Political Catholicism in Spain's Second Republic (1931-1936)

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0019840/00001

Material Information

Title: Political Catholicism in Spain's Second Republic (1931-1936) The Confederacion Espanola de Derechas Autonomas in Madrid, Seville, and Toledo
Physical Description: 1 online resource (326 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Pierce, Samuel M
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007


Subjects / Keywords: catholic, ceda, civil, gil, history, interwar, politics, republic, robles, second, spain, war
History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: History thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This study examines the development of the Confederacion Espanola de Derechas Autonomas (CEDA) in three provinces: Madrid, Seville, and Toledo. When Spain's Second Republic was instituted in 1931, Catholics felt threatened by the new government's attempts to secularize the nation. In response, they created an opposition party, Accion Nacional, which eventually developed into a national confederation, the CEDA. Though the CEDA gained the largest parliamentary representation in the elections of 1933, internal divisions brought on by the influx of new members helped to tear it apart. Government distrust of the confederation's motives removed it from power in late 1935, leading to new elections that led to the confederation's ultimate collapse. By undertaking a study of the CEDA from a provincial perspective, rather than a national one, this work reevaluates the confederation?s role in the progression of Spain?s Republic. The experience in Madrid, Seville, and Toledo presents a view of the confederation in different-size cities with diverse populations. The confederation?s main strength, in Castile, underscored its primarily agrarian and Catholic identity. The CEDA relied on a complex regional structure, allowing provincial groups a great deal of autonomy while imposing discipline from the national level. In pursuing its political goals, the CEDA also developed auxiliary organizations for women, youth, and workers. These groups were among the most active within the CEDA. They helped broaden the confederation's appeal and establish the CEDA as Spain's largest political organization. Ultimately, however, internal divisions kept the CEDA from implementing a substantial parliamentary program, which led to its downfall in the spring of 1936. Though some CEDA members supported Franco's regime after the Spanish Civil War, many helped lay the foundation for Spain's Christian Democracy movements.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Samuel M Pierce.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Esenwein, George R.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0019840:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0019840/00001

Material Information

Title: Political Catholicism in Spain's Second Republic (1931-1936) The Confederacion Espanola de Derechas Autonomas in Madrid, Seville, and Toledo
Physical Description: 1 online resource (326 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Pierce, Samuel M
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007


Subjects / Keywords: catholic, ceda, civil, gil, history, interwar, politics, republic, robles, second, spain, war
History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: History thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This study examines the development of the Confederacion Espanola de Derechas Autonomas (CEDA) in three provinces: Madrid, Seville, and Toledo. When Spain's Second Republic was instituted in 1931, Catholics felt threatened by the new government's attempts to secularize the nation. In response, they created an opposition party, Accion Nacional, which eventually developed into a national confederation, the CEDA. Though the CEDA gained the largest parliamentary representation in the elections of 1933, internal divisions brought on by the influx of new members helped to tear it apart. Government distrust of the confederation's motives removed it from power in late 1935, leading to new elections that led to the confederation's ultimate collapse. By undertaking a study of the CEDA from a provincial perspective, rather than a national one, this work reevaluates the confederation?s role in the progression of Spain?s Republic. The experience in Madrid, Seville, and Toledo presents a view of the confederation in different-size cities with diverse populations. The confederation?s main strength, in Castile, underscored its primarily agrarian and Catholic identity. The CEDA relied on a complex regional structure, allowing provincial groups a great deal of autonomy while imposing discipline from the national level. In pursuing its political goals, the CEDA also developed auxiliary organizations for women, youth, and workers. These groups were among the most active within the CEDA. They helped broaden the confederation's appeal and establish the CEDA as Spain's largest political organization. Ultimately, however, internal divisions kept the CEDA from implementing a substantial parliamentary program, which led to its downfall in the spring of 1936. Though some CEDA members supported Franco's regime after the Spanish Civil War, many helped lay the foundation for Spain's Christian Democracy movements.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Samuel M Pierce.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Esenwein, George R.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0019840:00001

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O 2007 Samuel M. Pierce

For Laura and Abbie Tough


My advisor, George Esenwein, provided much support and advice as I worked to complete

this study. I am grateful for his time, counsel, and occasional prodding, which have helped to

improve its quality immeasurably. My original committee members, Tim Rees, Thomas Gallant,

Brian Ward and Montserrat Alas-Brin, all contributed significantly to my intellectual

development. I thank Peter Bergmann and Robert Zieger for stepping in to replace Professors

Gallant and Ward, who left Florida for positions in other departments. Geraldine Nichols stepped

in very late to replace Professor Alas-Brin, whose serious illness made it impossible for her to

continue in her role. Michael Seidman, Nigel Townson, and Martin Blinkhorn for their helpful

discussions. In Spain, I must especially thank Julio Gil Pecharroman whose kind guidance

helped me navigate the paths of Spanish archives. Jose Ram6n Montero also took time from his

busy schedule to meet with me, and Leandro Alvarez Rey provided helpful guidance in Seville.

The research and writing of this study were partially financed by the Fulbright

Commission and the University of Florida Department of History. In addition, the Fulbright

Commission helped my family find its way in Spain. The staffs of the various archives I

consulted provided valuable assistance in accessing key source material.

I am very grateful to my family. My parents, Frank and Rosemary, provided material and

moral support. All three of my brothers have also been supportive of my work. I am especially

indebted to my brother Marc, who explained to me the mystical world of graduate school and

read drafts of all but one chapter. Most of all, I owe much to my wife Laura, whose editing

assistance in the final stages of writing has been an invaluable asset. She also crossed an ocean,

learned a language, and shared with me the highs and lows of writing a dissertation while raising

a child, and I cannot imagine having done it without her.



ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. ...............4.....

LI ST OF AB BREVIAT IONS ........._. ......_.... ...............7.....

AB S TRAC T ..... ._ ................. ............_........9


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............11.......... ......


Catholicism in Spain before the Republic, 1891-1931 ................. ................ ......... .29
Initial Catholic Reaction to the Republic ................. ...............34...............
The First Cortes Elections .............. ............ .............4
From Temporary Alliance to Permanent Entity .............. ...............50....
The Establishment of AN in Seville ........._.___..... .__. ...............57..
Repression and Growth............... ...............61.
Toward the S anj urj ad a........._.___..... .___ ...............68...


The M onarchist Split .............. ...............73....
Building the CEDA.................. .... .............8
Electoral Success and Party Growth .................. ............ ...............90.....
Political Opposition and Intemnal Divisions during 1933 .............. ...............98....
The November 1933 Cortes Elections ................. ...............104..............

4 APEX: THE CEDA INT PARLIAMENT ................. ...............112..............

In Parliament but out of Govemnment: The M~inoria Popular Agraria ................. ...............113
Strikes and Rallies ................. ...............123..
Internal and External Conflicts ................. ...............128....... .....
The CEDA in Govemnment ............... ..... ... ._ ... ...._ .... ...............3
Conflict Renewed: The CEDA and Its Political Enemies in Early 1935 .............................140
The Apogee of the CEDA' s Power and Influence. ......___ ..... ...__ .. ....... .....14

5 HASTENING THE END, 193 5-7 ................. ...............152.......... ..

The Beginnings of Collapse: Autumn 1935 .............. .....................153
Pre-electoral Propaganda ................. ...............157................
February 1936 Parliamentary Elections............... ...............16
Post-election Troubles .............. ...............167....
Conspiracy against the Republic .............. ...............177....

The CEDA and the Civil War............... ...............181..

THE CEDA............... ...............186.

Organization and Growth .............. .. ...............188...
The CEDA' s Vision of Womanhood ............. ...... .__ ...............196
Women in the CEDA ............_...... ...............203..
Asistencia Social ............... ...............208
Elections (1933)............... ...............216
Elections (1936) ............... ...............226


Youth and Politics: The Formation of the JAP ................. ...............233.............
The JAP and Fascism............... ...............242
El Escorial............... ...............24
After El Escorial .............. ...............253....
M ovilizaci6n Civil ...................... ........ ........ ............5
Mass Meetings and Discarded Plans: The JAP in 1935 .............. ...............260....
Collapse and Civil War............... ...............268..


Building a Right-Wing Worker Party ............_.. ................ ...............275....
Tension and Cooperation between AO and the CEDA .............. ...............282....
"Yellow" Syndicalism .............. ...............289....
Ideology .............. .. ... ... .......... ........9
Accion Obrerista and the Far Left ................. ...............302.___. ....

9 CONCLUSION................ ..............30

BIBLIOGRAPHY ........._.__....... .__. ...............3 14...

Archives .........._.... .... .._. ...............314...

Newspapers and Periodical s .............. ...............3 14...
Books and Articl es ........._.___..... .___ ...............3 15...

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............326....


Acci6n Ciudadana de la Mujer. Independent women' s organization in Seville,
affiliated with the CEDA in 1933.

Asociaci6n Cat61ica Nacional de Propagandistas. Association of Catholic
propagandists, active in the organization of numerous Catholic social and
political movements.

Acci6n Nacional. Catholic political party, forerunner of the CEDA.

Acci6n Obrerista. Working-class political party affiliated with the CEDA.

Acci6n Popular. Confessional Catholic political party, main CEDA affiliate.

Acci6n Popular Femenina. Women' s section of the CEDA.

Confederaci6n Espafiola de Derechas AutC~nomas. Federation of Catholic
political parties.

Confederaci6n Espafiola de Sindicatos Obreros. Federation of "professional"
unions organized by the CEDA' s affiliates (replaced AO).

Coalici6n Espafiola de Trabaj adores. AO's affiliated union.

Confederaci6n Nacional Cat61ica-Agraria. Federation of Catholic agrarian

Confederaci6n Nacional de Trabaj o-Federaci6n Anarquista Iberica.
Anarchosyndicalist trade union.

Federaci6n Andaluza de Trabaj adores. Federation of "professional" unions
organized by AO in Seville.

Federaci6n Econ6mica de Andalucia. Right-wing economic union formed in

Institute Social Obrero. Worker education institute organized by Catholic

Juventud de Acci6n Popular. The CEDA's youth auxiliary.

Liga de Mujeres Campesinas. Female agrarian education organization created
by AP Femenina.

Partido Socialista Obrero Espahiol. Spanish Socialist Party.

Partido Social Popular. Christian Democrat political party formed in 1922.






AP Femenina













RE Renovaci6n Espafiola. Alphonsist monarchist group organized by Antonio
Goicoechea after he left AN.

UC Uni6n Ciudadana. Short-lived right-wing political union in Seville.

UGT Uni6n General de Trabaj adores. Socialist trade union.

UJP Uni6n Patri6tica. Miguel Primo de Rivera' s state-sponsored political party.

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Samuel M. Pierce

August 2007

Chair: George Esenwein
Major: History

This study examines the development of the Confederacidn Espaiola de Derecha~s

Autdnoma~s (CEDA) in three provinces: Madrid, Seville, and Toledo. When Spain's Second

Republic was instituted in 1931, Catholics felt threatened by the new government' s attempts to

secularize the nation. In response, they created an opposition party, Accian Nacional, which

eventually developed into a national confederation, the CEDA. Though the CEDA gained the

largest parliamentary representation in the elections of 1933, internal divisions brought on by the

influx of new members helped to tear it apart. Government distrust of the confederation' s

motives removed it from power in late 1935, leading to new elections that led to the

confederation' s ultimate collapse. By undertaking a study of the CEDA from a provincial

perspective, rather than a national one, this work reevaluates the confederation's role in the

progression of Spain' s Republic. The experience in Madrid, Seville, and Toledo presents a view

of the confederation in different-size cities with diverse populations. The confederation' s main

strength, in Castile, underscored its primarily agrarian and Catholic identity.

The CEDA relied on a complex regional structure, allowing provincial groups a great deal

of autonomy while imposing discipline from the national level. In pursuing its political goals, the

CEDA also developed auxiliary organizations for women, youth, and workers. These groups

were among the most active within the CEDA. They helped broaden the confederation's appeal

and establish the CEDA as Spain's largest political organization. Ultimately, however, internal

divisions kept the CEDA from implementing a substantial parliamentary program, which led to

its downfall in the spring of 1936. Though some CEDA members supported Franco's regime

after the Spanish Civil War, many helped lay the foundation for Spain's Christian Democracy

movements .


Of the right-wing political movements that developed during Spain' s Second Republic

between 1931-1936, none had more success than the Confederacion Espaiola de Derecha~s

Autonoma~s (CEDA), a broadly based political organization representative of a wide cross-section

of Catholic opinion. During this short period, it demonstrated an ability to adapt to a changed

political situation while remaining faithful to the basic principles of Spanish conservatives.

Historians have variously interpreted the CEDA' s adaptability as either a sign of good faith or as

a diversion to buy time while the party undermined the Republic from within. Histories of the

CEDA at the national level have tended to present the image of a monolithic party personified in

the behavior of its president, Jose Maria Gil Robles. More recent local analyses have tended to

obscure the fact that the CEDA was in fact a national, not a local, organization. In this study, I

seek to revise our understanding of the CEDA through an analysis of its development in three of

Spain's regions: Madrid, Seville, and Toledo. The experience of the CEDA in these provinces

demonstrates the wide diversity brought together by the CEDA. While the ability to draw on a

broad support base initially helped the CEDA to grow, that same diversity ultimately led to

conflict within the organization and contributed directly to its collapse in 1936.

Historians who study the CEDA confront several key problems. Chief among them is a

lack of readily available sources, because the CEDA' s archives were destroyed in the Civil War.

Because of this, historians were forced to rely on national press accounts for coverage. Because

of this, most early studies of the Republic focused almost exclusively on the national leadership

of the CEDA in their analysis. Historians working in Spain also had to contend with the

Francoist historical narrative, which presented the regime as the only way to save Spain from the

anarchy created by the Second Republic. In his work on the monarchist parties under the

Republic, Santiago Galindo Herrera argued that the CEDA had moved slowly away from its

monarchist roots to collaboration with the Republic and had "thus contributed to the

consolidation of that regime," implying that in doing so, the CEDA had abandoned the patria.

Other historians, such as Jose Gutierrez-Rave, presented the CEDA and its leaders in a similar

fashion.2 Some of the synthetic histories of the Republic simply ignored the CEDA, focusing

instead on the insidiousness of the left and the "crusade" of Franco to save the nation from ruin.3

Joaquin Arraras, in his four-volume history of the Republic, presented the CEDA as a valiant, if

misguided, effort to prevent the complete breakdown of Spanish society. Its leaders, he thought,

had fooled themselves into thinking that the Republic's supporters would allow them to take


While historians inside Spain generally worked within the constraints of the Francoist

master-narrative, a group of scholars outside of Spain, called the Hispanists, wrote about Spanish

history from a more liberal perspective. The work produced by this group, including such

scholars as Raymond Carr, Gerald Brenan, Stanley Payne, and Edward Malefakis, found its way

to Spain in translation. These scholars produced work on a number of subj ects, but they wrote

primarily on the history of the Second Republic and the Civil War in an attempt to understand

the causes of the latter. Similarly, the work of Spanish exiles like Manuel Tufion de Lara,

SSantiago Galindo Herrera, Los partidos mondirquicos bajo la Segunda Repziblica, 2nd edition (Madrid: Ediciones
Rialp, 1956), 259. Patria is the Spanish word for homeland. Some writers, trying to associate the CEDA with
Nazism and Italian Fascism have translated it as "Fatherland." They do so because of its Latin root, which comes
from the word for father. However, in Spanish, the patria is seen in feminine terms (such as the "madre patria")
which do not have the same connotations. All translations are my own except where noted.

2 JOs6 Guti~rrez-Rav6, GilRobles, Caudillo frustrado (Madrid: ERSA, 1967).

3 See, for example, Melchor Fern~ndez Almagro, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica Espaiiola (1931-1936) (Madrid:
Biblioteca Nueva, 1940); Eduardo Comin Colomer, Historia secret de la Segunda Repziblica (Barcelona: Editorial
Ahr, 1959).

4 JOaquin Arraris, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica Espaiiola, 4 vols. (Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1964).

working in France and influenced by the development of neo-Marxist ideas, provided new

viewpoints for the study of Spanish history. Invariably, these historians took a critical view of

Franco' s regime, and their work greatly influenced the new generation of historians studying in

Spain in the 1960s and 1970s.5

The work of Gerald Brenan was especially influential to early historians of the Republic.

His personal experience of living in Spain during that period allowed him to provide a great deal

of insight into the Republic' s social and political struggles, demonstrating the importance of two

main issues: religion and agrarian reform. He argued that the CEDA had played a critical role in

undermining the reforms begun by the Republic and were instrumental in the regime's downfall,

arguing that the CEDA served Spain' s vested interests and was an appendage of the Church.

According to him, it was only "a superficial imitation of the German Catholic party and was

intended by its founders to be, not simply the party of the caciques, the Army and the aristocracy,

but of the Catholic masses as well."6 Following quite closely along the lines of Brenan's work,

Gabriel Jackson took a less critical view of the CEDA. He believed that even though monarchists

played too strong a role in the CEDA, it "had the makings of a mass party which would represent

the Catholic middle class and peasantry within the Republic."

The 1968 publication of the first volume of the memoirs of Jose Maria Gil Robles, the

CEDA president, touched off the "polemic of the seventies." In Great Britain, this debate

5 Miguel Cabrera, "Developments in Contemporary Spanish Historiography," 993-5. Some examples of work by the
Hispanists are: Raymond Carr, Spain: 1808-1975 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982); Gerald Brenan, The Spanish
Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1998); Stanley Payne, Politics and the Military in Modern Spain (Stanford: Stanford University
Press, 1967); Edward Malefakis, Agrarian Reform and PeasantRevolution in Spain (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1970).

6 Gerald Brenan, The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil
War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 267-8.
SGabriel Jackson, The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
1965), 520-1.

revolved mainly around Gil Robles's role in the collapse of the Republic, led by the work of

Richard A. H. Robinson and Paul Preston.8 Based in part on Gil Robles's account, Robinson

argued that the right' s failure to win more representation in the Cortes than it did in 1931 had led

to a constitution that was "a standing invitation to civil war."9 Focusing on the interaction

between the CEDA and the other non-Republican right-wing groups, he presents a sympathetic

portrait of the Catholics, arguing that the CEDA clearly represented a Christian Democrat

movement similar to the German Center Party.10 Preston focused his account on the interaction

between the CEDA and the Socialist party, arguing that these two groups most feared "that the

other would come to power legally and give the regime a constitutional and legislative content

which would damage the material interests of their supporters."" The CEDA' s insistence on

blocking reform caused the Socialists to become radicalized, provoking the violence of 1934 by

their actions.12 These two works set the lines for debate during the next decades.

During the 1970s, many young scholars inside Spain, influenced by the work of foreign

historians, questioned the Franco regime's influence over historical interpretation. Above all,

they criticized the regime' s claim that its version of history represented the interests of all

Spaniards. Embracing the left-wing ideology of the Republicans and Socialists, this new

generation of historians portrayed the military's role in the Civil War as an attack on a

SLeandro Alvarez Rey, "La derecha 'accidentalista' en la Segunda Reptiblica Espafiola" in Las d'erechas en la
Espaiia contemporcinea, ed. Javier Tussell, Feliciano Montero, and Jos6 Maria Marin (Barcelona: Anthropos, 1997),

9 Richard A. H. Robinson, The Origins ofFranco 's Spain: The Right, the Republic, and Revolution 1931-1936
(Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1970) 59.
10 Ibid., 115-6.

"Paul Preston, The Coming of the Spanish Civil War: Reform, Reaction, and Revolution in the Second Republic 2nd
ed. (New York: Routledge, 1993), 3 and 121.
I12 bid., 282.

progressive, democratically-elected regime serving the nation' s best interests, rej ecting Franco' s

claims to have "saved" Spain from the terrors of Communism. Many of these scholars had an

explicitly political agenda. For example, the work of Oscar Alzaga Villaamil on early forms of

Christian Democracy in Spain foreshadowed his later role in the Union de Centro Democra~tico

(UCD), Adolfo Suarez' s centrist vehicle for the democratization of Spain after Franco' s death.13

After Franco' s death, historians turned their attention to the origins of the Franco regime itself,

critically evaluating its founding myths. Studies of right-wing political groups under the

Republic, such as Raul Morodo's work on the ideology ofAccion Espaiola, blamed them for

failing to help consolidate the regime by employing ambiguous rhetoric and refusing to openly

declare their Republicanism. Additionally, these historians criticized the right for representing

the interests of the traditional ruling classes at the expense of the poor.14

During this period, two works dealing with the CEDA were published by scholars working

in Spain. The first, by the liberal historian Javier Tussell, presented the CEDA as part of the

development of Christian Democracy in Spain. Although he did not believe that the CEDA itself

had been an example of such a party, it nonetheless paved the way for future organizations."

Soon afterward, Jose RamC~n Montero's massive La CEDA: El catolicismo social politico en la

IIReptiblica, a critical assessment of the Catholic confederation, appeared. In it, Montero argues

that the CEDA "was not exactly the political expression of social Catholicism" and emphasizes

13 Oscar Alzaga Villaamil, La primera democracia cristiana en Espaiia (Barcelona: Editorial Ariel, 1973).

14 Miguel Cabrera, "Developments in Contemporary Spanish Historiography," 997; Ra~id Morodo, Accidn Espaiiola:
Los origenes ideoldgicos del franquismo (Mladrid: Alianza, 1985). I am also grateful to Professor Montero and
Professor Julio Gil Pecharromin for taking the time to discuss this subject with me. Both of them offered the same
assessment of the period during which they conducted doctoral research in the 1970s.

1s Javier Tussell, Historia de la democracia cristiana en Espaiia, 2 vols. (Madrid: Editorial Cuadernos Para El
Didlogo, 1974). See especially volume 1, 141.

its role as a counter-revolutionary organization.16 His study, which became the standard account

of the CEDA, presented a detailed analysis of the CEDA' s origins and development during the

Second Republic. Unfortunately, due to his limited access to source material, Montero limited

his study to an analysis of the national party based on published sources. Since that time, a

number of new sources have been made available, making it possible to fill in the gaps of

Montero's work.

As important as these studies were in explaining the history of the CEDA, they did not take

the party's regional development into account. However, as will be shown in this study, the

CEDA' s regionalist structure allowed for a great deal of diversity within the confederation.

Moreover, easier access to source materials in local and provincial archives has made local

studies of the right during the Republic possible. Taken together, the local studies by authors

such as Luis Moreno Fernandez and Leandro Alvarez Rey demonstrate that on the local level,

the CEDA exhibited a remarkable degree of variety. They have also provided a better sense of

the party membership in these areas. In agricultural areas like Badaj oz, latifundista~s and small

landholders, after an initial period of separate political activity, j oined together in support of AP

because they considered it an agrarian organization that would protect their goals.l7 Other

scholars have published studies of the CEDA in Murcia, Galicia, Valencia, Salamanca, and

16 JOs6 RamC~n Montero, La CEDA: El catolicismo politico y social en la II Repziblica, vol. 1 (Madrid: Ediciones de
la Revista de Trabajo, 1977), 7. Montero finished writing in August 1975, several months prior to Franco's death,
but his work did not appear in print until 1977.

17 Timothy Rees, "The Political Mobilization of Landowners in the Province of Badajoz, 193 1-1933," Elites and
Power in Twentieth-Century Spain: Essays in Honour of Sir Raymond Carr (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), 103.
Latifundistas were large landowners, generally from southern Spain.

Seville, each of which has added significantly to our understanding of the confederation on a

local level.l

While this increased focus on local organizations has provided a substantial improvement

of our understanding of the CEDA' s structure at that level, local studies tend to obscure the links

between local groups and the national organization. Because of this, a comparative regional

approach reaps significant benefits, and the use of Madrid, Seville, and Toledo as a basis for

comparison is especially useful. A large city and the center of the party, Madrid provides a view

of the national CEDA, while the areas of the province outside of the city demonstrate the

CEDA' s success in rural areas. In this province, the activities of the CEDA in the city

overshadowed its efforts in the countryside, but in every election, the CEDA performed better in

Madrid's rural areas than in the city. Seville, a medium-size city, presented a very different

aspect from Madrid. It had a strong agricultural sector and powerful left-wing organizations. The

Socialists and Anarchists held great sway among Seville's working class. At the same time, it

had a substantial Catholic population. During the Republic, it became an important center for

both the CEDA and the Traditionalist Communion. For its part, Toledo is a small city with a

strongly agrarian economy. The strong Catholic presence in that province led to the election of

AP's candidates in all three elections of the Republic. Taken together, these three provinces

demonstrate a great variety of political and social experience during the Republic, and they

provide an ideal group for the study of the CEDA.

1s Luis Miguel Moreno Fern~ndez, Accidn Popular M~urciana: La derecha confesional en M~urcia durante la HI
Repziblica (Mlurcia: Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Murcia, 1987); Emilio Grandio Seoane, Los
origenes de la derecha gallega: La C.E.D.A. en Galicia (1931-1936) (A Corufia: Edicios do Castro, 1998); Mary
Vincent, Catholicism in the Second Spanish Republic (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996); Stephen Lynam,
"'Moderate' Conservatism and the Second Republic: The Case of Valencia" in Spain in Conflict, 1931-1939, ed.
Martin Blinkhorn (London: SAGE, 1986); Rafael Quirosa-Cheyrouze y Mufioz, Catdlicos, mondirquicos y fascistas
en Almeria durante la HRepziblica (Almeria: Instituto de Estudios Almerienses, 1998); Leandro Alvarez Rey, La
derecha en la HRepziblica: Sevilla, 1931-1936 (Seville: Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Sevilla,

This study focuses on the role of lay Catholics in developing a response to the Republic

and its reforms, with a focus on local and provincial leaders. While I have paid attention to the

role of the Church in helping channel that reaction, especially in the earliest stages of the

Republic, it is not my intention to provide an in-depth history of the relationship between the

Catholic Church and the CEDA, or a relation of the history of the official Church during the

Republic. The political fortunes of Catholics depended much more on groups like the CEDA

than on the Church. Even so, the Church clearly supported the CEDA and its goals, in part

because the CEDA consciously sought the Church's approval, and in part because the party saw

itself and was seen by others as an expression of Catholic opinion in the Republic's political

arena. Yet rather than portray itself as an extension, the party appeared as a champion to defend

the Church' s cause. All of the right-wing political groups of the Republic considered themselves

Catholic, but the CEDA is unique because it was a "confessional" party. In other words, the

stated purpose of the party was to defend the interests of the church against the secularizing

agenda of the Republic' s leaders and pursue a political agenda rooted in Catholic doctrine.

Historians have long recognized that the legalistt right" (i.e. the CEDA) and the Socialists

held the key to the Republic's success.19 Paul Preston has argued that the CEDA and the

Socialists focused on each other rather than extremist groups (such as the "catastrophist" right,

which pursued the violent overthrow of the Republic, or the anarchists), because they believed

the government would keep such factions in check. The CEDA and the Socialists mutually

feared, as Preston says, "that the other would be able to use legal means to conquer power and

19 Robinson, The Origins, 12; Preston, The Coming, 2: Payne, The Collapse of the Spanish Republic, 350.

give the Republic a legislative content which would damage the material interests of its


Juan Linz, in his study of the Republic's political system, has categorized the two groups

as "semi-loyal" to the Republic, meaning that each had an ideological commitment that

superseded the Republic, such that neither had an abiding interest in perpetuating the system.

The Socialists, for example, sought to create a Socialist state, using violence if necessary. The

CEDA wished to protect the patria, which did not necessarily mean protecting the Republic. At

the very minimum, the CEDA sought to rewrite the constitution with a stronger executive and a

more limited parliament. Linz recognizes the toll this semi-loyalty exacted on the Republic,

blaming "the semiloyalty of parties that in other European countries tended clearly to define their

allegiance to a democratic regime and their distance from disloyal opposition, the Socialists,

and the demo-Christians or Catholic parties."21 More synthetic studies of the Republic, such as

those by Stanley Payne and Nigel Townson, have taken Linz's categorization into account and

demonstrated that the CEDA was not so far out of the political mainstream as to have

automatically eliminated it from governing.22

This study is necessarily limited in its portrayal of the social base of the CEDA, because

membership information is largely unavailable due to the destruction of the party archives during

the Civil War. Rafael Quirosa-Cheyrouze y Mufioz has provided the only full analysis of AP's

membership composition in the city of Almeria, where government records of the party's

membership lists remain. His work demonstrates that the party had a much higher working-class

20 Preston, The Coming, 3.

21 Linlz, 164.

22 Stanley Payne, Spain 's First Democracy: The Second Republic (1931-1936) (Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press, 1993); Nigel Townson, The Crisis of Democracy in Spain: Centrist Politics under the Second Republic,
1931-1936 (Portland: Sussex Academic Press, 2000).

membership than generally believed.23 Unfortunately, his work is limited to a single city. Were

this information available for other provinces, it would make possible a detailed social analysis

of the CEDA on a national level. Most previous studies relied on the personal information only

of committee members and other party leaders to provide the basis of a social analysis of party

membership. Such analyses clearly prejudice the results in favor of more affluent members with

more experience in leadership positions. Clearly the CEDA served a middle-class Catholic base,

but it is ultimately impossible to provide a complete breakdown of its membership.

My account of the CEDA' s development begins with a chronological account of the main

body of the party from its beginnings in 193 1 until its demise in 1937. During the first year of the

Republic, Catholics struggled to establish an organized response to the new regime. Chapter 2

discusses the organization and growth ofAccion Nacional, the first Catholic political group

formed during the Republic. This group, which adhered to a policy of "accidentalism" based on

the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII, believed that the regime and its ideology could be separated.

That is, protecting and promoting Catholic doctrine was more important than adherence to a

specific political form of government. Because of this, the party owed its loyalty not to a specific

type of rule but to the Church. Thus, monarchists could j oin with non-monarchist Catholics in a

purely "defensive" organization with the intention of salvaging what they could from the new

regime while recognizing that they were free to work outside of AN for the return of the king.

Initially conceived as a temporary electoral alliance for the June 1931 Constituent Cortes

elections, AN shifted course after the elections and organized a permanent political party. While

many die-hard monarchists left the party at this time, others chose to remain. Over the next year,

23 Rafael Quirosa-Cheyrouze y Mufioz, Catolicos, monairquicos y fascistas en 4bneria, 24-38.

AN established the basic organization of what would become the CEDA when it formed a

women's section, a youth section, and a worker party.

In mid-1932, however, AN, now Accion Popular (AP) by government decree, underwent a

profound transformation. A monarchist uprising, led by General Sanjurj o, led to a government

crackdown on right-wing groups, including AP, which had not participated in the uprising as a

group but was viewed with suspicion by leftists because of its monarchist associations. This

situation led directly to a split between the committed monarchists remaining in AP and the

accidentalist faction, which now embraced the possibilities of working within the Republic to

achieve reforms. AN thus became the birthplace of the two maj or strands of right-wing political

ideology in the Second Republic, the monarchist Renovacion Espaiola and the CEDA. The

formation of the CEDA in March 1933 gave concrete form to a nationwide alliance of Catholic

groups willing to push their agenda within the Republic. Chapter Three charts this shift from

August 1932 until November 1933, when the recently constituted CEDA won the most

parliamentary seats in national elections.

Chapter Four discusses the CEDA' s activities in parliament from 1933-193 5. One of the

most remarkable features of this period is that, even with the largest parliamentary

representation, the CEDA failed to make significant headway toward instituting any of the maj or

parts of its program. Even in the wake of the October 1934 Socialist uprising, the CEDA was

unable to accomplish much more than suppress the non-Republican left's political activities.

Partly, this is because the party failed to win a parliamentary majority in the elections and was

thus forced to form an alliance with Alej andro Lerroux' s Radical party, which held serious

reservations about the CEDA' s goals. More importantly, however, internal divisions racked the

CEDA, paralyzing many of its actions and undermining some of its efforts at substantial reforms.

Opportunists who joined the party after the electoral victory asserted their own agendas. They

successfully lobbied against the reforms of the CEDA' s own government ministers, notably

Manuel Gimenez Fernandez, forcing significant revisions to substantially weaken maj or proj ects

or kill them all together.

By 193 5, these internal divisions, along with the demise of the Radicals under the weight

of several scandals and the President of the Republic' s lack of trust, brought about the CEDA' s

fall from power. Chapter Five charts the demise of the CEDA, from the significant divisions

apparent in 1935 through its final collapse during the Civil War. The development of new

fissures among the CEDA' s membership, between the old-line party members and those who

joined the party after the 1933 electoral success, led to a noticeable decline even before the

February 1936 elections. The CEDA' s failure to achieve another victory in 1936 demoralized the

party's members, and many subsequently quit and j oined more radical organizations. Chastened

by the election results, the CEDA pursued a more moderate course during the Spring of 1936,

but the increasing lack of understanding between the extreme wings of the political spectrum led

to increased violence and ultimately, a group of military conspirators rose up against the

Republic. Forced to choose sides, most cedista~s supported the uprising, and Gil Robles

encouraged his followers to join the military. A year later, the CEDA formally dissolved,

incorporated into Franco' s Nationalist movement.

Chapters 6 through 8 analyze the CEDA' s auxiliary organizations for women, youth, and

workers, which played an important role in the development of the CEDA. All three of these

groups had been organized by the middle of 1932, but they did not reach their full potential until

1933. The women' s section, discussed in chapter 6, was organized at the end of 1931 after

women received the right to vote in the Republic's new constitution. This group was central to

the CEDA' s success. Women fulfilled two main roles in the CEDA: social aid work and election

propaganda. Drawn largely from existing Catholic women's organizations, the CEDA's women

defended a traditional view of womanhood and family life. By taking charge of the CEDA' s

social aid program, women continued to fulfill the traditional role of caretaker. However, in

relying on women for a significant part of their election propaganda, the CEDA' s leaders

recognized the asset that they had, and several women became popular speakers nationally. Mary

Vincent has argued that in Salamanca, the CEDA did not seek to promote new social roles for

women, even though women had taken on new responsibilities during the Republic. However,

she does recognize the seeming contradiction between the political roles being assigned to

women by the CEDA and traditional Catholic values.24

Accion Nacional was the first maj or political group to create a separate women' s section;

other groups on the right later followed suit. The left did not create similar organizations until the

M~ujeres Libres formed in 1936. Many Republican groups believed that women needed to be

properly educated before they could properly be trusted to vote, while non-Republican left-wing

groups such as the Socialists believed in the importance of incorporating women into the same

party framework as men. After the creation of the CEDA, women continued to play a key role in

its organization. Women belonged to the CEDA' s national council and provincial committees,

while several were elected to the Cortes in 1933. None of these roles had been envisioned prior

to the Republic. While they clearly had not reached full equality with men, Catholic women had

indeed taken on new roles during the Republic.

The CEDA' s youth organization, the Juventud de Accion Popular (JAP), is the CEDA' s

most controversial auxiliary, opening the wider confederation to charges of fascism. The JAP

24 Vincent, "Catholic Women in Salamanca, 1931-1936," 117 and 125.

was the CEDA' s most radical wing, and its "juvenile paroxysms" constantly provided the left

with political fodder to use against the CEDA.25 Martin Blinkhorn has depicted the JAP as

"fascisant," making "at least a partial surrender to fascist 'style,' youth worship and taste for

violence."26 While the JAP consciously mimicked the outward trappings of fascist mobilizations,

this was the extent of fascism's influence on the CEDA. The JAP explicitly rej ected fascism' s

sanctification of the state and acceptance of violence, and it sought to distance itself from too

close an identification with fascism. There is no evidence that the JAP initiated any violent

confrontations. Generally, accounts of the JAP's involvement in violence demonstrate that its

members only responded to attacks. In fact, the JAP ultimately failed because it refused to

embrace violence as a means to achieve its goals, and many members left, disillusioned, to join

more extreme groups. Chapter 7 discusses the growth of the JAP into a mass organization and

charts its later decline, beginning with its creation as the Juventud de Accidn Nacional and

ending with the incorporation of the JAP militias into Franco' s Nationalist army in 1937.

Chapter 8 traces the development of Accidn Obrerista, a working-class political party

created to work with the CEDA in order to make inroads among workers. Formed in 1932, AO

achieved a membership of only 80,000 at its peak in 193 5. Under the leadership of Dimas de

Madariaga, president of the national confederation of Catholic syndicates, AO sought to rival the

Socialist party and eventually to become the largest contingent in the CEDA. Such dreams never

materialized. Instead, AO remained a niche organization. Part of the problem is that its

relationship with the CEDA was never completely resolved. Nationally, AO loudly proclaimed

its independence, while in some of the provinces, notably Seville, the local Accidn Popular

25 Robinson, 212.

26 Martin Blinkhorn, "Conservatism, Traditionalism and Fascism," 131-2.

leadership considered it merely a section of that party. In many cases, it appears that workers

simply joined AP, rather than AO. Jose Ram6n Montero has called AO "a national political party

that was never more than an autonomous section of the CEDA."27 Most other studies of the

CEDA have ignored it completely. Even the work of Colin Winston, Catholic Workers and the

Right in Spain, 1900-1936, never mentions AO, briefly mentioning the CEDA and its syndical

cousin, the Confederacion Espaiola de Sindicatos Obreros (CE SO), but never the worker


A note on sources: The scattered and fragmentary nature of available sources dealing with

the CEDA was one of the most problematic aspects of this study. When the Civil War began, the

CEDA' s Madrid headquarters and its library-archive, along with party offices in countless

provinces, were destroyed. This, combined with the damage suffered by many local and

provincial government buildings during the war and the destruction of papers by those afraid of

reprisals, has greatly complicated the study of the CEDA. Traditionally, historians studying this

group have relied on the national Catholic press in Madrid, focusing on El Debate, whose

director, Angel Herrera Oria, founded the CEDA. Historians undertaking local studies have

shown the value of using local newspapers. This study has included the provincial Catholic

press, such as Toledo's El Ca;stellanolll~~~~~~11111 and Seville's El Correo de Andahecia, in addition to El

Debate. Such an approach has yielded a much more complete picture of what was happening on

the provincial level, linking it to the national organization. Though an important source for

developing a history of the CEDA, newspapers lack sufficient detachment to act as the sole

source base of this study. Most information available on the CEDA comes from local Catholic

27Montero, La CED4, vol. 1, 747.

28Colin Winston, Workers and the Right in Spain, 1900-1936 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), 309-

newspapers connected to the party, and left-wing press accounts tend to repeat unsubstantiated

rumors as fact.

