitutional institutions established by the 1812 charter. In addition, I have held numerous conferences (1987–2009) that addressed the status of knowledge and new research relating to the constitutional government in the period. They produced a number of innovative studies prior to the bicentennial of the 1812 constitution.58 François-Xavier Guerra shared my view that the Constitution of Cádiz constituted a revolution. His 1992 volume Modernidad e independencias: Ensayos sobre las revoluciones hispánicas continues to be very influential in France, in Spain, and in Spanish America.59 Unfortunately, Guerra died before he could write a general history of the process of independence. As a result, my 1996 book The Independence of Spanish America currently represents the most comprehensive version of this new general interpretation.
For decades, authors have written about leading members of the Cortes of Cádiz such as Agustín Arguelles from Spain, José Miguel Ramos Arispe from Mexico, and José Mexía Lequerica from Quito, as well as about juridical aspects of the constitution. More recently, some Spanish scholars including Carlos Garriga and Marta Lorente criticized the charter because some of the provisions are based on Antiguo Régimen legal precedents. In contrast, Karl Marx, who was a student of Spain, had demonstrated the value of “the ancient and national institutions.”60 Most legal historians, such as María del Refugio González, have focused on juridical questions and ignored the constitutional system.61
In the 1990s, European historians of Spain began to analyze the Cortes of Cádiz and the constitution primarily from the perspective of their countries.62 Two historians, the Frenchwoman Marie Laure Rieu-Millan and the Spaniard Manuel Chust, published important studies of the role of the Hispanic American deputies in the Cortez of Cádiz. In the early 21st century, Chust organized a series of important international conferences on these topics.63 In addition to the conferences held in Spain, other scholars organized meetings in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Germany.64
Historians of various countries published studies of the emancipation process in their nations that included discussions of segments of the Cortes of Cádiz and the constitution. The distinguished Mexican historian Virginia Guedea published pioneering works using this approach and in the 1990s encouraged her student Alfredo Avila to examine topics within this framework and to collaborate in organizing conferences.65 Such works have redefined our understanding of the general topic of emancipation in the Hispanic world and of variations of the process at the national level. My book We Are Now the True Spaniards is the only one that covers the period 1808–1824; it also examines the Constitution of Cádiz as well as two Mexican constitutions, and it is the only one that has studied the elections outside Mexico City.66 Two U.S. historians, Mario Rodriguez and Jordana Dym, and a Central American scholar, Xiomara Avendaño Rojas, examined the role of Central American representatives in the Cortes of Cadiz, their contributions to the 1812 constitution, and the document’s impact on the region.67 My student Carl T. Almer wrote about the impact of the Constitution of Cádiz in Venezuela.68 My book La revolución política en la época de la independencia refutes the “foundational myth” that Quito was the first Spanish American region to declare independence in 1809. Instead, the work demonstrates that the majority of the population preferred the 1812 Cadiz constitution and that there was broad participation in elections for representative constitutional governments in the territory that is now Ecuador.69 Some historians of Peru and Bolivia have also studied the constitutional process, particularly the elections.70 New Granada (present-day Colombia), Chile, and Argentina did not accept the Constitution of Cádiz and therefore did not participate in either elections or the constitutional government.
The Constitution of Cádiz functioned from March 1812 to May 1814, when King Fernando II returned from France and suspended the constitution. In March 1820, liberals in Spain forced the king to restore the constitution. Like many charters in new polities, the Hispanic document was short lived. However, this does not obviate its important impact on subsequent constitutions, including those in regions that did not participate in the constitutional process during 1812–1814. Since the bicentennial in 2020 is coming soon, some scholars are starting to form conferences to discuss what occurred in Hispanic America and the peninsula and its long-term impact.
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“Constitución política del estado de Chile.” In Anales de la República, 1:13–34. Edited by Luis Valencia Avarla. Santiago, Chile: Imprenta Universitaria, 1951.
Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy: Promulgated at Cadiz on the 19th of March 1812. Philadelphia: G. Palmer, 1814.
