Critical Studies on History and Politics

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ISBN hardcover: 9788499536804 ISBN paperback: 9788496290464

SKU: 9788498979527 Category: Tags: , , , ,

Critical Studies on History and Politics (Estudios críticos sobre historia y política) is a key book for understanding the Spanish view of the American independence movements. Juan Valera served as a diplomat and, among his many posts, was Spain’s ambassador to the United States.
At the time of writing this book he is living in the final stage of his life and is fully acquainted with American politics. After his stay in Washington and his affair with the Secretary of State’s daughter, he knows all the ins and outs of Washington politics.
He writes aware that there is much at stake in the wars of Independence that Spain was waging at the time. In Cuba and the Philippines, the role that the nascent American empire wanted to play in the new world order was being defined.
For Valera, Cuba’s aspiration to achieve sovereignty is almost a domestic issue. He believes that in reality it is a fratricidal confrontation. Here is a fragment alluding to this issue:

“What difference can there be or ever was between a Spaniard from Cuba and a Spaniard, for example, from Malaga, Loja or Logroño? Those who alternate in Spain in the Power, with more or less peaceful turn, the Narváez, the Cánovas and the Sagastas, could they not have been Cubans? What inferiority have we ever supposed, neither by law nor by custom, that exists between a Spaniard from here and a Spaniard from there? The most perfect equality between all Spaniards in the Peninsula and overseas has always been proclaimed in laws, pragmatics, ordinances and decrees. Philip II solemnly proclaimed it in words quoted by Mr. Clarence King himself. If this legal unity existed under an absolute Power, it was the same for the peninsulars as for the Cubans, and the latter could not then claim to be freer than us. But no sooner had there been in Spain a liberal Constitution, in 1812, than the Assembly which formed this Constitution declared, adopting the lofty idea of Philip II, that the Spanish nation is the whole of all the Spaniards of both hemispheres. The liberties that the peninsulars should have enjoyed since then should also have been enjoyed by the Cubans.”

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