In order to provide a more neutral view of events, the use of government and personal

archives has been invaluable. The Archivo Hist6rico Nacional in Madrid provided a great deal of

documentation in the Serie de Gobernaci6n, a repository of the Interior Minister' s

correspondence. The Salamanca branch of the Archivo Hist6rico Nacional conserves very little

information on the CEDA, but it provided several letters sent from Gil Robles to Alej andro

Lerroux. The Real Academia de la Historia maintains the Fondo Diego Angulo, papers collected

by a resident of Seville during the Republic. Most of its documentation consists of electoral

propaganda, and a number of important pieces of information are conserved there.

Probably the most valuable single source for this proj ect was the Archivo Gimenez

Fernandez, kept by the Hemeroteca Municipal in Seville. The archive contains the personal

papers of Manuel Gimenez Fernandez, who was an important member of the CEDA. Though

from Seville, he maintained a distance from AP in that province after 1933, and much of his

correspondence sheds light on local issues. In addition, the archive conserves much of the

correspondence from his activity as Minister of Agriculture in 1934-5, giving an important

glimpse of the discrepancies that arose over his actions there. The archive contains

correspondence, CEDA documents, and numerous notes taken by Gimenez Fernandez (including

reorganization schemes, legislative proposals, and other items). This documentation provides a

great deal of information not available elsewhere and has contributed greatly to the

interpretations presented in this study.

29 Robinlson, The Origins, 67.


Manuel Azafia, the Spanish Prime Minister, declared in October 1931 that "Spain has

ceased to be Catholic." He intended to reflect the secularization of Spain' s intellectual

community, but his words ignited a firestorm of opposition from Catholic members of parliament

incensed by Azafia' s "Fascist conception of the State."29 Such a reaction was not surprising.

From the beginning of the Republic in April, many Catholics had considered themselves under

attack by a government intent on depriving them of religious rights by secularizing the nation.

For them, it was not simply a matter of politics: their entire way of life was at stake. As the

Republican-Socialist governing coalition worked to implement social, economic, and political

reforms during the first year of the Second Republic, Catholics worked to prepare a political

response to these measures.

The new dynamics created by the establishment of the Republic forced a realignment in

Spanish political life. The Provisional government represented a wide spectrum of political

viewpoints, which coexisted peacefully but ultimately pursued different goals. Beyond their

shared rej section of the monarchy, these groups had little to hold them together, ranging as they

did from Socialists to conservative Republicans. On the right, Catholics found themselves

politically disorganized. The coming of the Republic had swept away the old monarchist parties,

and Catholics, who had generally supported conservative parties, now had to decide where their

political leanings lay. While some Catholics, like Miguel Maura and Niceto Alcala-Zamora,

worked with the new regime, most sought a way to stave off the new Regime' s impact on

Spain' s social institutions. The first year of the Republic was crucial in the development of a

legitimate Catholic party within the Republic.

From the outset of the Republic, pro-monarchist Catholics recognized the benefits of

working together and established the basis for j oint action. Accidn Nacional (AN), created to

defend Catholic interests, brought together the strands of monarchism and social Catholicism in a

single group.30 Created exclusively as a defensive organization, AN initially looked no further

ahead than to the June elections that would create the body to write the Republic's constitution.

After the elections, its leaders decided to make the union permanent, seeing the potential for

creating a mass movement to defend the interests of Spanish Catholicism. However, only with a

very minimal program could AN bring together the monarchist and republican elements it sought

to unite. By the middle of 1932, the organizational basis for the Confederacidn Espahola de

Derecha~s Autdnoma~s (CEDA) had been established with the creation of a main party, Accidn

Nacional, along with auxiliaries for women, youth, and workers. Even so, the discrepancies

among members presaged a split that would occur that summer, when monarchi sts--including a

limited number from AN--launched an uprising against the Republic. Later that year, the union

created by AN would break apart, leading to the creation of conservative rivals: the CEDA and

the monarchist Renovacidn Espahola (RE).

This chapter will analyze the development of Accidn Nacional from its beginnings as a

temporary electoral alliance to the middle of 1932, when it stood on the brink of the schism that

would ultimately break it apart. During this period, AN' s activity was largely centered in

Madrid, but once organized in that city, party leaders quickly moved to establish it throughout

the country. In Seville, AN grew slowly because of competition with other conservative elements

for leadership among Catholics. Also, Republican and Socialist groups already had strong

30 Spanish monarchism at this time was divided into two camps: the Alphonsists, who supported the return of
Alphonse XIII to the throne after the Republic replaced him, and the Carlists, who preferred a more conservative
monarch descended from the male heirs of Ferdinand VII.

31 Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (1891).

support there. Party organization did not move beyond the capital until 1932, when it finally

succeeded in making its presence felt. AN followed a very different traj ectory in the heavily

Catholic Toledo, where it elected two deputies in the June 1931 elections, then quickly

proceeded to establish itself throughout the province. By 1933, there were 80,000 members of

AN in Toledo. While AN took separate paths and attained a varying degree of success in these

three provinces, in all of them they created a foundation for the astounding growth they would

see between 1933 and 1935.

Catholicism in Spain before the Republic, 1891-1931

Accidn Nacional traced its ideological lineage to the social Catholic movements initiated in

the late nineteenth century by Pope Leo XIII. Originally conceptualized in the Rerum Novarum

of 1891, social Catholicism presented itself as an alternative to Socialism, arguing for the

peaceful coexistence of capital and labor. It argued in favor of social reforms but rej ected class

struggle and collectivization in favor of social justice and the extension of property ownership,

explaining that cooperation more effectively sustained workers' rights.31 Paving the way for

Catholic political intervention, social Catholicism became the basis for Catholic movements

throughout Europe, most notably in France, Germany, Belgium, and Italy. After World War I,

German Catholics formed the Center Party, and in Belgium, Catholics worked with the Socialists

to promote social justice.

Spanish Catholics initiated social organizations at the end of the nineteenth century, but

they did not attempt to create political groups until the end of the first decade of the twentieth

century. The first Spaniard to promote the development of Catholic political organizations was

Angel Herrera Oria. He organized the Asociacidn Catdlica Nacional de Propagandista~s (ACNP)

in 1909, took over publication of the Madrid daily El Debate in 1912, and organized the

Editorial Catdlica in 1913 to coordinate Catholic publishing efforts. Herrera Oria began

advocating a minimum program to unite Catholics politically in 1913 and later helped form the

Confederacidn Nacional Catdlica-Agraria (CNCA), a Catholic agrarian association which

sought to end "Socialism, usury, caciquismO32 and 'the pagan principles of liberalism."'33 Other

groups formed as well. In 1918, Severino Aznar brought together a small group of Catholic

intellectuals in the Grupo de la Democracia Cristiana, which worked to develop a cohesive

ideology for Spanish Christian Democracy.34 Aznar' s group never became more than an

intellectual nucleus, but the Partido Social Popular (PSP) put many of its ideas into practice and

became Spain's first Christian Democrat party.

Created in 1922 as a political outlet for social Catholicism, the PSP brought together Angel

Herrera' s ACNP, Aragonese social Catholics like Salvador Minguij Cn, a group of "disillusioned"

traditionalists, and the maurista left wing under Angel Ossorio. It went beyond Herrera' s

minimum program and advocated a wide range of government reforms in keeping with Leo

XIII's teachings by opposing caciquismo, endorsing constitutional reform, and pushing

administrative reform while also championing economic reforms to benefit the working class.

While the PSP never developed a mass following, by the time it disbanded in 1923, it had

developed a clear ideology and begun holding propaganda meetings.35 Many of the CEDA' s

32 Caciquismo refers to a system of political bosses that existed mostly in the Spanish countryside, where landless
peasants were often at the mercy of their employers and landlords.
33 Alzaga, La primera democracia cristiana, 119-23; Robinson, 25 and 27. Herrera's minimum program called for
government favoritism of the Catholic Church, proportional representation, and regionalism.
34 JuliO Gil Pecharromin, Conservadoeres subversives: La d'erecha autoritaria alfonsina (1913-1936) (Madrid:
Eudema, 1994), 35. Its membership stayed around forty for its entire existence. See Oscar Alzaga Villaamil, La
primera democracia cristiana en Espaila (Barcelona: Editorial Ariel, 1973), 59-61.
35 Gil Pecharromin, Conservadores subversives, 35-7.

leaders, such as Luis Lucia, Jose Maria Gil Robles, and Manuel Gimenez Fernandez, cut their

political teeth in this group.

The PSP suspended its activities when General Miguel Primo de Rivera took power in

September 1923, believing that the dictator would protect the same interests it promoted. The

regime drew inspiration from regenerationist ideas, which had been around Spain since the end

of the nineteenth century. Regenerationists, such as Joaquin Costa, believed that only a total

reform of Spanish politics and society could save it from continued decline.36 The party created

to legitimize the regime, Unidn Patridtica (UP), had links to many future CEDA members, such

as Dimas Madariaga, who later played an important role in Toledo during the Second Republic.

Initially organized by a group linked to the PSP and the CNCA, UP took on the responsibility of

developing a mass support base for the regime by reaching out to the middle class.37 UP helped

Primo de Rivera decisively break with the liberal past in an attempt to renew Spain's political

life and bring relief to the underrepresented masses.

Under Primo de Rivera' s rle, Catholics generally accepted that the regime supported their

interests. The regime suppressed the anarchist Confederacidn Nacional de Trabajadores (CNT),

opening the door for other working-class movements to supplant it.38 However, the Catholic

Confederacidn Nacional de Sindicatos Catdlicos Obreros (CNSCO) failed to take advantage of

36 Stanley Payne, Politics and the Military in Modern Spain (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967), 197-204;
Javier Tussell and Genoveva Queipo de Llano, "The Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, 1923-1931," in Spanish
History since 1808, ed. Jos6 Alvarez Junco and Adrian Shubert (London: Arnold, 2000), 207-9; Carolyn P. Boyd,
Praetorian Politics in Liberal Spain (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979), 262-8. Primo de
Rivera' s dictadura began when the general instigated a coup to avoid scrutiny of military activity in Morocco,
where the Spanish military had been embroiled in a colonial war. The coup received wide support, and the king
quickly made Primo de Rivera the head of government.
37 Rosa Martinez Segarra, "La Uni6n Patri6tica," in Las derechas en la Espaiia contimpordinea, ed. Javier Tussell,
Feliciano Montero, and Jos6 Maria Marin (Mladrid: Anthopos/Universidad Nacional de Educaci6n a Distancia,
1997), 169-70; Gil Pecharromin, Conservadores subversives, 44-9.

38 The CNT refused to collaborate with the regime. In 1927, a group of committed anarchists formed the Federacidn
Anarquista Ibirica (FAI), a vanguard group later incorporated into the CNT.

the Church's privileged status under the regime, and its membership lagged far behind that of

other groups, such as the Socialist Union General de Trabajadores (UGT) and the Sindicatos

Libres came to the forefront.39 The Sindicatos Libres, nonconfessional unions that tended to

support Catholic principles but had ties to the Carlist movement, eventually equaled the

membership of the UGT.40 But the UGT, still the most powerful of the unions, made an

agreement with the dictator by which Francisco Largo Caballero, head of the UGT, j oined the

Council of State, and Socialists controlled the comitis paritarios organized to resolve labor

disputes.41 Even though Catholics lost considerable ground to the UGT in this area, Catholics

remained powerful in other, important ways. For example, they played a maj or role in the

National Assembly, organized by Primo de Rivera to revise the 1876 constitution in order to

legitimize his corporatist, non-parliamentarian, anti-liberal regime. Their draft, made public in

1929, sought to institutionalize a corporative Catholic regime. The document, however, failed to

garner much public support, because Spaniards no longer embraced Primo de Rivera' s rle.42

By 1930, the Dictttttttttttttttttadura had decayed to the point of collapse because of its failure to

remedy the str-uctural problems of Spanish society. The king dismissed Primo de Rivera and

replaced him with another military man, General Damaso Berenguer. The king gave Berenguer

the responsibility of returning Spain to a constitutional form of government. Over the next year,

Berenguer set out to make the necessary changes to normalize Spain's political culture, but he

failed to introduce change quickly enough and had to resign in February 1931 amid popular

39 Winston, Catholic Workers, 175-6.

40 Frances Lannon, Privilege, Persecution, and Prophecy: The Catholic Church in Spain 1875-1975 (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1987), 173-4; Winston, Catholic Workers, 7 and 175-7. The Libres were initially organized by
Carlists. They joined the Catholic "professional" syndical movement in 1935.

41 Tussell and Queipo de Llano, "The dictatorship of Primo de Rivera," 213-4.

42 Lannon, 177.

disapproval.43 As the dictatorship began to crumble, Republican groups organized, preparing for

the end of the monarchy, which had undermined its own future by supporting the dictatorship.

Republicans had worked since the early part of the twentieth century to overthrow the liberal

monarchy, and the Primo de Rivera dictatorship had robbed the monarchy of any remaining

legitimacy. The Socialists, who had compromised with Primo de Rivera, abandoned their

collaborationist tactics and actively began to oppose the regime. In August 1930, the Republican

parties, along with Catalan nationalists, agreed to the Pact of San Sebastian, in which they

declared their intention to overthrow the monarchy and establish a republic. In October, the

Socialists joined the movement, completing the anti-monarchist bloc that would bring in the

Republic the following year. A failed Republican uprising at Jaca almost destroyed the

Republican-Sociali st alliance, but the pact' s supporters stayed firm and agreed to participate in

municipal elections called for April 1931.44

The King and his ministers allowed the municipal elections to become a referendum on the

monarchy. During the spring, monarchists joined together in their own coalition, taking control

of the government ministries in mid-February after Berenguer' s resignation. General Aznar, the

king's new Prime Minister, prepared his coalition for the April elections, with complete

confidence that the vote would favor the monarchy.45 When the municipal elections took place

on April 12, the monarchist coalition won the maj ority of municipal seats nationally. However,

the Republican-Socialist coalition had won in most cities, considered less susceptible to the

caciquismo of rural districts. The King, taking this as a sign that the Spanish people no longer

43 Shlomo Ben-Ami, The Origins of the Second Republic in Spain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), 22-5.

44 George Esenwein and Adrian Shubert, Spain at War: The Spanish Civil War in Context 1931-1939 (New York:
Longman, 1995), 8-9; Ben-Ami, 80-2 and 94-5. Two other coup attempts were aborted in late 1930.
45 Ben-Ami, 206-13.

wanted him as their ruler, left Spain, though he did not abdicate. In so doing, Alphonse opened

the way for the groups in the Pact of San Sebastian to take control of the government. They did

so amid popular jubilation. The Pact had already designated the members of the Provisional

government, which took control of the Spanish government on April 14. According to Miguel

Maura, a member of the Pact, "Smoothly, happily, civically, the Second Spanish Republic had

been born."46 The smooth nature of the transition, however, belies the great divisions that existed

within Spain at the beginning of the Republic. These would reassert themselves rather quickly.

Initial Catholic Reaction to the Republic

The ruling coalition established under the Provisional Government and the Constitutional

Cortes was far from a unified political force. The Pact of San Sebastian, which brought the anti-

monarchist bloc into being, unified disparate groups with little more in common than their

opposition to the regime. Conservative Republicans, such as Miguel Maura and Niceto Alcala-

Zamora, believed that while most Spaniards favored eliminating the monarchy, they had

fundamentally moderate Catholic opinions and would "hold the Republic to a safe course."47 The

largest group in the coalition, Alej andro Lerroux' s Radical Party, espoused a generally moderate

Republican ideology, rooted in its opposition to the monarchy. Further to the left were Manuel

Azafia' s Accion Republicana and the confusingly named Radical Socialists, who hoped to create

a socially progressive Republican State. They held firmly anti-clerical positions, sought to

completely separate Church and State, and believed in the importance of a pact with the

Socialists, who would support their attempts at social reform. Several regional groups also

supported this coalition, adding to its eclectic composition.

46 JUliO Gil Pecharromin, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica Espaiiola (1931-1936) (Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva,
2002), 43-5.

47 Edward Malefakis, "The Parties of the Left and the Second Republic," in The Republic and the Civil War in
Spain, ed. Raymond Carr (London: MacMillan Press, 1971), 22.

The far left--Socialists, Anarchists, and Communists--greeted the Republic favorably, but

remained committed to their own ideologies. The Socialists, though allied to the Pact of San

Sebastian, were not Republicans except in a very broad sense. Rather, they believed in

collaborating with the existing government to achieve their reforms. In the 1920s, they had

agreed to work with the Primo de Rivera dictatorship. Now they accepted the new Republic as a

necessary shift in government, but they did not believe that a moderate Republic was enough.

Believers in a reformist tactic, they intended to use the Republic as a stepping stone to a Socialist

regime, much as the CEDA later attempted to use it as a method to introduce a corporate state.

Anarchists, who greeted the Republic as an opportunity to organize openly after having been

forced underground by Primo de Rivera' s regime, voted overwhelmingly for the Republican-

Socialist coalition, though many later abandoned the regime in the belief that the Republic was

just as repressive as any other type of government.48

At the beginning of the Republic, Spanish Catholics accepted the new regime as the

legitimate government of Spain but feared the possibility that the government could repress the

Church. For the most part, they accepted the regime but held open the possibility of opposing it

if things got out of hand. Citing the example of Leo XIII, El Debate proclaimed a policy of

"accidentalism"-that the form of government was unimportant as long as it fostered the Church.

The paper announced that "we loyally obey49 the first Government of the Republic, 'because it is

a Government,' that is: because it represents the unity of the patria, peace, order. And we will

not obey it passively, as one endures a force unbeatable by our own: we will obey it in a loyal,

active manner, putting in what we can to help it in its errand, because it is not sympathy or

48 Nigel Townson, "The Second Republic, 1931-1936: Sectarianism, Schisms, and Strife," in Spanish History since
1808, ed. Jos6 Alvarez Junco and Adrian Shubert (London: Arnold, 2000), 223-5.
49 The word acatar signifies a feeling of obedience and respect. I have rendered its translation "obey" throughout.

antipathy that is to dictate to us rules of conduct: it is duty, pleasing or painful, that leads and

teaches us."so In Toledo, El Ca;stellanolll~~~~~~11111 enj oined Catholics to support the new regime. Public

opinion, now strongly in favor of the Republic, would not easily change, and "as Catholics we

consider our duty inevitable to positively obey the de facto form of government established in

our country. As patriots, we owe loyal and disinterested submission, for the sake of the common

good, to the new Government."s1 In Seville, El Correo de Andalucia used more ambiguous

terms, telling Catholics there that "We will struggle without respite .. for the defense of our

sacred Religion," while recognizing that their patriotic duty "imposes upon us loyal obedience to

the constituted Power."52

The official Church did not vary from the response of the Catholic press. The Vatican

adopted a policy to "wait and see" what the Republic would do as far as the Church was

concerned. The bishop of Madrid-Alcala, Eij o y Garay, pointed out that the Papal Nuncio had

told Spanish Catholics to obey the new Republic and lend it aid if necessary.53 Cardinal Pedro

Segura, the Spanish Prelate in Toledo, told his Archdiocese to work in defense of the Church. It

mattered only that "when the rights of Religion are threatened, it is an indispensable duty of all

to unite to defend them and save them. "54 Cardinal Ilundain in Seville called for a "sincere and

respectful compliance to the current government of the Nation."" In a collective letter made

public, the Spanish bishops called upon Catholics to obey the new government. They believed

so El Debate, April 15, 1931.

51 El Castellano, April 16, 1931.

52 El Correo de Andalucia, April 17, 193 1.

53 El Castellano, April 18, 1931; Boletin Oficial del Obispado de ~adrid-A~lcald, May 1, 1931.

54 Boletin Eclesidistico del Arzobispado de Toledo, May 2, 1931.

55Boletin Oficial Eclesidistico del Arzobispado de Sevilla, May 2, 1931.

"that the authorities will respect the rights of the Church and of Catholics in a nation in which

nearly the totality of the population professes the Catholic religion." The bishops urged Catholics

to j oin political parties and denounced government actions against the Church so that "silence

could not easily be interpreted as acquiesence" to harmful decrees.56

Catholics' initial guarded optimism quickly gave way to fear when radical anger was

turned against the Church and the government failed to adequately protect it. Monarchist groups

in Madrid and Seville sparked riots that led to a wave of church burnings throughout the country

as radicals took out their anger on the Church.57 From May 11-13, more than 100 churches and

convents were burned throughout Spain, including eleven in Madrid alone. Seville, Valencia,

Malaga, and other cities also experienced the quema de conventos. Initially reluctant to stop the

burnings by resorting to brute force, the government eventually called out the army to restore

order.'" The burnings and the government' s reaction made Catholics uneasy. Members of

religious orders felt especially vulnerable to attacks. The Comendadddddd orad~~~ddd~~~ superior of a Madrid

convent near a Socialist Casa delPueblo wrote to the Interior Minister of "the masses of

workers, shouting and proposing threats, which we fear will be carried out with grave danger for

56 Documentos colectivos del Episcopado espaiiol, 1870-1974, ed. Jesuis Iribarren (Madrid: La Editorial Cat61ica,
1974), 131-3; Actas de las conferencias de metropolitanos espaiioles (1921-1965), ed. Vicente Carcel Orti (Madrid:
Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1994), 274. See also Boletin Oficial de Obispado de Madrid-A~lcaldi, June 15,
1931. The letter was not published in the secular press until early June.

57Archivo Hist6rico Nacional (hereafter AHN), Serica A de Gobernaci6n, legajo 16A, expediente 17, "Desordenes
puiblicos, 1931." The Circulo Mondirquico Independiente (Independent Monarchist Circle, or CMI) provoked a
crowd by blasting the monarchist national anthem from its windows in the center of Madrid. Crowds gathered
outside both the Circulo Mondirquico and the headquarters ofABC, a monarchist daily. The Civil Guard was called
in, and they fired into the crowd, killing two and wounding others. In Seville, a monarchist group shouted slogans
from the offices of La Unidn, a monarchist newspaper. See Stanley Payne, Spain 's First Democracy: The Second
Republic, 1931-1936 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993), 44.

58Stanley Payne, Spain 's First Democracy: The Second Republic, 1931-1936 (Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press, 1993), 44-6. Payne refers to the "spastic" reaction of the government, which refused to call out the Civil
Guard and then brought in the military.

the lives of [the nuns]."59 In June, the government expelled Cardinal Segura, the Spanish

Primate, from Spain on suspicion of moving Church property out of the country to thwart the

confiscation of Church goods envisioned by the Republican leadership. For obvious reasons,

Spanish Catholics reacted angrily. The Vatican protested Segura's expulsion but stopped short of

demanding his return, apparently afraid to risk the Govemnment' s anger.60

While Catholics braced for further assaults, their political groups remained in disarray. The

entire political str-ucture of the monarchy had ceased to exist almost overnight, and they now had

to regroup quickly. El Ca;stellanolll~~~~~~11111 categorized Spanish Catholics in three groups after the

establishment of the Republic: those who believed it necessary to fight for the return of the King;

those that preferred a Catholic Republican political party; and those who sought a group to

defend "religion, homeland, order, family, property. "6' The first of these groups was represented

by the short-lived Circulo M~onarquico hIdependiente, which had provoked the crowds that

initiated the church burnings in May. At its most extreme, this category represents what Paul

Preston has categorized as the "catastrophist" right, which believed that the violent overthrow of

the Republic was the only possible solution.62 As discussed in later chapters, this tendency led to

both the monarchist uprising in August 1932 and the July 1936 coup attempt that began the civil

war. The other two groups accepted the possibility of working within the Republic. Those who

supported Alcala-Zamora and Maura fit within the second category, and the last of these groups

became Accion Nacional.

59 COmendadora superior of the Mercedarias descalzas to the Interior Minister, October 13, 193 1, AHN,
Gobernaci6n, legajo 16A, expediente 16.

61) El Castellano, June 18, 1931; Payne, The Franco Regime, 365-6.

61 El Castellano, April 22, 1931.

62 Preston, The Coming, 3.

Angel Herrera suggested the idea of a right-wing political alliance based on a minimum

program at a meeting of the ACNP in Chamartin de la Rosa on April 15, 1931i. His proposal was

warmly received, and another meeting on April 19, 1931, established the group's basic

organization.63 Later meetings at the offices of El Debate fleshed out the details, and by April 29,

the new group had official government sanction.64 AN went public in late April and announced

that it sought to "group the elements of order" in an electoral alliance. AN' s slogan--"Religion,

Patria, Order, Family, Work, Property"-effectively outlined the goals of the new group, with a

primary focus on religion.65 The deliberate omission of "monarchy" 'initially alienated many

monarchists, but most eventually came around and endorsed AN.66 El Siglo Futuro, a monarchist

newspaper later affiliated with the Carlist movement, urged its followers to j oin AN, which was

not a political party and left monarchists free to pursue individual goals.67

AN became a catch-all organization for right-wing groups that did not feel represented by

existing political parties and quickly gained endorsements from significant members of the

Church hierarchy.68 Cardinal Segura urged his followers to "j oin in a tight phalanx" by j oining a

63 El Debate, June 16, 1932.

64 JOs6 Monge Bemnal, Accidn Popular: [Estudios de biologia political] (Madrid: Saez Hermanos, 1936), 128-30; Gil
Robles, No fue possible, 35; El Debate, June 16, 1932.

65 El Debate, April 29, 1931; El Siglo Futuro, April 29, 1931.

66 Enrique Vila, Un ailo de Repziblica en Sevilla (Jornadas de un periodista) (Seville: La Editorial Sevillana, 1932),
188-9; La Unidn, May 2 and 3, 193 1. La Unidn took it upon itself to act as the spiritual voice of the new alliance in
Seville, a position it claimed that El Debate had sacrificed to be a voice of moderation for Catholics. The paper
became the Seville mouthpiece for the Comuni6n Tradicionalista in late 193 1. The definitive break of La Unidn
with AN/AP/CEDA came in early 1934, when it published an article critical of the party's stance on the form of
government. See La Unidn, February 22, 1934.
67 El Siglo Futuro, April 14 and 15, 1931, May 5 and 8, 1931.

68 JOs6 Gastalver Jimeno to Manuel Gim~nez Femi~ndez (hereafter MGF), in Archivo Gim~nez Femi~ndez (hereafter
AGF), B-XIII/73; Alfonso Braojos Garrido and Leandro Alvarez Rey, Manuel Giminez Ferndindez (1896-1968):
Epistolario politico (Seville: Ayuntamiento de Sevilla, 2000), 89. Jos6 Gastalver Jimeno wrote to Manuel Gim~nez
Femindez in late April to argue for a political union under the control of Francisco Camb6, an influential Catalan

movement that allowed them to dissent with respect to the form of government. He later told the

other Spanish bishops explicitly that "it is necessary that we decidedly support" AN.69 When the

AN manifesto appeared in May, AN declared that the upcoming elections were "the only reason

for its life and the only obj ective of its activity," establishing itself as a temporary electoral

alliance. It decried the revolutionary nature of the Provisional Government, especially the

marxist groups, which AN believed were simply biding time until they could make their

revolution. AN' s manifesto proclaimed that "ACCION NACIONAL is the negation" of the

revolutionary movements and declared that "the social battle is unleashed in our time, to decide

the triumph or extermination of those undying principles" enshrined in Catholicism.70

The accidentalist policy espoused by the Catholic press and Church hierarchy at the outset

of the Republic established the basis for AN' s platform. It committed party members to follow a

legal path in protecting the Church's interests against government encroachment. There were two

main groups in AN prior to the June 1931 elections: those who accepted the Republic as the

legitimate government of Spain but wanted to defend the Church against encroachment, and

committed monarchists who denied its legitimacy but feared losing their political voice.

Essentially, accidentalism put off discussion of the form of government. It was a useful way to

form an electoral alliance for a single election, and its advocates did not call it anything else.

As later events proved, however, accidentalism could not sustain a political party in the

long term. In the summer of 1931, Carlists left the party, and Alphonsist monarchists abandoned

it (or were forced out) in late 1932, because they refused to accept that the Republic would

remain the government of Spain. Opponents, such as the Socialists, simply ignored Catholic

69 El Castellano, May 6, 1931; Victor Manuel Arb~eloa, La semana tragica de la iglesia en Espaila (octubre de
1931) (Barcelona: Galba Edicions, 1976), 13.
"0El Debate, May 7, 1931; El Siglo Futuro, May 7, 1931; La Union, May 9 and 24, 1931.

protestations of obedience to the regime because they believed that given the chance, AN and its

supporters would replace the Republic with the monarchy. While this was probably true, AN' s

supporters recognized that this would be impossible and made the best of what they considered a

bad situation. As discussed in the next chapter, the accidentalist policy would later evolve into

"possibilism," which envisioned the pursuit of party goals within the Republic, embracing the

political system established by the Republic as vehicle for real reform.n

AN established its ounces in the Plaza de las Cortes in Madrid, at the heart of Spain's

political scene. The office was divided along the lines of the different sections of AN: politics,

Einance, propaganda, and census (electoral).72 When AN requested that supporters lend their

automobiles for its propaganda and census efforts, ninety-six cars were sent to AN's

headquarters, of which only twenty-Hyve were needed.73 Yet just as AN began its activities, the

church burnings forced it to stop for a time as the government cracked down on the right,

accusing it of instigating the violence. El Debate warned the government not to "separate the

right from all participation in the preparation of the new Spanish State" and threatened to

recommend that its supporters abstain from voting in the elections.74 The paper called upon

conservative Spaniards to support AN for two reasons: AN was nonviolent, and it would work

within the legal framework of the Republic. Since AN' s leaders thought the constituent Cortes

would be short (long enough only to elect a president and pass a constitution), they believed that

new elections would be held in the fall. In that case, the organization developed for the first

71 Carlos Seco Serrano, "La experiencia de la derecha posibilista en la Segunda Repuiblica Espafiola," in Jos6 Maria
Gil Robles, Discursos parlamentarios (Madrid: Taurus Ediciones, 1971), x-xi; Robinson, The Origins, 75; Preston,
The Coming, 39-42.

72 El Debate, May 8, 9, and 10, 1931. AN claimed more than fifty workers in the census section and twenty-five in
that of propaganda. See El Debate, May 9, 1931.

73 El Debate, May 10, 1931.

74 Ibid., May 20, 1931.

elections would help increase the representation of the right in a subsequent assembly, ensuring

that any radical legislation could be stymied." This thinking proved wrong when the constituent

Cortes continued its work after the constitution was approved and began passing supporting


Structurally, AN wanted to allow each region to determine the best program for its

particular situation, so it allowed regional groups significant autonomy.76 Groups that appeared

in other provinces were affiliated with, but not strictly governed by, the Madrid committee. In

fact, AN had no official national committee. AN worked as a coalition of regional and provincial

groups. In Toledo, two candidates ran for AN, but the party itself was not organized there until

after the elections. An organizing committee appeared in Seville within a week of the national

group's inauguration, after a meeting in the offices ofEl Correo de Andalucia organized by

Jesus Pab6n and Manuel Gimenez Fernandez.7 That group declared that its "only purpose is

electoral, and is summarized in orienting the sensible opinion of the province so that it will vote

as one in the upcoming general elections for candidates who know how to, can, and want to

defend in the next Cortes the fundamental aspirations and institutions that we deem basic for the

subsistence of society."'" AN differed from a political party "by the lack of a Government

75 Ibid., May 21, 1931. Ultimately, the Constituent Cortes lasted until late 1933.

76 Ibid., May 8, 1931.

n7 El Correo de Andalucia, May 5, 1931; La Unidn, May 4, 1931, February 22, 1934; El Debate, May 6, 1931;
Enrique Vila, Un aiio de Repziblica en Sevilla (Jornadas de un periodista) (Seville: La Editorial Sevillana, 1932),
70, 187-9; Alvarez Rey, La derecha en la IIRepziblica: Sevilla, 1931-1936, 99-100. The organizing committee
consisted of Pedro Armero Manj6n, the Count of Bustillo; Taviel de Andrade, Garcia Oviedo, Balbontin, Ramos
Hern~ndez, and Jesuis Pab6n. For a detailed account of the establishment of AN in Seville, see Leandro Alvarez Rey,
La derecha en la IIRepziblica: Sevilla, 1931-1936 (Seville: University of Seville, 1993), 96-109. Gim~nez
Femindez, though a key element in establishing AN in Seville, remained aloof of the organization throughout its
growth, as he had gained a number of enemies because of his criticism of graft after the Ibero-American Exhibition
of 1929. See Jos6 Calvo and Javier Tussell, Giminez Ferndindez, precursor de la democracia espaiiola (Seville:
Mondadori, 1990), 28-31; and Braojos and Alvarez, Manuel Giminez Ferndindez, 30-1.

78 El Correo de Andalucia, May 27, 1931; La Unidn, May 27, 1931.

program." It was "simply an organization destined to collect and unite, in the face of the

immediate constituent elections, a numerous state of opinion, but scattered and excessively

intimidated before doubtless and well manifested threats."79 While the monarchist La Union

supported AN for its limited program to protect "traditional" rights, El Correo de Andalucia

made AN's "program totally ours" and would be AP' s official mouthpiece in Seville throughout

the Republic."0

The First Cortes Elections

The Provisional Government scheduled elections to the constitutional assembly, the Cortes

Constituyentes, for the end of June. While AN did not believe the Provisional Government was

sincerely interested in a representative constitutional assembly, they did hope for a relatively

conservative Cortes.8 However, this hope was unrealistic for two reasons: on the one hand,

many Catholics seemed unwilling to give their full support to the new group. At one meeting,

Angel Herrera warned of "ominous prophets of apocalyptic days" within AN keeping many from

voting by propagating the mistaken belief that their votes would not change the outcome.82 The

election results demonstrate that many of them voted for other groups. On the other hand, the

group faced opposition from the government and left-wing supporters. AN's members believed

that the Church faced an unjust attack from official channels, an opinion they considered

confirmed by the events surrounding the May church burnings.

The elections, then, went poorly for the young coalition. However, the election campaign

itself was a maj or undertaking that demonstrated some key components of the group's future

79 La Unidn, May 30, 1931; El Correo de Andalucia, May 31, 1931.

so El Correo de Andalucia, May 31, 1931; La Unidn, February 22, 1934.

st La Unidn, June 24 and 27, 1931. In an interview, Angel Herrera predicted a chamber made up of 250 "rightists"
(starting with the Radicals) and 220 "leftists."
82 El Debate, May 31 and June 2, 1931.

activity. The campaign presaged a future reliance on quantity over quality. The twenty-five

people in Madrid's propaganda section mailed out 40,000 letters every day. They sent potential

voters two packages: a packet of five propaganda sheets and the voter' s information card, in

order to make changes if necessary.83 In Seville, they printed 600,000 propaganda sheets,

employing 120 workers and claiming to receive "numerous" new members each day.84 The

electoral propaganda consisted mainly of quotations from Pope Leo XIII' s Rerum Novarum and

Pope Pius XI's Casti Connubii and Quadragessimo Anno, discussing such issues as fair workers'

salaries, the right to private property (individual and family), the necessity of unrestricted

religious orders, and the need to create small-holders to alleviate the agrarian problem facing

Spain." While future campaigns did not use such extensive quotations from the Popes, these

topics continued to be focal points for propaganda.

The candidates that AN put forth had much in common. Most candidates considered their

participation in the elections a civic duty. Jose Illanes, in Seville, claimed that his campaign was

a "disinterested gesture and has a democratic cast," even though it was nothing more than "a

protest against the overweening criteria of those who have always called themselves liberal."86

Toledo's RamC~n Molina felt a need to "contribute with my sacrifice to the resurgence of spirits"

in Spain." The candidates claimed to represent a Catholic opinion that wanted to make the

important social changes needed in Spain without surrendering on fundamental principles. The

group in Spain's capital claimed that they represented "diverse political affiliations" agreeing on

83 Ibid., May 31, 1931.

84 La Unidn, June 13, 1931; El Correo de Andalucia, June 13 and 17, 1931; El Debate, June 17, 1931.

85Election propaganda, Real Academia de la Historia (hereafter RAH), Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8985.
86 La Unidn, June 27, 1931.

87El Castellano, June 23 and July 6, 1931.

"basic principles of social life."s The Madrid provincial candidates called themselves "new

people" and advocated labor reform, agrarian reform, and cooperation. They called for the family

wage, upheld the right to work, demanded the opening of the political process to farmers in order

to improve agricultural production, and argued for the use of arbitration (rather than strikes) to

resolve labor disputes.89

AN did not seek the maj ority seats in any province. The group ran only thirty-nine

candidates, and only six won seats in the new assembly.90 In Madrid there were eight candidates

for the minority seats, but none won election.91 AN' s two candidates in Seville' s capital and four

in the provicial district also failed to win election.92 In Toledo, AN ran two candidates (both of

whom were elected) but did not create AN committees in the province until after the election.

Working with Toledo's Centro de Accion de Orden Social, Dimas de Madariaga, "a very

distinguished Catholic worker," and RamC~n Molina, who was "affable, discrete, open-spirited,

and a zealous priest," used existing structures to organize their campaign and worked tirelessly to

achieve election.93 This strategy, in the strongly Catholic Toledo, served them well.

Working cooperatively with Tomas Elorrieta, a "Social Agrarian Republican," the Toledo

candidacy received support from provincial landowners and other "elements of order," including

the Centro de Artes e Industriales. 94 Early on, Molina took the lead in establishing the candidacy.

""El Debate, June 24, 1931.

89 Ibid., June 27, 1931.

90 MOntero, La CEDA, 277.

91 El Debate, June 14 and 19, 1931; El Castellano, June 9 and 11, 1931.

92 La Unidn, June 23, 1931; El Correo de Andalucia, June 23, 1931. Jes~is PabC~n and Antonio Ollero ran in the
capital, and Jos6 Huesca, Pedro Solis, Jos6 Monge Berna, and Jos6 Luis Illanes ran in the province. Most of these
candidates had significant public experience.

93 El Castellano, June 20 and 26, 1931.

94 El Debate, June 27, 1931.

Like the other AN candidates, he supported religion, social justice, the "recognition of legitimate

property and the worker' s right to a salary" that supported him and his family in dignity. He

promoted the "defense of order," in contrast to the Provisional Government' s decrees against the

Church, which Molina argued diminished public harmony.95 Molina summarized his political

program in two words: "order and 'toledanismo.d~~~ddd~~ddd~~ '"96 Order was his highest ideal, but he believed

that it had to be achieved through the imposition of social justice, finding the causes of disorder

and improving quality of life.97

AN' s candidates argued that Spain' s enemies were "class struggle, disintegration of

national unity, subversion of concepts regarding the social order (property, labor, family, etc.)."