Fernández Sarasola, Ignacio, dir. Constituciones hispanoamericanas. Alicante, Spain: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2000.Find this resource:
García Edo, Vicent. Constituciones de los reinos hispánicos en el Antiguo Régimen. Castellón, Spain: Universitat Jaume I, 2003.Find this resource:
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(1.) Paul Cartledge, “Greek Political Thought: The Historical Context,” in The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought, eds. Christopher Rowe, Malcolm Schofield, Simon Harrison, and Melissa Lane (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 11.
(2.) Bernard Manin, The Principles of Representative Government (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 44–45; and Polybius, The Histories, VI (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).
(3.) Roger Collins, Visigoth Spain, 409–711 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004); Vicent García Edo, Constituciones de los reinos hispánicos en el Antiguo Régimen (Castellón, Spain: Universitat Jaume I, 2003), 29–35; and Colin M. MacLachlan, Imperialism and the Origins of Mexican Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), 132–147.
(4.) García Edo, Constituciones de los reinos hispánicos, 83–250.
(5.) James M. Blythe, Ideal Government and the Mixed Constitution in the Middle Ages (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992).
(6.) Joseph F. O’Callaghan, The Cortes of Castile-León, 1188–1350 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989).
(7.) Las Siete Partidas del Rey Alfonso el Sabio, ed. Real Academia de Historia, 3 vols. (Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1807). See also Robert I. Burns, S.J., introduction to Las Siete Partidas, trans. Samuel Parsons Scott, ed. Robert I. Burns, S.J., 5 vols. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001).
(8.) Jan Luiten Van Zanden, Eltjo Buringh, and Maarten Bosker, “The Rise and Decline of European Parliaments, 1188–1789,” The Economic History Review (2011), 1–28.
(9.) MacLachlan, Imperialism and the Origins of Mexican Culture, 187–205; and Jaime E. Rodríguez O., “La naturaleza de la representación en la Nueva España y México,” Secuencia: Revista de historia y ciencias sociales, 61 (January–April 2005), 6–32.
(10.) Woodrow Borah, Justice by Insurance: The General Indian Court of Colonial Mexico and the Legal Aides of the Half-Real (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983); and Brian Owensby, Empire of Law and Indian Justice in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008).
(11.) Juan Solórzano Pereyra, Política Indiana, ed. Francisco Tomás y Valiente and Ana María Borrero 2 (Madrid: Edición Fundación José Antonio de Castro, 1966), 1639.
(12.) Servando Teresa de Mier, “Idea de la constitución dada a las Américas por los reyes de España antes de la invasión del antiguo despotismo,” in Obras completas de Servando Teresa de Mier, vol. 4, La formación de un republicano, ed. Jaime E. Rodríguez O. (México City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1988), 57, 31–91.
(13.) Harriet I. Flower, Roman Republics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009); and Thomas Wiedemann, “Reflections of Roman Political Thought” in The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought, 517–531. The English term filibuster is derived from the Dutch vrijbuiter, (privateer, pirate, robber). The Spaniards converted it into filibustero to refer to the Dutch, English, and French attackers and thieves in the Spanish world. In the 1850s, the Spanish term was applied to U.S. privateers then operating in Central America and the Spanish West Indies, such as William Walker. Apparently, the English term was first used in 1853 by U.S. Representative Albert G. Brown, referring to Abraham Watkins Venables’s speech against “filibustering” intervention in Cuba. Subsequently, it has been used as a dilatorial tactic. wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster#.
(14.) On the Hispanic principles of soberanía del pueblo, retroversión de la soberanía, and derecho de resistencia, see Mónica Quijada’s works: “Las ‘dos tradiciones’: Soberanía popular e imaginarios compartidos en el mundo hispánico en la época de las grandes revoluciones atlánticas” in Revolución, independencia y las nuevas naciones de América, ed. Jaime E. Rodríguez O. (Madrid: MAPFRE/Tavera, 2005), 61–86; “Sobre ‘nación,’ ‘pueblo,’ ‘soberanía’ y otros ejes de la modernidad en el mundo hispánico” in Las nuevas naciones: España y México 1800–1850, ed. Jaime E. Rodríguez O. (Madrid: Fundación MAPFRE, 2008), 19–51; and “From Spain to New Spain: Revisiting the Potestas Populi in Hispanic Political Thought” in Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 24.2 (summer 2008): 185–219.
(15.) Jaime E. Rodríguez O., The Independence of Spanish America (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 102–118. See also: Manuel Chust, ed., La eclosión juntera en el mundo hispano (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2007).
