Period of civil war: first Carlist war: 1833 – 1840. It started when Elisabeth II, three years old, the daughter of Ferdinand VII and María Cristina of Bourbon, ascended to the throne under the regency of her mother. Carlos María Isidoro of Bourbon, who had been the heir until the Salic law was overthrown, was not willing to accept the succession of Elisabeth, and so the Carlist War started. According to the Salic Law, imported from France by Philip V, female succession to the throne was not possible.
It was also an ideological conflict:
Country versus city, feudal agrarian society versus the urban society
María Cristina depended on the liberals. In this period the confiscations of church property took place. This period was also characterized by anticlerical riots.
The Liberal party was divided in two factions: the moderates (formed by the afrancesados and the doceañistas ) and the progressives.
Versus the political and administrative centralization of the moderates, the progressives proposed decentralization. Against bicameralism, unicameralism. The progressives came to power after the coup of 1836, known as the “Motín de la Granja”. From that moment on liberal politics were emphasized, with the suppression of the manors and the power of the religious orders, and thanks to the land confiscations. The new society converted free and individual property in one of its basic principles.
Confiscated lands could be bought with debt securities, a debt which the State contracted with an investor, the richer bourgeoisie. The state had a lot of debts, now with the selling of the confiscated lands, it tried to reduce them. The confiscation did not lead to an increase of small property owners. The new landowners wanted to increase the productivity of their lands and expulsed the peasants who had been tilling the ground during generations, or forced them to pay a much higher rent.
The ideal of universal education, free in all of its levels, was abandoned. This had been proposed during the so called trienio liberal, between 1820 and 1823. The plan of the Duke of Rivas
Secondary education is not education which should be as universal as possible, accessible to a large part of the population, but education which prepares the students for higher education, for university level. Secondary education was not for everybody but for the elite. Education was now seen as an instrument of power. Forgotten was the idea that the task of education was the formation of a free spirit. Education is an instrument which makes it possible to indoctrinate.
was the consequence of a new political orientation. No longer equality was the goal, but defense of property.