Against such disorder, AN promoted harmony between capital and labor, the continued existence

of private property, and the support of family ties (meaning no divorce).98 In Seville, Antonio

Ollero pursued "the greatest radicalisms, always when these were compatible with the righteous

spirit of justice that inspires him." Socially, he called himself "a man of the left, within the

principles of order and respect for religious ideals" and pointed out that German Catholics and

Socialists had organized together to improve the lot of workers in a way he considered promising

for the future of Spain's labor movement.99

Other candidates openly attacked the social program of the Provisional government. This

was most pronounced in Seville, where Jose Illanes warned of the "very exaggerated"

expectations of the working class, instilled by what he considered the false promises of the

95 El Castellano, June 23 and July 6, 1931.

96 Literally, Toledo-ism. Italics added.

97 El Castellano, July 6, 1931.

98 La Union, June 26, 1931.

99 Ibid., June 23, 1931.

Provisional Government. Jose Huesca wanted to rein in working-class hopes because he believed

no land distribution problem existed in Seville.100 Revolution was "a terrible evil, a catastrophe

that always devours those that propose it." AN wanted to solidify the Republican regime, with

the hope that "within the Republic, in the peace of a consolidated regime," they could discuss

and resolve Spain's problems.10

The Provisional Government was not radical by modern standards, but Spanish Catholics

in the 1930s felt very threatened by the possibility of a secular state. For AN and its allies, the

elections could help undo the damage caused by the Provisional Government.102 For them, the

elections represented a choice between religion and atheism. Spain was inhabited by Catholics

and those who, "corrupted little by little, have come to acquire as the reason for their existence a

highly materialist ethos." The Seville candidates considered the Republic's acceptance of

freedom of conscience the first road to lawlessness, since "without God there is no law."103

Religion was a social issue, not a personal one. Supporting the Catholic church in a country

where the "immense maj ority belongs to the Catholic religion" was therefore a duty of

government.104 Catholics believed that "Spain without religion will be a savage and anarchic

nation, because [...] either we sacrifice ourselves totally for God, or we deliver ourselves to the

most ferocious anarchy.""o

10ooEl Noticiero Sevillano, June 27, 1931; La Unidn, June 27, 1931.

'01 RAH, Fondo Diego Angulo, Legajo 11/8985. See also La Unidn, June 25, 1931.

102 La Unidn, June 28, 1931.

103 El Correo de Andalucia, June 17 and 19, 1931.

104 La Unidn, June 26, 1931.

1os Ibid., Jun 28, 1931.

AN' s electoral campaign faced many hurdles. The government refused to authorize or

suspended numerous meetings during the campaign and many of its campaign posters were torn

down.106 Rumors swirling in the Madrid neighborhood of Vallecas alleged that several Catholic

priests had tried to buy votes for AN.107 The Seville provincial candidates could run only a

limited campaign due to the governor's refusal to authorize meetings."0 Political opponents

physically attacked AN' s propaganda workers on several occasions. In Madrid, a group of men

tried to steal and bum the propaganda packages distributed by young people.109 A hostile crowd

met AN' s candidates in Villaviciosa de Od6n, a Madrid suburb, and burned some of the electoral

propaganda they had brought with them.110 A group of "men and boys" stoned several young AN

propagandists in the Triana neighborhood of Seville. Sensing an opportunity, El Correo de

Andahecia trumpeted this "Other New Triumph of Savagery and Bestiality," calling it a

"cowardly aggression.""l AN threatened to abstain from the elections, "renouncing all

responsibility" for what happened because the Govemnment "did not support our right to


In assessing the elections, AN' s leaders recognized the difficult position they were now in,

but they saw signs of hope for the future. Though they had failed to win any seats in Madrid,

AN' s more than 30,000 votes in the capital had "awakened sympathy and has won respect" and

106 El Debate, June 23 and 24, 1931.

107 Ibid., June 30, 1931; El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 30, 1931.

'0s El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 28, 1931. There appears to have been only one meeting, in Olivares on June 25.

109 El Debate, June 11, 1931. On different occasions opponents knocked the packages to the ground, damaging them.
110 Ibid., June 17, 1931.

III El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 24, 1931; La Union, June 24, 1931; El Debate, June 24, 1931.

112 Jes~is Pab6n to the Interior Minister, June 23, 1931, AHN, Gobernaci6n, legajo 30A, expediente 17.

presaged better results in future elections.113 Molina and Madariaga each received over 30,000

votes in Toledo--more than Manuel Azafia or Alej andro Lerroux, two members of the

Provisional Government.11 Molina thought things would improve if Catholics continued to

exercise their political rights.ll Madariaga argued that the right had not won in more provinces

because the "elements of order" had hidden in their homes on election day, partly the result of

violent rhetoric from the left, but mostly out of fear and weakness. AN had succeeded in Toledo

because "the people, understanding the goodness of the doctrines contained in our program, gave

us their votes."116 AN' s defense of agriculture helped it win the votes of agricultores, their core

constituency in Toledo. According to Madariaga, if AN would "organize and if we defend

agriculture in the Parliament," they could win many more of these votes."

Although other signs were not so positive, AN and its allies believed things would

improve. For example, in Seville, where AN failed to obtain a single seat, the situation seemed

rather dire. In its evaluation of the vote, La Union blamed the violence of AN' s opponents for its

defeat, along with the failure of Catholics to adequately support the coalition. The paper, with

some bitterness, claimed that those meriting sincere appreciation for their efforts in the elections

numbered less than one hundred, though the paper admitted that "in one month, it was materially

113 El Debate, June 30, 1931. Herrera himself came very close to election in Madrid. See Robinson, The Origins,

114 El Castellano, June 29 and 30, July 1 and 3, 1931; El Debate, June 30 and July 1, 1931. Some initial doubt about
Molina's election quickly dissipated when the final results came in.

Its El Castellano, July 6, 1931.

116 Ibid., July 8, 1931; El Debate, July 8 and 27, 1931. In Dosbarrios, AN received every vote but 30. In Corral del
Almaguer, Madariaga and Molina won 1,441 votes, while the civil governor of Madrid received just one, and
Manuel Azafia received none. Madariaga relished his victory over Azafia. See El Castellano, September 26, 1931.

1'7 El Castellano, July 8, 1931; El Debate, July 8, 1931. Agricultor is a term for "farmer" that implies significant
land ownership.

impossible to obtain either better or greater results."ll With more time, they would do better.

Similar comments were made around the country.One sympathetic commentator claimed after

the elections that AN had "seen itself deprived of the liberty of political propaganda typical of

civilized nations" but had paved the way for a future society in which "true liberty" would make

it possible to have a significant political debate without violence. AN claimed that "in spite of

the difficulties and obstacles that it has found everywhere, [...] its enthusiasm has not diminished

one degree."119

From Temporary Alliance to Permanent Entity

In July 1931, AN began laying the foundations for the creation of a permanent political

organization, something not contemplated when AN was initially organized.12 Madrid, as the

heart of the party, essentially followed a direct path from temporary electoral alliance to

permanent political entity. In Seville, members of the original electoral alliance deserted when

AN announced it would become a permanent entity, forcing AN to compete with Integrists and

independent agrarians. In Toledo, AN had not bothered to create a local organization until after

the party declared its intention to become a permanent entity. On July 1, the alliance announced

that it would "intensify the work of organization of Acci6n Nacional," beginning with a series of

conferences given by the new deputies and the defeated candidates to impart the "teachings that

the recent elections offer."121 By becoming a permanent entity, the group lost many die-hard

monarchists. El Debate greeted the change with enthusiasm, but EI Siglo Futuro opted for escape

its La Union, June 30 and July 2, 1931.
119 El Debate, June 21 and 27, 1931.

120 Ibid., July 4, 1931. The constitution of AN as a permanent group also led to the imposition of monthly quotas.
Members now paid dues based on their monthly income.

I21 Ibid., July 1, 1931.

and announced that it would no longer support the party.122 This status shift led to a steady

erosion of monarchist affiliation, culminating in the full-scale defection of most monarchists in

late 1932.

In its new form, the first maj or act of AN was to organize a banquet in honor of the

victorious candidates from the June elections on July 12 at the Hotel Palace in Madrid, attended

by over 700. Antonio Goicoechea declared that AN wanted only "that when one speaks of

liberty, liberty is not an abuse against the convictions professed by the maj ority of the country."

Angel Herrera discussed the future direction of AN: an alliance focused on electing "worthy"

candidates to public office, essentially a continuation of what AN had done in the June elections.

He saw a bright future for AN.123 In TOSponse, El Debate called for a program of "civic

education" to develop active citizens.12 AN should become a "living school of citizenship that

forms politicians and forges the future men of State."125 The Radical paper Vanguardia in

Toledo argued that since everyone agreed with AN' s slogan, its supporters would have to choose

sides once the Cortes opened debate, because the tr-ue political colors of AN' s representatives

would become apparent.126

In addition, AN made several organizational changes. In mid-July, the party called

elections for delegates to establish the basis of AN' s government and program. Local groups

were autonomous on many issues and would choose delegates to the national Assembly. The

Assembly in turn formulated the official program and statutes. The Madrid committee and the

122 El Siglo Futuro, July 14, 1931; El Debate, July 8, 1931.

123 El Debate, July 14, 1931. In the same speech, Herrera called for the creation of a workers' group, a call heeded
by Dimas Madariaga that eventually led to the creation of Acci6n Obrerista, discussed in Chapter 8.
124 Ibid., July 15, 1931.

125 El Castellano, July 14, 1931.

126 Vanguardia (Toledo), July 25, 1931.

Assembly now acted as the de facto national leadership.127 Spurred by an increase in

membership during the summer and fall, the Assembly's political and financial committees

agreed to "immediately intensify the labor of reorganization and propaganda."128 At the time,

AN had associated groups in ten provinces, with another 7 in the process of organization, and

sympathetic groups in Valencia, Santander, and Salamanca. In Catalonia, Basque Country, and

Galicia, AN decided not to create its own infrastructure, since there were already groups there

with a similar political outlook.'

AN formed a committee in Toledo in early August.130 The Radical party tried to counteract

AN' s propaganda there by arguing that "order, patria, religion, property, labor, the family, are in

the Republic," and workers could use new government institutions to relieve their grievances.131

That summer, Molina and Madariaga took part in several banquets in their honor. At one of

them, Angel Herrera predicted that if things stayed the same in Spain for two more years, AN

would achieve 125 or 130 seats in a new Cortes.132 At another, Gil Robles observed that

"morality without Religion is not understood, nor order without morality, and behold, upon

removing those brakes, it has been necessary to triple the bayonets and even bring out the


'27 El Debate, July 17, 18, 19, 28, 29, and 30: August 7, 193 1. Of the twenty names proposed for the election, the
most common professions were that of lawyer (6) and professor (7). Women were allowed to vote for the delegates,
and one woman was elected to the Assembly.

12s Ibid., September 29, 1931.

129 Ibid., October 10, 1931.

130 El Castellano, August 4, 1931.

131 Vanguardia (Toledo), July 3, 1931.

132 El Castellano, July 20, August 3 and 10, 1931; El Debate, July 21, August 4 and 11, 1931. They actually gained
115 seats in 1933.

133 Ibid., August 3, 1931.

Because their province was dominated by Catholic and agrarian interests, they focused

their parliamentary efforts on religion and agriculture. They promised to dispute the agrarian

reform proj ect in its entirety, and if unsuccessful, fight to exclude Toledo from the proj ect.134

Molina differentiated between Spain's official "atheism" and Germany's religious "neutrality,"

describing the German system as necessary because of the number of Protestant religions. In

Spain, since "everyone" was Catholic, neutrality was unnecessary.135 A controversial figure

because of his combative manner, Madariaga kept his j ob as an accountant in a cookie factory

while a member of the Cortes.136 In addition, he took the lead in organizing Accion Obrerista

(AO), which later became the workers' affiliate to the CEDA. As seen in Chapter 8, AO was

organized in 1932, but it never became more than a minor player in Spain's political culture.

During the second half of 1931 AN joined a campaign for constitutional revision--before

the Cortes had even finished writing the document. Among Catholics, the constitutional proj ect

was "unpopular and anti-patriotic."137 In October, Catholic deputies in the Cortes initiated a

boycott of constitutional debates, in order to leave "on the rest of the Chamber the total

responsibility of the result of the discussion." They refused to collaborate in drafting a

Constitution that "they will not consider a legitimate expression of the national spirit and which

they are to combat with every legal weapon."138 The Catholic deputies obj ected mainly to

articles that disestablished the Catholic church as the state's official religion, expelled the Jesuits

from Spain, and abolished state financial support for the church. These articles represented to

'34 Ibid., July 24 and September 3, 1931.

'35 Ibid., August 28, 1931.
136 Ibid., August 7, 1931.

1 El Debate, August 30, 1931.

13s Ibid., October 15, 1931; El Castellano, October 15 and 17, 1931.

Catholics an attack on their personal freedoms, and AN would use all "licit" means to fight to

constitution.139 Because of the offending passages, AN' s leadership advocated revision

immediately, rather than waiting for the finished document.140 The Catholic deputies believed

that suppressing religious orders put their members on a lower level than everyone else.141 After

the offending articles passed, El Ca;stellanolll~~~~~~11111 remarked that millions of Spanish Catholics "will

feel hurt in their deepest feelings" and implied that only a revisionist campaign could reasonably

solve the problem. They argued that since the government had expropriated Church property in

the past, the money given to the Church by the government simply repaid that debt and did not

violate the separation of church and state.142

Ram6n Molina and Dimas Madariaga published their own revisionist manifesto in Toledo.

They stridently declared that "no Constitution, even in the most advanced nations, has gone to

such extremes."143 Molina later argued that the constitution "represents. the dissolution of

Spanish society" and that it would not succeed even if passed. The Catholic deputies should

"transfer the Parliament to the street and converse with the people," then act "within legality" to

realize the "authentic reality of Spanish politics."144 Molina divided the right into three groups:

milagreros awaited a miracle to save the Church, dictatoriales hoped for a great leader, and

estatales believed the state would rectify its own errors. Molina argued that the current state

would not change on its own and claimed that those who fell into his three categories would not

139 El Debate, October 18, 1931.

'40 El Castellano, October 17, 1931.

'41 Ibid., October 10 and 12, 1931.

'42 Ibid., October 13 and 14, 1931.

143 El Debate, October 23, 1931; El Castellano, October 22, 1931.

14 El Castellano, October 21, 1931.

help remedy Spain's problems. Instead, they needed to collaborate with Accion Nacionall 45 In

another conference, Madariaga outlined the reasoning behind the revisionist campaign: "We

want to produce a movement of opinion within legality with the purpose of revising what we

consider an attack the principles of society and that threatens the very existence of our nation."146

The campaign developed quickly. As part of a lecture series in favor of revision, Antonio

Goicoechea called the new constitution an "outrage" against Catholics.14 Several party leaders

also took part in a massive revisionist meeting in Palencia. Some of the speakers used violent

language, and the overall tone of the meeting was angry, but AN' s representatives remained

relatively calm. Gil Robles announced that AN would seek revision of the constitution when they

had a maj ority in the Cortes.148 Molina believed the Palencia meeting had demonstrated the

strength of Catholic opinion and that it was the start of the reclaiming of Spain by those who had

been too scared to act publicly before.149

Though premature and ill-advised, the revisionist campaign sought to redress substantive

grievances through a democratic process. Regardless, the government quickly deemed the

movement a threat to the Cortes's viability and banned it until after the constitution was

finished.iso Initially reluctant to end the campaign, Catholics complied with the government

order relatively quickly.lS El Ca;stellanolll~~~~~~11111 summed up Catholic reaction: "For Catholics, in

145 Ibid., November 6, 1931.

146 Ibid., November 14 and 16, 1931. The lecture was interrupted when a rock was hurled through a window of the
theater, and a crowd afterward assaulted the offices of El Castellano and AN.

147 El Debate, October 20 and November 1, 1931; El Castellano, October 20, 1931.

148 El Debate, November 10, 1931; El Castellano, November 9, 1931. El Debate claimed an attendance of 22,000 at
the meeting while El Castellano claimed 25,000.

149 El Castellano, November 11, 1931.

'5soEl Debate, November 15, 1931.

'51 El Castellano, November 12, 1931.

doctrine, the accidental nature of the form of government is completely indifferent. They

recognize the historical fact of the Republic, they obey; they do not just obey it, but rather lend

their loyal collaboration, and collaborative labor is that very criticism made in the campaign with

the support of the law. Or is it that Catholics cannot be republicans?" If the government insisted

on quieting the revisionist campaign, its supporters believed that could drive more people into

the revisionist camp.152

As 1931 drew to a close, AN moved toward consolidation. The Madrid committee finally

drafted a program and began organizing individual groups in the city's districts to "obtain the

greatest number of affiliates in the district."153 A women's auxiliary was organized in late

November, paying the way for an active political life for women within AN.154 This group

eventually provided the CEDA' s Madrid organization with forty-five percent of its members,

and likely higher numbers in Toledo and Seville.15 In Seville, the first Assembly of AN laid the

groundwork for the growth it would see in 1932, though it remained unorganized until the next

year. The Toledo committee agreed in late November to intensify its propaganda and organize

more local committees.156 AN underwent its greatest transition in November when Jose Maria

Gil Robles became president of the national committee." The young lawyer' s leadership would

transform AN into an effective political force, making it the largest party in Spain by 1933.

152 Ibid., November 16, 1931.

153 El Debate, October 28 and 30, 1931.

154 Ibid., December 1, 1931.

'ss Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 168.

156 El Castellano, November 25, 1931. Madariaga announced that he would work to end the tirminos municipales
law and that he had obtained two million pesetas for public works projects in Toledo.

1s? El Debate, July 17 and 29, November 18, 1931; El Correo de Andalucia, November 19, 1931. Herrera Oria
resigned in order to study for the priesthood.

The Establishment of AN in Seville

In many provinces, AN initiated the process of creating an organization in May but failed

to successfully organize until after the elections. "" Seville was one of those provinces. Though

AN had mounted an election campaign there in June 1931, it virtually disappeared from public

view after the elections. During the campaign, AN's leaders had claimed that "hundreds" of

people came to its offices every day to j oin. Yet by September, there were only 664 members,

and only 47 of those members came from outside the capital.159 The departure of diehard

monarchists during the summer had decimated the party's ranks. In the fall, however, several

events provided a framework for the party's future path. A vacancy in the Cortes led to partial

elections in early October, and Jose Huesca sought election as an independent. AN still

supported his candidacy and did not run a separate candidate.160 Though Huesca lost the election,

the unified action of the right wing significantly improved on its June results.

In November, Seville's right wing formed two new organizations intended to supplant AN

as the province's main right-wing party. First, property owners and industrial leaders created the

Federacion Economica de Andalucia (FEDA). Pedro Solis, former AN candidate, headed the

new group, and Jaime Oriol, a future member of the CEDA, played an influential role.161 The

FEDA sought to establish a minimum program (even less restrictive than that of AN) to unify the

158 For example, AN did not create an organization in Toledo until after the elections, even though two AN
candidates ran for election. Similarly, attempts were made to organize AN in Almeria and Murcia in May, but it
took until November to establish committees. See Rafael Quirousa-Cheyrouze y Mufioz, Catdlicos, mondirquicos y
fascistas en Almeria durante la II Repziblica (Almeria: Instituto de Estudios Almerienses, 1998), 14-5; Luis Miguel
Moreno Fern~ndez, Accidn Popular M~urciana. La derecha confesional en M~urcia durante la II Repziblica (Murcia:
Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Murcia, 1987), 66-7.

159 La Unidn, June 8, 1931. Monge Bernal, 1079.

160 Vila, Un aiio de repziblica, 187. El Correo de Andalucia, September 25, 27, and 30, October 3, 1931. AN's
electoral organization acted in his behalf on the day of the election.

161 La Unidn, November 8, 13, and 14, December 3, 1931, January 14, 1932. Enrique Vila argues that the FEDA
made UC obsolete by providing a forum for collective action by Seville's right without acceding to AN dominance.

right, though it focused almost exclusively on economic issues. Later the same week, a new

political group called thrian Ciudadanadd~~~~~ddddd~~~~ (UC) formed and quickly disappeared. Its backers

wanted to create a new umbrella organization for the right to "serve as a contact between all the

elements with a minimal affinity."162 Both La thrian and El Correo de Andahecia initially

supported UC, but they differed on how it should be organized. The editors of La thrian saw the

new group essentially as a replacement for AN, while El Correo de Andahecia wanted "union,

not fusion," and hoped that the new group would re-orient Seville's right wing into a cohesive

political force without destroying existing groups.163 Representatives of the entire spectrum of

Seville's right wing--including AN, the Integrist Party, and independent Agrarians--took part in

discussions over how UC would be organized.

By creating an official alliance with an even more minimal program than AN, UC's

advocates believed they stood a better chance of long-term success.164 However, supporters

divided over whether UC should be an alliance of existing parties or of individuals. AN' s leaders

believed that an alliance of individuals would strip the parties of a say in the new group. Jose

Gastalver, publisher of EINoticiero Sevillanol~~~~~11111~~~~ supported individual membership, while Jesus

Pab6n argued for the coalition format.165 Gastalver believed AN should come to UC in its

entirety, forming the backbone of the new group but losing its independent identity.166 Jaime

Oriol sought corporativee" membership for AN and urged AN' s leadership not to make a final

decision until they had a chance to discuss it in a party assembly. Pab6n agreed, and declared

162 Vila, Un aiio de repuiblica, 192.

163 El Correo de 4ndalucia, November 8, 1931.

164 Ibid., November 10, 1931; La LSnion, November 10, 1931.

165 La LSnion, November 9, 1931; El Correo de 4ndalucia, November 10, 1931; Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey,
Manue Gimenez Fernaindez, 384. Pab6n later wrote that he had defended the idea of a coalition weakly, partly
because of "inability," and partly out of a "desire not to be a stumbling block to the immediate constitution" of UC.

166 El Correo de 4ndalucia, November 10, 1931; El Debate, November 10, 1931.

that he did not believe there was a problem with individual members of AN joining UC, with the

understanding that the "federal" structure he proposed could later be implemented.167

Though it sent representatives to UC's inaugural meeting, AN did not accept the

organizational structure of the new group because it would place an undue burden on AN and its

members. Pab6n claimed that AN had only two possible paths to follow if UC was composed of

individuals. First, it could "dissolve itself and its members, individually, could j oin UC." This

would set back the movement by splitting it from the national AN structure. Second, AN could

continue to exist, while its members also j oined UC. Pab6n argued that this would be a mistake,

because AN' s members would have to contribute "economically and intellectually" to both

parties, ultimately weakening both AN and UC.168 AN could not accept such an arrangement.

Several days after the UC meeting, AN' s provincial assembly set the tone for future action

and laid the groundwork for an expansion throughout the province.169 The Catholic press called

on the Assembly to "flee from the simple position of resistance. .. This contributes to the

revolution, helping it directly and opposing the solution of the problems it poses."170 The

Assembly held "decisive importance" in the wake of the revisionist campaign' s suspension and

would answer the question: what does Seville think of the Catholic deputies' withdrawal from

the Cortes? Looking back on the origins of the party, Jesus Pab6n labeled the creation of AN "a

perfect act of contrition" called "crazy by some and hope by others." Though the government

had suspended the revisionist campaign, Pab6n claimed that "revision will have to come" (and

167 La Union, November 9, 1931; El Correo de 4ndalucia, November 10, 1931.

168 El Correo de 4ndalucia, November 10, 1931.

169 Ibid., November 12, 1931. In the days leading up to the assembly, the AN group in the provincial capital gained
over 100 new members.

170 Ibid., November 15, 1931.

was immediately given a warning by the government' s representative). AN Seville supported the

withdrawal of the Catholic deputies. The Assembly also created four sections into which to

divide the party's activities: propaganda, technical, electoral, and finances.' Manuel Ramos

Hernandez "pointed out that Acci6n Nacional is today the only rightist political group in

Seville," implicitly declaring that UC was no more. Jose Illanes believed it was time for a "lively

and immediate" effort in defense of AN' s principles and that other parties needed a group as

organized as AN because it "fought with more decision and enthusiasm" and "was moved by

such pure motives."172

The press greeted the Assembly with mixed responses. El Correo de Andalucia declared

that the Assembly represented, for Seville's right wing, "a good event" showing "an insuperable

vigor in the community of ideas and feelings."17 EI Noticiero Sevillanol~~~~~11111~~~~ owned by Gastalver,

warned of potential damage to the right because of AN' s decision to continue as an independent

party and argued that AN needed to come to an agreement with the other parties of the right,

"searching for possible doctrinal concurrences. Otherwise Acci6n Nacional, by its force alone,

and with reference to Seville, is condemned to a lamentable failure." The paper warned AN to

"reflect upon" its decision to act alone and decide "whether the current moment is opportune for

scattering."174 This warning fell on deaf ears, and AN continued its independent political


'71 Ibid., November 15 and 17, 1931; El Debate, November 17, 1931; El Castellano, November 17, 1931.

'72 El Correo de 4ndalucia, November 17, 1931.

173 Ibid.

174 El Noticiero Sevillano, November 17, 1931.

Repression and Growth

During 1932, AN transitioned from a catch-all organization to a coherent Catholic political

bloc. El Ca;stellanolll~~~~~~11111 summed up AN's political situation thusly:

Acci6n Nacional now prepares itself. But Acci6n Nacional .. is only a component of that
great rightist block that will give battle. It is also necessary that these other elements,
politically and socially conservative, whatever their origin and even their current
affiliation, group themselves, organize themselves, and establish among themselves
cooperative relations, to await the not very distant moment, for common action. The
current moment is for great masses: left and right. Later, there will be time and
circumstance in which differences may be raised, accidental, that separate the diverse
groups among themselves."

From this point forward, developing a mass following became the focus of AN' s activity. Its

leaders focused on demonstrating the strength of public reaction against the Republic' s reforms,

which made necessary the burying of differences in order to present a united front. After

announcing in January that it would "win [back] all that we lost in 1931 because of our own

cowardice" by creating a right-wing coalition and undertaking an ambitious propaganda effort

throughout the country, AN claimed more than 9,000 members in Madrid by the end of the

month.176 AN' s leaders in Seville called for political union with other right-wing parties "to save

Spain with enthusiasm and with affection like that between brothers" and declared that "above

all party ideals there is a common ideal, to be served and defended, which is the defense of

Religion, for which all Catholic citizens should be united until Spain is saved."17 During this

period of optimism, the government began to impose sanctions on right-wing groups, increasing

the discontent of extremists. In August, this resentment exploded into the Sanjurj ada, a seditious

'7 El Castellano, December 29, 1931.

1 6 El Debate, January 1 and 2, 1932; El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 29, 1932.

1 El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 12, 1932.

movement supported by the extreme right but not by AN.178 After a period of repression

following the uprising, AN began the process of retrenchment that ultimately led to the

formation of the CEDA.

AN' s national committee published its program in December 1931--the first clear

explanation of AN' s ideology. It defined AN not as a political party but as a union of like-

minded citizens j oined together by a minimum program that was '"affirmative' of fundamental

ideas and 'defensive' of threatened beliefs and institutions."179 Religion naturally came first in

the doctrinal section of the program, reflecting the fundamentally religious character of the party.

AN' s name showed that "the nation is the first and burning reality that we consider threatened."

It opposed divorce on the grounds that this would harm women, whose husbands could easily

abandon them. AN defended private property; called for the right to work, regional autonomy,

and the strengthening of the "principle of authority"; and rej ected the current agrarian reform in

favor of one that would respect private property. The program specifically demanded

constitutional revision because the current proj ect would cause "the end in Spain of every

endeavor of free, dignified, and civilized life."lso

Throughout 1932, AN became the target of organized government repression. The

government, in order to protect the ideological foundation of the Republic, dealt increasingly

harshly with a Catholic opposition that it perceived as disloyal and that grew stronger week by

week. The problem stemmed from the fact that the governing coalition saw the Republic

differently than followers of AN. For Republicans, it was the embodiment of a particular

'7s As we shall see later, AN changed its name to Accidn Popular in the spring, and some members of AN did
participate in the rising, but the party never officially endorsed the uprising.
179 El Debate, December 6, 1931; El Correo de Andalucia, December 6, 1931.
1so Ibid.

ideology. The Socialists considered it a step on the road to a Socialist State. The non-Republican

Catholics in AN, however, viewed the Republic as a political system within which its own

ideology could coexist with those of the left. Gil Robles believed that "one should not confuse

the regime with the Government. When the current government says that we attack the regime, it

lies. We go against specific Government actions or against a specific Govemnment without going

against the regime. It is that today all the members of the Govemnment believe themselves to be

the faithful incarnation of the Republic and some are very far from the Republic that Spaniards

have voted."ls As AN increased its activities, the government tried to slow it by suspending the

Catholic press and political meetings.

Once the constitution had been passed, the government lifted the ban on the revisionist

campaign but re-imposed it during the expulsion of the Jesuits in February, and the government

suspended numerous AN meetings throughout the spring.182 At one meeting in Villafranca de los

Caballeros (Toledo) in May, over 10,000 people arrived at the meeting before they found out that

the government had suspended it.183 In Cuenca, the president of the JAP was arrested for

refusing to pay a fine levied for "injurious" remarks made in a meeting of Catholic students.184

The Interior Minister lifted a speaking ban from Gil Robles only after extracting a promise to

'81 El Correo de Andalucia, March 20, 1932.

182 Robinson, 81. The government also closed AN centers on occasion. The JAP publicly protested the suspension of
one of its meetings in May. Its meeting was cancelled while the CNT and other groups were allowed to hold theirs.
El Debate, 24 May 1932. The government also kept tabs on some right-wing deputies. Telegrams between the Civil
Governor of Seville and the Interior Minister; AHN, Gobemnaci6n, legajo 5A, expediente 7.

183 El Debate, March 30, May 11 and 12, 1932; El Castellano, March 30, April 1, May 11 and 12, 1932. There is
some confusion about whether the meeting had been cancelled before or after the crowd had gathered. Most likely it
had been cancelled beforehand, but without enough time to inform the attendees. In the days before the meeting,
groups of leftist women had descended on the town and walked around wearing huge crosses on their waists,
proclaiming that their crosses were bigger than those womn by local Catholic women.

184 El Correo de Andalucia, April 7, 1932.

avoid acts that "are promoters of public disorder."' By early April, the government had

suspended forty-five of Gil Robles's propaganda meetings.186

The Catholic press also found itself under attack. The government suspended El Debate for

sixty-six days from mid-January to late March for "gravely wounding the dignity of the

deputies."'" Conveniently, this coincided with the expulsion of the Jesuits. Upon its returned, the

paper declared that "we have nothing to correct. Our attitude will be that of before." The

government' s action had proved the "insincerity of Spain' s public life." "s When Gil Robles

accused the government in the Cortes of having one law for its friends and another for its

enemies, Azafia replied, "Obviously!"189 Even with government pressure, AN demonstrated

remarkable signs of life. The youth and women' s sections grew dramatically, and Catholics

throughout Spain demonstrated their support for the party. The success of a banquet given by the

"Friends of El Debate showed the paper' s editorial staff that the only banner to which Spanish

Catholics would flock was that of "Religion and Patria, which the paper believed AN best


Even with government repression, AN continued its activity wherever it could. For

example, it remained relatively unfettered in Toledo, with many fewer meetings suspended than

in other provinces.191 This gave AN's representatives a chance to espouse their ideology

publicly. For instance, Madariaga favored agrarian reform, "but not like that which the Socialists

1ss Ibid., February 4, 1932.

186 Ibid., April 10, 1932.

's? Ibid., January 20, 1932; Robinson, 81. The paper was also fined 1,000 pesetas.

' El Debate, March 26, 1932.

189 El Correo de Andalucia, January 20, 1932; Robinson, 81.

190 Ibid., April 5, 1932; El Debate, April 5, 1932.

191 There were several meetings suspended, but not as many as in Seville or Madrid.

want, which, above being an injustice, is an absurdity, since in addition to plundering landowners

and being expensive for the state, it does not benefit the worker in any way."192 He worked

actively to extend AN in Toledo through propaganda trips to various districts of the province in

late March and again in April.193 Seville' s religious brotherhoods boycotted that year' s Holy

Week to protest the government's proscriptions on religion. Gil Robles applauded the action for

showing that Catholicism could live without "the support of official warmth," that there was a

"Catholicism vigorously maintained by the entire nation." Referring to the government's

suspension of AN' s meetings, Jesus Pab6n declared that "when we are allowed to speak to

Seville's right-wing, I will tell them that they can pull our land from its current political disorder

if they are able to lose these three things: fear, impatience, and intransigence." 194

As promised, Pab6n discussed fear, impatience, and intransigence in his speech at the

Maestranza bullring in February, warning that "a return to the immediate past should not be

attempted. .. We do not struggle for the defense and maintenance of the current social and

political order; we struggle to save the elements of justice and truth, the remains of the human

patrimony, the divine reserves that subsist upon the earth; and in order to prepare and realize the

new order that should replace the present disorder." Rather than acting as "a negative force that

simply opposes what exists," AN should "love progressive movement, which is like a growing

tree. We should not deny the problems but resolve them."195 Gil Robles proclaimed that Spain

had a tyrannical regime in the service of only a small sector of the Spanish population. Catholics

192 El Castellano, February 22, 1932.

193 Ibid., March 23 and 29, April 16, 22, and 23, 1932.

194 El Correo de Andalucia, February 16, 1932; La Unidn, February 16, 1932. The government tried to convince the
brotherhoods to hold their processions in order to help the Seville economy through tourism. They rejected the
argument, claiming that their processions were motivated by religious sentiments, not economic reasons.
195 Pab6n, Palabras en la oposicidn, 28-9; El Correo de Andalucia, February 23, 1932; ABC (Seville), February 23,

had lost their liberty--liberty to teach their children as they wished and liberty to advertise their

political agenda. If the government sought to suppress religious education, it should put a secular

school across the street from a Catholic one, and "see where parents want to bring their

children." Even so, Catholics themselves had caused the current situation by not doing enough to

help their fellow man.196 Though rumors persisted of leftist obstruction of the meeting, and El

Noticiero Sevillanoll~~~~~11111~~~~ claimed that the meeting took place "without even being noticed," the

meeting was a great success, attracting an audience of around 10,000.197

During the spring of 1932, AN began to expand beyond provincial capitals in Madrid and

Seville. In Seville, AN had organized ten sections in the provincial capital in February, but there

was no organization throughout the province.198 The Maestranza meeting marked an important

turning point in the organization of AN Seville, as it began to expand into the rest of the

province.199 Not until the next year, however, did a major push take place in the province,

leading to a substantial organization. Conversely, AN moved into Madrid province in April,

holding meetings and organizing committees.200 A meeting in the Alcala de Henares Plaza de

Toros drew 7,000, and 13,000 attended a meeting at San Lorezo del Escorial later that month.

Speakers reminded the audience that during the elections they had been unable to give meetings

in the province, and that in San Lorenzo they had not even found enough youth to distribute their

196 El Debate, February 23, 1932.

197 El Correo de Andalucia, February 21, 1932; Vila, Un aiio de repziblica, 208; El Noticiero Sevillano, February 23,
1932; El Liberal, February 23, 1932. El Liberal noted that Bustillo expressed disappointment that not as many
people came as they expected. The number was "greater than the capacity of the indoor locales" in Seville, but that
"not all of the audience that the organizers would have desired had attended." El Noticiero Sevillano, the Radical
paper, claimed that only 5,000 attended, and El Liberal said that the plaza was only half full. Leandro Alvarez calls
these claims "extremely disputable." Alvarez Rey, La derecha en Sevilla, 115. Photos in El Correo de Andalucia
show a large crowd.

198 El Correo de Andalucia, February 18, 1932.

199 MOnge Bernal, 1080-1.

200 El Debate, June 24, 26, and 28, July 24 and 26, 1932.

electoral propaganda. Javier Martin Artaj o argued that the efforts of the election had not been in

vain, because they had won 15,000 votes.201

April brought new challenges. In Seville, the Juventud de Accion Nacional formed in

April.202 Also, AN took issue with several actions by Seville's governor that month. He had

accused landowners belonging to AN of refusing to give work to laborers who did not also j oin

AN. A meeting called to discuss the rumor was broken up, resulting in the closure of the local

AN offices. Though the reason given was that they were criticizing the government, AN insisted

that they were not even discussing the government.203 The party also switched headquarters in

Madrid and was forced to change names by government decree.204 After a period of debate,

Acci6n Nacional adopted the title of Acci6n Popular and provincial organizations quickly

followed suit.205 The name change was a "minor annoyance amply compensated by being a

symptom" of government oppression. Since "popular" had almost the same meaning as

"national," nothing had changed.206 Gil Robles mocked the government' s insistence on AN' s

name change because "when Spain suffers a profound crisis, when the economy breaks and

201 Ibid., April 16, 19, and 20, 1932; El Correo de Andalucia, March 20 and April 20, 1932.

202 El Correo de Andalucia, April 12, 16, and 19, 1932.

203 Ibid., April 1, 1932.

204 El Debate, April 7 and 13, 1932. The government decreed that the word "national" could only be used for
authorized official government purposes or entities.

205 Ibid., April 22, May 3 and 4, 1932, El Correo de Andalucia, April 22 and May 4, 1932; El Castellano, April 30,
1932. AN applied for an exception to the rule (allowed under certain conditions) but was denied. However, the
anarchist Confederacidn Nacional de Trabajo (CNT) continued to use the term. In 1934, the conservative Bloque
Nacional would be allowed to use it when three cedistas were in the government. See Eduardo Gonz~lez Calleja,
"The Symbolism of Violence during the Second Republic in Spain, 1931-1936" in The Splintering ofSpain:
Cultural History and the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, ed. Chris Ealham and Michael Richards (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2005), 31.

206 El Debate, May 3, 1932.

unemployment rises, the Council of Ministers, that meeting of the seven wise men of Greece, can

think of nothing better than than to prohibit the use of the word 'national."'207

Toward the Sanjurjada

In May, the Cortes began debating Catalonia's proposed autonomy statute. AP's deputies

opposed the statute because they believed it gave too much freedom and privilege to Catalonia.