(16.) Rodríguez O., “La naturaleza de la representación,” 6–32.
(17.) Rodríguez O., Independence of Spanish America, 75–84.
(18.) Rodríguez O., “We Are Now the True Spaniards”: Sovereignty, Revolution, and the Emergence of the Federal Republic of Mexico, 1808–1824 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012), 166–194. Although the Constitution of Cádiz denied suffrage to persons of African origin, blacks voted and were elected to office in regions of New Spain that had a large African-origin population.
(19.) Mario Rodriguez, The Cádiz Experiment in Central America, 1808 to 1826 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 106–123; Jordana Dym, From Sovereign Villages to National States: City, State, and Federation in Central America, 1759–1839 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006), 127–156; and Xiomara Avendaño Rojas, Centroamérica entre lo antiguo y lo moderno: Institucionalidad, ciudadanía y representación política, 1810–1838 (Castellón de la Plana, Spain: Universitat Jaume I, 2009), 87–107.
(20.) Carl Almer, “The Spanish Constitution in the Eastern Provinces of Venezuela” (unpublished manuscript, July 26, 2006).
(21.) Isidro Vanegas, La revolución neogranadina (Bogotá: Ediciones Plural, 2013), 287–323.
(22.) Jaime E. Rodríguez O., La revolución política durante la época de la independencia: El Reino de Quito, 1808–1822 (Quito: Universidad Andína Simón Bolívar and Corporación Editora Nacional, 2006), 79–88.
(23.) Jaime E. Rodríguez O., “De la fidelidad a la revolución: El proceso de la independencia de la antigua provincia de Guayaquil, 1809–1820,” Procesos: Revista ecuatoriana de historia 21 (2nd semester, 2004): 35–88.
(24.) Victor Peralta Ruíz, La independencia y la cultura política peruana, 1808–1821 (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos and Fundación M. J. Bustamante de la Fuente, 2010), 243–269, and his “Los inicios del sistema representativo en Perú: Ayuntamientos constitucionales y diputaciones provinciales (1812–1815)” in La mirada esquiva: Reflexiones históricas sobre la interacción del estado y la ciudadanía en los Andes (Bolivia, Ecuador y Peru), siglo XIX, ed. Marta Irurozqui Victoriano (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2005), 65–92. See also: Francisco Núñez, “La participación electoral indígena bajo la Constitución de Cádiz (1812–1814)” in Historia de las elecciones en el Perú: Estudios sobre el gobierno representativo, eds. Cristóbal Aljovín de Losana and Sinesio López (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2005), 361–394.
(25.) Peralta Ruíz, “Los inicios del sistema representativo,” 89–91.
(26.) Marta Irurozqui, “Huellas, testigos y testimonios constitucionales de Charcas a Bolivia 1810–1830” in El laboratorio constitucional iberoamericano, 1807/08–1830, eds. Marcela Ternavasio and Antonio Annino. Estudios AHILA de Historia Latinoamericana, 9 (Madrid and Hamburg: Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2012), 157–178.
(27.) M. C. Mirow, “The Constitution of Cádiz in Florida,” Florida Journal of International Law 24 (2012): 271–329; Joaquín E. Ruiz Alemán, “Los municipios cubanos,” Anuario de Estudios Americanos 29 (1972): 379–387; and Antonio Gómez Vizuete, “Los primeros ayuntamientos liberales en Puerto Rico, 1812–1823,” Anuario de Estudios Americanos 47 (1990): 581–615.
(28.) Rodríguez O., Independence of Spanish America, 98–105.
(29.) “Manifiesto del Pueblo de Quito” (August 10, 1809), Boletín de la Sociedad Ecuatoriana de Estudios Históricas II (May–June, 1919), 429–430.
(30.) Rodríguez O., Independence of Spanish America, 107–116.
(31.) Juan Garrido Rovira, El Congreso Constituyente de Venezuela (Caracas: Universidad Moneávila, 2010).
(32.) Manuel Antonio Pombo and José Joaquín Guerra, Constituciones de Colombia, 3 vols. (Bogotá: Fondo de Promoción de la Cultura del Banco Popular, 1986), 1:309–380.
