The Manzanares’s Manifest and its impact on political life in Spain

The Manzanares’s Manifest was a political document published on July 7st, 1854, in Manzanares located in Castilla-La Mancha (a region located in central Spain). It was written by Antonio Cánovas del Castillo and signed by General Leopoldo O’Donnell, and the latter sought support for the Liberal Union and its military campaign after being defeated in the battle of Vicalvaro. The content of this manifesto corresponds entirely to the Progressive Biennium.

In order to better understand the issues addressed in this document, it is important to know that the Progressive Biennium is the name by which the period of Spanish history between 1854 and 1856 is known. During this fragment of history, the Progressive Party sought to reform the political system of Elizabeth II’s reign, dominated by the Moderate Party since 1843. During this period, the characteristics of the liberal regime were deepened, after the failure of moderate governments in the previous decade.

Source: Alamy

Under this concept, it is understood that the Manzanares’s Manifest proclaims the regeneration of liberal principles and presents it as an immediate political project, through this, an attempt was made to justify the change of the political system because said liberal principles had been eliminated during the so-called moderate decade. These include the electoral law, the tax law, and the substantial decrease in consumption taxes.

The manifesto of said document brought for Spain several negative political and economic consequences. As for its political life, the European country went through a long cycle of electoral manipulation and military interventionism. On the other hand, in the economic sphere, the less fortunate classes and the municipalities were the most affected, thanks to the rise in prices as a result of the refusal of free trade.

Finally, this period of Spanish history came to an end full of worker and peasant revolts that had to be severely repressed after the replacement of General Espartero.