While the party program accepted the possibility of autonomous regions, the deputies argued that

the Catalan statute went beyond reasonable limits by seeking to create a federal state, rather than

a unitary government giving privileges to constituent regions.208 Antonio Goicoechea argued that

a federal structure would fail, because the Catalans considered the statute "something like a

Statute of external relations between two independent States." Ultimately, Goicoechea contended

that the Catalan "separatists" sought only to destroy the unity of Spain.209 According to El

Debate, the trend toward federalism constituted a "true sin against the Providence that formed

Spain."210 The debate over the Catalan statute held great importance because it would set the

tone for future debates over other statutes. AP proclaimed "its firm stand against any

overweening centralism" but criticized the statute for four reasons. First, the method of creating

the "autonomous States within the Spanish Republic" portended the creation of a "pactist federal

system." Second, the statutes had been written before the Constitution, which led to the creation

of a constitutional system intended to fit the statutes, rather than the other way around. Third,

issues such as language, education, and public order were best resolved by the national

2 Ibid., April 20, 1932.

2 Ibid., May 15, 1932.
2 )9 Ibid., May 24 and 26, June 1, 1932.

21<> Ibid., July 19, 1932.

government. Fourth, the concession of regional tax receipts to the regional governments would

be a "notorious break of national unity."211

Gil Robles now called the Cortes a "cadaver."212 In his June report on AP's first year of

activity, he exalted the actions of AN in the period immediately after the coming of the Republic.

Interestingly, he claimed that AN defended "similar purposes" to the Cli L nlo Monciquico,

closed since the May 1931 Church burnings. He credited the Circulo with defending official

Catholicism after Spanish Catholics had taken for granted that the Church would be officially

sanctioned by the government, as the constitution of 1876 stipulated.213 But AP speakers also

refused to advocate theocracy. Jose Monge Bemal declared that "Our program rests on the

unmovable base of Religion; but that does not mean that we are advocates of theocratic power or

the influence of the Church in civil power, but respect for Catholicism and the Church in that

which rightly corresponds to it."214

During July, government interference with AP meetings grew to the point that the general

secretary of AP Seville, Manuel Ramos Hemandez, publicly protested the denial of permission

for AP to hold cultural conferences on non-political issues, even though the meetings would take

place in AP's offices and discuss predetermined topics.215 The Govemnor denied that he had

refused to give his consent for propaganda meetings, and AP renewed its protest the next day,

pointing out that they had not requested propaganda meetings, but cultural meetings.216

211 El Castellano, May 23, 1932.

212 Ibid., June 7, 1932.

21 El Debate, June 16, 1932.

214 El Correo de 4ndalucia, May 24, 1932.

215 Ibid., July 14, 1932.

216 Ibid., July 15, 1932.

Notwithstanding the government measures, the summer seemed to progress well for AP.

Madariaga and Molina both elevated their status as national figures in AP by giving numerous

meetings and conferences outside of Toledo.217 In his capacity as the president ofAccian

Obrerista, a workers' party affiliated with AP and later its junior partner in the CEDA,

Madariaga also participated in an important JAP meeting at the Monumental Cine in Madrid.

There he coined the rallying cry "Down with tyranny and long live liberty!"218

As noted earlier, pro-monarchist Catholics were in a state of complete disorder at the

beginning of the Republic. However, within a year AN had achieved a significant following by

allowing a wide variety of political ideologies to coexist within it. By avoiding a debate over the

form of the regime, it had gained a short-term numerical boost, but after the June 193 1 elections,

the difficulty of forging a long-term alliance based on an extremely minimal program became

apparent. Though forced to change its name to Accian Popular in April 1932, it continued in

essentially the same spirit. The party was, in essence, a defensive movement intended solely to

inhibit some of the Republic's reforms. Yet at the same time, the Catholics now in AP had

established the basis for future activities. All of the organizations that would later constitute the

CEDA--Accian Popular, the women's section, the JAP, and Accian Obrerista-had been

formed by the middle of 1932.

At the beginning of August 1932, the Catholic movement stood on the brink of a maj or

development. Over the previous year, Accian Popular had become the most important political

group for Spanish Catholics. In the wake of the monarchist uprising of August 1932, discussed in

the next chapter, AP became foundation for both of the Republic' s maj or conservative political

217 El Castellano, June 8, 13, 14, 28, and 30, July 1, 4, 5, 26, and 30, 1932.

21s Ibid., June 27, 1932. For more on AO, see Chapter 8.

groups when its membership split. The government repression of monarchist activity in the wake

of the failed August 1932 uprising hammered home the fact that there would be no return for

Alphonse XIII in the near future. In consequence, AP moved to suppress the monarchists within

its ranks, ending the close collaboration between the accidentalists and monarchists and paying

the way for closer collaboration with the Republic. The split, which would lead to the

establishment of both the CEDA and Antonio Goicoechea's Renovacion Espaiola, defined the

maj or divisions within the non-Republican right for the rest of the Republic.


Between August 1932 and November 1933, Accidn Popular transformed itself from a

catch-all political organization in which members could disagree on the form of government into

a national confederation of right-wing parties that accepted the Republic and the need to work

within that framework. Four maj or events, described below, defined this period. First, the

monarchist uprising in August 1932 was the first maj or action by the "catastrophist" right, which

sought to overthrow the Republic.21 Second, the AP national assembly brought an end to the

peaceful coexistence between monarchists and accidentalists within the same party and provoked

a split in which committed monarchists left to form their own party, Renovacidn Espahola (RE).

Third, the formation of the Confederacidn Espaola de Derecha~s Autdnoma~s (CEDA) organized

the diverse Catholic political movements into a single federation. Finally consolidated into a

single bloc, the legalist right could exercise the political power it believed it possessed. Fourth,

the unified action of the CEDA led to victory in the November 1933 elections for a new

parliamentary assembly, finally putting Catholics in a position to influence the political direction

of the Republic.

The August 1932 uprising demonstrated that most Spaniards would not support an armed

intervention against the Republic and allowed the government to crack down on all right-wing

groups, regardless of whether they had participated in the rising. The left-leaning governing

coalition, which had always harbored suspicions against former monarchists, now had a specific

reason to distrust the right. On the right, the repression provoked another maj or examination of

219 Paul Preston has argued that the "catastrophist" right, which consisted of extreme right-wing groups intent on the
violent overthrow of the Republic, posed a great danger to the Republic. The Socialists, Preston argues, believed that
government intervention would keep these extremists in check and instead focused their energies on counteracting
the influence of the CEDA, which they considered an insidious threat to the Republic. For its part, the legalist right
left the government to control the extreme left (anarchists) while focusing its efforts on counteracting the influence
of the Socialists. See Preston, The Coming, 3.

their relationship to the Republican form of government. The coming of the Republic itself had

forced the right to quickly regroup and create new organizations to represent its interests. The

rapidity with which that occurred militated against the long-term stability of any alliance it could

produce. Yet some monarchists remained in AP even after the uprising, and their presence forced

the party to reconsider its goals. The maj ority of members favored a continuation of the legalist

tactic of accidentalism, which would have allowed the continued collaboration of monarchists

within party ranks, but the uprising made it clear that the party needed to distance itself from the

extremi sts.

Many of AP's activists moved away from a strictly "accidental" understanding of the

Republic in the wake of the uprising. These members, along with most party leaders, began to

contemplate the possibility that they could achieve their political goals within the Republic's

system. This "possibilism" began to influence AP's key leaders significantly. The embrace of the

Republican system (if not its ideals), forced a split in the movement, which led to the creation of

Renovacion Espaiola (RE), by Alphonsist monarchists under Antonio Goicoechea, and the

CEDA, formed by officially linking AP with its regional allies under the leadership of Jose

Maria Gil Robles. Because of this division, the CEDA' s members, who were more moderate

than those in RE, could now forge ahead with their plans to overcome the limits placed upon

them by the Republic. After its creation in March, the CEDA steadily increased its success until

it ultimately won the most seats in November' s parliamentary elections. This period saw

phenomenal growth for the CEDA, as it headed toward becoming the Republic's largest political


The Monarchist Split

In August 1932, a group of monarchists, in combination with military conspirators, rose

against the government in the first violent outburst by the "catastrophist" right. In so doing, they

sowed the seeds of division within the moderate right, which sought to distance itself from any

implication of violence.22 Monarchists, who had watched the establishment of the Republic with

horror, finally undertook to overthrow the regime in 1932. This group was not content with

Accion Popular 's legalist tactic to reform. Spurred on by the government' s repression of right-

wing organizations, monarchists began planning a maj or uprising with the help of a small group

of military officers, reviving a common form of political action from the nineteenth century. The

military had long played an active role in Spanish politics. During the nineteenth century, the

military had developed the pronunciamniento, in which an officer or group of officers would rise

against the government to put it back on the "correct" course.221 Miguel Primo de Rivera had

employed this method in 1923 when he took control of the government with the King' s

acquiesence. Now, nine years later, General Jose Sanjurjo wished to do the same.

Under the Republic, the new government had quickly made military reform a top priority.

Manuel Azafia, the Minister of War and later the Prime Minister, had begun the work of

implementing these reforms in order to limit the political role of the military and transform it into

a modem fighting force. Upset by these reforms, many military leaders openly sided with the

right, which they considered more responsive to their concerns. When monarchists began

plotting to overthrow the Republic in 1932, several key military leaders joined them. They were

led by General Jose Sanjurjo. In 193 1, General Sanjurjo had facilitated the coming of the

Republic by refusing to use the Civil Guard to protect the monarchy, but he now found himself at

odds with the regime because he believed the government was not doing enough to maintain

2 Preston, The Coming, 62-3.

2 For a discussion of the "era of pronunciamientos in the nineteenth century, see Stanley Payne, Politics and the
Military in Modern Spain (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967), 14-30.

public order.222 The Count of Vallellano, Pedro Sainz Rodriguez, and Antonio Goicoechea, all

members of AP, aided the rising, which erupted in Seville and Madrid on August 10, 1932.223

Planned as an old fashioned pronunciamniento, the Sanjurj ada (named after its leader) went

badly for its participants. Their plan anticipated widespread popular support once the initial

uprising had succeeded, but such help never came. Centered in Seville, where Sanjurjo directed

the rising himself, the plan called for several military garrisons to take over the functions of civil

government. Sanjurj o, who had been removed by Azafia as the head of the Civil Guard after the

Castilblanco violence of late 1931, sought to replace the Republican government with one

focused on the imposition of public order, and his monarchist allies hoped that the revolt would

make a restoration of the monarchy possible.224 The Madrid uprising failed "before breakfast,"

and only in Seville did it have even minor success, but it still lasted only a day there.225 Sanjurjo

asked two members of AP to take over Seville' s civil government, but both refused.226 When he

realized the inevitability of defeat, Sanjurjo fled Seville and was captured the next day.

Sentenced to death for treason, Sanjurjo argued that he had risen only against the government,

not the regime--a fine distinction not appreciated by the Republican-Socialist government.227

222 Robinson, 37.

223 These three were members of the monarchist intellectual group Accidn Espaiiola, formed in late 1931i. Accidn
Espaiiola included some members of AP when first created, but they left with Goicoechea in late 1932. Gil Robles
knew of the plot but expected it to fail and worried about how it would affect his party. See Robinson, 97; Preston,
The Coming, 61-3.

224 Payne, Politics and the M~ilitary in M~odern Spain, 281-6.

225 Robinson, 101. Ten military conspirators were killed in a skirmish in Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles. See also Payne,
Spain 's First Democracy, 96-100; Gil Pecharromin, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica Espaiiola, 162-4.
226 El Noticiero Sevillano, August 18, 1932; El Castellano, August 30, 1932. Manuel Sarasuia and Camacho Bafios
were both asked to be the mayor and governor after the uprising, but they refused, "because the party prohibited all
extralegal collaboration." For a complete analysis of events in Seville, see Alvarez Rey, La derecha en la II
Repziblica, 241-75. Jos6 Macarro Vera provides a very good concise relation of events in La Sevilla republican
(Madrid: Silex, 2003), 116-21.

227 Robinson, 103; El Castellano, August 25 and 26, 1932.

The Republican government, however, had no taste for violent reprisals and commuted

Sanjurjo's sentence to exile in Portugal, from where he would take part in another conspiracy in


After the rising, the government cracked down any groups potentially implicated in it,

including AP. The government closed 114 newspapers, including El Correo de Andahicia in

Seville and El Debate in Madrid. The police arrested several thousand suspected conspirators,

and deported over 100 without trial.228 Almost the entire leadership of AP Seville went to jail,

but were later released for lack of evidence.22 While the leadership remained in prison, the

government arrested many more members of AP, probably using materials confiscated from

AP's party headquarters when it was sacked during the rising.230 Local leaders, perhaps over-

eager, pushed ahead with arrests even without the governor' s approval. In Marchena, the local

government arrested the entire leadership of AP, and someone suggested arresting all 6,000

members of AP in the province.231 Things calmed down within a few weeks, but AP remained

inactive for a time. The government kept AP (and other right-wing groups) closed in Seville for

months. Two weeks after the rising, El Correo de Andahicia emphasized the limited scope of the

uprising when it condemned the actions of"a small military group" and the "small group of 'men

2 Robinson, 103 and 320. Gil Robles defended 93 of the arrested men. El Castellano, October 4, 1932.

2 El Noticiero Sevillano, August 14, 18, and 20, 1932; El Castellano, August 30, 1932. Those arrested included the
Count of Bustillo, AP's president, the AP secretary, Manuel Ramos Hern~ndez, Jos6 Monge Bernal, TomBs and Luis
Ybarra, and Manuel Saras~ia. Some members of AP remained in jail on August 30.

230 Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Manuel Gimenez Fernaindez, 94: El Correo de 4ndalucia, August 28, 1932.
On the morning of August 11, the police, along with some civilian counterparts, raided the offices of AP and took all
of its documentation, closing the offices until further notice. They did not reopen until January 1933.

231 El Correo de 4ndalucia, August 28, 1932. The Marchena leadership left jail after a week, due to lack of evidence
against them. See El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 31, 1932.

of order'" that accepted the uprising. The paper also accused the government of using the

uprising to "destroy in Seville every force of the right."232

AP's leaders tried to contain any popular and governmental backlash after the uprising, but

the movement merely confirmed to Socialists what they already believed: non-Republican

Catholics (both monarchists and accidentalists) could not be trusted. El Socialista, which

admitted that the Catholic party had nothing to do with the rising, declared that "it is certain that

they saw the aristocratic movement against the Republic with sympathy."233 This does reflect the

attitude of most populares, but it requires qualification.234 In an effort to distance his party from

the rising, Gil Robles declared that "no coreligionist that keeps the discipline of our

organization" could ever take part in an insurrection like the Sanjurj ada and lamented the actions

of the "badly advised" conspirators.235 Later, he claimed that "not even one [member of AP] put

himself at the orders of the revolutionaries or helped them in their absurd venture."236 As seen

above, however, this was not entirely true. At least several members of AP j oined the rising.

However, the party itself, along with most of its members, clearly condemned the uprising, even

though they argued that the impulse to rise against a repressive government was understandable.

Clearly they empathized with the motives of the insurrectionists, but they just as clearly

condemned its methods.

Because of how the repression affected AP after the uprising, it became clear that the party

needed to "purify" its ranks. Hard-core monarchists were no longer welcome in the party

2 Ibid., August 27, 1932.

2 El Socialista, August 23, 1932.

2 Members of 4ccion Popular called themselves populares as a form of shorthand.

2 El Correo de 4ndalucia, August 27 and 29, 1932; El Castellano, August 30, 1932.

236 El Castellano, October 10, 1932.

because their support of the Sanjurj ada had undermined the left' s remaining confidence in AP's

commitment to legality. The first signs of a possible schism appeared in early September, when

the Madrid newspaper Luz reported on a division in AP between the monarchist followers of

Goicoechea, who were "completely hostile to the regime," and the accidentalist followers of

Herrera, who had "decided to comply or, at least, to tolerate the Republic." The party denied

these rumors, arguing that "Acci6n Popular is not divided and does not have a reason to

divide."237 Notwithstanding such vehement denials, the reports later proved accurate.

Tensions within the party remained hidden until the October Assembly, called to clarify

the party's orientation. In Seville, because the AP center in the provincial capital was still closed,

the provincial committee chose its delegates to the national assembly without holding a

provincial assembly and advised them on what they should support.238 AP Toledo remained

essentially unaffected by the Sanjurj ada and claimed the existence of 100 committees and "some

centers" throughout the province.23 The association held a provincial Assembly in order to

choose delegates and discuss party organization. The Assembly reaffirmed AP Toledo's

"absolute neutrality with respect to the form of regime" and its support of the Church, declaring

its willingness to provide material support to the Church "when it is feasible."240

AP held a national assembly in late October. The assembly had several purposes, but the

most important were to define the party's political stance and to bridge the regional disparities

237 Ibid., September 9, 13, and 17, 1932; El Correo de Andalucia, September 8 and 9, 1932. AP claimed that only
three hundred people had left the Madrid organization, which had 16,000 members, in the month after the
238 El Correo de Andalucia, October 26, 1932.

239 El Castellano, October 4, 1932.

240 Ibid., October 17, 1932; El Debate, October 18, 1932.

among its affiliated organizations.241 The assembly also sought to reconcile the differing views

among the party membership. By late 1932, most populares (and key leaders) had embraced

"possibilism," believing in the possibility of working within the Republican framework to

achieve its goals, not simply accepting the government out of a sense of duty. AP's members

who favored acting within the Republic wanted to distinguish between AP's legalist tactics and

the "Trojan horse" approach favored by monarchists. Over 500 delegates, including 112 women,

attended the Assembly, representing 619,000 members of AP and related groups. Angry

disagreement over the form of government ended with a victory for the legalists. In his memoirs,

Gil Robles explained that after the repression unleashed on AP after the Sanjurj ada, "the natural

course of things made the split [of the monarchists with AP] inevitable." Had his party remained

divided over the issue of regime, the left would have had sufficient excuse to "deny the right its

access to the functions of government."242

A change in attitude was indispensable to the continued progress of AP, but it did not come

without difficulty. The October 1932 assembly was the most acrimonious meeting on record in

the party's history, and the decisions made here led committed monarchists to leave the party

with Antonio Goicoechea. All members essentially agreed to fight the Republican reforms

through legal means. However, monarchists hoped to maintain the "status quo": they wanted to

keep their ability to work with outside organizations for the return of the monarchy and only

accepted the regime because they had no other choice.243 The possibilists accepted the Republic

and believed they could achieve their goals by taking advantage of that system. Jose Medina

Togores, a possibilist, declared that "it is not loyal to lend obedience to the regime in one hour

241 Gil Robles, No fue possible la paz, 84; El Debate, October 21, 1932.

242 Gil Robles, No fue possible, 82.
243 El Debate, October 23, 1932; El Correo de Andalucia, October 23, 1932.

and later appear as monarchists," provoking a protest from the audience. Other advocates of

possibilism followed. Jose Cimas Leal followed by arguing that "obedience means acceptance,

or it does not mean anything more than an external form, obliged by the law." Dimas Madariaga

declared, "AP, since it was constituted, has acted with obedience to the constituted Power, within

the existing norms; AP raises the revisionist banner for the Constitution of the State, but in this

position it is necessary to proceed with honor and loyalty. In AP of Toledo the constituted Power

will be obeyed, whatever happens." This provoked a monarchist response, and Pedro Sainz

Rodriguez, implicated in the Sanjurjada, asked, "Why should an act so foreign to AP, like the

events of August 10, with which it had nothing to do, be the determining cause of this


That evening, the assembly returned to this issue in less heated tones. Julio Moreno Davila

blamed the Sanjurj ada for everything that AP had lost and urged to the party to maintain its

commitment to legality--"the tactic of yesterday, which will give us the triumphs of tomorrow."

Luis Lucia argued that the assembly needed to put the argument to rest and articulate a program,

because its propagandists needed a complete ideology to promote. This moved things along, and

the final agreement made a "distinction between authority and legislation. Respect for the first,

very active struggle against the second within legality and in opposition to violence." When Gil

Robles closed the Assembly, he stated plainly that "those that believe that our organization is a

shield of equality behind which they can hide violent attitudes are fooling themselves. That

24 El Debate, October 23, 1932; El Castellano, October 24, 1932; El Correo de 4ndalucia, October 23, 1932;
Robinson, 108-9; Montero, La CE114 vol. 2, 60-3.

would be a disloyalty for those that came to us confident in the loyalty of our methods and


The possibilists heralded this result as a triumph, while the monarchists openly questioned

their place in the party. Gil Robles pointed out that many of those at the Assembly who had

spoken out in favor of legality had recently left prison after being arrested for alleged

involvement in the Sanjurj ada. He applauded them because "they continue condemning violence,

convinced of the positive results obtained by the action of Acci6n Popular until before the month

of August."246 The Catholic press published conflicting judgments of the Assembly. In El

Ca;stellano,~~~~111~~~~111 Miguel Pefiaflor praised the resolution adopted.247 When the monarchist Madrid

daily La Nacion took AP to task for affirming that the espousal of monarchist ideas was

incompatible with membership, El Correo de Andalucia reacted angrily and reminded readers

that members of AP could hold their own beliefs on the regime, but that party leaders could not

belong to other political groups.248

After the Assembly most of AP's provincial allies got to work holding conferences and

organizing local committees. In Madrid, the party expanded to a new location in Cuatro Caminos

as part of a plan to establish fifteen centros de barriada around Madrid by the end of 1933. The

new centers focused on education and social aid programs.249 The Seville organization, a

significant exception, did not receive permission to reopen until partway through December, but

some of its leaders participated in conferences outside of Seville. In Madrid, Jesus Pab6n sought

245 El Debate, October 23 and 25, 1932; El Correo de Andalucia, October 23 and 25, 1932; El Castellano, October
24, 1932; Gil Robles, No fue possible, 83.
246 El Castellano, October 29, 1932.

247 Ibid., October 26, 1932.

248 Realidades, October 30, 1932; El Correo de Andalucia, October 26, 1932.

249 El Debate, October 30, November 4, 8, and 18, December 9, 1932.

to diffuse the "castrophic attitude" held by the monarchists, who believed it necessary to

"destroy everything existing in order to find a better order."250

Even while the party renewed its activities, significant developments threatened its

stability. By the end of the year, monarchists, led by Antonio Goicoechea, would organize their

own political party, Renovacidn Espahola (RE) and definitively break with AP. A meeting

between monarchists and Alphonse XIII in France in September had outlined three goals: the

public expression of monarchist ideology (through Accidn Espahola), the creation of an

"apparently legal" political party, and the preparation of a coup d' etat. Goicoechea took the lead

in forming the political party after leaving j ail on November 1 1, organizing a broad union of

right-wing parties to counter what he considered AP's narrow focus and its possibilist tactic.251

Speaking at a Traditionalist meeting in Madrid in December, Goicoechea attacked AP's

possibilism and argued for a return to "traditional" political and social structures.252 He left AP in

December, ostensibly because of differences of opinion over his participation in a Traditionalist

meeting while he still belonged to AP's committee.25 In January, he started organizing a

Federacidn de Derechas, which would have united the Alphonsine and Carlist monarchists

under one banner. Although his plan lost Carlist supporters because they opposed his model for

the monarchy, the group's manifesto carried the signature of seventy-seven Alphonsists.254

Goicoechea' s failure to convince the Traditionalists to j oin his movement forced him to content

himself with the creation of a new Alphonsist group. Just before the CEDA' s inaugural congress,

250 Ibid., December 17, 1932; El Correo de Andalucia, December 17, 1932.

251 Gil Pecharromin, Conservadores subversives, 121-2.

252 Robinson, 110-11. The Carlists had formed the Comunidn Tradicionalista in 1931.

253 El Castellano, December 21, 1932. The paper simply said that he left AP "because of appreciable discrepancies
related to the convenience of whether or not to take part in the traditionalist conference cycle."

254 Robinson, 111.

his group Einalized its preparations, and they officially organized Renovacion Espaiola in early


Building the CEDA

After AP's October Assembly, plans moved forward for a national organization to codify

the alliance between AP and its regional aff61iates. The Assembly had prepared the way for the

CEDA in several ways. First, it marked a turning point in the relationship of monarchists within

AP, clarifying the party's position with respect to the regime. Conspiracy against the government

would no longer be acceptable. Second, it set in motion a propaganda effort, including a

propaganda school to prepare speakers for their role in disseminating party ideals. Third, the

Assembly began the work of coordinating the various regional organizations. However, the

leaders of these groups could not agree on an organizational structure. The Madrid provincial

committee proposed a national leadership committee elected by all of AP's members throughout

Spain. Several groups dissented, and Dimas Madariaga proposed that they create liaison

committee composed of representatives from the regional organizations.256

Ultimately, the CEDA implemented Madariaga' s model. Gil Robles described the future

organization as a confederation of regional parties.257 Each regional group maintained a strict

autonomy from the national organization. Because the groups shared the same political

assumptions, the creation of a firmer confederation was "merely a task of giving legal order,

regulation, to that which, spontaneously, had already come together with the very strong

255 Gil Pecharromin, Conservadoeres subversives, 123-4. The timing was strategic, to counter the hoopla
surrounding the CEDA.

256 El Debate, October 25, 1932.

257 Ibid., December 23, 1932. Gil Robles later said that he made these remarks--his first on the subject--to head off
the work of Goicoechea and his allies, who were using very similar terminology in their projected alliance. Gil
Robles, No fue posible, 84.

connection of the community of feelings and ideas."258 According to its founding members, the

new group would constitute an alliance against "a revolution that will not desist without a change

of the form of government and seeks to upset" the social order.259 It would base its activity on

three principles: obedience to the "constituted power"; legality; and "the elimination of the

problem of the form of government," allowing members to hold their own beliefs on that

point.260 El Debate heralded the arrival of the new alliance with a warning to avoid getting

bogged down in the issue of the form of regime ruling Spain. To do so would "offer to our

enemies a flank on which to center its attack." They left the door open for possible electoral

alliances, but a permanent alliance with the extreme right no longer appears to have been a

serious possibility.261

At the beginning of 1933, AP and its allies had organizations in almost all of the provinces

of Spain, and they already had a sense of unity, so the creation of the CEDA merely formalized

relations.262 In February, the party opened a new centro de barriada to serve the Prosperidad and

Guindalera districts of the city.263 The Madrid branch of the CEDA' s radical youth group, the

Juventudes de Accion Popular (JAP) initiated a "social campaign" in early January to "spread

and make known the contents of Acci6n Popular' s social program among Madrid' s popular

classes and outer neighborhoods."264 AP Seville returned to full activity in January 1933.265 The

258 Accidn1 Popular: Boletin de informacidn, December 30, 1932.

259 El Debate, January 1, 1933.

260 El Correo de Andalucia, January 7, 1933.

261 El Debate, January 1, 1933.

262 Ibid., January 1, 1933. The exceptions were in Basque Country and Catalonia.

263 Ibid., February 3, 1933.

264 Ibid., January 6, 8, 10, 14, 15, and 17, February 8, 11, 14, and 21, 1933.

Interior Minister had authorized the reopening of several provincial committees in late December

1932, but he kept AP Seville closed until late December, and several other local centers in the

province remained closed longer.266 During the closure, the offices had been ransacked, and

almost everything inside it destroyed. Though outraged and frustrated with events, El Correo de

Andahicia reiterated its commitment to legality. It would persist "in the course undertaken, with

more courage than ever: in search of a triumph that allows them to make Spain a country in

which such savageries are not possible."267

In preparation for the CEDA congress, members of AP's Seville branch held a provincial

assembly in February. At this assembly, Manuel Ramos Hernandez blamed the government

suspension handed down after the August uprising for the party's disorganization.268 A proposal

on party structure outlined a plan to create a party of "quality and not quantity" whose members

accepted the obligations inherent in membership "upon j oining the party," and championed a

"true Christian democracy."269 Accepting the proposal with only minimal revision, the

conference paved the way for union with the CEDA while maintaining the functional

265 El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 5 and 6, 1933. ACM returned to activity on January 7. See El Correo de
4ndalucia, January 8, 1933.

266 Interior Minister to the Governor of Seville, December 16, 1932, AHN, Gobernaci6n, Legajo 5A, expediente 7:
El Debate, December 25, 1932; El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 11, 14, and 27, 1932.

267 El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 27, 1932, January 5 and 6, 1933; La Union, December 27, 1932; El Debate,
January 5, 1933. AP's leadership had brought a photographer and a notary when they reopened their center, in order
to document the damages.

268 Alvarez Rev, Las derechas en Sevilla, 291-2.

269 Drafts of the "Reglamento de la organizaci6n local de 'Acci6n Popular' de Sevilla" and the "Borrador de
articulos programitios de la Derecha Popular Andaluza," in AGF, legajos B-VII/10 and B-VII/12; El Correo de
4ndalucia, February 12, 1933; Alvarez Rey, La derecha en Sevilla, 291-5: Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey,
Manue Gimenez Fernaindez, 97-103. Gim~nez Femindez had tried to resign from AP Seville the previous
November, but his friendship with the Count of Bustillo kept him from leaving. See Braojos Garrido and Alvarez
Rev, Manuel Gimenez Fernaindez, 95-6.

independence of the provincial party.270 Approximately 1 1,000 people attended the assembly's

closing meeting, and the speakers did not disappoint.271 JOse Monge Bemal called religion the

"prop of legislative institutions," and declared that if Spain abandoned it the country would go

"adrift." Jose Maria Valiente declared that "the authentic revolution that Spain needs is going to

be made with the Crucifix in hand." In his remarks, Gil Robles told the audience that although

AP possessed most of the attributes needed for a functioning party, it still needed to "synthesize,

gentlemen, those basic points and extract a concrete formula from our program that serves

tomorrow for realizing our program in the spheres of the Govemment."272

Of the three provinces, Toledo had the most active schedule during the first two months of

1933. At the beginning of the year, AP claimed 60 local committees throughout Toledo

province.27 While AP focused on propaganda during this period, the JAP organized a

conference series on "citizen training."274 Because AP now had local committees in most towns,

its leaders decided to contest the upcoming municipal elections in every town of the province.

AP would use "the legal path of the umns to conquer the positions to which it believes it has a

right."275 At a banquet to honor the Toledo AP municipal minority, Manuel Conde argued that in

order to save Spain it was not enough to say more prayers. Victory "also is achieved laboring in

"7 "Ponencias presentadas en la Asamblea Provincial de A. Popular de Sevilla," AGF, legajo B-VII/14: El Correo
de 4ndalucia, February 12, 1933.

27 El Correo de 4ndalucia, February 14, 1933; La LSnidn, February 14, 1933. La L92idn counted 12,000. El Correo
de 4ndalucia argued that the meeting showed that Seville's right "is realizing its strength and losing the pessimism
or fear that paralyzes them." They also held a banquet for 1,200 people and gave over 4,000 meals to the poor.
Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Manuel Gimenez Fernaindez, 96-7.
2 El Correo de 4ndalucia, February 14, 1933; La LSnidn, February 14, 1933.

2 Monge Bernal, 1108.

2 El Castellano, January 4, 11, 13, and 19, February 3 and 10, 1933.

2 Ibid., February 15, 1933. Election ballots were collected in urns. He was arguing that they would only act within
legality to achieve their goals.

the street, in homes, reaching the hearts of workers," and voting for "the defenders of Religion

and Homeland."276 Gil Robles explained that permanent political unions should only admit

"those forces that have homogeneity of doctrinal content and tactics in their activity," in order to

avoid confusion that could result in "irreparable damage to those who form that heterogeneous

mix." The future CEDA, he pointed out, would respect and obey the government, but such

obedience did not preclude opposition to government proposals in the Cortes. Though Gil Robles

committed the CEDA to obeying the law, he also declared that "we will not desist in our desire

to modify the Constitution, with which, as Spaniards, as Catholics, as men of the right, we

declare ourselves totally and absolutely incompatible."277

AP and its allies moved forward with the CEDA' s organization at the end of February,

when they held the first CEDA conference. Ideally, the "spontaneous" alliance between so many

rightist parties would create "an organic whole, with unity of doctrine, tactics, and hierarchy."278

The week-long congress would set AP's political program, "ratify the common tactic to follow,"

organize the CEDA, and choose a national committee. Congress sessions covered such topics as

"Constitution, political laws, regionalism, municipalism"; "Religion, Family, Teaching"; and

"Social issues."279 Delegates represented approximately 73 5,000 members of the CEDA' s

component organizations nationwide.280 Even allowing for some exaggeration, this represented a

maj or political force. The conference outlined the political program the CEDA would follow.

Congress attendees devised a general political program, a religious program, and supporting

276 Ibid., January 20, 1933.

2 Ibid., January 21, 1933.

2 El Debate, March 1, 1933.

279 El Castellano, February 7, 1933.

2se Ibid., March 2, 1933.

elements such as agrarian, economic, and foreign policy. Led by its vanguardistt groups" the

JAP, the DRV, and AO, the CEDA also approved a social program, based explicitly on the

encyclicals of Leo XIII and Pius XI, to directly oppose the Socialists for working-class

support.281 The program repudiated class struggle, recognized the right of women to work

outside the home, insisted on the imposition of the family wage, and advocated a more equitable

distribution of land among individual smallholders.282

The session on "General Political Regime" demonstrated that significant divisions

persisted in the CEDA. Federico Salm6n proposed a legislative system for the Republic,

consisting of two houses: "one of the representatives of merely political ideologies and another

organic, expressions of economic organizations, professions, and local, provincial, and regional

entities." The people would elect the former by universal suffrage (in a proportional-

representation system), and the organizations to be represented would choose the latter. The head

of state would have veto power, but the legislative body would retain the right of override (by a

two-thirds maj ority).283 After debate, the final version limited itself to denouncing the Law for

the Defense of the Republic, confiding the protection of individual rights to the courts, and

strengthened the role of the head of State. The JAP had opposed "universal inorganic suffrage,"

leading to a modification of the proposal to declare simply that "national representation should

be organized, in such a way that the Cortes reflect the true feeling of the Spanish people, as much

in the states of political opinion manifested by individuals as in the corporative organization that

responds to the organic character of society." Marin Lazaro opposed the weakening of executive

power because "the existence of a strong executive Power was perfectly possibly, even though it

281 El Debate, March 3 and 8, 1933; El Correo de Andalucia, March 3 and 4, 1933.

282 CEDA, Programa, 16 and 20.
283 "R~gimen Politico General," AGF, legajo B-VII/16.

was submitted to the confidence of the Chamber."284 The final result, then, barely resembled

Salm6n's original proposal.

The proposed "minimum program" on religious issues, calling for the centrality of religion

in the CEDA' s political program and in society, passed with little disagreement.285 The draft

proposal called for the government to respect the rights of the Church, emphasizing the Church' s

right to purchase and own property, freedom for religious orders, the need for a concordat to

maintain "friendly relations in such matters as interest the Church and the State, and for the

liquidation of the sectarian legislation that the Governments of the Republic have been dictating

unilaterally."286 The approved program strengthened the language condemning the Republic's

religious legislation and simplified the list of rights but kept essentially the same form as the


Above all else, three main postulates united the CEDA: first, "affirmation and defense of

the fundamental principles of Christian civilization"; second, "necessity of a constitutional

revision in accord with said principles"; and third, "Acceptance as tactic for all of its political

activity, of the rules given by the Episcopacy to Spanish Catholics in its collective declaration of

December 193 1."288 Luis Lucia expressed the feelings of the new union when he said that "we

represent a politics of substance, and not of political forms, of content over the politics of

2 El Debate, March 3, 1933. Confederaci6n Espafiola de Derechas AutC~nomas, Programa aprobada en el
Congress de 4ccion Popular y entidades adheridas y afines convocado para constituir la C. E. D. 4.--Febrero-
marzo 1933 (Mladrid: Editorial Ib~rica, 1933), 5-6.

2 El Correo de 4ndalucia, March 2, 1933.

286 "CueStiones religiosas'. Program minimo," AGF, legajo B-VII/16.

2 CEDA, Programa, 3-4.

2 El Debate, March 5, 1933.

countenance. Politics of goals and not of means. We leave to one side what can die and we

gather that which cannot change."289

Reaction fell along largely partisan lines. Catholic newspapers quickly accepted the new

group. El Correo de Andalucia called it the flowering of the seeds that had been planted in

October.290 The Socialists, however, excoriated the CEDA as more of the same, "an integration

of Spain' s oldest, most misled, and most putrid" elements. They believed that behind the rhetoric

the CEDA was "not only an agrario-industrial capitalist party, but, above all, a clerical

formation, deeply clerical, controlled and directed by prehistoric elements." Because the new

right-wing confederation intended to pursue constitutional revision, El Socialista warned that

"every counter-revolutionary attempt of that dimension carries serious risks."291 The creation of

the Republic's first mass right-wing movement frightened Socialists, who desired to avoid a

repetition of what had happened in Italy and, more recently, Germany, with the imposition of

dictatorial regimes. Constitutional revision, for them, was the first step on the road to

suppression of Socialism.292 Though somewhat exaggerated, these fears dictated the Socialist

response to the CEDA, ultimately provoking a Socialist uprising when three cedista~s joined the

government in October 1934.

Electoral Success and Party Growth

After the congress, the CEDA set its sights on the April municipal elections, knowing that

a good showing could force new national elections.293 These elections gave them a chance to test

289 Ibid., March 7, 1933.

290 El Correo de Andalucia, March 7, 1933.

291 El Socialista, March 8, 1933.

292 Preston, The Coming, 65-6.

293 El Debate, March 7, 1933.

the strength of the alliance and perhaps hasten the demise of the current Cortes through a show

of national will. In 193 1, many of Spain' s city counselors in the elections that brought the

Republic had been chosen through Article 29, which allowed unopposed candidates to win

without actually holding an election. The government coalition believed that by holding new

elections, they could weaken the grip of the right on many municipal governments, but the right

had regrouped since 1931.294

While the official campaign did not kick off until mid-April, the CEDA congress had given

its provincial organizations a renewed energy, especially in Seville. The propaganda campaign

begun by the FrontC~n Betis meeting in February continued with a succession of meetings and

conferences throughout March and April, and AP continued to expand its presence outside of the

provincial capital. Dimas Madariaga's trip to Seville in late March excited AP's members, and a

group of workers from Osuna sent him a special invitation to address them. In addition to the

meeting in Osuna, Madariaga gave a conference at Seville's Pathe Cinema and visited AP in

Marchena and Dos Hermanas.295 In addition, AP and ACM increased their cooperation. ACM

had affiliated with the CEDA and cut ties with the Traditionalists in Seville, a development that

later had a very important impact on women's political activity in that province.

The elections were a great success for the CEDA. Of the roughly 16,000 city councilors

chosen in 2,478 municipalities throughout Spain, the CEDA won 4,906 seats, or about 35.8 %.