(33.) Manuel Antonio Pombo and José Joaquín Guerra, Constituciones de Colombia, 2:5–67.
(34.) Manuel Antonio Pombo and José Joaquín Guerra, Constituciones de Colombia, 2:111–124.
(35.) Rodríguez O., Independence of Spanish America, 150–159; Vanegas, La revolución neogranadina, 287–323; and Daniel Gutiérrez Ardilla, Un nuevo reino: Geografía política, pactismo y diplomacia durante el interregno en Nueva Granada, 1808–1816 (Bogotá: Universidad Externado de Colombia, 2010), 235–414.
(36.) Demetrio Ramos Pérez, Entre el Plata y Bogotá: Cuatro claves de la emancipación ecuatoriana (Madrid: Ediciones Cultura Hispánica, 1978), quote in note 358, p. 220; and Borrero, La revolución quiteña, 321–325.
(37.) “Pacto solemne de sociedad y unión entre las provincias que forman el estado de Quito,” in Derecho constitucional ecuatoriano, ed. Ramiro Borja y Borja (Madrid: Ediciones de Cultura Hispánica, 1950), 3:9–23; Ahmed Deidán de la Torre, Pueblos y soberanía: Continuidades y rupturas conceptuales durante la insurgencia en el reino de Quito (Quito: Instituto Panamericano de Geografía e Historia, 2016); and Gustavo Pérez Ramírez, “Autoría del proyecto de constitución,” in Constitución del Estado de Quito, 15 de febrero de 1812 (Quito: Trama Ediciones, 2012), 75–82.
(38.) Rodríguez O., La revolución política, 79–88.
(39.) Rodríguez O., “We Are Now the True Spaniards,” 119–148, 195–234.
(40.) Rodríguez O., Independence of Spanish America, 176–180; and Leoncio Gianello, Historia del Congreso de Tucumán (Buenos Aires: Academia Nacional de Historia, 1966), 122–348.
(41.) Simon Collier, Ideas and Politics of Chilean Independence, 1808–1833 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1967), 225–259; “Constitución política del estado de Chile,” in Anales de la República, ed. Luis Valencia (Santiago: Imprenta Universitaria, 1951), I:13–34, 52–94; and Rodríguez O., Independence of Spanish America, 180–184.
(42.) Pedro Graces, ed., Actas del Congreso de Angostura (Caracas: Universidad Central de Venezuela, 1969), 95–360; and Rodríguez O., Independence of Spanish America, 188–192.
(43.) Jaime E. Rodríguez O., The Emergence of Spanish America: Vicente Rocafuerte and Spanish Americanism, 1808–1832 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975), 26–46.
(44.) Rodríguez O, “We Are Now the True Spaniards,” 235–267.
(45.) Dym, From Sovereign Villages to National States, 159–193; Mirow, “The Constitution of Cádiz in Florida,” 271–329; Ruiz Alemán, “Los municipios cubanos,” 376–387; and Gómez Vizuete, “Los primeros ayuntamientos liberals,” 581–615.
(46.) Carl T. Almer, “‘La confianza que han puesto en mi:’ Participación local en el establecimiento de los ayuntamientos constitucionales en Venezuela,” in Revolución, independencia y las nuevas naciones de América, ed. Jaime E. Rodríguez O. (Madrid: Fundación MAPFRE/Tavera, 2005), 365–395.
(47.) Jaime E. Rodríguez O, “Las primeras elecciones constitucionales en el Reino de Quito, 1809–1814 y 1821–1822,” Procesos: Revista Ecuatoriana de Historia 14 (2nd semester, 1999), 3–52; and Núria Sala i Vila, “El Trienio Liberal en el virreinato peruano: Los ayuntamientos constitucionales de Arequipa, Cusco y Huamanga, 1820–1824,” Revista de Indias LXXI.253 (September–December 2011), 693–728.
(48.) Rodríguez O, “We Are Now the True Spaniards,” 268–334; and Dym, From Sovereign Villages to National States, 159–225.
(49.) “Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos,” in Leyes fundamentales de México, ed. Felipe Tena Ramírez, 167–195; and Rodríguez O., “We Are Now the True Spaniards,” 268–334.