Most of the elections took place in the CEDA' s "heartland" of central Spain.296 While the

294 Overall, the monarchist groups had actually won most of the municipal seats in the April 1931 elections, mainly
in rural areas where monarchist candidates had rnm unopposed. The Republicans, believing the Republic had broken
the grip of rural caciques, wanted to hold new elections in those areas to eliminate the vestiges of monarchist

295 El Correo de 4ndalucia, March 12, 14, 18, 21, 24, 25, and 28, 1933.

296 MOntero, La CE114, 280-5: AHN, Gobernaci6n, legajo 31A, expediente 1.

government only listed their total number of elected concejales as 395, the CEDA claimed that

over ninety percent of candidates designated agrarianss" actually belonged to the CEDA' s

regional groups.297 At the provincial level, the CEDA did not have maj or success in Madrid or

Seville. Its candidates won only thirty-one of 365 places in Madrid and five of thirty-three

positions in Seville.298 However, AP won 169 of 567 available seats in Toledo, compared to the

Radicals' 158 and the Socialists' 117.299 Overall, parties affiliated with the government won less

than half as many seats as "anti-government" forces (including the CEDA and the Radicals).300

In the CEDA' s rhetoric, the elections became the "first skirmish in what will tomorrow be the

great battle," and the agrarian minority now represented the "effective maj ority of the nation' s

opinion."30 Not surprisingly, the election results emboldened the CEDA. In the past, it had

achieved only moral and organizational victories. Now it had actually won in national elections,

through the "prudence of bringing together great masses." The party considered the elections

"above all, a ratification, a national approval of the directing mind and of two years of


The next maj or victory for the CEDA came in early September with the elections for the

Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees.303 Eighteen months after the constitution had passed, the

297 El Debate, April 25 and 29, 1933; El Castellano, May 2, 1933.

298 El Debate, April 25 and 26, 1933.

299 El Castellano, April 25, 1933; El Debate, April 25, 1933. These are AP's own numbers,. The government
assigned them 139 seats, but AP's leaders argued that twelve agrarianss" belonged to their party, along with others
who had been classified incorrectly.

300 Montero, La CE114, 283.

301 El Debate, April 26 and 29, 1933.

302 El Debate, May 6, 1933. The Socialists blamed the election results on a resurgence of caciquismo in the electoral
districts. El Socialista, April 26, 1933.

303 The Republic's Constitution called for the establishment of a high court, which would act much like the
American Supreme Court in determining the constitutionality of laws passed by the parliament.

Cortes finally passed a law to organize the constitutional tribunal it envisioned on June 14.304

These elections consisted of two rounds of voting, neither of which involved universal suffrage.

In the first round, on September 3, members of Spain' s ayuntamientos~~~ttt~~ttt~~ voted by region. A week

later, the Colegio de Abogados and Spain's twelve universities elected the remaining members.

The CEDA' s success in the April municipal elections, especially evident in Toledo and other

areas of Spain' s central provinces, thus acted as a stepping stone to victory in the Tribunal of

Constitutional Guarantees. The Court' s representatives were chosen based on region, and the

CEDA did not present its own candidates in all of them, focusing most of its energies on areas in

central Spamn."

The CEDA did well in both election rounds. The ayuntamientos~~~ttt~~ttt~~ elected six CEDA

candidates, all of which came in Leon and the two Castiles.306 In Toledo, both the provincial AP

committee and Gil Robles urged the provincial concejales to vote for CEDA candidates because

"it is not enough to lament the state in which the Patria finds itself because of the reigning

politics, but it is necessary to demonstrate in every moment that public opinion rej ects that

politics and detests that legislation."307 The CEDA did quite well in Toledo, where over 700 of

the 1,641 concejales voted for its candidates, handily defeating the Socialists, who received only

660 votes.308 However, CEDA candidates did not win any seats in either Madrid or Seville.309

304 Robinson, The Origins, 118 and 128; Montero, La CEDA, 285. The parliamentary right had pushed for the court
since November 1932. In one remarkable debate, Manuel Azafia declared, with reference to the tribunal, "The
Constitution may say what it likes, what I say. ." [translation Richard A. H. Robinson].

305 C. E. D. A., September 15, 1933; El Debate, August 27, 1933. The CEDA presented only 10 candidates for
election. Montero, La CEDA, vol. 2, 287.

306 El Debate, September 5, 1933; El Castellano, September 5, 1933; Montero, La CEDA, vol. 2, 287.

307 El Castellano, August 30 and 31, 1933. Italics added.

308 Ibid., September 5, 1933. These do not include the results from one town in the case of the CEDA and two in the
case of the Socialists.

The universities and Colegio de Abogados elected three more CEDA candidates. Salvador

Minguij 6n and Carlos Ruiz del Castillo won as proprietary members and Manuel Gimenez

Fernandez was elected as an alternate member.310 The CEDA largely stayed out of these

elections because of their professional nature. The confederation did consider running a

candidate, but by the time it made a decision, other right-wing candidates had announced their

intentions to run, and the CEDA decided against adding its own.311

Even though the CEDA did not "win" the elections by gaining the most votes, the success

of non-government candidates proved its point: the government did not adequately represent the

will of the Spanish people. The election results reflected popular dissatisfaction with government

policies, and ten of the fifteen regions elected non-Government candidates.312 In the

ayuntamientottt~~~ttt~~~tt elections, government candidates received only 17,869 votes, compared to over

33,000 for "anti-government" forces, of which nearly 13,000 belonged to the CEDA.313 I

nothing else, these results merited attention because when the Cortes passed laws, they would

have to face a constitutional tribunal dominated by those who opposed the government's

policies. Because the government viewed supporting legislation as equally important to the

constitution, it therefore pushed a law through the Cortes that prohibited the Tribunal of

309 El Correo de 4ndalucia, August 20, 1933; El Debate, August 19, 1933. Despite proclaiming early on that it
would present candidates in all regions, the CEDA soon backed away from this plan. None were presented in

310 C. E. D. 4., September 15, 1933; El Correo de 4ndalucia, September 7 and 13, 1933; El Debate, September 12,
1933. After his election, Gim~nez Fern~ndez encountered compatibility problems because of his status as a public
functionary and had to resign. Since no one in the CEDA had envisioned this problem, Gil Robles felt personally
embarrassed and ordered that Gim~nez Fern~ndez be included as a candidate in the November elections. Alvarez Rev
and Braojos Garrido, Manuel Gimenez Fernaindez, 31 and 106; Calvo and Tussell, Gimenez Fernaindez, 42-3.

311 C. E. D. 4., September 15, 1933; El Castellano, September 9 and 11, 1933. In Castile-La Mancha, the CEDA
supported Jos6 Calvo Sotelo, who was elected, and Jos6 Maria Albifiana y Sanz, who was not.

312 El Debate, September 15, 1933.

313 Montero, La CEll4, vol. 2, 288. The Radicals won approximately 14,000 votes.

Constitutional Guarantees from ruling on legislation passed prior to its establishment. Therefore,

the Tribunal would not evaluate the Law of Religious Congregations and Confessions, the

Agrarian Reform, or the Catalan Statute. In addition to creating this conflict for the government,

the elections also indicated a need to go before Spain's voters and establish a new Cortes that

more accurately reflected the desires of the nation. Within a month, the Cortes had been

dissolved, and new elections were called.

Sensing the possibility of parliamentary elections, the CEDA undertook a major

organizational effort during the spring and summer in order to prepare for a national campaign.

After the Municipal elections, the CEDA defined three obj ectives. They needed to extend party

organization to "the last corner of Spain," convince party members that this growth could only

happen "with the incessant action of apostles that are willing to walk throughout Spain roaming

from town to town and home to home," and "perfectly differentiate" the CEDA' s component

organizations to make sure nobody could dispute "what is fruit of its organization and its

work."314 To this end, the CEDA introduced a bulletin, C. E. D. A., in late May. In Seville,

CEDA members helped organize a new Catholic press to prepare for the possibility of a

government closure of the city's Catholic newspapers.315 The CEDA also worked to dispense an

"inflexible social justice" to combat the problems it believed inherent in a system of class

struggle.316 The efforts focused on working-class women and children. Continuing a program

begun the previous year, the CEDA provided "some days of rest with good nourishment for

women who work and some happy vacations for their children, so that they are strengthened with

314 El Castellano, May 2, 1933.

315 Letter to potential investors, RAH, Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8987.

316 El Debate, May 16, 1933.

the air of the sea or the mountain."317 In addition, the CEDA organized free classes at Madrid' s

Cuatro Caminos offices.318 These initial programs later built up to a massive social effort

unleashed after the CEDA' s November electoral victory.

Ideologically, the CEDA had begun to demonstrate admiration for the German and Italian

regimes, though always with caveats. The confederation began to openly study foreign regimes

during the summer and fall, sending members (mostly from the JAP) to Italy, Germany, and

Belgium to study the political situation in those countries. Their reports, though generally

positive, pointed out significant incompatibilities with Spanish society.319 While he did not

condemn them, Gil Robles pointed out that in Spain there was no need for such an autocratic

regime, because Spain faced different problems that could be rectified from within the

Republic.320 Later, he condemned fascism as a violent "absorbing and pagan statism" that could

have no place in achieving the goals of social Catholicism.321 He claimed that "fascism does not

scare me; who fascism scares is the Government, which wants to impose a fascism on Spaniards

from Power," echoing Catholic accusations of facism against the government from the fall of

193 1, when the initial anti-Church articles of the constitution were passed.322

317 C. E. D. A., June 15, July 15 and 30, September 30, 1933; El Debate, May 19 and 25, 1933. The cost of
12,651.30 pesetas was covered partially by donations totalling 8,790 pesetas. AP covered the difference with party

318 El Debate, September 21, 1933; C. E. D. A., September 30, 1933. Women could take classes in primary
education or sewing, and men could study grammar, geography, history, arithmetic, art, and languages.

319 C. E. D. A., September 15 and October 15, 1933; El Debate, August 23 and September 13, 1933.

320 El Debate, March 7, 1933.

321 Ibid., March 22, 1933. Gil Robles's words did not receive a warm reception from the audience. Preston has used
this as evidence that the CEDA's membership rejected his argument and embraced fascism. The audience, however,
was not composed of CEDA members. Rather, it was a Catholic organization in Barcelona, where the CEDA never
had a significant membership base. See Preston, The Coming, 66.

322 La Unidn, March 22, 1933; Robinson, The Origins, 67.

Gil Robles did not believe that a Spanish brand of fascism could work. After he attended

the Nuremburg rallies in the fall of 1933, he lauded Hitler' s abandonment of parliamentary

democracy, but he criticized Nazism's "pantheism that reaches the nullification of the individual

and a true deification of the State." Its systematic violence was "absolutely reprehensible."323 e

Gil Robles called on the right to evaluate Nazism seriously, even though they had "doctrinal and

tactical reservations," in order to "see which of its renovating principles could be incorporated

into the rich treasure of our traditional doctrine."324 By expressing any admiration for such

extremist movements, the confederation undermined any attempt to quell left-wing opposition

because it fanned the flames of distrust. Openly discussing the elimination of parliament

understandably provoked fear.

While the CEDA did admire some elements of fascism, its true ideological models were to

be found elsewhere. The Socialists called Gil Robles the "Spanish Dollfuss," after the Austrian

leader who had violently suppressed that country's Socialists, but the foreign example that

actually held the most interest for the Catholic party was Belgium, where Catholics and

Socialists had worked together.32 In Germany, the CEDA admired the Bavarian Catholics who

had worked to preserve their religion more than it admired Hitler. Gil Robles clearly feared the

potential of fascism, because "with it violence begins, and one does not know where it ends."326

The fascist label, loaded as it was with negative connotations, was almost more widely used as a

pej orative expression, rather than to accurately define political ideology. For example, one

3 C. E. D. 4., September 30, 1933.

3 El Castellano, September 25, 1933.

3 Robinson, The Origins, 171-2; Preston, The Coming, 69.

326 La Union, March 22, 1933.

editorial in El Correo de Andalucia in September argued that "in Spain there does not exist a

fascism other .. than antifascism."327

The CEDA' s provincial groups continued to grow during this period. Politically, AP

Seville made great strides by constituting a municipal minority, presided by Manuel Beca

Mateos (later elected to the Cortes).328 The new minority blamed the ayuntamientot~~~ttt~~ttt~~ 's current

disorganization on three main causes: leftover problems from previous councils, poor

administration, and the "effects of the general Spanish politics since April 193 1."329 They

quickly became embroiled in squabbling and eventually demanded an audit of the ayuntamiento.~~~ttt~~ttt~~

Party organization continued as well, as the district sections constituted the various committees

that would take on the work of organizing party activities.330 In October, they finally constituted

a provincial AO organization as well.331 AP in Toledo began calling itselfAccion Popular

Agraria (APA) during the summer of 1933. While internal divisions beset the party during the

summer, as talk of a split surfaced, the party continued to add new local committees to its ranks,

especially women's groups, and held several meetings with attendance in the thousands.332

Political Opposition and Internal Divisions during 1933

In June, Gil Robles pointed out that the left used violent rhetoric and defended his party's

right to protect itself if attacked.333 His comments responded to a very real situation facing his

3 El Correo de 4ndalucia, September 21, 1933.

328 Ibid., May 27 and 28, 1933; La Union, June 8, 1933.

329 El Correo de 4ndalucia, September 3, 1933.

33 Ibid., May 30, 1933.

331 Ibid., August 3, October 3 and 10, 1933. Within a few days of the official constitution of AO in Seville, one of its
committee members was shot in a political attack.

3 El Castellano, May 3 and 24, June 24, 26, and 28, September 25, 1933.

3 C. E. D. 4., June 30, 1933.

party. After the constitution of the CEDA, it ran into consistent problems. Most often, this

conflict took the form of verbal disputes, but throughout 1933, it became increasingly violent. As

discussed earlier, many left-wing political groups saw the CEDA as a proto-fascist threat to the

Republic's survival. The ambiguous rhetoric employed by the confederation's leaders with

respect to fascist regimes naturally led to sense of panic among its enemies, and some extremists

began taking matters into their own hands. As the CEDA achieved electoral success in April and

September, a sense of inevitability began to develop as it became clear that new parliamentary

elections would be called. Even after the elections, this sense of danger persisted, and as shown

in the next chapter, it led to a maj or Socialist insurrection in October 1934 after three members

of the CEDA j oined the government.

AP had more problems in Seville than in Madrid or Toledo. In addition to the suspension

of meetings in Marchena and Estepa, AP had to contend with an attack on its Marchena offices

and the arrest of the party leaders in Carmona just before the April municipal elections.334 On

March 20, a group of young men attacked the Marchena AP offices with rocks. In the confusion,

local police arrested six AP members, who they later released. Only one of the attackers was

arrested, and he claimed to have been offered money and wine to attack the offices.335 In

Constantina, the mayor sent a representative to the AP offices to demand a general list of

members, which the party refused to give, because it had no such list. In consequence of the

dispute, the mayor ordered the closure of AP's offices and the confiscation of its Eiles.336 A

3 El Correo de 4ndalucia, March 21, 22, and 25, April 23, 1933.

3 Ibid., March 21 and 22, 1933; El Liberal, March 21, 1933. The provocation for the attack was allegedly a
manifesto from workers belonging to AP. The paper accused the local police of watching the attack without trying to
stop it. One item that particularly upset them was that only one attacker was arrested while six "peaceful members
that remained inside" were taken into custody. The attackers were allegedly paid 10 pesetas for their actions.

336 El Correo de 4ndalucia, July 16, 1933; La Union, July 16, 1933; El Debate, July 23, 1933. The party was still in
the process of organizing. The mayor allowed the offices to reopen on July 22.

month later, a dispute between the president of AP in Camas and the local mayor led the city to

cut off the water supplying the AP president' s home and to suspend AP for incorrectly

identifying the address of its local offices.337

At the end of the local AP Assembly in Carmona on April 20, "a member of the youth

[section], underage," requested that AP members employ AP members before hiring others.338 A

few days later, a city councilor and the mayor denounced the action, claiming that AP had agreed

to hire only workers belonging to it. As a result, the mayor ordered the arrest of the entire local

committee. The governor then fined each of them 500 pesetas.339 This is one particularly obvious

example of a local government over-reaching its authority. Even the government delegate at the

meeting to monitor proceedings denied it had gone further than a request from a young

member.340 Even if AP had voted and accepted the proposition (which was never an official

proposition to begin with), it would not have been able to provide all of the laborers needed in

the municipal area, as only 200 workers belonged to the Catholic party.341 The proposal was a

symbolic attack on the Socialist principal of closed shops, which the Catholic workers sought to

end. The government' s aggressive response to such an act increased AP's distrust of the

government' s commitment to defending their rights.

337 El Correo de Andalucia, August 15 and September 29, 1933; El Debate, August 16 and September 30, 1933.

338 El Correo de Andalucia, April 25, 1933.

339 Ibid., April 23, 1933; El Liberal, April 24, 1933.

340 El Correo de Andalucia, April 25, 1933.

341 Ibid., April 23, 1933.

Pressure did not let up on the CEDA after the municipal elections. In some areas, local

governments imposed vexatious measures, such as issuing fines for frivolous reasons.342 The

Seville governor fined the directors of AP Osuna 500 pesetas for an "unauthorized meeting"

when Gil Robles had passed through in April and took away the gun licenses of AP members

without evidence of wrongdoing.343 Popular opposition also took on violent forms. In a number

of areas, vandals attacked CEDA offices.344 A group of protesters interrupted an AP meeting in

Carabanchel Bajo (Madrid), accompanied by a Lieutenant Mayor, who demanded they stop the

meeting, because it had not been properly authorized, even though it was in their own

headquarters.345 In late May the secretary of the FEDA, Pedro Caravaca, was murdered in

Seville.346 A supposed plot against the government in July led to the closing of a number of AP

offices and the arrest of at least two AP members in Madrid.347 Ramo~n Molina required

protection from the Guardia Civil to make sure that a Catholic funeral in Tembleque was not

di sturb ed.348

Problems continued into the fall elections. In Herrera (Seville), police searched the homes

of a dozen right-wing activists, as well as the AP headquarters, without giving an official

342 C. E. D. A., June 15 and 30, 1933; La Unidn, June 7, 1933. In Los Navalmorales (Toledo) the mayor fined AP
members for having a "clandestine meeting," even though the group in the AP headquarters was simply signing
cards for Gil Robles's Saint's Day.

343 El Debate, June 4 and 6, 1933; La Unidn, June 3 and 6, 1933; El Correo de Andalucia, June 3 and 6, 1933.

344 There were attacks on AP and CEDA centers throughout the year, "assaults" on farms owned by AP members,
and during the election campaign Dimas Madariaga was arrested in Quintanar de la Orden for holding an
"unauthorized" meeting. A bomb exploded at the Prosperidad AP center in Madrid. See C. E. D. A., June 30, July
15, August 15, November 15, 1933; El Castellano, November 17, 1933; El Debate, July 30 and August 15, 1933.

345 El Debate, May 30, 1933.

346 Ibid., May 21, 1933.

347 C. E. D. A., July 30, 1933.

348 El Castellano, September 26, 1933.

reason.349 In Aranjuez (Madrid), several workers lost their j obs because they had put up electoral

fliers for the right.350 In Valdeverdej a (Toledo), a group attacked Ram6n Molina while he visited

the president of AP in that town, provoking a local dispute resolved by Civil Guard

intervention.351 In the days leading up to the Cortes elections, AP's provincial and local leaders

denounced numerous supposed violations of their rights to the Interior Minister. In many cases it

appears that AP might have tried to force the government to intervene on its behalf.352

Problems continued in November. After the elections, someone tried to burn down the

Toledo APA offices.353 In Madrid, opposition groups tore down the CEDA' s propaganda posters,

and a bomb exploded in the Torrelaguna AP offices.354 The Seville candidates had to defend

themselves against accusations of vote-buying, arguing that they did not buy votes because it

was immoral, illegal, and stupid.355 Groups attacked several young propagandists in Seville

while they handed out election material.356 JUSt a few days later, a group of armed attackers

broke into the AP offices in the Cerro del Aguila in Seville, destroying furniture, the telephone,

and the electrical supply.357 In Carmona, AP accused the mayor and police chief of stationing

349 El Debate, October 18, 1933.

350 Ibid., November 14, 1933.

351 Telegrams between Toledo's Civil Govemnor and the Interior Minister, October 22, 1933, AHN, Gobemnaci6n,
legajo 31A, expediente 8; El Castellano, October 23, 1933; El Debate, October 24, 1933.
352 Telegrams to and from the Interior Minister, November 1933, AHN, Gobemnaci6n, legajo 31A, expedientes 3 and

353 El Castellano, November 21, 1933; El Debate, November 29, 1933.

354 El Correo de Andalucia, October 28 and 29, 1933; El Debate, October 28, 1933.

355 El Correo de Andalucia, October 28, 1933.

356 Ibid., November 3, 1933.

357 Ibid., November 5, 1933.

guards near the AP offices with orders to search anyone leaving.358 A week later, a group "in

which figured concejales and municipal guards" stoned the AP offices and a group of

propagandists in that town.359 In the Amate neighborhood of Seville, a CEDA election worker,

Juan Alonso Ferreiro, was shot and killed by a group of assailants that surrounded him and a

companion in the street.360 A member of AP and his sister were shot in Parla (Madrid) a few

days later.361 JUSt a few days before the elections, a group of propagandists in Carmona was

attacked, and the mayor ordered the search of right-wing voters, including women, at the polling

p aces.362

The CEDA faced such violent opposition throughout its existence. Left-wing groups feared

the rhetoric employed by the extreme right, and the CEDA' s refusal to distance itself sufficiently

made its intentions suspect. As mentioned above, the CEDA' s positive views on fascism and

Nazism had already put it under suspicion. Later, the party would begin employing more

ambiguous rhetoric in its public pronouncements. This is particularly true of its ideologically

driven youth movement, the JAP. That the JAP's influence grew over time only served to

reinforce the view that the CEDA was more pro-fascist than it was pro-republican. Yet in almost

all cases, no evidence exists that the cedista~s instigated the violence. The problem was, more

than anything, an issue of rhetoric, and the CEDA' s refusal to compromise in this area increased

friction with other groups.

3 Ibid., November 4 and 8, 1933.

359 Ibid., November 11, 1933; El Debate, November 11, 1933.
361) El Correo de 4ndalticia, November 21 and 25, 1933; La Union, November 20, 21, and 22, 1933; El Debate,
November 22 and 25, 1933.

361 El Debate, November 28, 1933. Supposedly the president of the local Socialist Casa del Pueblo did it.

362 El Correo de 4ndalticia, November 11, 21, and 24, 1933.

The November 1933 Cortes Elections

According to one scholar, the CEDA "thought that everything could be resolved with some

elections, faithful to the scheme of [its] political ideology."363 The CEDA' s leaders misguidedly

believed that by winning the most seats in the new Cortes it could implement its political

program and undo the damage caused by the constitutional parliament. As an electoral alliance,

the CEDA and other right-wing groups formed the Coalicion de Derechas, throwing Alphonsine

and Traditionalist monarchists together with CEDA candidates in some areas and forming

CEDA/Agrarian candidacies in others.364 A national liaison committee had to approve all

electoral lists, and the CEDA imposed its will to exclude several extremist candidates, especially

in Madrid.365 Though Dimas Madariaga declared that in Toledo, they would act "without half

measures," the nature of the coalition required a very broad set of obj ectives: first, to revise the

"secularistic and socializing" legislation passed under the Constituent Cortes; second, a

"vigorous" defense of national economic interests, especially agriculture; and third, a general

amnesty for political crimes committed during the first two years of the Republic, with the "same

generosity" of that given to conspirators in 1917.366 Ultimately, the CEDA' s 115 seats provided

it with a plurality in the Cortes, but the coalition failed to gain enough seats for a maj ority,

which, as discussed in the next chapter, forced it to work with the Radical party.

Between 1931 and 1933 the right had managed to regroup, so it could now mount an

effective opposition to the Republican regime, and the effects of many of the Republican

363 Santiago Galindo Herrera, Los partidos moncirquicos bajo la Segund'a Reptiblica, second edition (Madrid:
Ediciones Rialp, 1956), 195.

364 El Debate, September 29, 1933; C. E. D. 4., June 30, 1933.

365 El Debate, October 10, 1933.

366 Gil Robles, No fue possible, 96: El Castellano, October 6, 1933. The sentences against leaders of a revolutionary
movement in August 1917 had been commuted.

coalition' s reforms could be evaluated. The government' s failure to alleviate unemployment and

several high-profile incidents, such as the anarchist uprising at Casas Viej as, put its situation in

j eopardy.367 Because the Republic' s 1933 election law encouraged the creation of broad electoral

coalitions, the divisions within the government coalition damaged its chances to remain in

power. The Socialists now had poor relations with the left Republicans, and the Radical party

had deserted the government in late 1931.368 In these conditions, it is not surprising that the right-

wing Coalicion de Derecha~s, a relatively organized group, could achieve an outstanding

electoral victory.

A large number of the CEDA' s deputies came from the Castilian heartland, where at least

thirty-nine CEDA deputies were elected, along with twenty-nine agrarians, many of whom later

j oined the CEDA.369 In Cuenca and Guadalajara, the coalition won more than sixty percent of the

vote, and in Toledo it won fifty-nine percent.370 In Toledo, the AP/Agrarian slate of eight

candidates won the maj ority seats. The CEDA' s provincial candidates won election in Madrid as

well (though the party lost in the capital), and the disorganization of the 193 1 elections gave way

to victory in both the capital and provincial election districts of Seville.

The Coalicion de Derecha~s ran a very energetic national campaign, using advanced

propaganda techniques, such as radio diffusion and air travel, to expand its reach among the

367 For more on Casas Viejas and its political repercussions, see Paul Preston, "The Agrarian War in the South," in
Revolution and War in Spain, 1931-1939, ed. Paul Preston (London: Methuen, 1984), 172; and Payne, Spain 's First
Democracy, 129-34.

368 Townson, The Crisis ofDemocracy, 188; Gil Pecharromin, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica, 173-6. The
Republic's election law established that elections would be held in large circumscriptions, in most cases covering an
entire province, and voters would choose from among several election lists. Available seats were divided into
majority and minority slates. Eighty percent of the seats in a circumscription went to the majority coalition, with the
remaining going to the minority group. It thus became advantageous to form large voting blocs to maximize the
possibility of winning the majority seats.

369 William Irwin, "The CEDA in the 1933 Cortes Elections," (PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 1975), 213-

370 ITWin, 189.

electorate.371 The CEDA' s increased capacity to raise funds allowed it to inundate the electorate

with propaganda.372 In Order to encourage member participation, Gil Robles declared, "He who

knows how to write, let him write; he who knows how to speak, let him speak; he who has

money, let him give it, and he that has all of this, let him write, speak, and give his money."373

Members responded, and over 10,000 workers staffed the CEDA's organization on election

day.374 Campaign propaganda took an extremely negative tone, preferring scare tactics to

programmatic leaflets and emphasizing the damage done to Spain's economy by the leftist

coalition under the Cortes Constituyentes. One poster lumped Marxists, Masons, separatists, and

Jews into a single category that "wants to annihilate Spain."375 "Two years of Socialism" had

caused unemployment, Casas Viejas, deportations, gangsterism, and the destruction of

agriculture.376 Another handout told women that if they did not vote for the Coalicion de

Derecha~s, "Communism will come, which will tear the children out of your arms; the church of

your town, symbol of OUR HOLY RELIGION, will be pulled down and leveled; the husband

371 La Union, November 15, 1933; El Castellano, November 7, 1933; El Debate, November 5 and 7, 1933.
Airplanes were used to drop leaflets on cities. Eventually, the government limited the use of the radio and airplanes
in electoral propaganda. To counteract these restrictions, the CEDA made agreements with foreign radio stations to
broadcast their propaganda into the Spanish airwaves and had pilots throw leaflets into the wind to land inside cities.
See El Debate, November 8, 11, 12, and 17, 1933; C. E. D. 4., November 15, 1933.

3 El Debate, October 22, 25, 27 and 28, November 4 and 15, 1933. AP distributed over 1,000,000 leaflets in
Madrid alone and ordered more than 10,000,000 for the entire country. The party collected 500,000 pesetas in
elections funds in just a few days. One donor gave 150,000 pesetas to the effort.

3 El Castellano, October 28, 1933.

3 El Debate, November 19, 1933.

3 C. E. D. 4., October 31, 1933. The CEDA clearly held anti-Semitic beliefs, but this is the only example of such
anti-Semitism appearing prominently, possibly because Spain lacked a large Jewish community.

3 6 Ibid.

that you love WILL FLEE FROM YOUR SIDE, authorized by the DIVORCE LAW;

ANARCHY will come to the Hields and to your home HIUNGER AND MISERY."377

The Madrid (Capital) district essentially ran a national campaign, selecting nationally-

prominent candidates from the various groups allied in the Coalicion de Derecha~s. From the

moment that Gil Robles declared the creation of a single candidature in the capital, difficulties

beset the process of choosing candidates, and when they lost in Madrid right-wing extremists

blamed the moderate nature of the candidature.378 In his first campaign speech, Gil Robles

argued that "citizenship defeated the Cortes" by forcing their dissolution, implying that the

imposition of the citizens' will would bring about a right-wing victory. The CEDA would not

join the government in a coalition: the confederation' s leaders wanted complete control.379 The

Madrid capital and provincial campaigns were difficult to separate, because they were so closely

connected. The two candidatures went public on the same day, even though the committee had

likely Einalized the provincial list first.380 They established such a broad agenda for the capital

that even coalition's three fundamental points seemed stretched to their limit. The election

manifesto limited itself to proclaiming the candidature' s antimarxism and railing against the

"secular and socializing laws" passed during the previous two years.381

The Madrid provincial campaign did not seek such national exposure. To that end, two of

the candidates, Javier Martin Artaj o and Jose Maria Hueso held leadership positions in provincial

3 RAH, Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8987. Emphasis in original.
3 El Debate, October 12, 1933.

3 9 Ibid., October 17, 1933.

380 Ibid., October 20, 25, and 26, 1933.

381 Ibid., 1, 1933. The capital list included only three AP members-Gil Robles, Jos6 Maria Valiente, and Rafael
Marin Lgzaro--out of thirteen candidates.

agricultural associations.382 Not surprisingly, the candidature emphasized the importance of

improving agricultural policy to benefit farmers and workers, walking a Eine line between the

rural areas of the province and the suburbs of Madrid inhabited by workers.383 This explains the

closeness of the Einal vote in the province, which went to a second round. The Coalicion de

Derecha~s eventually won by only 2,000 votes.384 In the capital, even with a close vote after the

first round, the CEDA essentially conceded defeat by removing candidates elected in other

districts from the list.385

The Seville (Capital) district candidature contained two CEDA members (Jesus Pab6n and

Jose Monge Bernal), an Agrarian (Jaime Oriol), and a Traditionalist (Gines Martinez) and won

forty-two percent of votes, though they claimed that the Radicals had stolen votes and

diminished the true margin of victory.386 The provincial candidature had a similar composition,

including three CEDA members, three agrarians, a Traditionalist, and an independent. Though

the provincial candidates won thirty-seven percent of the tally, a difference of twenty thousand

votes separated the highest vote-getter of the list (Manuel Beca Mateos, CEDA) and the lowest

(Juan Diaz Custodio, Traditionalist).387 While Seville remained a Socialist and Anarchist bastion,

382 ITWin, 210 and 452; El Debate, October 18 and 26, 1933.

383 El Debate, November 11, 14, and 18, 1933.

384 ITWin, 451.

385 El Debate, November 26, 1933. Under the Republic's electoral system, candidates could present themselves for
election in more than one district. In this case, since the Madrid elections went to a second round, the CEDA's
candidates who had been elected elsewhere were essentially conceding defeat by accepting the posts they had won
in other districts.

386 ITWin, 480-1; El Correo de Andalucia, October 17, 1933. Monge Bernal replaced Victoriano Valpuesta, who
died just days before the elections.

387 ITWin, 482-3. 11,000 votes separated the top and bottom vote getters on the Radical list, but the difference of
twenty thousand votes is noteworthy. Jos6 Manuel Macarro Vera has pointed out that while the CEDA did not make
the Republic itself a campaign issue, the Traiditionalists did. See Jos6 Manuel Macarro Vera, La Sevilla
Republican, 159-60.

the Radicals, under Diego Martinez Barrio, had held political power there during the early years

of the Republic. Even though the CEDA targeted the Socialists as their primary enemy in the

national campaign, the Seville candidates focused on the Radicals, which had a much stronger

support base in Seville than the Socialists.388 The Radicals fought back by warning working-class

women about middle-class women "with the cross on their breast" who would come and solicit

their votes, "treating you with false familiarity."389

At their presentation meeting a week before the elections, Valpuesta and PabC~n called on

voters to protect the Catholic Church. Valpuesta argued that the "moment of persecution and

outrage" against the Church was necessary "so that the firmness of our beliefs is felt more

intensely."390 PabC~n warned that the CEDA candidature was "not to provoke a disorder against

disorder, but to impose an order; not to realize arbitrary acts against arbitrary acts, but to

implacably impose justice."39 JUSt a few days later, Valpuesta died and had to be replaced by

Jose Monge Bernal, a Seville Lawyer who had been instrumental in the organization of AO in

Seville.392 The coalition' s manifesto argued that two years of Republican-Socialist government

had only created more poor people. They excoriated the attacks on the Church, especially the

changes in educational policy.393 Overall, though, the ideological content of their campaign

388 One handout in Seville argued that "The Socialists are guilty of the evils of Spain. But those of Seville are
imputable, principally, to the Radicals." RAH, Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8986.
389 RAH, Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8986.

390 El Correo de Andalucia, November 14, 1933.
391 Ibid.

392 El Correo de Andalucia, November 15, 1933; La Unidn, November 15 and 16, 1933; El Debate, November 15,
393 "(A los electores," RAH, Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8986; La Unidn, November 15, 1933.

propaganda held little substance because their broad coalition demanded limitations on

categorical statements.

In Toledo, the CEDA built on the moderate success of AN' s candidates in the 1931 Cortes

elections. The capital gave the CEDA/Agrarian coalition forty-two percent of the vote, while in

the rest of the province, the candidature won sixty percent of the vote.394 The campaign spirit

took hold there almost immediately. Within a week after the dissolution of the Cortes, over one

hundred local committees had brought lists of election workers and even printed materials for

consideration by the provincial committee.39 The party held a very optimistic outlook for the

upcoming elections, and during the campaign continued to constitute new committees. In an

interview, Ramon Molina maintained a sense of cautious optimism, but he clearly expected

victory in the elections.396 The campaign depended on donations to pay for propaganda efforts.397

APA later announced that it would provide transportation to the polls for those unable to get

there themselves (the old and disabled).39 APA faced some problems during the campaign, but

none as serious as those in Seville. During the week before the election, Madariaga was arrested

for giving an unauthorized meeting in Quintanar de la Orden. More than 6,000 had attended the

meeting, and Madariaga was released the next day.399 Apart from Madariaga' s arrest, APA faced

only minor difficulties in the campaign. Constantino Perea, who had launched an independent

394 ITWin, 487-8.

395 El Castellano, October 16, 1933.

396 Ibid., October 23, 1933; El Debate, October 28, 1933. He thought that APA would receive ten times as many
votes as it had won in the 193 1 elections in some areas of the province.

397 El Castellano, October 27 and 28, 1933.

398 Ibid., October 31, November 13, 1933; El Debate, October 20, 1933.

399 El Castellano, November 15 and 16, 1933; El Correo de Andalucia, November 16, 1933; El Debate, November
15 and 16, 1933; C. E. D. A., November 15, 1933. The governor had authorized the meeting verbally but not in
writing. Gil Robles declared that Madariaga' s detention was "a clear example of the procedures used against us."

campaign, even pulled out of the race "in order not to take votes away from the right."400 Under

such relatively favorable conditions, the CEDA's candidates won an impressive victory.

The elections mark an important turning point in the history of the Republic. The process

begun with the formation of AN in May 1931 now bore fruit as Catholics laid claim to the largest

representation in the new Cortes. The Sanjurj ada, which had brought right-wing parties so much

grief, had in fact led to the consolidation of a relatively cohesive political force by making the

position of monarchists in AP untenable, allowing accidentalists to consolidate their control over

AP. This led to the formation of the CEDA, which could now pursue a relatively well-defined

agenda. This unified purpose helped the CEDA run an effective campaign. Catholics now held

the strongest position in the Republic' s political scene. The possibility of running the country

provided an opportunity for the CEDA to demonstrate the perceived superiority of its policies

over those of the Republican-Socialist coalition that had ruled Spain for two years. This task

would prove too difficult, however, because of divisions within the party that kept it from

presenting a united front as it had in 1933. The next chapters will show how the CEDA failed in

its attempts to achieve any meaningful reform before collapsing in the face of electoral defeat in


4 El Castellano, November 15, 1933. He explained his decision in an open letter to Madariaga and Molina.


The CEDA underwent a profound transformation because of its success in the November

1933 elections. No longer a politically weak opposition group, the confederation now wielded

significant parliamentary clout. The election results freed AP from much of the scrutiny and

interference to which the government had subj ected it during the first two years of the Republic.

The government no longer cancelled CEDA meetings without reason, and the right-wing press

could publish with little fear of censorship. During this period, the confederation established the

practice of holding massive public demonstrations of its unity and political will throughout

Spain. Because it had the largest contingent in the new parliament, the CEDA also played a key

role in crafting and approving legislation. These conditions led to significant growth as

thousands of new members j oined the party, which created numerous new local committees to

accommodate them. In addition, the increased membership fostered the broad expansion of the

confederation's social aid programs.

The CEDA' s electoral victory brought with it significant opposition from the groups that

comprised the Republic's first governing coalition. The left has traditionally emphasized the

negative characteristics of the period between the CEDA' s electoral victory in November 1933

and the Popular Front' s victory in February 1936 by calling it the Bienio Negro (Black

Biennium).401 The Republic's left-wing groups feared that the Catholic party would undo the

reforms introduced during the constitutional parliament and refused to accept the legitimacy of

the CEDA' s electoral victory because they considered it a betrayal of the Republic.402 While the

CEDA did seek to undo many of the reforms, and clearly sought constitutional revision, its

401 Gil Pecharrom~n, Historia de la Segunda Repuiblica Espaiiola, 181. Those sympathetic to the right have
preferred the name Bienio Rectificador (Rectifying Biennium). Both titles oversimplify the dynamics of this period.
402 Preston, The Coming, 121-124.