(50.) Rodriguez, The Cádiz Experiment, 145–211; and Nettie Lee Benson and Charles Berry, “The Central American Delegation to the First Constituent Congress of Mexico, 1822–1823,” Hispanic American Historical Review 49.4 (November 1969): 679–702.
(51.) “Constitución de la República de Colombia” in Pombo and Guerra, Constituciones de Colombia, vol. 1, 64–104 (quote, 70); and David Bushnell, The Santander Regime in Gran Colombia (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1970), 14–22.
(52.) Bolívar’s address and the constitution are reproduced in Pombo and Guerra, Constituciones de Colombia, 3:115–154.
(53.) Cited in Pombo and Guerra, Constituciones de Colombia, 3:115.
(54.) Quentin Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, 2 vols. (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1978); Quijada, “Las ‘dos tradiciones,’” 61–86; Quijada, “Sobre la ‘nación,’” 19–51; and Quijada, “From Spain to New Spain,” 185–219.
(55.) John Lynch, The Spanish American Revolutions, 1808–1826 (New York: Norton, 1973).
(56.) Nettie Lee Benson, “The Contested Mexican Election of 1812,” Hispanic American Historical Review 26, no. 3 (August 1946): 336–350; Benson, La Diputación Provincial y el federalismo mexicano (Mexico City: Colegio de México, 1955); Nettie Lee Benson, “Texas’ Failure to Send a Deputy to the Spanish Cortes, 1810–1814,” The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 64 (1960), 14–35; Nettie Lee Benson, ed., Mexico and the Spanish Cortes, 1808–1822 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1966); Nettie Lee Benson, The Provincial Deputation in Mexico: Harbinger of Provincial Autonomy, Independence, and Federalism (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992); and Nettie Lee Benson, “The Elections of 1809: Transforming Political Culture in New Spain,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 20.1 (winter 2004), 1–20.
(57.) Federico Suárez, La crisis política del Antiguo Régimen en España (Madrid: Rialp, 1950), as well as his Las Cortes de Cádiz (Madrid: Rialp, 1982); Miguel Artola, Los orígenes de la España contemporánea, 2 vols. (Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Politicos, 1959); and Gabriel Lovett, Napoleon and the Birth of Modern Spain, 2 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1965).
(58.) Jaime E. Rodríguez O., “An Analysis of the First Hispanic American Constitutions,” Revista de Historia de América, 72 (July–December 1971), 413–484; Jaime E. Rodríguez O., La independencia de la América española (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1996 [An expanded and revised English versión is The Independence of Spanish America (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998)]; Jaime E. Rodríguez O., La revolución política en la época de la independencia: El Reino de Quito, 1808–1822 (Quito: Corporación Editora Nacional, 2006); Jaime E. Rodríguez O., “Nosotros somos ahora los verdaderos españoles”: La transición de Nueva España de un reino de la Monarquía Española a la República Federal de México, 1808–1824. 2 vols. (Zamora and Mexico City: Colegio de Michoacán and Instituto Mora, 2009); and Jaime E. Rodríguez O., “We Are Now the True Spaniards”: Sovereignty, Revolution, Independence and the Emergence of the Federal Republic of Mexico, 1808–1824 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012).
(59.) François-Xavier Guerra, Modernidad e independencias: Ensayos sobre las revoluciones hispánicas (Madrid: MAPFRE, 1992); and François-Xavier Guerra and Marie Danielle Demelas, “Un processus révolutionaire méconnu: l’adoption des formes représentatives modernes en Espagne et Amérique Latine (1808–1810),” Caravelle 60 (1993), 5–57.
(60.) Carlos Garrita and Marta Lorente, Cádiz 1812: La constitución jurisdiccional (Madrid: CEPC, 2007); and Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Revolution in Spain (New York: International Publisher, 1939), 68.
(61.) María del Refugio González, Historia del derecho mexicano, 2d ed. (Mexico City: McGraw Hill/UNAM, 1997).
(62.) Miguel Artola, ed., Las Cortes de Cádiz (Madrid: Marcial Pons, 1991); and Pedro Cruz, ed., Los orígenes del constitucionalismo liberal en España e Iberoamérica: Un estudio comparado (Sevilla: Junta de Andalucía, 1993).