40 Robinson, The Origins, 153.

leaders recognized the tenuous nature of the party's strength. They pledged to work within the

bounds of legality, asserting their constitutional rights to control the fate of the Cortes.403 The

CEDA' s failure to achieve a parliamentary maj ority significantly hobbled its parliamentary

action. The election results meant that only Alej andro Lerroux' s Radicals had any possibility of

forming a coalition with the CEDA. This arrangement, coupled with the President of the

Republic's unwillingness to hand Gil Robles's party the reins of power, kept the CEDA out of

power and unable to fulfill its legislative ambitions until late 1934. The extent of its reversal of

the Republican reforms was limited to leaving many laws unenforced and watering down the

agrarian reform, but the very possibility of radical changes caused substantial friction between

the CEDA and the left.

The party also saw an influx of new members in the wake of the elections. Many of these

new members were conservative opportunists who wished to take control of the party, and power

struggles often ensued. In Seville, for instance, a new group of cedista~s began to assert itself

almost immediately after the elections, alienating many of the original members of the party in

that province and causing a serious rift between them and the opportunists. Because of these

challenges, the CEDA never had a firm grip on power in Parliament. Its internal divisions made

unified action nearly impossible except on very broad issues. Ultimately, even during this period

of unprecedented strength, the CEDA failed to achieve any meaningful results.

In Parliament but out of Government: The Minoria Popular Agraria

Though the CEDA' s leaders had believed they would win the most seats in the new

parliament, they had not expected such positive results. Gil Robles, in his memoirs, claimed that

the victory, "although not unexpected, was great, much more than anticipated."404 Ramo~n

Molina, deputy from Toledo, expressed excitement at the prospect of joining a chamber

completely different from the Cortes Constituyentes.405 Even with such a victory, however, the

political situation created by the parliamentary elections highlights the difficulties of the

Republic's electoral system.406 The wide variety of political parties in the Republic made it

practically impossible for one group to achieve a full parliamentary maj ority, necessitating the

formation of coalitions. The CEDA, with 115 seats in the new assembly, now found itself with

the largest representation, yet without a maj ority. This made it impossible to form a government

without making an alliance with some other group. Gil Robles urged patience, explaining to his

followers that they would get their chance to govern eventually.407

Even if the CEDA had j oined forces with its electoral partners from the non-Republican

right, it would still have fallen short of having more than half the votes in the chamber.

Ultimately, the CEDA made an agreement with Alej andro Lerroux' s Radical Party. The

Radicals, who had received the second-highest number of seats in the new parliament (104),

were the only group with enough seats to form a maj ority in coalition with the CEDA. Because

of the Radicals' moderate position, Catholic political leaders realized that this would be their

best option, because a failure to accept the partnership meant to risk new elections. The

Republic's President, Niceto Alcala-Zamora, actually preferred this arrangement, suspicious as

404 Gil Robles, No fue possible, 104-5.
405 El Castellano, November 25, 1933.

406 Stanley Payne argues that a defective electoral system was one of the key reasons the Republic failed. Payne,
Spain 's First Democracy, 378.
407 El Debate, November 28, 1933.

he was of the CEDA' s intentions in power.408 The agreement stopped short of creating a

governing coalition. In its essentials, the CEDA agreed to allow Lerroux to form a new

government without any cedista~s in it. The Catholic confederation, in turn, agreed to support the

new government from the chamber by voting in favor of its initiatives. Effectively, this meant

that the CEDA had to give up on some of its goals for the new parliament, and the Radicals

would have to make concessions to the Catholic deputies in order to maintain their confidence

and receive their votes. In doing so, the CEDA essentially abandoned its right-wing allies for

political expediency. While most cedista~s accepted the need for compromise, many of the

opportunists who j oined the party after the elections did not and actively worked against the

party kine.""

The CEDA' s leaders now felt confident enough with their position to begin demonstrating

the mass support base they believed they possessed. Near the end of November 1933, Dimas

Madariaga began organizing a movement against the civil governor of Toledo, who he blamed

for a state of lawlessness in that province.410 In Seville, many rural employers began to return to

the old way of doing things, confident that they would avoid government scrutiny under the new

parliament. While denying that any AP affiliates could be involved in such activities, the party

threatened to expel anyone who "unjustly altered the conditions of work, in detriment to the

workers, or failed in whatever way in his social duties."411 There is no record of these threats

ever having been carried out. The JAP undertook the most extensive propaganda, organizing a

4 TownIson, The Crisis, 186 and 196-7: Townson, "The Second Republic," 229-30: Niceto AlcalB-Zamora,
Memorias (Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, 1998), 304; Jackson, 121: Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 183-6.
4019 The Radical Party actually split over this arrangement in May 1934. See Townson, The Crisis, 227-9.

41<> El Castellano, November 29, 1933; El Debate, November 29, 1933. Members of AP were encouraged to provide
details of any abuses to Madariaga so that he could provide the information to the Interior minister.

411 El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 16, 1933.

series of maj or meetings, the first of which took place at El Escorial in April 1934 and attracted

50,000 spectators.41

The CEDA organized its parliamentary representation on December 6, naming it the

M~inoria Popular Agraria [Popular Agrarian Minority] rather than the cedista minority because it

initially included members of several parties who later incorporated themselves with the

CEDA.413 The new minority announced that it would support the new Radical government

because it wanted "to contribute to the supreme necessity of Spain, which is to normalize its

political life without violence or troubles."414 Within a few days, El Debate found itself

defending the new minority's support of the Radical government. The paper argued that the

CEDA had in the past and would in the future undertake a "loyal and patriotic" program. The

paper argued that Catholics should find no difficulty in "being on good terms with the republican

institutions, and as citizens and as believers, they are obligated to give to civil life their loyal

cooperation.'"41 Two days later, the paper said that "no one can accuse us of being utilitarian

pragmatists" because they had merely applied the teachings of the popes to the present situation.

They believed that by allowing the Radicals to govern, the CEDA had helped avert a civil war.416

Most provincial cedistas approved the party's course of action. In Toledo, "Uno" defended

the confederation's compromises by asking readers,

Had Acci6n Popular by chance declared its monarchist faith? No. Where is, then, its
restamping, as some say already with more passion than respect for the truth? Could it be
that Acci6n Popular tries to impose on Catholics their entrance into the service of the

412 El Debate, November 23, 1933.

413 Robinson, The Origins, 153-4.

414 El Debate, December 7, 1933; El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 7 and 8, 1933; Montero, La CE114, vol. 1,

415 El Debate, December 15, 1933.

416 Ibid., December 17, 1933.

Republic? No again. On the contrary, it is its critics who seem bent on imposing on all
Catholics the incompatibility between the Republic and Religion. Acci6n Popular has
limited itself, without imposing this criteria on anyone else. And while the supreme
authority of the Church does not condemn this criteria; while the Holy See, which with
supreme wisdom has not broken its relations with the Republic--and who would insist
where the Holy See does not?-does not order Spanish Catholics to abstain from serving
the Republic, the criteria of Acci6n Popular is as licit as any other that ambitiously
considers itself the Alpha and Omega of Catholic orthodoxy.41

RamC~n Molina put himself squarely behind Gil Robles as well. Careful not to upset the far right,

Molina expressed a desire to continue working toward common goals, but he urged them to

support Gil Robles and actively support his efforts as well.418 The president of the Toledo JAP,

Antonio Jimenez Salazar, declared that "Gil Robles, in the depths of conscience, could be a

monarchist or a republican (he has said nothing about this particular); but faithful to the norm of

conduct that he has followed since the beginning, he has put God and Spain above all, and he

remains confessional in the matter of the form of government."419

Prominent CEDA members in Seville concurred with this opinion. Jose Monge Bernal, of

Seville, believed that "all [of the deputies] are determined to do a patriotic labor" and would pass

laws based on the principles of Christian syndicalism. He thought Gil Robles's determination not

to insist immediately on forming a government showed the CEDA leader' s "greatest wisdom"

and ensured that in the future, no one would be able to govern without consulting Gil Robles.420

Jaime Oriol, who was elected as an independent and later j oined the CEDA, kept his enthusiasm

over the electoral victory in check, urging a continued sense of unity among right-wing groups.

His comments expressed optimism that the actions of the Constituent Cortes could be rectified

417 El Castellano, December 22, 1933.

41s Ibid., December 26, 1933.

419 Ibid., December 27, 1933.

420 El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 13, 1933, February 13, 1934.

by the current direction of the right, but he warned against those who would cause division

within the party.421 Given his later role in opposing many of the social Catholic reforms proposed

by the CEDA, and those of Manuel Gimenez Fernandez in particular, Oriol's comments

demonstrate the tactic employed by many of those who j oined the CEDA after the elections,

seeking to hinder reforms under the guise of promoting unity.

The CEDA leadership's open embrace of the Republic after the elections provoked the

other groups in the Coalicion de Derecha~s to accuse them of undermining the efforts of those

who had supported them in the election. By February, the monarchist groups had declared the

end of the electoral alliance.422 Gil Robles did not expect such a forceful reaction to his

agreement with the Radicals because he believed it to be perfectly in line with the CEDA' s

policies. By making the alliance, his party had its only chance to influence the legislative

process, unless it risked new elections. He considered that the CEDA either had to move forward

in this way or open the way to a Socialist dictatorship. If the CEDA later came to the point where

its entrance into the government became inevitable, Gil Robles warned that if "the facts

demonstrate that an evolution of rightists politics does not fit within the Republic, [the Republic]

will pay the consequences."423 This and other statements convinced many conservative

Republicans of the CEDA' s loyalty to the regime. Diego Martinez Barrio, the Radical, believed

in February 1934 that the CEDA would soon make an official declaration of republicanism.424

Though the CEDA never made such a formal commitment, it did continue to pursue its agenda

421 Ibid., December 21, 1933.

422 Gil Pecharromin, Conservadores subversives, 175-7.

423 El Castellano, December 19 and 21, 1933; El Debate, December 22, 1933.

424 El Correo de Andalucia, February 3, 1934.

through legal means. The party leadership knew it could never satisfy the left, but acting legally,

it could help stabilize the Republic.

In the face of criticism from the extreme right, the new collaboration needed to show

results very quickly to maintain the approval of the CEDA' s membership. To demonstrate the

success of its new policy, the CEDA loudly announced the influx of new members. In Madrid,

AP claimed that it had received 400 new members in just a few days of December.42 Though the

party claimed that these people joined because they agreed with the new tactics, not all new

members came for that reason; many opportunists also joined the party. In Seville, three of the

non-AP candidates on the CEDA electoral list j oined the party after their election to the Cortes,

likely to enj oy the spoils of leadership. Jaime Oriol, Luis Amores, and Luis Alarc6n de la Lastra

all joined the CEDA after their election.426 Later discussions will show how these men made a

significant impact on the direction of AP in Seville.

Not surprisingly, trouble arose quickly between the CEDA and the Radicals. In January,

Lerroux began the process of reorganizing the comisiones gestora~s that administratively

controlled many provinces. When he did so, he completely ignored the CEDA and heavily

favored his own party in the composition of the new commissions. Aware of this, Gil Robles

tried to convince Lerroux to change course, complaining that in many provinces the CEDA had

been completely ignored, and in others the party had received only a minimal representation on

the new commissions. Clearly upset, Gil Robles told Lerroux that "the only thing that interests me

is that in various provinces our forces are in a difficult situation, with a minimal representation

[on the commissions which could seem like charity" from the Radical party rather than seats

425 El Debate, December 21, 1933; El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 21, 1933. They claimed that the 40 people
who had resigned from the party had mostly asked to be readmitted.

426 Alvarez Rev, "La derecha en Sevilla," vol. 2, 801 and 806

legitimately won by the CEDA.427 The situation did not improve, and the composition of these

commissions led to a number of problems over the next two years.

During this period, the CEDA began to expand its organizational structure to meet the

needs of a party in power. Soon after the elections, the CEDA created two new programs to

broaden its reach. The asistencia social program established cafeterias and shelters, later

expanding to provide health clinics and distribute food aid. In order to fulfill its social role, the

CEDA needed to implement programs "without any purpose of electoral or political character,

without more goal than to alleviate the pain of our brothers."428 While the Madrid program

developed a massive program, the limited resources of most local committees meant that few

could sustain large-scale proj ects.429 Most could manage only food distribution and occasional

other efforts. As discussed in Chapter 6, the women's section, and the Juventud femenina

especially, took charge of this organization. The second program, the movilizacian civil, became

a flashpoint for criticism from left-wing groups. The left sought to portray it as a paramilitary

organization, though this was far from the case. This program created a labor pool to provide

basic services in case of a strike or insurrection, especially seeking those who could run

electrical, gas, water, and transportation infrastructure.430 During 1934, the movilizacidn civil

section acted twice: during the March graphic arts strike in Madrid and during the much more

extensive October insurrection. Such counter-revolutionary actions left the movilizacidn civil

427 JOs6 Maria Gil Robles to Alejandro Lerroux, January 6 and 10, 1934, AHN Salamanca, Secci6n Guerra Civil,
caja M-30, legajo 447, expediente 6. This was especially true of Seville. See Alvarez, La d'erecha en la II Repziblica,

428 El Debate, December 14, 1933; C. E. D. A., December 31, 1933, January 15, 1934. These programs did,
however, favor members of the CEDA and Catholic syndicates. See El Debate, October 2, 1934.

429 El Debate, January 2 and 7, 1934; C. E. D. A., January 15 and February 1, 1934. The Inclusa-Latina center was
the first established. In the future, they also planned to create a visiting nurse system and anti-tuberculosis centers.

430 C. E. D. A., December 31, 1933.

open to charges of fascism and paramilitarism, but as seen in Chapter 7, it played a relatively

innocuous role.

In addition to these two groups, the CEDA introduced new political organizations. The

first, the Comisiones de Estudio de Politica Espaiola (CEPE), called upon "experts" to help craft

legislative proposals. Amazingly, party leadership did not limit membership in these committees

to CEDA members. Anyone whose expertise could be corroborated could j oin.431 The CEPE' s

leadership considered its activities to be "a fundamental piece of Acci6n Popular." They wanted

to organize a collection of law proj ects in anticipation of a future right-wing governing coalition.

Emphasizing the interaction between the commissions and the CEDA's parliamentary minority,

four deputies belonged to the central CEPE committee.432 In April, they began planning a

massive reorganization scheme for the government bureaucracy, and they continued their efforts

into the summer.433 They also organized the Secretariado de Administracion Local, which

focused on local political issues and the preparation of possible future members of municipal

governments, and the Secretariadofemenino, which would serve as the link between the male

and female party organizations.434

During this period, the CEDA continued to increase its penetration in various provinces,

but party membership numbers do not provide any clear guidance. In March, the CEDA

431 Ibid., February 1 and June 1, 1934; "Acci6n Popular. Comisiones de Estudio de Politica Espafiola (C. E. P. E.)
Bases para una reglamentaci6n," AGF, legajo B-VII/21; El Debate, January 12 and March 11, 1934. Presumably,
prospective commission members should agree with the party's goals.
432 "COmunicado de Acci6n Popular," September 29, 1934, and "Extracto de disposiciones reglamentarias de
C. E. P. E.)," November 29, 1934, AGF, legajo B-VII/21; El Debate, January 13, 1934. By June, they had twenty-
two commissions, which had submitted forty projects and held a total of 200 meetings. See C. E. D. A., June 15,
1934 and El Debate, June 9, 1934.

433 El Debate, April 28, June 6 and 9, 1934. The twenty-eight committees had a total of 350 members by year's end.
See C. E. D. A., February 15, 1935.

434 C. E. D. A., March 1, 1934. The Secretariado de Administracidn Local organized a Circulo de Estudios
Municipalistas in Madrid to train future local leaders. See El Debate, February 25, 1934.

announced that it had received more than eight times as many dues as in 1931 and spent three

times as much on propaganda. In March and April alone, AP Madrid announced that 1,175 new

members had j oined.435 Yet in early 193 5, they admitted to having lost a total of ninety-nine

members between January 1, 1934 and January 1, 1935.436 Other concrete signs demonstrated at

least an outward image of health, however. New local committees, especially in suburbs of the

capital, appeared regularly.437 Such growth necessitated a move to a larger locale, near the Puerta

de Alcala, which provided much more office space and a large meeting hall.438 At the June 1

inauguration of the new hall, Gil Robles underlined the change that had occurred in the

Republic's political situation since 1931, when the right had essentially collapsed. The

development of AP was a "consoling reality," but the CEDA's members must remain wary of

"an excess of confidence in the work completed" and "excessive hurry" in accomplishing their

goals. They had done much, but now they needed to work carefully to put their program in

practice, to avoid the possibility of losing everything to a reaction against their policies.439

Outside of Madrid, the CEDA demonstrated remarkable diversity in its development

during this period. The party had widely penetrated the Toledo province even before the

November 1933 elections, making significant growth unlikely because it already dominated the

4 C. E. D. 4., March 15 and May 15, 1934; El Debate, June 6, 1934; El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 7, 1934. Of
these, they claimed that 755 were workers who earned less than 15 pesetas per day. One of the ways they reached
out especially to workers was through the courses they offered in various subjects for both men and women. A more
extensive discussion of this trend is included in Chapter 6.

436 In a tortured explanation, the 1935 party history tried to explain that even though membership fell by a total of
ninety-nine, it had actually increased in dues-paying members by removing deadbeat members from its lists. Dues
receipts improved by some 43,260.35 pesetas. C. E. D. 4., February 15, 1935.

4 El Debate, March 6, July 8, August 2, 1934; C. E. D. 4., July 15 and 31, 1934. They organized committees in
Alcorc6n, Vicilvaro, Canillas, and Canillejas. One of the members of the Canillas and Vicilvaro committee was a

4 C. E. D. 4., March 15, 1934; El Debate, May 15, 1934. Plans also called for the installation of a bar or restaurant,
a gymnasium, and training areas for the movilizacion civil.

439 C. E. D. 4., June 15, 1934; El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 2, 1934.

province. APA already had committees in 170 of Toledo' s 207 towns at the end of 1933.440 In

contrast, the Seville committee struggled to increase its membership for the entire duration of the

Republic. At the end of 1933, they had committees in only fifty-three towns, and that number

increased only to seventy-five at the end of the year.441 Only half of the province' s towns sent

delegates to the provincial assembly in February, and they claimed a membership of only

17,000.442 Even so, the assembly failed to address the sensitive issue of poor membership


Strikes and Rallies

Labor unrest dominated the first half of 1934. The Socialists began to use increasingly

revolutionary language, even as they remained in parliament to oppose legislative changes to

what they considered the Republic's founding principles.444 Early labor problems developed into

a widespread harvest strike that summer, led by the Socialist agricultural union, the Federacion

Nacional de Trabajadores de la Tierra (FNTT). The CEDA, true to its counter-revoluti onary

principles, became involved in most of these disputes. Early in the year, Toledo' s workers called

a general strike in a dispute over the olive harvest.445 Responding to criticism of the CEDA' s

handling of the situation, Dimas Madariaga argued that the problem related to the persistence of

440 MOnge Bernal, Accidn Popular, 1108. TheAsociacidn Patronal de Agricultores joined the CEDA in July. See El
Castellano, July 19, 1934.

441 Alvarez Rey, "La derecha en Sevilla," volume 1, 507.

442 Alvarez Rey, La derecha en la II Repziblica, 352-3.

443 El Correo de Andalucia, February 6, 1934; El Liberal, February 6, 1934; C E. D. A., February 15, 1934; El
Debate, February 6, 1934.

444 Preston, The Coming, 130. Preston argues that they used increasingly radical language to deter the CEDA and its
allies from embracing fascism too closely.

445 El Castellano, January 4, 1934. In one incident, workers attacked Gonz~lez Sandoval (an olive grower) on his
way out of a meeting with a local mayor.

a "stupid caciquismo, left over from the days before the Republic.446 This, in turn, exacerbated

the social problems inherent in an agrarian society. The 1933 harvest (which carried over into

early 1934) was one of the worst in years, and unemployment reached sixty percent in some

areas.447 Madariaga blamed the crisis on the governing coalition during the Republic's first two

years, which had sought to force owners to make all of the concessions in order to alleviate

unemployment. He declared that AP would respond by "raising a flag of realities that says:

Peace, Bread, and Work."448 By blaming the Republican-Socialist coalition of the first part of the

Republic, and then arguing that the CEDA could do nothing because it did not have

representation on the government, Madariaga deftly killed two birds with one stone: he extracted

political capital from events and absolved his party of resolving the underlying problem.449

The Toledo strike presaged a larger problem. A strike by the Madrid Graphic Arts union in

March provoked the first use of the movilizacion civil section, which undertook the distribution

of right-wing newspapers (specifically El Debate). 450 In the summer, the FNTT launched a

disastrous harvest strike. An increased demand for labor due to the size of the harvest (one of the

two largest that century) gave workers a chance to force landowners to make concessions.

446 Ibid., January 16 and 18, February 7 and 10, 1934. The problem came to a head in a particularly acrimonious
debate in the Cortes, in which a communist deputy accused Jesuis Salvador Madero of having shot at workers during
a strike in Villa de Don Fadrique in 1932. Madero, a doctor, responded by claiming he had kept a rifle with him to
protect himself, because he knew the local "communists" would try to kill him the moment he stepped outside of his

447 Preston, "The Agrarian War in the South" in Revolution and War in Spain, 1931-1939, ed. Paul Preston (New
York: Methuen, 1984), 172-3.

448 El Castellano, February 14 and 20, 1934. In April, he defended his activities by claiming that he had not
concerned himself with the political affiliation of the workers he had sought to help, arguing that the province's
Catholic workers had then been pushed aside and suffered more than other groups. See El Castellano, April 30,

449 El Debate, February 8, 1934.

450 Ibid., March 13 and 14, 1934; El Castellano, March 14 and 17, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, March 14, 1934.
In a conversation between Salazar Alonso, the Interior minister, and Molina Nieto, the minister argued that the
ability to distribute the papers, even though undertaken under guard, was a step forward for the Republic's political

However, the Radical government declared the harvest a vital national interest, which meant that

the strike was illegal. Its leaders were arrested, and the strike ended rather quickly in complete

failure.451 This, along with the failed insurrection in October discussed later in this chapter,

practically removed the Socialists as a political force in the first half of 1935 and allowed the

CEDA to consolidate itself in the halls of power.

Beginning in 1934, the CEDA concentrated more on large gatherings for disseminating its

propaganda. While the women's sections, AO, and the JAP continued active meeting schedules,

AP reduced its own meeting schedule significantly.452 Most of the party's organizational energy

that spring was expended in organizing the JAP congress and its closing meeting at El Escorial.

The largest undertaking by the party up until that point, this meeting was the high point of the

year and dominated newspaper coverage for months. The El Escorial meeting's ultimate success

testified of the energy the party focused on coordinating that single event. The rally, and those

that followed it, became possible in some sense because the CEDA now had such an important

presence in parliament. Assured of at least a certain level of exposure through media coverage of

government activities, regular public meetings became less important than large shows of mass


When Ricardo Samper formed a new government in April 1934, Alcala Zamora kept the

CEDA out of it because he feared they would use their positions to undo the reforms of the first

451 Malefakis, Agrarian Reform, 335-40. When news of the possible strike hit Seville, AO found it necessary to
inform its members that the movement was "completely political and not social in which just claims are solicited." It
urged members to abstain from the strike. See El Correo de Andalucia, June 6, 1934.
452 AO initiated a national propaganda campaign in February, the JAP began its program of massive assemblies with
the meeting at El Escorial, and the women's sections continued to hold local conferences and meetings. For more
information on these campaigns, see the individual chapter on each section.

two years of the Republic.453 As a1 result, the CEDA immediately began preparing for new

elections. Party leaders believed that new elections would strip the left of even more support and

thought this would keep Alcala Zamora from dissolving the Cortes because he sought balance in

the chamber' s composition. The CEDA alone had something to gain from dissolving the

Cortes.454 They agreed that the party "desires that its direct collaboration in the Government be

delayed as long as possible." They left open the possibility of forming a governing coalition with

the Radicals when that became necessary.45

During the summer of 1934, the CEDA began to distance itself even further from its

Alphonsist and Carlist electoral allies on the extreme right. Gil Robles announced in June that his

party had fulfilled all of its promises to the other right-wing parties that had j oined its election

coalition.456 This freed the party to pursue an independent agenda, provoking renewed protests

from one-time allies. Arguing that their party was not deviating from the path AN had laid out in

1931, CEDA leaders reminded their critics that since the coalition partners had not disagreed

with the CEDA' s tactics during the elections, they had no right to complain now that the

confederation fulfilled them.457 While many believed the CEDA' s split with its monarchist allies

would lead to the departure of any remaining monarchists from the confederation, Jose

Lequerica, a prominent member of RE, disputed this. He believed those monarchists who

453 The CEDA earlier made its support of the government conditional on its response to the social conflicts playing
out that year. See El Debate, February 27 and March 4, 1934.

454 Ibid., May 13 and 18, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, May 20, 1934.

455 C. E. D. A., June 1, 1934.

456 El Debate, June 2, 1934; El Castellano, June 5, 1934. He considered that by getting Lerroux to postpone the end
of religious education, the concession of a limited subsidy for the clergy, passing the amnesty act, and ending the
tirminos municipales, the CEDA had thus fulfilled the basic program called for in its electoral alliances with
monarchist groups.

457 C. E. D. A., June 1, 1934.

remained had no reason to leave the CEDA, since it remained faithful to its founding principles

by refusing to declare a preference for a particular form of government. Yet beneath the surface

of Lequerica' s comments, a disdain for the CEDA' s tactics remained.458 Monarchists still

believed them flawed and hoped they would ultimately fail. This discrepancy ultimately led the

monarchist parties to refuse an alliance with the CEDA in 1936.

The CEDA' s parliamentary action in the first half of 1934 was somewhat

counterproductive to its public ambitions. While the MPA' s statutes described a highly

organized group that would doggedly pursue legislative reforms, organizational problems

doomed its activities from the start.459 During this period, the CEDA succeeded in changing only

one maj or law--the tdrminos municipales.460 That summer, Manuel Gimenez Fernandez

suggested some reforms. He argued that the problem came from within the MPA, categorizing its

members into four groups: populistas, extra, constituyentes, and tombolistas. The first category

referred to those who fully accepted the CEDA' s political direction and would work hard to

bring it to fruition. The extra belonged to AP, but "they could be, perhaps better, in another"

party. Constituyentes would fight for reforms but preferred not to be compelled by a set of

regulations, and the tombolistas belonged to the party only because "in some provinces, the posts

were raffled off on November 19." Gimenez Fernandez suggested, at the very least, the

reorganization of the technical committees, based on a rational distribution of deputies according

458 El Castellano, July 27, 1934. He made it clear that he believed serious monarchists would leave the party as soon
as there was a viable alternative.

459 C. E. D. A., April 15, 1934.

460 Ibid., May 15, 1934. They had gotten Lerroux to agree to the suspension of certain parts of the religious
legislation and they had re-established some of the payments to clergy, but they had not repealed any laws but the
tirminos municipales. Nor did they ultimately succeed in repealing most of the early legislation. After the tirminos
municipales was repealed, the CEDA sought to prevent abuses of workers by threatening employers with expulsion
from the party if they failed to deal fairly with their workers. See El Debate, May 26, 1934.

to their preparation in specific areas.461 His voice remained alone in such pointed criticism. Other

deputies tried to excuse the minority's activity by explaining that "it is impossible to exact

responsibility from this organization for not having carried [AP's program] into practice, since

that is only possible from power."462 Such apologetics warded off a substantial reorganization

and continued to hamper the CEDA' s parliamentary action even after it j oined the government in


Internal and External Conflicts

The CEDA and its members remained targets of violence in 1934. On April 14, someone

exploded a bomb at the door of the Count of Bustillo' s home in Seville. It did not hurt anyone,

and the police soon arrested the supposed culprit. This did not, however, stop the CEDA' s

leaders from vigorously protesting what had happened.463 Other attacks convinced them that

their enemies on the left would destroy the Catholic confederation if given the chance. Apart

from the bomb in Seville, two other attacks occurred in April. Someone tried to burn down the

AP offices in Malaga, and an attack on the party headquarters in Madrid caused the death of one

japista and wounded several others.464 In late July, a member of AP was assaulted in Madrid

because he wore an AP insignia. In the party's response to the attack, they asked "why, in a

regime of liberty, can one not exhibit the insignia of A.P.?"465 These attacks responded directly

461 "Propuesta de reorganizaci6n de la minoria de la C.E.D.A. en las Cortes," [July 1934], in Braojos Garrido and
Alvarez Rey, Epistolario politico, 109-15. Gim~nez Femindez had encouraged a reorganization of the minority
since January. He later resigned his leadership position in the minority in protest. This had forced the committee to
attempt a reorganization, which he classified as a total failure.

462 C. E. D. A., July 31, 1934.

463 El Correo de Andalucia, April 15, 17, 18, and 19, 1934; El Debate, April 17, 1934.

464 El Castellano, April 17, 1934; El Debate, April 21, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, April 21, 1934. This is
discussed in more detail in Chapter 7.

465 C. E. D. A., July 31, 1934; El Castellano, July 30, 1934.

to the prevailing attitude among leftists that the CEDA, and the JAP in particular, constituted a

fascist organization. Though untrue, this accusation became a very powerful motivation for the

CEDA' s opponents as it moved closer to a position of real political power.

Internal problems also undermined the CEDA's unity. This problem became especially

acute in Seville, where the party faced severe obstacles from within its own ranks. The influx of

new members after the elections exacerbated old problems and introduced new ones.466 Gimenez

Fernandez, in a letter to Federico Salm6n, described the Seville committee in August 1934 as

"profoundly divided by diverse issues; more or less exacerbated monarchism, influences of

social agencies unattached to the social politics of A.P., reminiscences of old caciquil

ambitions." The greatest threat came from Jaime Oriol and Luis Alarc6n de la Lastra,

parliamentary deputies who joined the CEDA after they were elected in 1933. These two men

played an important role in provincial agricultural and patronal organizations. When they joined

the party, they and their friends ignored many of its fundamental ideological principles. Oriol,

for example, openly announced his monarchism and declared it compatible with membership in

the CEDA, even though overt monarchism had been rej ected in late 1932.467 Rumors began to

swirl that Oriol would split from the CEDA and join RE with a group of some twenty other

members of the MPA. Both the party and Oriol roundly denied the rumor, but his actions

certainly raised a red flag to CEDA loyalists, who believed he had betrayed them.468 He and

others completely changed the course of AP in Seville.

466 Alvarez Rey, La derecha en la IIRepuiblica, 360-2.

467 MGF to Federico SalmC~n Amorin, August 15, 1934, AGF, legajo B-XIII/196: Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey,
Epistolario politico, 115-7.
468 El Correo de 4ndalucia, August 14 and 17, 1934.

When the government replaced the local comision gestora in Osuna (Seville), Oriol, a local

planter, bypassed the local CEDA committee. He pushed for the inclusion of his personal allies

in the reorganized local government over the obj sections of the local cedistas. In response to these

protests, Oriol's allies in the provincial CEDA committee eliminated the existing local group and

set up a new organizing committee to replace it. The problem, as the members of the old

committee saw it, was not that they had been removed, but that they were replaced by members

of the traditional elite, which sent the message to the working class that "they have no place now

in Accion Popular. Those'iwho served thelir ~friends replaced those who had created AP in

Osuna "to serve an idea. Though the old committee vowed to fight its dissolution, its members

were "becoming a little skeptical" because "they have exploited us iniquitously, they have

mocked us, they have tricked us; and that, even in 'politics,' is not very moral."469 This incident

caused such upheaval that the provincial committee had to specifically order its members in

Osuna to obey the reorganizing committee.470

AP's political opponents took note of the party's internal disputes. During a municipal

dispute, the Radical Miguel Garcia y Bravo-Ferrer launched a blistering attack on AP Seville,

wondering who constituted the "forces of order." He asked, "Could it be in Osuna, for example,

those that struggled and earned respect from the revolutionaries [who are] today disauthorized by

your lordship and his friends, or those who, when the danger had passed, put themselves in the

vanguard held up by the party to which your lordship belongs and that represents those

469 Manuel P~rez de Gallardo to MGF, September 10, 1934, AGF, legajo B-XIII/163; MGF to Federico SalmC~n
Amorin, August 15, 1934, AGF, legajo B-XIII/196; Antonio Gutidrrez de Praderes to Jos6 Rojas Marcos, September
7, 1934, AGF, B-XIII/88. A similar situation occurred the following year in Mglaga.
470 El Correo de Andalucia, September 21, 1934.

forces?"471 While AP did continue in Osuna, the experience disheartened many followers and

demonstrated how the traditional elites co-opted its success and used it for their own benefit.

In addition to confronting these internal challenges, AP's Seville organization became

involved in a number of municipal disputes in the summer of 1934. In one case, the members of

AP's municipal representation forced the mayor to resign over a relatively minor dispute about

signage regulations in the neighborhood of Triana.472 Later, AP's concejaleS473 demanded a

reorganization of the municipality, accusing the Republican, Socialist, and Radical concej ales of

ruining the city's finances by overspending. The cedista~s demanded an inspection of the

municipality to uncover the causes of several administrative irregularities.474 The provincial AP

committee approved these demands and went so far as to agree that its concejales should cease

attending the meetings in protest until the governor agreed to the inspection, and the CEDA and

Radical concejales walked out of the municipal assembly in mid-August.475

Both of these groups returned to work in September to help organize a request for

economic aid from parliament. Their unity did not last long, however, in that a dispute soon

erupted over credit for the aid package. When the Cortes approved the aid package, AP's

concejales took credit for its success. To temper their enthusiasm, Miguel Garcia y Bravo-Ferrer

reminded them that they had refused to give Manuel Gimenez Fernandez, the bill's champion in

471 El Liberal, September 23, 1934.

4 El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 3, 5, and 13, 1934.

4 City councilors.

4 Ibid., 15, August 2 and 3, 1934. The mayor denied they had to do with administration. The inspection began in
October, and when its results were made known, they were very ambiguous, greatly disappointing the CEDA's
concejales. Ibid., January 9, 1935.

47 Ibid., August 4, 5, 12, and 19, 1934. The newspaper denied that it was a "political maneuver."

parliament, "the place he deserved in the candidature of Seville."476 The invocation of Gimenez

Fernandez, and the refusal of the Seville AP committee to make him one of its electoral

candidates in the November elections, opened an old wound.477 In his response, Jesus Pab6n

decried Garcia's use of Gimenez Fernandez to reanimatee an old and painful Sevillian conflict,

and you wrap him in the small and discredited strategic diversion of the comparison and scorn

of the rest."478 The dispute exacerbated the tension between the Radicals and AP in Seville.

During this intense period of conflict, other changes demonstrate the CEDA' s

organizational development. In June, a group of cedista~s created the Agrupacion M~enindez y

Pelayo appeared, ostensibly an apolitical intellectual society devoted to the development of

Catholic thinking. Inspired by the work of Menendez y Pelayo, an influential member of the

Catholic Union party in the late nineteenth century, the new group wanted to reconquerr" the

Spanish intellectual world. The group's members recognized that while "such a reconquest does

not literally need fifty years," it would definitely take more than a single day. They argued that

"one must begin with the intellectual to get to the political."479 Ultimately, this group appears to

have come to nothing, but its emphasis on capturing Spanish minds reveals much about the

mindset of the CEDA' s leadership. They realized that Catholicism had lost a significant sector of

Spanish society, and that without convincing people of their rightness, it would be impossible to

476 Ibid., September 9, 21, 22, 23, and 25, 1934; El Liberal, September 23, 1934. Lerroux himself put Gim~nez
Fern~ndez in charge of the effort. See MGF to Pedro Armasa, October 25, 1934, AGF legajo B-XIII/12.

477 Gim~nez Fern~ndez, a sevillano, was unpopular with many in the Seville committee because of his
uncompromising attitude on many issues. Later, when he became the Minister of Agriculture, Gim~nez Femindez
became extremely controversial for his insistence on carrying out the agrarian reform.

478 JeSuis Pab6n to Miguel Garcia y Bravo-Ferrer, September 23, 1934, AGF, B-XIII/156.

479 C. E. D. A., July 1, 1934. For more on Men~ndez y Pelayo see Raymond Carr, Spain, 1808-1975, 2nd ed.
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 354-5. Men~ndez y Pelayo had been especially active in promoting Catholic
control of education.

ultimately control the political destiny of the Republic. It foreshadowed the creation of the

Asociacion de Estudios Hispanicos the following year.

During the late spring and summer, AP and its allies participated in numerous meetings of

political and social import and continued the work of expansion and organization. At one

conference in Seville, Manuel Gimenez Fernandez declared that an absolute monarchy was

theoretically the best form of government, but "practically it is inapplicable" because the Spanish

monarchy had not been a true monarchy.480 Several new local AP groups appeared in Seville as

well.481 They also focused on national reorganization. The Madrid committee decided in July to

accept the revised regulations approved by the CEDA conference in 1933. In consequence, a

provincial assembly replaced the national AP assembly, ceding national control to the CEDA

council, which now acted as the primary liaison between provincial organizations.482

The CEDA' s auxiliaries also continued to develop. Toward the end of the summer, AO

took on the task of organizing new Catholic syndicates affiliated with the Federacion Andaluza

de Trabajadores.483 Following up on the success of the El Escorial meeting, the JAP organized a

series of regional assemblies to take their message to the masses, demonstrating the level of

support they had achieved throughout the country.484 As discussed in Chapter 7, the JAP planned

the meetings to take advantage of various historical landmarks throughout Spain, focusing on the

Reconquista and the conquest of America.485 They wanted to instill a sense of patriotic duty in

480 El Correo de Andalucia, June 12, 1934. He also argued that the Republic was not a true republic.

481 Ibid., June 13, July 5, 14, and 20, 1934.

482 C. E. D. A., July 15, 1934.

483 El Correo de Andalucia, August 30, 1934. For more detail, see Chapter 8.

484 C. E. D. A., July 15, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, June 17, 1934.

485 El Debate, July 7, 1934.

their membership. Unfortunately for the JAP, however, the October uprising intervened, and

only two of ten meetings went on as planned.

The CEDA in Government

In 1934, Francisco Casares, a reporter, published La C.E.D.A. va a gobernar, in which he

gave a broad overview of the CEDA' s ascent to power after the elections and a clear explanation

of the federation' s aspirations. He argued that

The CEDA will govern! Now, in terms of a simple collaboration. Tomorrow, totally, with
all of the responsibility of Power. The C.E.D.A. has the right to govern. Even more clear:
Spain has the right to be governed by the C.E.D.A. Because one must not forget that Spain
chose the deputies of this party in greater number than those of the other national political
groups. For what? To always make up the opposition? No. For the first time, the case has
been made that a party that has the most numerous minority of the Parliament is outside of
the Government. And, if this were not enough, another new spectacle has arisen: that of the
denial, of the party with the most numerous representation, to hold power.486

The CEDA's leaders accepted their parliamentary role until the fall of 1934, when they finally

moved to enter the government. This was the next step in the "tactic," in which they would share

power--a prelude to a time when they hoped to take power and control the destiny of Spain.

Things did not work out that way, because when they did j oin the government, they got more

than they had bargained for, and the experience exacerbated divisions within the party.

On October 1, Gil Robles demanded the creation of a maj ority government that included

members of his party.487 During the ensuing parliamentary crisis, Gimenez Fernandez suggested

that the CEDA should push for either a single minister without portfolio or at least four ministers

486 Francisco Casares, La C.E.D.A. va a gobernar (notas y glosas de un aiio de vida pziblica national) (Madrid:
Grifica Administrativa, 1934), 287.

487 Robinson, The Origins, 189. Gil Robles threatened to withhold his votes from any other government, making it
impossible to govern and forcing new elections. He wanted any new government to reflect the parliamentary
majority, thus forming an official coalition with the Radicals, rather than supporting it from within the chamber.

with administrative duties.488 He felt confident that the other parties would prefer to allow only

one CEDA minister, which was in fact preferable because it limited the CEDA' s liability for

government failures. In addition, he advised that the CEDA should make an official

pronouncement of republicanism because "either the C.E.D.A. serves now to save Spain with the

Republic or it does not serve for anything.'"48 The CEDA council agreed with this assessment

and warned that "the CEDA will no longer support interim or practice Governments."490 The

council preferred new elections to another minority government, believing that the party could

increase its parliamentary representation in the case of elections.491 For his part, Jesus Pab6n

believed that even with the CEDA's clout, the political moment depended most on the Radicals,

who needed to agree to collaborate directly with the CEDA in order for a majority government to

work. The Radicals, in turn, preferred to work with the CEDA over testing their luck in new

elections. It was a chance, they believed, to bring the CEDA within the Republican fold.492

When Lerroux organized his new government, he included three CEDA ministers. The

three specific ministers had been suggested by Gil Robles because he believed they would not

provoke the left: Manuel Gimenez Fernandez in Agriculture, Rafael Aizpun Santafe in Justica,

and Jose Oriol Anguera de Sojo in Labor. They had well-known moderate views, and their

actions in power demonstrated that they intended to implement real reforms. Even so, the left

4 A minister without a portfolio could have a wide variety of powers, but he would not be responsible for a specific
sector of government activity. In this war, the CEDA could increase its political clout while keeping a distance from
many government policies.
489 Manuel Gim~nez Fern~ndez, "Actitud que debe adoptar la C.E.D.A. ante la crisis del gobierno Samper,"
September 1934, AGF, B-VII/31. He was responding to a questionnaire circulated among the MPA by the CEDA's
leadership. See El Debate, September 23, 1934.
491) El Debate, September 27, 1934; El Correo de 4ndalucia, September 26 and 27, 1934.

491 El Debate, September 28, 1934; C. E. D. 4., October 1934; El Castellano, September 24, 27, and 28, 1934; El
Correo de 4ndalucia, September 27, 1934.

492 TownIson, The Crisis ofDemocracy, 271-2; El Correo de 4ndalucia, September 28 and 29, 1934.

Republicans refused to collaborate with the new government and regarded it as a threat to the

integrity of the Republic.493 When the new CEDA ministers j oined the government, the

Socialists launched an insurrection. Though in preparation for months, organizational difficulties

and the seizure of weapons by the government led to the immediate failure of the rising

everywhere but Asturias, where coal miners armed with dynamite held out against the military

for two weeks.494 The CEDA played a key role in ending the rising. In many parts of Spain, the

movihizacion civil groups lent important service to the government as it faced first the general

strike and then the extended difficulties of the rising in Asturias. Japista~s helped with basic

services such as sanitation, streetcars, and funeral services. In some cases, they also played a role

in public vigilance, acting in concert with local authorities. It demonstrated the unity of the

CEDA' s membership and provided a significant confidence boost in their ability to combat


Much of the dispute between the CEDA and the left stemmed from problems of

interpretation. The left Republicans and Socialists believed that allowing the CEDA to enter the

government threatened the Republic because it was more than a simple system of government.

For them, the Republic represented a specific social agenda, grounded in collectivist ideas.

Going even further, the Socialists considered the Republic a means to establishing a Socialist

state, rather than an end unto itself. Given that the CEDA rej ected much of that ideology, and in

view of the fact that the CEDA was committed to a very different social and political agenda

493 C. E. D. A., October 1934. For a concise description of the different governments under the CEDA-Radical
alliance, see Julio Gil Pecharromin, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica Espaiiola, 198-203. Paul Preston has argued
that the new ministers were chosen not to placate the left but to provoke it. This seems unlikely. See Preston, The
Coming, 171. Stanley Payne has pointed out that they all had reputations as moderates. See Payne, Spain 's First
Democracy, 212-3.

494 For opposing analyses of the rising, see Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 206-23; Preston, The Coming, 172-9.
Though ultimately drawing different conclusions, both accept that the Socialists had planned the uprising in advance
and simply waited for the right opportunity.

than they were, the left could never trust it.495 In light of recent events in Germany, Italy, and

Austria, Spanish Socialists viewed the CEDA as a "troj an horse" movement, which would use

legal means to usurp political power and impose an authoritarian regime. Determined not to let

that happen, the Socialists prepared to resist any attempt by the CEDA to wield political power.

The Socialist leader Largo Caballero believed that a CEDA declaration of republicanism "would

be taken by the whole world as an unworthy farce." It should be refused power until it

"demonstrates with acts its declaration."496

After the insurrection, the CEDA became much more active in all levels of government,

pushing new measures through parliament while the Socialists remained weak. The Catholic

confederation also saw an opportunity to reclaim influence among the working class while the

Socialist party reeled from government repression. Dimas Madariaga led the charge, arguing that

the revolutionary threat contained in October had not gone away, and that the CEDA needed to

address the real needs of workers to avoid future revolts.497 With the left at bay, Gil Robles

declared that they now could move forward with a constitutional revision, which they would

begin developing.498 However, they recognized the limits of power. El Debate 's editors openly

admitted that "the C.E.D.A. has not been nor is it a maj ority party; it has not been able to choose

the best, nor do everything at once, but it has had to content itself with what is possible. And that

which it has accomplished until now is not its program; it is only part of its program."499 With

495 See Carlos Seco Serrano, "La experiencia de la derecha posibilista en la Segunda Repuiblica Espafiola," in Jos6
Maria Gil Robles, Discursos parliamentarios, ed. Enrique Tierno Galvin (Madrid: Taurus, 1971), ix-x. For more on
the Republic's re-imagining of Spanish national identity, see Sandie Holguin, C,,. S;~ Spaniards: Culture and
NationallIdentity in Republican Spain (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002).

496 Juan-Sime6n Vidarte, El bienio negro y la insurreccion de 4sturias (Barcelona, 1978), 229.

497 El Castellano, December 28, 1934.

498 El Debate, December 23, 1934.

499 Ibid., December 18, 1934; El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 20, 1934.

three ministers in the government, the CEDA now stood in a position to begin putting all of its

program into action. Yet a long road remained ahead.

If Gil Robles believed that his ministerial choices would avoid conflict with the left, he

may never have considered the problems they could cause on the right. Of the three, Manuel

Gimenez Fernandez was clearly the most controversial. He quickly raised the hackles of many

when he turned out to be a genuine reformer, committed to carrying out a reasonable agrarian

reform.'oo His work, while true to the spirit of the CEDA' s social Catholic character, did not

please many of the traditional vested interests that remained in the CEDA or the party's right-

wing allies, but he continued his efforts anyway. He told the Count of Bustillo, who wanted to

organize an homage to the new minister, "When my administration ends, if you all are satisfied

(you will be, but I fear that those of that Acci6n Popular [Seville] will not), I will accept

whatever tribute of a political nature; until then, you will permit me to continue a little in the

out ski rts. "5ol

Gimenez Fernandez knew many in Seville, such as Jaime Oriol and Luis Alarc6n de la

Lastra, would not appreciate the course he intended to pursue. They had already denied him a

place on the Seville ballot in 1933, and he knew they would oppose his policies in party meetings

and in parliament. With this in mind, he still accepted his place in the government and moved

forward with his plans. Gimenez Fernandez represented a true social Catholic sensibility within

the CEDA. His actions in the ministry of Agriculture quickly won the approval of Seville' s

""0 Most historians consider Gim~nez Femindez to be one of the CEDA's most devoted reformers. See Jackson, The
Spanish Republic, 169; Preston, The Coming, 177-8: Robinson, The Origins, 200-2.

501 MGF to the Count of Bustillo, October 16, 1934, AGF, legajo B-IX/b (Sevilla la carpeta). He did have support
from El Correo de 4ndalticia, which ran a very flattering comparison between Gim~nez Fern~ndez and Diego
Martinez Barrio, former Interior Minister and fellow Sevillano. See El Correo de 4ndalticia, November 1, 1934.

yunteros-peasant laborers. Yet by the end of November, some of Seville' s landowners already

referred to him as Lenin because of his plans to continue the work of agrarian reform.502

The Minister' s earliest actions sought merely to stabilize the countryside and buy time for

more substantial changes. He pushed through a law to extend the intensification decree, allowing

many farmers to continue working land they would have had to vacate if the decree lapsed.503 He

also modified the way in which the Institue of Agrarian Reform worked. Rather than

permanently settling landless workers, they began a series of "temporary" occupations and

lowered settlement goals for that year.504 This actually led to an increase in the overall

settlements compared to what the original Republican-Socialist coalition had accomplished

during its tenure. Yet he quickly met significant resistance from the right wing of his own party,

such as when he attempted to push through a general lease law left over from the previous

government.'os In fact, Gil Robles counseled him to use more moderation in November, even

before the maj or storms broke.506 His uncompromising attitude did not allow him to follow this

advice, and he continued his intended course.

Personal relationships added to the strain Gimenez Fernandez felt in his new position.

Many approached him for help in avoiding the expropriation of property. His refusal to accede

blindly to their requests caused him significant difficulties, though things sometimes did work

out well. For example, the Count of Bustillo' s brother' s property had found its way onto the list

5 Gabriel Gonz~lez Garrido to MGF, November 26, 1934, AGF, legajo B-IX-b (Sevilla 5a carpeta).

5 This decree required landholders to expand the amount of land they cultivated, increasing employment
opportunities for agrarian workers.
5 Malefakis, Agrarian Reform, 348-50.

5 The lease provisions made it difficult for landowners to evict tenants and looked ahead to the possibility that
long-term tenants would gain the right to purchase the land they worked for a reasonable price.
506 JOs6 Maria Gil Robles to MGF, November 27, 1934, AGF, legajo B-IX-b (Sevilla 5a carpeta). Gim~nez
Fern~ndez was on the defensive as early as December. El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 2 and 5, 1934.

of expropriable property after the Sanjurj ada, though he was eventually cleared of any

connection to the rising. Gimenez Fernandez succeeded in removing the property from the list.5ov

A more problematic request came from Luis Alarc6n de la Lastra, a friend who had

unsuccessfully tried in January to convince the minister to abandon his decrees extending the

lease provisions fos The government had confiscated several parcels he leased to cultivate, and he

tried to enlist Gimenez Fernandez's aid in saving the parcels from confiscation. Since the

Institute de Reforma Agraria had legally expropriated the property and established a colony of

workers, the minister could do nothing.509 The incident destroyed what remained of their

friendship, and Alarc6n de la Lastra turned against him.

Conflict Renewed: The CEDA and Its Political Enemies in Early 1935

In mid-December 1934, Gil Robles advocated a slow progression toward control of the

government, affirming that this had been the CEDA' s intention all along. He took credit for

having destroyed Spain's revolutionary threat after the October Revolution, and he decried his

critics, asking, "Those who had patience to suffer Azafia, don't they know how to wait a few

months to see the completion of work by some Catholic men, who fight with immense

difficulties?"sio Later, he declared that a "catastrophic" solution was absolutely out of the

question. The remarks directly confronted the new Bloque Nacional, an extreme right-wing

5 Count of Bustillo to MGF, January 2, 1935, in Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario politico, 140; MGF
to Eloy Vaquero Cantillo, January 7, 1935, AGF, legajo B-IX-b (Sevilla carpeta 10), Epistolario politico, 141; Gil
Robles to MGF, January 18, 1935, AGF, legajo B-IX-b (Sevilla 5a carpeta), Epistolario politico, 142; MGF to Gil
Robles, January 22, 1935, AGF, legajo B-IX-b (Sevilla 5a carpeta), Epistolario politico, 146.

5 Alarc6n de la Lastra to MGF, January 1, 1935, AGF, B-IX-a/ 11: Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario
politico, 139.
5()9 "Historial de la expropiaci6n y aplicaci6n a los fines de reform agraria de las fincas 'Arroyuela Alta' y
'Arroyuela Baja', del t~rmino de Carmona (Sevilla), que pertenecieron al ex Duque de Alba: y estin arrendadas por
don Luis Alarcon las 744 has. de la primera y 189 has. de la segunda, y por dofia rosario Ballesteros las 189 has.
restantes de la segunda," AGF,1egajo B-XI/11; J. Benavas to Luis Alarc6n de la Lastra, January 29, 1935, AGF,
legajo B-XI/26.
5us El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 16, 1934.

group formed by Jose Calvo Sotelo, a leading member of RE and Accion Espaiola, in late 1934

with three main goals: to stop social revolution, rebuild the nation, and revise the constitution.

Gil Robles pointed out that the CEDA already had begun to undertake these reforms, making the

Bloque irrelevant in many ways. In public correspondence with Gil Robles, the BN' s leaders

argued that they should not be lightly dismissed, since they "only propose disinterested union in

behalf of the Patria of however many Spaniards profess a minimum of common ideals." Gil

Robles, bothered by the attack, reminded them that the Bloque 's manifesto had specifically

attacked the CEDA and pointed out that the union of right-wing parties had only been a means to

try to eliminate the CEDA. He lamented the fact that the Bloque would not j oin the CEDA in its

efforts and told them to give the CEDA's tactic a chance rather than undermine its attempts at

true reform.512

The exchange hinted at the difficulties the CEDA would later face with the Bloque. Oscar

Perez Solis, a journalist friendly to the Catholic confederation, wrote in January 1935 of the

campaign against the CEDA unleashed by the monarchists, reminding readers of the delicate

work undertaken by the CEDA and arguing that the monarchists did not understand the country's

situation. Only the CEDA, with its sense of duty, tr-uly represented the interests of the country.513

An exchange similar to that between Calvo Sotelo and Gil Robles played out in the Toledo press

as well. Antonio Galan, president of AP in Urda, took up the challenge of Jose Felix de

Lequerica, head of RE in Toledo. Galan argued that the CEDA had not changed its stripes, even

when it had made concessions to keep its power. In an acid exchange, the two writers argued

six C. E. D. A., January 15, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, December 23, 1934. For more on the founding of the
Bloque, see Gil Pecharromin, Conservadores subversives, 198-201.
512 Gil Robles, No fue posible, 818-20; El Correo de Andalucia, December 27, 28, and 29, 1934. Italics added.

513 El Castellano, January 5, 1935.

over which of their groups more effectively represented Toledo' s Catholic opinion. Galan

fiercely contended that the CEDA had rej ected subversion because it was a "popular impulse,"

rather than a place for back-room dealing.514 ITOnically, the break with the monarchists later

facilitated the Popular Front' s victory in 1936, which finally succeeded in pushing many of the

CEDA' s members to accept the Bloque 's extremist politics.

In the face of the Bloque 's challenge, Toledo' s CEDA deputies felt the need to defend their

actions and those of the party they represented. Dimas Madariaga reminded the CEDA' s critics

that they could not govern by themselves, since the right wing could not put together a majority

on its own. He accused them of jealousy against Gil Robles, who had appeared out of nowhere to

lead the reaction against the Republic's most repugnant reforms. They needed to have patience

and let the CEDA carry out its program as it saw fit.5 RamC~n Molina Nieto also addressed this

issue in a speech in Ocafia in February 1935, when he told the audience that

The labor of the CEDA is not destruction, but construction, and because of this, one cannot
demand that the jefe or the deputies that follow him work more rapidly. .. Impatient
people want to achieve in one year of half-power action what others destroyed over a long
time, and very principally in the years of the biennium. It is not possible to do it that way,
unless we accept the danger and certain failure that are supposed by advancing without
already having the positions that are to serve us as a defense secured beforehand. The
CEDA goes step by step, stair by stair. It does not want to run without learning to walk.
The position that we take, they will not throw us out of, and from the same we continue
our path.516
These deputies believed that refusing to let the CEDA' s "tactic" fclaoainpa u

threatened to destroy the party's progress and throw power to the left, which is exactly what

occurred in late 1935.

514 Ibid., January 18 and 29, February 4, 11 and 12, 1935. The exchange became so heated that the paper stopped
printing their letters.
sis Ibid., March 5, 8, and 29, 1935.

516 Ibid., February 19, 1935.

Even so, political life carried on for the confederation. In one conference, Dimas

Madariaga argued that the CEDA needed more than ever to capture the support of the working

class, in order to have a chance at an absolute maj ority in future elections."' Pablo Ceballos, the

subsecretary of Justice, spoke of the CEDA' s "politics of reality," arguing that the Bloque

Nacional actually proved that AP had been right all along by putting the monarchy on a

secondary level of importance. He declared that "those that work will make the reconquest, not

those that limit themselves to criticize." In January and February, AP opened new centros de

barriada in several neighborhoods of Madrid and expanded adult education classes to the new

centers. At the opening of the center in the Inclusa-Latina neighborhood, Dimas Madariaga

reminded the audience of AP's role in getting the family wage put in the constitution.519

Prominent cedista~s also took part in the organization of the Sociedaddddddddddddddddd de Estudios

Hispdnicos, which produced the Revista de Estudios Hispdnicos, a Catholic intellectual journal.

Based on the same concept as the extremist Accion Espaiola, the Revista de Estudios Hispdnicos

attempted to provide an intellectual foundation for the CEDA' s ideology. It continued the work

begun with by Menendez y Pelayo association, focusing on studies of Spanish culture and

history. In the inaugural issue, the editors declared, "Our enemy is the Revolution, whose

thought is always antagonistic to Spain, to what Spain represents."520 In its pages, the journal

dealt with issues familiar to the CEDA' s followers, such as educational reform, the false nature

517 El Correo de Andalucia, December 28, 1934; C. E. D. A., January 15, 1935.

sis El Correo de Andalucia, December 30, 1934; C. E. D. A., January 15, 1935.

519 El Debate, January 5, 1935; C. E. D. A., January 15, 1935. They also opened centers in the Centro-Hospicio
district and in Canillas y Vicilvaro. El Debate, January 27 and 29, February 6 1935; C. E. D. A., January 31,
February 15, March 1, 1935.

520 Revista de studios hispcinicos, no. 1, January 1935, 3; El Debate, February 9, 1935; C. E. D. A., February 15,
1935. Montero dismissed the journal as an attempt to cover up the ideological emptiness of the CEDA's program.
See Montero, La CEDA, volume 1, 733-6.

of Spain' s "black legend," and other relevant political topics. While the CEDA played the most

critical role in promoting the j journal, it did not limit itself to representing a single political

ideology. Authors did not have to come from the CEDA, though many did, such as Gil Robles,

Antonio Bermutdez Cafiete, and Jesus Pab6n. Its pages sought to promote a particular version of

Spanish culture shared by most right-wing groups, even though they disagreed on government

forms. For example, the journal held two contests to honor Lope de Vega in a special edition: a

writing contest and a drawing contest. Entrants could either write a short biographical sketch of

the playwright or draw scenes from one of his comedies.52 The j journal lasted until February

1936, disappearing around the time of the elections, much like the rest of the CEDA' s publishing

endeavors .

At the end of January, the CEDA' s provincial gestores52 walked out of the Madrid

provincial diputacion5 in a dispute over their collaboration with the Radical minority. They

claimed that the split resulted from "three months of putting up with personal and political

inconsiderateness." In fact, it stemmed from a dispute over the composition of the diputacion 's

leadership. The AP and Radical gestores had agreed that a Radical would preside the committee,

and a cedista would be vice-president. When it came time to vote, however, the Radicals broke

the agreement and elected one of their own as vice-president. AP blamed this discrepancy as the

beginning of an unfruitful activity in the provincial committee, which had led them finally to

break with it completely.524 The four CEDA gestores tendered resignations in early April, along

521 Revista de studios hispainicos, no. 4, April 1935. Strikingly, both the Republicans and the CEDA invoked
Golden Age authors. See Sandie Holguin, C,,.. a s; Spaniards: Culture and National Identity in Republican Spain
(Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002), 79-117.
5 Provincial delegates.

5 The provincial government was called the diputacion.
5 El Debate, January 30 and March 13, 1935; C. E. D. 4., February 15, 1935; Ta, January 29 and February 5, 1935.

with the Hyve CEDA representatives on the Madrid municipal committee. Salazar Alonso, the

Interior Minister, worked to prevent the resignations from taking effect, and he successfully

blocked them after two weeks of maneuvering. However, because the CEDA had initiated a

propaganda campaign in preparation for possible elections, the gestores refused to return until

the political situation calmed down and Einally returned to their positions only in mid-May.525

In March, the CEDA introduced an electoral reform bill, written by Gimenez Fernandez,

who championed a change from the maj ority voting system in place to one based on proportional

representation.52 In his eyes, the justification was rather obvious: the current system simply did

not work. While encouraging the creation of large electoral blocs, it did not encourage the

consolidation of party politics. Under this system, minor swings in voter opinion could lead to

maj or differences in parliamentary representation. The Republicans and Socialists had designed

the system in 1931 when it was clear to them that they would dominate the Cortes. They felt

confident that by the time the constitutional assembly closed, they would have enough support

among Spaniards to continue their activities. Unfortunately for them, the right had reorganized

by 1933 and used the electoral system to its own advantage. But the CEDA' s leaders recognized

that a proportional system, in which representation was not locked into strict percentages, would

be the fairest measure of Spain' s public opinion and improve the overall makeup of the chamber.

Unfortunately, the CEDA' s allies (and some of its own members) did not really support the

change, believing that the system would favor them in the future.527

5 El Debate, April 4, 9, 12, 16, and 17, May 11, 1935; 1a, April 4 and 5, May 10, 1935. They stayed away in order
to work closely with the election efforts of their party.
526 ((C. E. D. A. Bases para la modificaci6n de la ley electoral," AGF legajo B-VIII/27; C. E. D. 4., March 15, 1935.
Gim~nez Fern~ndez wrote a series of articles in Ta explaining the benefits of a proportional representation system.
See Ta, May 10, 21, 25, and 30, June 4 and 15, 1935.

52 Nota confidencial.-Situaci6n de los partidos ante el proyecto de ley electoral," AGF legajo B-VIII/30.

AP's Seville committee maintained an active schedule in 1935, beginning with the

inauguration of a new center in Sanlucar la Mayor in early January. At the meeting, Jesus PabC~n

reminded the audience to distinguish between the enemies of the CEDA and the enemies of

Spain. The enemies of the CEDA were the leftists and Masons, the Socialists, and the

"separatists" who wanted to divide Spain geographically.528 At the AP provincial assembly in

late January, Jaime Oriol clearly indicted the work of Gimenez Fernandez in the Ministry of

Agriculture when he accused the government of an offensive against Andalusian farmers, and he

declared that the Agrarian Reform needed to be undertaken in a way more conducive to

improving profits. PabC~n argued that Seville's provincial AP organization badly needed a

reorganization, using almost the same words as Gimenez Fernandez had used to argue for a

reorganization of the MPA the previous summer. He warned local committees that might find

discrepancy with the provincial leadership that if they failed to remain within the fold, they had

only themselves to blame.529 As in other provinces, the Seville committee also instituted a

propaganda campaign throughout the province that spring, and in many areas they reorganized

local committees that had come to the end of their terms.530

The Apogee of the CEDA's Power and Influence

Throughout the spring of 1935, the CEDA organized numerous propaganda meetings and

conferences throughout the country. The Madrid centros de barriada undertook an especially

active role in developing these conferences. AP opened a new propaganda campaign in April,

while the Cortes was out of session and its deputies could focus their attentions on the province.

5 El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 8, 1935.

529 Ibid., January 28, 1935.

53o When Rafael Aizp~im, the Minister of Justice, came in early March, Jos6 Calvo Sotelo took offense at some of his
remarks and opened a new dispute. See El Correo de 4ndalucia, March 5, 6, and 7, 1935.

On April 28, the CEDA boasted of holding 197 meetings with 400 speakers throughout Spain.531

A month later, approximately 45,000 people attended a meeting in Ucles, a continuation of the

JAP regional assemblies begun the year before.532 As seen in Chapter 7, this meeting provided a

starting point for a renewed JAP national campaign, culminating in June when they brought

together a crowd of 200,000 in Mestalla (Valencia). Unfortunately, the difficulty of organizing

such a large-scale campaign, combined with the growing divisions within the CEDA, became too

much for organizers, and the campaign failed for the second year in a row.

The CEDA' s political fortunes took a significant turn for the worse in April. On April 3,

the CEDA' s three government ministers resigned in protest when Alcala-Zamora tried to force

them to commute the sentence of several people implicated in the October uprising. A similar

situation in November 1934 had ended with the CEDA capitulating to Alcala-Zamora' s wishes.

In that case, several senior military officers had suggested the possibility of using force to

"maintain order," but the CEDA preferred to stay in government legally.533 The CEDA' s

leadership chose differently in April and ordered its ministers to resign rather than accept the

pardon, provoking a government crisis that most cedista~s believed was inevitable.534 While

Alcala-Zamora suspended parliament for a month and appointed an interim government of

"technicians," the CEDA began organizing its electoral machine.

531 El Debate, April 13 and 30, 1935.

532 C. E. D. A., May 31, 1935; El Debate, May 28, 1935.

533 Some historians have concluded that the CEDA had participated in the planning of a coup. While the CEDA
often consulted with military officers, heightening the distrust with which it was viewed by the left, the party never
seriously considered a coup. Its leaders did know, however, of several military conspiracies that never came to
fruition. For contrasting analyses of the November 1934 events, see Preston, The Coming, 181-3; Robinson, The
Origins, 195; and Gil Robles, No fue possible, 146-9.

534 For an idea of the CEDA's reaction to the pardon, see Julio Gonzilez-Sandoval's article in El Castellano, April
1, 1935.

During the interim period, the CEDA published a catalogue of what it had accomplished in

government as part of its preparation for possible elections. Responding to the criticism that the

CEDA had not accomplished anything while in power, the account cites the party's many

accomplishments. For example, in listing what it had done to resolve unemployment, it listed no

new laws but counted several speeches by Gil Robles as action against unemployment. The only

substantive aid for the unemployed listed is that of the party's asistencia social program, which

totalled 272,768.35 pesetas in Madrid. In listing the Minister of Agriculture' s accomplishments,

the author conveniently omitted that crippling amendments eviscerated much of Gimenez

Fernandez' s legislative proposals.535 The work of the Justice minister was mostly limited to the

suppression of the Socialists in the wake of the October uprising and the suspension of the

anticlerical components of the constitution.536 Other than the work of Gimenez Femandez,

almost nothing of consequence had been done. The new government, with five CEDA ministers,

would not accomplish much more.

The appointment of an extra-parliamentary government of "technicians" gave the CEDA a

weapon with which to seek increased representation in government. In a speech to the JAP, Gil

Robles warned that "if we encounter obstacles, we will continue onward in the path of legality,

since, as always, it will not be us who goes outside of the law; it will be, in every case, those who

combat us who go outside of it to combat us."537 Because the CEDA held moral high ground

after the October uprising, its leaders felt quite comfortable with the possibility of elections, as

its propaganda campaign demonstrated. But Alcala-Zamora' s distrust of the CEDA remained

during the crisis, and he sought ways to limit the party's collaboration in the government. The

5 Malefakis, 350-1.

536 C. E. D. 4., April 15, 1935.

5 El Debate, April 24, 1935.

president told Gil Robles that if he wanted a chance to form a government, he would have to

seek out a broad coalition to the left. Lerroux and Martinez de Velasco, an Agrarian, both failed

in their initial attempts to organize a coalition, but Lerroux ultimately succeeded in creating a

government that fulfilled the President's aspirations and gave the CEDA a more reasonable


The crisis was resolved at the beginning of May. Speculation about the composition of the

new government was a popular topic within Catholic circles during April. While it was clear that

the CEDA would receive more than three seats in the new government, there was some

discussion about how many and which portfolios they would get. The clearest description of the

various possibilities comes from the CEDA j ournalist, Francisco Casares, who believed that the

CEDA would either receive four posts, one of which would be the Interior Ministry, or it would

gain five seats, including War. He even suggested that Gimenez Femandez might be chosen for

the Interior post.539 In the event, the CEDA did not, however, receive either the Prime

Ministership or the Interior Ministry, and Manuel Gimenez Femandez was conspicuously absent

from the new government.540 The President appointed a new government, under Lerroux, that

53 La C.E.D.A. en la reciente crisis. Informaci6n confidencial," AGF, legajo B-VII/24. While the crisis continued,
the censor forbade the publication of comments made by Gil Robles in which he threatened to bring down whatever
government was put in power. See "Importantes manifestaciones del Sr. Gil Robles al A.B.C. de hoy, que la censura
no ha dejado publicar," AGF, legajo B-VII/25. For the CEDA's public attitude toward the crisis, see El Debate,
April 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10, 1935. The Catholic paper called the CEDA the .Isl of national politics," arguing that the
party should not be left out of the new government for any reason. El Debate, April 9, 1935.

539 Francisco Casares to MGF, April 18, 1935, AGF legajo B-XIII/33.

"4 Ta, May 6, 1935. In June, rumors began to circulate that Gim~nez Fern~ndez had quit the MPA. It was not true.
El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 26 and July 2, 1935.

increased the CEDA' s representation to five ministers, more than any other party.541 Gil Robles

himself took on the Ministry of War, insisting on it as the price of his collaboration.542

As Minister of War, Gil Robles had control over the military. He began the process of

rehabilitating officers who had been considered disloyal under the previous government, placing

them in sensitive assignments.543 In her study of Gil Robles, Barbara Schmoll Mahoney argues

that Gil Robles was motivated by a desire to split his opponents "by giving a sympathetic hearing

to the legitimate discontents of the military" and could thus "neutralize the opposition to the

Republic within the Army."544 While others have argued that Gil Robles intended to prepare a

coup against the Republic, Mahoney's argument is compelling, especially considering that Gil

Robles came close to proposing a coup only in the wake of the Popular Front elections in 1936,

when he urged the Prime Minister to use the military order to quell disturbances in the street.545

In the summer of 1935, the CEDA appeared on the verge of complete power, with a

significant representation in the government, it seemed only a matter of time before Gil Robles

would be asked to form a government. Up to this point, the party had followed a relatively steady

(if occasionally bumpy) road from the elections to the government. Yet things were not exactly

541 There was some speculation that the interim government would be used to organize elections, and the CEDA's
supporters were incensed by the possibility that the party would not be given a chance to form a government. See El
Correo de 4ndalucia, April 5, 1935.

5 Speaking of the composition of the new government, Gil Robles declared that "Logic has imposed itself." Ta,
May 6, 1935. In response to an article that declared that Gil Robles should be given the Ministry of War "and a
ham," a group from Granada sent him a ham in congratulations. El Correo de 4ndalucia, May 19, 1935.

5 Payne, "The Army, the Republic and the Outbreak of the Civil War" in The Republic and the Civil War in Spain,
ed. Raymond Carr (London: Macmillan, 1973), 85.

5 Barbara Schmoll Mahoney, "Jos6 Maria Gil Robles: The Catholic Politician in the Second Spanish Republic"
(Ph.D. dissertation, Saint Louis University, 1974), 152. Stanley Payne agrees that there is no evidence that Gil
Robles ever intended to launch a coup. See Stanley Payne, Politics and the Military in Modern Spain (Stanford:
Stanford University Press, 1967), 302-3.

5 In the face of popular outbursts after the elections, the use of the military would not have been a coup. Rather, it
would have been used solely for restoring public order. For the counter-argument, see Preston, The Coming, 188-9.

as they appeared, and significant obstacles remained in its path. Even though it had more visible

political assets than other parties, the CEDA remained hampered by a coalition with a fractured

Radical party and a President unwilling to hand it the reins of government. Throughout the fall of

1935, it would continue to fail in its goal to implement any significant reforms. This, in turn, led

to increasing division within the party, growing conflict with the extreme right, and weakness in

the face of a reorganizing left intent on removing the Catholic confederation from power. These

problems, which came to a head just as it seemed the CEDA could only increase its power,

destroyed the party's chances at controlling the government when the President, rather than trust

the CEDA leadership with complete political power, dissolved the Cortes and sent the country to

new elections.


Though it continued in power until late 1935, the CEDA had reached its apex with the

entry of five ministers into the government. During the rest of the year, internal dissent and the

growing distrust of the Republic' s president kept the CEDA from accomplishing its legislative

goals, and scandals implicating its legislative partners, the Radicals, slowly eroded its power.546

The ouster of Manuel Gimenez Fernandez had brought into the open significant divisions within

the party. Because the CEDA had never fully defined itself, members who had joined AP after

the electoral victory in 1933 exerted disproportionate influence in stalling the organization's

social-Catholic measures in the Cortes. Division and resentment reached such a pitch within the

party that by the end of 1935, it was possible that the Catholic confederation might have

collapsed had not elections intervened and forced the CEDA to close ranks.

While the CEDA faced a deteriorating relationship with the Radicals and internal

divisions, the left regrouped, forming the Popular Front on the French model. In order to take

advantage of the Republic' s electoral law, the left Republicans formed an electoral alliance with

the Socialists, intent on avoiding the mistakes made in 1933, when they had faced the elections

separately. After the elections, which the Popular Front won, the political situation in Spain

became increasingly destabilized, after the elections effectively destroyed the political center.547

Many conservative Spaniards, disillusioned by the CEDA' s failure, began to seek out more

extreme methods of influencing the course of the country. Extremist right-wing groups, such as

the fascist Falange Espaiola (FE), which had previously had little influence on Spanish politics,

began to grow rapidly. Increasing street violence and public disorder provoked outrage on both

546 For more information on the Straperlo and TayB scandals, see Nigel Townson, The Crisis of Democracy in Spain,
317-9 and 332-7.

547 Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 276.

ends of the political spectrum. Eventually, the small-scale violence exploded into civil war when

a group of military officers launched an uprising in the name of public order.

The Beginnings of Collapse: Autumn 1935

During 1935, many CEDA members became disillusioned, including key leaders. Dimas

Madariaga, the president of Accion Obrerista, threatened to split that party from the CEDA if the

confederation did not begin to make good on its promises of social justice.548 One of the leaders

of the Badajoz JAP, Angel Braulio Ducasse, removed himself from political activity because of

his frustration with the actions of the rich in that province, likely members of AP.549 Events in

Motril (Granada), mirrored what had happened in Osuna (Seville) the previous year. The local

committee suffered an intrusion of new members who sought to replace it, leading to the

departure of 300 affiliates from the party.sso These events, continuing a pattern evident since the

1933 elections, undermined the CEDA' s legitimacy and forced out those who had built it up at

the local level.

In Seville, the situation grew significantly more unstable than in Madrid or Toledo. Much

of the problem stemmed from anger at Manuel Gimenez Fernandez, the former Minister of

Agriculture. His elevation to that position had upset the more conservative elements of the

CEDA. Though Gimenez Fernandez was a native of Seville, the provincial committee of AP had

never wanted him as a candidate, and Gil Robles had personally caused his name to go on the

Badaj oz ballot, which led to his election in 1933. By late 193 5, he had become a polarizing

5 El Castellano, October 18, 1935; Carlos Rodriguez LC~pez-Brea, "Dos claves de la political de Acci6n Popular
durante la II Repuiblica: agrarismo y catolicismo. El Ejemplo de Toledo," in Estudios sobre la derecha espailola
contemporainea, ed. Javier Tussell, Julio Gil Pecharromin, and Feliciano Montero (Madrid: UNED, 1993), 542.

549 Angel Braulio Ducasse to MGF, July 27, 1935, AGF, legajo B-XIII/49; Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey,
Epistolario politico, 160.
"5 "Informe recibido por M. G. F. sobre la Acci6n Popular de Motril (Granada)," October 1935, AGF legajo B-
VII/8: Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario politico, 165-7.

presence in the CEDA, calling on it to make a clear profession of Republicanism and to live up

to its claims of social justice. His calls often fell on deaf ears. A conflict arose over his

participation in a JAP meeting in Marchena, when the provincial AP president, the Count of

Bustillo, told him that his problems with the Seville CEDA arose from the fact "that you are

more Republican than the maj ority of AP in Seville, and that you are more advanced in social

issues," and for these reasons he "foster[ed] opportunities for argument."'" The problem came

down to an identity crisis. Bustillo believed that "it is more sinsible to keep the moneyed classes

with us in AP and perhaps the issues of the countryside will gradually fix themselves; or is it

better that they go to other parties: radicals, maurists, agrarians, etc.?"552 In Other words, the

CEDA should work to keep the rich in the party in the hope that one day they would see the light

and improve working conditions.

Not all accepted this position. Some leaders hated the influence that opportunists exercised

in party circles. Isidro L6pez Martinez, president of the Seville JAP, had asked Gimenez

Fernandez to speak in the Marchena meeting partly in order to influence a group of small farmers

and agricultural workers who "remain faithful to ACCION POPULAR in spite of all they have

seen." He used this terminology because a group ofcc~ "Silbersit who absence was notorious

when AP was created" had j oined after the electoral victory and sought to take control of the

organization.553 He wrote in September 1935 that "from all this I take the inference that in

551 Pedro Armero Manj6n to MGF, September 10, 1935, AGF legajo B-XV-d/23; Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey,
Epistolario politico, 163.
5 Ibid.

5 Isidro L6pez to MGF, September 5, 1935, AGF legajo B-XIII/115: Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario
Politico, 161.