(63.) Marie Laure Rieu-Millan, Los diputados Americanos en las Cortes de Cádiz (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1990); and Manuel Chust, La cuestión nacional americana en las Cortes de Cádiz, 1810–1814 (Valencia, Spain: UNRD/FIHS/UNAM, 1999). For example, Manuel Chust, ed., Revoluciones y revolucionarios en el mundo hispano (Castellón, Spain: Universitat Jaume I, 2000); Manuel Chust, ed., Doceañismos, constituciones e independencias: La Constitución de 1812 y América (Madrid: Fundación MAPFRE, 2006); and Manuel Chust and José Antonio Serrano, eds., Debates sobre las independencias iberoamericanos (Frankfurt: AHILA, 2007).
(64.) Antonio Annino, ed., Historia de las elecciones en Iberoamérica, siglo XIX (Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1995); José Antonio Aguilar Rivera, En pos de la quimera: Reflexiones sobre el experimento atlántico (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica and CIDE, 2000); Marta Terán and José Antonio Serrano Ortega, Las guerras de independencia en la América Española (Mexico City: Colegio de Michoacán, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, and Universidad Michoacana, 2002); Alicia Mayer, ed., México en tres momentos, 1810-1910-2010 (Mexico City: UNAM, 2007); José Ortiz Escamilla and José Antonio Serrano Ortega, eds., Ayuntamientos y liberalismo gaditano en México (Zamora and Veracruz, Mexico: Colegio de Michoacán and Universidad Veracruzana, 2007); Scarlett O’Phelan and Georges Lomne, Abascal y la contra-independencia de América del Sur (Lima: IFA and Universidad Católica, 2013); Ivana Frasquet, ed., “Jamás ha llovido reyes el cielo . . .” De independencias, revoluciones y liberalismos en Iberoamérica (Quito: Corporación Editora Nacional and Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, 2013); Carlos Garriga, ed., Historia y Constitución: Trayectos del constitucionalismo hispano (Mexico City: CIDE, Colegio de México, Colegio de Michoacán, and Instituto Mora, 2010); and Scott Eastman and Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, eds., The Rise of Constitutional Government in the Iberian Atlantic World. The Impact of the Cádiz Constitution of 1812 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2015).
(65.) Virginia Guedea, En busca de un gobierno alterno: Los Guadalupes de México (Mexico City: UNAM, 1992); Virginia Guedea, “The First Popular Elections in Mexico City,” in The Evolution of the Mexican Political System, ed. Jaime E. Rodríguez O. (Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1993); and Virginia Guedea, ed., La independencia de México y el proceso autonomista novohispano, 1808–1824 (Mexico City: UNAM and Instituto Mora, 2001). Her student Alfredo Avila published his thesis entitled En nombre de la nación: La formación del gobierno representativo en México (Mexico City: CIDE and Taurus, 1999). Thereafter they collaborated in conferences, such as: Alfredo Avila and Virginia Guedea, eds., La independencia de México: Temas e interpretaciones recientes (Mexico City: UNAM, 2007).
(66.) Rodríguez O. “We Are Now the True Spaniards,” 97–109, 166–191, 221–232, 268–301, 317–334.
(67.) Rodriguez, The Cádiz Experiment; 75–146. Dym, From Sovereign Villages to National States, 127–156; and Avendaño Rojas, Centroamérica entre lo antiguo y lo moderno, 87–107.
(68.) Almer, “La confianza que han puesto en mi,” 365–395.
(69.) Rodríguez O., La revolución política, 79–88, 134–161; Rodríguez O., “Las primeras elecciones constitucionales,” 3–52; and Jaime E. Rodríguez O., “Ciudadanos de la nación española: Los indígenas y las elecciones constitucionales en el Reino de Quito,” in La mirada esquiva: Reflexiones históricas sobre la interacción del estado y la ciudadanía en los Andes (Bolivia, Ecuador y Perú), siglo XIX, ed. Marta Iroruzqui (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2005), 41–64.
(70.) Peralta Ruíz, La independencia y la cultura política peruana, 243–269, and his “Los inicios del sistema representativo,” 65–92. See also: Núñez, “La participación electoral indígena,” 361–394; Irurozqui, “Huellas, testigos y testimonios,” 157–178; and Sala i Vila, “El Trienio Liberal en el virreinato peruano,” 693–728.