Acci6n Popular, 'neither all that belong, are here, nor do all those who are belong';554 and that it

is sad that those who belong leave the field open for those that simply present themselves. Would

Acci6n Popular lose much if the latter quickly switched to the Agrarian Party, to Renovaci6n or

to Traditionalism, according to their degree of caciquismo, frivolity, or boorishness?"' These

members made it increasingly difficult for AP Seville to accomplish anything and limited its

appeal to moderates in the province.

In Toledo, the CEDA became embroiled in a dispute over the wheat harvest. The harvest

of 1934 was the largest in the history of Spain, and in 1935, a significant portion remained

unsold. Prices dropped sharply in the summer, and farmers in Toledo began to feel the economic

repercussions of such a surplus.556 Since most farmers needed to take out loans to pay for the

harvest, low prices threatened to ruin many of them. The low price of wheat, combined with the

leftover surplus from 1934, made it very difficult for farmers to make enough money to pay back

what they had borrowed. In June the government authorized the purchase of wheat left over from

the previous year at an inflated price, but the CEDA' s Toledo deputies claimed that some

farmers had been abusing the system by selling off wheat from 193 5 at a premium, under the

government program.557 A similar conflict in Seville involved Jaime Oriol, who had apparently

tried to sell of some of his 1935 crop at the prices reserved for 1934's surplus."

554 "(Ni estin todos los que son, ni son todos los que estin." Essentially, not all those who agreed with AP's
principles belonged to the party, and not all those who belonged to AP fuly accepted its ideology.
5 Letter from Isidro L6pez to MGF, September 10, 1935, AGF, legajo B-XIII/115; Braojos Garrido and Alvarez
Rey, Epistolario politico, 165.
556 Edward Malefakis, Agrarian Reform and Peasant Revolution in Spain: Origins of the Civil War (New Haven:
Yale University Press, 1970), 352; Robinson, The Origins, 234.

5 El Castellano, August 5, 1935.

5 "Cosecha de trigo del afio 1.934 de don Jaime de Oriol y Puerta," AGF, legajo B-XIII/94.

More troubles became apparent in October, when the JAP cancelled a maj or meeting

planned for La Rabida, in Andalucia, without explanation. This event was to have

commemorated the JAP's patron, the Virgen del Pilar.Instead of a grandiose meeting on the day

of its patron, the Virgen del Pilar, the JAP could only announce a number of small local events

that had taken place throughout Spain.559 A maj or meeting planned for that fall in Madrid,

expected to draw 500,000 attendees, was cancelled definitively as well. They did hold some local

meetings, but by the end of October, the CEDA had begun to focus on the possibility of new

elections, ramping up the electoral machine.560

The creation of Calvo Sotelo' s Bloque Nacional in late 1934 presented the CEDA with a

serious challenge, which grew stronger in the fall of 1935. The Bloque accused the CEDA of

betraying the nation with its "tactic" of accommodating the Republic, which was doomed to

failure. El Debate, seeking to combat this line of reasoning, argued that the CEDA sought not

partisan but national triumphs. "Loyalty, patriotism, and a righteous civic spirit" inspired the

CEDA' s activities.561 When Gil Robles addressed the Madrid JAP in November, he explicitly

opposed using a coup to take power and argued that the CEDA needed to legally obtain a

maj ority in Parliament to successfully introduce change. For its part, the Catholic press believed

that if the CEDA could successfully impose a system of social justice, it could make the left

irrelevant. This would lead to a more commanding electoral victory for the right and give it a

chance to effect real change. The emergence of right-wing critics put the possibility of gaining

power legally in danger by distracting the CEDA from the important business of implementing

559 El Debate, October 13, 1935.
561) Ibid., October 15, 24, 26, and 31, 1935; El Correo de 4ndalucia, October 18, 1935.

561 El Debate, November 6, 1935.

social justice.562 In fact, the increased pressure imposed on the Catholic confederation by the

extreme right weakened it and played a significant role in its declining fortunes in early 1936.

Pre-electoral Propaganda

Provincial organizations led a major propaganda effort begun in late October, in

anticipation of new elections and with the hope of introducing constitutional revision in the

resulting assembly.56 In Seville, the JAP and AO initiated the program in November and

December, leading up to a maj or propaganda effort personally overseen by the Count of Bustillo

at the beginning of 1936.564 AP Seville moved into new offices in November and held an

inaugural meeting with representation from all of the CEDA' s dependencies. Soon after, the JAP

chose a new committee, and they reorganized the asistencia social section. Local groups

continued to organize and hold their own meetings, often involving provincial leaders as

speakers.56 The CEDA held meetings in its Madrid centros de barriada and resumed its

program of asistencia social, distributing 8,000 meals in one day in December.566 In Toledo, the

provincial JAP met to organize its own propaganda campaign, planning a provincial Assembly to

562 Ibid., November 10, 1935.

563 C. E. D. A., November 1 and 30, 1935; El Castellano, October 18, 1935; El Debate, November 26, 1935.

564 El Debate, November 26, December 26 and 29, 1935, January 1, 1936; El Correo de Andalucia, November 6 and
23, 1936. During the second half of the year, the JAP, AO, and ACM were much more active than the regular
section of AP. These groups will be discussed in more detail in Chapters 6, 7, and 8.

565 El Correo de Andalucia, November 7, 9, and 10, December 14, 19, and 24, 1935. In early December, AP moved
into new offices in Hudvar as well. See El Correo de Andalucia, December 3, 1935. A meeting planned to celebrate
the blessing of AO's new flag was cancelled. El Correo de Andalucia, December 27, 1935.

566 El Debate, December 6 and 10, 1935; C. E. D. A., November 30, 1935. A summary of the asistencia social
section's activities can be found in El Correo de Andalucia, February 4, 1936.

be closed with a maj or propaganda meeting.567 Other provincial groups held their own meetings

in support of this effort, and they opened at least one new center in Sonseca.568

By the end of 1935, it was clear that the President would not make Gil Robles Prime

Minister. Alcala-Zamora feared that if he appointed Gil Robles as head of government, it would

give the AP leader too much power, and it would put the Republic's very existence in danger. He

assumed that Gil Robles would quickly deviate from legality and seek to impose some kind of

dictatorship.569 This was never the CEDA leader' s intention, knowing as he did that the current

Cortes would never accept a fundamental change to the Constitution. When Alcala-Zamora made

the independent Republican Portela Valladares the new Prime Minister in a government devoid

of cedistas, observers knew it foreshadowed new elections.

El Debate denounced the President' s move, arguing that Portela' s extra-parliamentary

government constituted "a wall to impede the CEDA" from taking power, a "democratically

indisputable" right given to it by "the public quantity and fervor of its hosts and its well proven

legality."s7 Gil Robles accused the president of provoking the crisis specifically in order to

remove the CEDA from the government." While the CEDA's leaders publicly complained

about the motives of the president, they also claimed to welcome the elections as an opportunity

to remove the remaining stumbling blocks in their way. One deputy told reporters that refusing to

allow Gil Robles to form a government was "to declare this party [the CEDA] outside of the

567 El Castellano, November 1, 1935. Later that month, they chose a new JAP provincial committee. The assembly
was put off because the CEDA planned a large meeting of its own during the same time period. That meeting was
later moved to January 23. See Ibid., November 13 and 28, December 18, 1935.

568 Ibid., November 6, 25, and 26, 1935; El Debate, December 2, 1935.

569 Niceto AlcalB-Zamora, Memorias (Barcelona: Planeta, 1998), 387-9.

570 El Debate, December 15, 1935; C. E. D. A., December 1936.

571 El Castellano, December 17, 1935; El Debate, December 18, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, December 13, 14,
15, and 18, 1935. Gil Robles announced that he would explain himself in a manifesto, which was never published.

Republic. It is a case of Republican eviction against the CEDA."572 This became even clearer

when the new government immediately suspended parliamentary sessions to pave the way for


Once the interim government had been definitively established, the CEDA consolidated its

electoral preparations and effectively (though unofficially) launched its campaign at a meeting of

the JAP national council in mid-December. They believed that a young party like the CEDA

needed to overcome the prejudices imposed on it by an "archaic politics," and they summarized

their goals as a campaign "against the revolution and its accomplices."574 Immediately, they set

to work preparing the ground for their propaganda. Much of what they planned was based on

examples of propaganda they had received from Italy, Germany, and England. Other plans

included the preparation of at least 100 meetings per week."'" In order to aid in the effort, the

CEDA' s Madrid municipal gestores resigned their positions.576 Gil Robles, in a conference,

argued that while he had the support of the military, he had consented to be removed from the

Ministry of War because he did not believe in acting outside of the law. He believed that the

CEDA would return to power, but only through legal means."

In Toledo, the CEDA began its preparations for the elections as soon as the governmental

crisis was resolved in mid-December. RamC~n Molina Nieto argued that the result of the crisis

572 El Debate, December 14, 1935; C. E. D. A., December 1935.

573 El Debate, December 17, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, December 17, 1935. Gil Robles protested the extension
of the budget by the government while the Cortes were not in session. He believed this to be illegal. See El Debate,
December 18, 1935.

574 El Debate, December 15, 1935.

5 Ibid., December 18, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, December 18, 1935.

576 El Debate, December 17, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, December 15, 1935. Their final act was to approve the
expenditure of 800,000 pesetas to complete work on an aqueduct.
5 El Debate, December 21, 1935.

meant that they CEDA needed to act immediately, putting aside fear and panic to achieve

victory.57 In mid-December, Felix Avia estimated that sixty-seven people had already offered

their services as possible candidates in the elections.579 A manifesto to AP's 90,000 members in

the province called on them to await orders from the Jefe in order to act in the "desired hour"

that had come for the CEDA to seek public approval of its actions.sso The JAP put itself on a war

footing in preparation for the elections that they knew would soon become a reality. They

immediately began holding propaganda meetings in anticipation of the elections. This put them

in a good position when elections were finally called in early January.

February 1936 Parliamentary Elections

The CEDA approached the elections optimistically. The Catholic press declared that

during 1936, the CEDA would triumph over its enemies and restore true values to Spain. The

decree of dissolution was greeted as "the first triumph" of the year because it signified the

coming of elections that the CEDA would surely win.'" AP Toledo expected an even greater

triumph than it had won in 1933.582 When the government announced the dissolution of the

Cortes on January 7, the CEDA was prepared to immediately get to work. The provincial

delegates in Madrid and Toledo had already held meetings to plan their action, so they knew

what they would do.583 In Madrid, they had even begun holding meetings open to the general

5 El Castellano, December 16, 1936.

579 Ibid., December 17, 1936.

5so Ibid., December 18, 24, and 26, 1935. This number seems consistent with Monge Bernal's estimate of 80,000
paying members and 100,000 total members in the province. Monge Bernal, Accidn Popular, 1097.
5si El Debate, January 1, 8, and 9, 1936. The paper ran the same editorial on January 8 and 9, publishing an
uncensored version on the second day. When the government had failed to announce the dissolution of the Cortes
and a date for elections on January 1, Molina Nieto urged the right to proceed with caution. El Castellano, January
2, 1936.

582 El Castellano, January 6, 1936.

583 El Debate, December 24, 1935.

public. They claimed a tripling of membership requests, with sixty to seventy people j oining

every day.58

The elections had the effect of silencing dissent within the CEDA. Its membership banded

together to work for a new electoral victory. Unfortunately for the CEDA, this had the effect of

making the elections a last stand of sorts. The developing Bloque Nacional, as well as the

emergent Popular Front, combined with a weakened Radical Party, made for a difficult situation.

The Bloque Nacional became a competitor for the CEDA' s most conservative supporters. The

Radical party, a logical ally just to the left of the CEDA, had effectively collapsed under the

weight of its scandals. The Popular Front, organized on the model of the French Popular Front,

became a significant threat because it represented a left that had regrouped after the disaster of

October 1934. Combined with a renewed commitment to vote by the Anarchists, the Popular

Front presented the CEDA with its only real competition for the maj ority of seats in the Cortes.

The CEDA put quantity ahead of quality in its electoral propaganda effort. In the early

days, they made much of the fact that they held over 100 meetings every week.'"' In mid-

January, El Correo de Andalucia astutely remarked that the maj ority of propaganda meetings

being held throughout Spain at that time were held by right-wing groups. They argued that this

meant there were more right-wing supporters.586 Later, the CEDA erred by putting the JAP in

charge of electoral propaganda, which polarized the campaign rhetoric. The "Syndicate of the

pencil," a group of young men in charge of producing the electoral posters, spewed vitriol and

anger. More substantive propaganda preyed on the fears of Catholics by portraying the

5 Ibid., December 28, 1935, January 1 and 4, 1936; El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 2, 1936. They claimed that
half the new members were workers.

5 El Debate, December 22, 24, 26, and 29, 1935.

586 El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 14, 1936.

possibility of a Popular Front victory as the first step toward communism in Spain. Election

propaganda invoked the horrors of Casas Viejas and Asturias, and extolled the virtues of the

CEDA' s parliamentary actions. The JAP printed millions of posters and pamphlets, plastering

them on walls, dropping them from airplanes and balloons, and generally inundating the

country.58 This effort eventually became too much for the government, which responded by

prohibiting certain types of propaganda, such as lighted billboards and the dropping of pamphlets

from airp anes."

On February 2, El Debate published a special supplementary election section. In it, the

paper presented a dire situation, in which Spanish Catholics needed to take the lead in saving

Spain from its enemies. It contained images of villains taking hatchets to statues of the Virgin

Mary, robbers attacking banks and shooting innocent bystanders, and revolutionaries standing

over the dead bodies of those who opposed them. They warned of an impending crisis of unity if

the regional separatists had their way and broke from Spain. In short, the government of the

Republic's first two years was blamed for increased violence and hunger, attacks on the Church,

and the destruction of Spanish unity.589 In El Correo de Andalucia, they published similar

material, accusing the left of being "at the command of Moscow" and threatening a return to

"much mire, much blood, many tears" if the left won the elections.590 JOse Ram6n Montero has

observed that the CEDA' s electoral propaganda, for all its bluster, failed to articulate a clear

5 El Debate, January 1, 10, 11, 16, and 18, February 13, 1936; El Correo de 4ndalticia, January 29, 1936; El
Socialista, January 12, 1936. The CEDA began putting up its propaganda before any other party. When the posters
arrived in Seville, the local Catholic press enthusiastically acclaimed them for calling "the patriotic attention of all
Spaniards to the visible and invisible enemies of Spain's greatness." El Correo de 4ndalticia, January 19, 1936.
5 El Debate, February 1, 1936; El Correo de 4ndalticia, February 1, 1936. Earlier, the government had delayed
authorizing the use of the radio to transmit propaganda. The CEDA resolved this problem by contracting with
foreign transmitters to broadcast propaganda into Spain. See El Correo de 4ndalticia, January 17 and 23, 1936.

589 El Debate, February 2, 1936. They published a similar supplement a week later, on February 9.
591) El Correo de 4ndalticia, January 23, 1936.

electoral program, leaving its possible action in government a mystery.591 Many of their later

pamphlets addressed this issue to some degree, but they mostly contented themselves with

comparing their time in government to that of the Republican-Sociali st coalition of 193 1-3.

Gil Robles was a tr-ue celebrity in the campaign. On one visit to C6rdoba, crowds stopped

him twice on the way, obliging him to give speeches in Aranjuez and Mora (Tembleque).592

When he spoke in Toledo in late January, an audience of 10,000 attended, spread out among

several different locations. In his speech, he predicted a right-wing victory, with the CEDA

taking the reins of government in March. He argued that they needed to pursue a program in

defense of the nation, not because they wanted to create a new Spanish empire, but because "we

were a great nation in history and can be one in the future."593 In the days leading up to the

election, the CEDA put up a huge poster of Gil Robles in the Plaza del Sol in Madrid. His image

was placed over an image of crowds acclaiming him, proclaiming that "These are my powers.

Give me the absolute maj ority and I will give you a great Spain."594

On February 9, the CEDA held ten simultaneous meetings in Madrid theaters. They

referred to it as a single meeting, however. Each theater had a separate list of speakers, but Gil

Robles' s speech was transmitted to all of the theaters, as well as twenty-six locations outside of

Madrid, by telephone. In his speech, he singled out two "illicit principles": marxism and the

"separatist principle disguised as a criminal regionalism." The two concepts summarized the

dangers faced by the country in the Republic, and it was up to voters to give victory to the CEDA

591 MOntero, La CEDA, volume 2, 318-9. He also pointed out that the CEDA never published an electoral manifesto.
592 El Debate, January 12, 1936.

593 El Castellano, January 23, 1936; El Debate, January 23 and 24, 1936. The party had received 20,000 ticket
594 El Debate, February 14, 1936.

to rectify the problems.59 Later, AP Seville held a meeting with Gil Robles. In front of a full

house at the Front6n Betis, he told the audience that the CEDA had prepared a program to

remedy unemployment and improve the nation's social problems, but it had been thwarted when

the presdient dismissed them from government. He argued that the CEDA needed to return to

power to finish the work it had started. In order to accomplish the task, they needed to go to the

workers' homes, "not just to bring better wages, but words of Christian love."596

Gil Robles was important to the CEDA' s propaganda effort, but each of the CEDA' s

auxiliary organizations also played a key role. Women acted as speakers at meetings throughout

Spain, as did members of AO in each province. Each of the three auxiliaries held its own

meetings. In one case in Madrid, three candidates met exclusively with the JAP to present their

candidacies.597 The CESO, a Catholic syndicate with ties to AO, published a manifesto urging

voters to support the union of right-wing parties that would present itself in the elections because

they believed the right would stop the favoritism of Socialists in the workplace.598 The CEDA

sought specifically to gain the votes of government workers, telling them that, if elected, the

party would eliminate favoritism from hiring and improve working conditions.599 Toledo's

provincial party organization undertook a rigorous schedule of meetings, holding numerous

election meetings throughout the province every day, organized by AP, the JAP, and AP

595 Ibid., February 9 and 11, 1936; El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 28, 1936.

596 El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 25 and 26, February 7 and 11, 1936; El Debate, February 12, 1936. During his
visit, he also held a special meeting with the JAP. The meeting had originally been scheduled for late January, but
poor weather forced its cancellation. They distributed 4,000 meals in lieu of the banquet that was supposed to
accompany the meeting. See El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 29, 1936.

597 El Debate, February 7 and 8, 1936. The three candidates were Mariano Serrano Mendicute, Antonio Bermuidez
Cafiete, and Rafael Marin Lgzaro, who all represented AP in the Madrid (capital) election district.

598 Ibid., January 25, 1936. For more on the CESO, see Chapter 8.

599 Ibid., February 14, 1936.

Femenina. Similarly, Seville focused on the organization of a vast number of electoral

propaganda meetings throughout the province. In that case, however, AP tended to control

organization, and members of the auxiliaries accompanied AP leaders to meetings.

In Toledo, Madariaga broke his silence on electoral issues with an article in El Ca;stellanolll~~~~~~11111

explaining why he had stayed away from the topic. His article reads as though written by a

defeated man. While he accepts the Union de derecha~s, he stops short of endorsing it

unconditionally. Instead, he attacks the concept as something that "the whole world defends;

nobody defines it." Though he had acted as a leader in the past, he declared himself simply a

soldier, willing to obey the orders of his leaders.600 He described the Popular Front as the

again if given the chance. Only with the CEDA could the Spanish people expect to receive aid

from the government and avert hunger. He urged Toledo's Catholics to stand up and support

their candidates in the elections, in order to save their country.601

The CEDA made no national coalition with another party for these elections, preferring

instead to make alliances at the local level to maximize the potential for more seats.602 In Madrid

(capital), the CEDA actually had only five of the thirteen places on the right-wing ballot. Other

parties represented included RE, the Traditionalist Commune, and the Radicals, in addition to

several independents. The provincial list had a higher proportion of AP members, but it was still

not exclusive.60 Toledo's members sought to create an Union de derecha~s very early on. Its

600 El Castellano, December 30, 1935.

601 Ibid., February 14, 1936.

602 El Debate, February 6 and 11, 1936; Javier Tussell, Historia de la democracia cristiana en Espaila, volume 1
(Madrid: Editorial Cuadernos para el Didlogo, 1974), 325-6. In Toledo, a committee of seven people chose the
candidates. See El Castellano, January 6, 1936.

603 El Debate, February 12, 1936; Montero, La CEDA, volume 2, 344.

strongest supporter in the press was Antonio Galan, president of AP in Urda. AP's electoral

successes from the previous elections gave it a strong bargaining position, however, and six of

the eight candidates belonged to AP.604 In Seville, where AP had agreed to give Gil Robles

control over choosing their candidates, the list in the capital consisted of two AP members and

one each from Renovacion Espaiola and the Traditionalist Commune. The provincial list of

eight contained only four cedistas, and at least one of the other candidates came from the Partido~PPP~~~~PPP~~~PPP

Republican Conservador.605

Two days after the elections, El Debate announced in its headline, "The CEDA wins places

and continues being the most numerous minority."606 This assertion was true, but it hid the

underlying reality. While the CEDA did have a more numerous minority in the Cortes than any

other single party, its representation in the chamber had fallen from 115 to eighty-eight.

However, because no other right-wing party won more than fifteen seats, and the Radicals had

received a very small number of votes, the Popular Front took control of the chamber. This was a

significant change, but it says much more about the electoral law than about the parties

themselves. Because of the nature of the electoral law, the right actually received only one

percent less of the vote than the Popular Front, but the way in which seats were distributed led to

a significant swing in the composition of the chamber.607

604 El Castellano, December 19, 20, 26, and 27, 1935, February 3, 1936; Montero, La CEDA, volume 2, 344. Avia
argued that rather than create a union of right-wing parties, they should focus simply on not separating them. In late
January, one author in the paper argued that AP should make an alliance with the Radicals instead of the extreme
right. See El Castellano, January 22, 1936. RE pulled out of the elections after failing to reach an agreement with
AP on representation on the lists. El Castellano, February 1, 1936.

605 El Correo de Andalucia, January 31 and February 15, 1936.

606 El Debate, February 18, 1936; El Castellano, February 18, 1936.

607 Stanley Payne, The Collapse of the Spanish Republic, 1933-1936: Origins of the C'ivil War (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 2006), 176-7; Montero, La CEDA, vol. 2, 333-4; El Debate, February 26, 1936. Initially, the
CEDA won 101 seats, but lost eight when the Popular Front annulled elections in certain provinces where they

The provincial view of the election results is somewhat more favorable than the national

picture. In Toledo, the CEDA won the maj ority of seats, with its top candidates receiving more

than 120,000 votes. The closest candidate from the left received only 76,000 votes.608 Seville

was a bit different. In the capital, Jesus Pab6n and Jaime Oriol won the minority seats, while in

the province, the CEDA' s electoral alliance turned against them, and they failed to win a single

seat.609 Manuel Beca Mateos, one of the provincial candidates, blamed the schemes of two

Republican candidates on the CEDA' s list for his defeat.610 The ambiguity of these results led to

a sense of confusion among the CEDA' s members, and it took several days for reality to fully set

in that they had ultimately lost the elections.

Post-election Troubles

After the elections, the CEDA entered a period of deep introspection. Gil Robles, who

seemed absolutely crushed by the results, temporarily put Manuel Gimenez Fernandez in charge

of the party. Initially, Gil Robles urged calm until the final results came out, but a sense of deep

frustration is evident in his comments.611 The party also reminded the public that it would

continue to obey a legalist tactic, allaying some fears that had arisen when Gil Robles had

believed the right had committed fraud. In the event, it was simply an excuse to take seats away from its political
6018 El Castellano, February 18, 1936. These results seem to support the CEDA's claim of 90,000 members in the
6019 El Correo de 4ndalucia, February 18 and 19, 1936.

6101 Ibid., February 22, 1936; Letter from Manuel Beca Mateos to MGF, February 23, 1936, AGF, legajo B-XIII/14.
Also available in Epistolario Politico, 175.

611 Gil Robles clarified in early March that he would lead the parliamentary minority of the CEDA. The next day he
denied that he had given up leadership of the party, even temporarily. See El Debate, March 5 and 6, 1936. Letters
in Gim~nez Fernindez's archive indicate that he had indeed taken over for Gil Robles, although only temporarily.
See Juan Antonio Ollero de la Rosa to MGF, February 20, 1936, AGF, legajo B-XIII/153; Jos6 Gastalver Jimeno to
MGF, February 20, 1936, AGF, legajo B-XIII/73; Jos6 Gafo Muffiz to MGF, February 22, 1936, AGF, legajo B-
XIII/237; Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario politico, 172-4. See also El Socialista, February 20, 1936.

suggested to the President that the army be called out to restore order after the elections.612 They

entered a period of introspection. Oscar Perez Solis declared that the CEDA had lost the

elections not because they could not win, but because they did not want to win enough. He

believed that this was the only possible explanation for the fact that the right, which he believed

possessed a clear numerical superiority over the left, had lost the elections.613 There was some

talk of disbanding the CEDA very early on, but Gil Robles quickly announced that they would


Local leaders tried to make sense of what had happened. In Toledo, they faced the

interesting challenge of celebrating their victory in the province while recognizing the failure of

the CEDA to achieve victory nationally. Molina Nieto urged his fellow party members to avoid

violence, telling them that even "if others raise their fists, let us lift up our hearts." Later, the

CESO blamed the national defeat on the failure of the CEDA to adequately support the interests

of the working class.615 In Seville, AP blamed its failure to win on an illegal campaign against its

candidates, declaring that very few of the electoral colleges had not been the site of criminal

outrages.616 JOse Monge Bernal argued that the 1933 elections had been "relatively easy" for the

CEDA. Party members had become complacent and had not taken the 1936 elections seriously

enough. According to Monge Bernal, others had simply lost faith in the Republic and refused to

vote. He believed that in the future, the CEDA would better understand how to accomplish its

612 El Debate, February 20 and 21, 1936. One should note that Gil Robles had not proposed a coup. He, along with
some of the generals, feared the outbreak of revolutionary violence in the wake of the Popular Front' s victory.

613 El Debate, February 21, 1936; El Castellano, February 24, 1936.

614 El Debate, February 23, 1936.

615 El Castellano, February 19 and 26, 1936.

616 El Correo de Andalucia, February 18, 1936.

goals and return to power.617 Maria Ofelia Ochoa, secretary of ACM, addressed a series of three

articles to "you who criticize," "you who lament," and "you who work," urging all of them on in

the labors left undone and assuring them that all was not lost.618

Gil Robles blamed his party's electoral failure on six main adversities, many of which

openly implicated the left in electoral fraud. More than anything, he wanted to explain away

defeat without blaming his own group. First, supporting the Radical governments in parliament

had prevented the CEDA from unveiling its own social program until the very end, when Alcala-

Zamora dissolved the Cortes to keep the Catholic party from doing so. Because of this, two years

of government had been "wasted." Second, Portela' s efforts to organize a center movement had

complicated the creation of alliances by making it difficult to form coalitions with moderate

groups. Third, the left's extremely broad electoral coalition had increased its potential for victory

by focusing on the single issue of amnesty for those involved in the October 1934 uprising.

Fourth, certain unspecified coercionss" in some provinces on election day, coupled with threats

of violence against right-wing voters and the right' s "suicidal quietism," kept many of the

CEDA' s supporters from voting. Fifth, some of the CEDA' s allies had been "disloyal" to the

alliance, working with left-wing parties to steal minority seats from the Catholic confederation.

Sixth, the "anarchy" of the period from February 17-20 had permitted the left to steal the

elections in several provinces by taking control of the ballots after voting had ended (and making

an accurate accounting therefore impossible). Even so, he declared that the CEDA "knows how

617 Ibid., February 19, 23, and 25, 1936.

618 Ibid., February 27, March 1 and 3, 1936.

to win and knows how to lose." It would continue to act within legality but would now avoid

alliances at all costs.619

The Manuel Gimenez Fernandez archive provides a great deal of information about the the

CEDA' s situation after the elections, demonstrating that the party faced significant introspection

at this time. In one letter, the president of AO in Barcelona explained that the worker' s section of

the CEDA now needed to determine whether or not to remain in the confederation.620 Mariano

Sebastian Herrador, Gimenez Fernandez's former secretary from the Ministry of Agriculture,

worried that if the CEDA' s masses "went too far," they would push the Republic further to the

left, with disastrous consequences for the right.621 The archive also contains a list of CEDA

members who left Spain (or at least sent their families) in the wake of the elections, intimating

that they feared for their own safety. Some had returned by April, but many had not (including

Jaime Oriol).62

Gimenez Fernandez' s own accounting of the reasons for the election failure includes a

frank assessment of the right' s failures. He blamed four things: the poor timing of the elections,

lack of a proportional electoral system, the CEDA' s failure to fulfill its pledge of social justice,

619 El Debate, March 6, 1936; El Correo de 4ndalucia, March 6 and 11, 1936. With regard to the "anarchy" of
February 17-20, the Gim~nez Femi~ndez archive contains a list of incidents that occurred during that period, which
had been censored from appearing in El Debate. Examples include the burning of a church in Carabanchel Bajo
(Madrid), an assault on the AP headquarters in AlcalB de Henares (Mladrid), and an attempt to bumn the church in
Herrera (Seville). Other incidents took place throughout the country. Gonz~lez Ruiz to MGF, February 21, 1936,
AGF legajo B-X/2. Stanley Payne has called this period "the most extensive sequence of disorders that the Republic
experienced," other than the Asturias uprising. See Stanley Payne, "Political Violence in Spain's Second Republic,"
Journal of Contemporarv History 25, no. 2/3 (May-June 1990): 279.
621) JOrge Cera to MGF, February 25, 1936, AGF, legajo B-XIII/36; Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario
politico, 178-9. Cera intimates that Madariaga had left AO.

621 MarianO Sebasti~n Herrador to MGF, February 25, 1936, in Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario
politico, 179-180.
622 "Relaci6n de families que han marchado al extranjero, han enviado a sus families o ya han regresado," April
1936, AGF legajo B-X/15. The list contains seventeen names of people who took their entire families across the
border, five who had left and returned, and eight who had sent their families. It appears to be limited to Seville.

and his party's "lack of fixed, determined, and categorical orientation." In his mind, the right-

wing movement up to 1933 "was an anti-party: and all of the efforts of its managing elements

have failed to draw from it the right-wing party or parties that Spain [needs to achieve]

parliamentary coexistence. In a confusing amalgam, in each group there existed incompatible

doctrines, contradictory tactics, irreductible criteria." While the left suffered many of the same

problems, Gimenez Fern~ndez targeted this lack of sufficient organization as the key component

of the right' s failure to win the 1936 elections. In order to remedy the situation, he called for the

creation of new parties, arguing that many on the right had feared to do so because "he who does

not allow himself to be run over is called a fascist." In order to succeed in the future, they needed

to ignore what the left called them, because such labels only led to increasing polarization.623

Soon after the elections, Gimenez Fern~ndez, in his capacity as acting president, visited

with Manuel Azafia, the new Prime Minister. According to Gimenez Fern~ndez, the CEDA

would vote in favor of an amnesty decree for those implicated in the 1934 insurrection in the

interests of"social pacification." Gimenez Fern~ndez told Azafia that the right trusted him to

protect its civil rights, even after the post-election violence. According to Azafia's diaries, the

Prime Minister replied, "'You have to become convinced,' I told him laughing, 'that the right

wing of the Republic is me, and you are some out-of-the-way appendices."624 This attitude left

little doubt that Azafia' s plans would seek to force the CEDA to submit or leave the Republic.

623 Draft of "Las pasadas elecciones," February or March 1936, AGF legajo B-X/7.

624 Manuel Azafia, Diarios completes: Monarquia, Repuiblica, Guerra Civil (Barcelona: Editorial Critica, 2000),
941-2. The entry indicates a disdain for Gim~nez Fern~ndez, who Azafia called "more warrior, despotic, and
fascist" than Gil Robles, even though "I have never heard him speak, nor read anything of his."

Though the CEDA promised a "constructive opposition" in the Cortes after the elections,

the Comisidn de Acta~s caused the Catholic deputies to consider walking out completely.625 The

Comisidn was organized by the winners of each national election to study the validity of the

results. In 1936, the CEDA accused the Popular Front-dominated Comisian used exceedingly

arbitrary criteria for determining where fraud had occurred, flatly refused to consider provinces

where the CEDA believed there was a possibility of fraud by the left, and worked to overturn

right-wing victories if possible. In anger, the CEDA and other right-wing parties walked out of

the Cortes, protesting the way in which their efforts were being summarily dismissed. However,

claims of massive impropriety in the Comisidn de Acta~s lack substance. The Comisidn, though

clearly biased against the right and dominated by a group seeking to overturn all of the CEDA' s

seats, ultimately changed only a few of the election results, and new elections were held in only

two provinces--a situation somewhat less dire than the CEDA wished to present.626

More trouble loomed. In April, the Popular Front government made good on a campaign

promise and pushed for the ouster of Alcala-Zamora, accusing him of illegally dissolving the

Cortes in early 1936. Ironically, this dissolution is the same one that opened the way for the

Popular Front' s victory. They succeeded in this tactic and called for new presidential

elections.627 The CEDA, which had frequently criticized Alcala-Zamora, abstained from the

presidential election, indignant that the left would now dismiss the president who had made their

625 El Debate, March 5, 1936; El Castellano, March 5, 1936. The CEDA national council said its deputies would be
a "constructive opposition."

626 El Debate, April 1, 1936; El Socialista, March 28, 1936. For more on the Comisidn de Actas, see Payne, Spain 's
First Republic, 296-7; Preston, The Coming, 248-50; Robinson, The Origins, 255-6. Preston and Robinson disagree
on the reasons that Indalecio Prieto, the Socialist president of the Comisidn, resigned his post. Robinson argues that
he resigned in protest over attempts to annul all of the right' s seats, while Preston believes he quit for unrelated

627 Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 308-13.

government possible.628 The elections made Manuel Azafia president of the Republic. The

Catholic press began to assail the "permanent instability" of the government during the


Much has been written about the difficulties faced by the JAP during the spring of 1936.

While this will be discussed in more depth in Chapter 8, it should be noted here that about

10,000 japista~s, or approximately 4.4 percent of the JAP's membership, left the party for the

Falange, Spain's fascist party, during the spring. However, press accounts imply a more massive

membership decrease, for which a simply drop of 4.4 percent is insufficient explanation. It seems

clear that more members left the JAP than joined the Falange. Others likely left for the

Traditionalist Commune, and many probably quit politics altogether, disgusted at the country's

direction. In any event, the JAP itself sought to minimize concerns over its future by declaring in

May, "the JAP is where it was" before, and any rumors about a possible fusion with the Falange

were not true. The JAP had undertaken discussions with the Falange over the possibility of a

concerted effort, but the fascists had demanded that the JAP simply become a part of the

Falange, which was unacceptable to the JAP's leadership.630

During the spring, the CEDA made overtures to the left in an attempt to create a more

broadly based governing coalition. Gimenez Fernandez, through Miguel Maura, had attempted to

maintain contact with Azafia and his party. Maura, believing there was no legitimate center party

628 El Debate, April 21, 1936; El Castellano, April 23, 1936; El Correo de Andalucia, April 12, 1936.

629 El Debate, April 8, 1936. During this period, the right-wing press seems to have been particularly afflicted by
government censorship.
630 El Correo de Andalucia, May 17, 1936; Julio Gil Pecharromin, Josd Antonio Primo de Rivera: Retrato de un
visionario, second edition (Madrid: Temas de Hoy, 2003), 422.

to stabilize the political climate, obliged in this effort.631 In a letter to Gimenez Fernandez,

Salvador de Madariaga proclaimed that "If we could succeed in making a bridge! they could

resolve the Republic's diffaculties.632 The CEDA continued to move further toward the center

during the spring. Though its ideology remained essentially the same as before, the CEDA

officially distanced itself from any kind of extralegal activity and criticized the extreme right for

its obstructionist tactics.633 One of their key aspirations was the creation of a "national" coalition

that closed the gap between the left and right by linking the CEDA, Republicans, and Prieto's

Socialist followers together.634 Prieto, however, failed to see the value of such a combination and

refused the possibility.

In a meeting of the CEDA national council on March 19, Manuel Gimenez Fernandez

posed a series of questions to the council in an effort to force clarification of the party's position

with respect to the Republic. These remarks indicated that he wished the party to do three things:

declare itself Republican without qualifications, fully embrace democracy, and explain the

party's social program. Gil Robles, in a response Gimenez Fernandez later proclaimed

"brilliant," argued that a party assembly needed to respond to those issues. As for their social

program, the Jefe recognized that their previous policies had been "totally erroneous and

counterproductive." He urged the party to undertake a revision of their policies in these areas.635

The meeting demonstrated the deep fissures still existing in the CEDA, and, far from resolving

631 Miguel Maura Gamazo to Miguel Garcia y Bravo-Ferrer, February 26, 1936, AGF, legajo B-XV-a/ 11: Braojos
Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario politico, 180-1.

632 Salvador de Madariaga to MGF, May 1935, AGF, legajo B-XV-e/9.

633 El Castellano, April 6, 1936.

634 C81YO and Tussell, Gimenez Fernaindez, 221-2; El Socialista, April 24, 1936.

635 El Castellano, March 20, 1936; MGF to Geminiano Carrascal, April 11, 1936, AGF, legajo B-XIII/30: Braojos
Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario politico, 185-6: Gil Robles, No fue possible, 576-7: Calvo and Tussel,
Gimenez Fernaindez, 180-4.

these issues, put them off to a later date. At the outbreak of civil war, the party had done none of

what Gimenez Fern~ndez suggested.

This initiated a very trying time for Gimenez Fern~ndez, who now became more of an

anachronism in the CEDA than ever before. The divisions became greater as time passed and

significant crises faced the party. Gimenez Fern~ndez suspected, with good reason, that some

cedista~s were deliberately sabotaging his efforts to modernize the party. According to one of his

correspondents, he no longer fit in the party, but since Spain needed someone like him, he could

not remove himself from politics.636 As this crisis unfolded, Gimenez Fern~ndez took comfort in

the fact that AP in Segovia had asked him to be a candidate there after he was rej ected by the

party in Seville and Badaj oz in February 1936. Because of this, he considered that he owed his

allegiance more to social justice, to which he "consecrated" his seat in parliament, than to his

party.637 Ultimately, he stayed away from Madrid, wary of interacting too closely with the party,

while many of his associates begged him to return to political activity.

The CEDA continued to work, but at a much slower pace, and not without significant

opposition. In Seville, the mayor of Sanlucar la Mayor closed the local AP center in early March

because AP members were accused of throwing a rock at a left-wing celebration in the street.638

The party's municipal representatives, upset at the opposition minority's attempts to remove any

city technicians considered to favor the right, began a program of obstr-uction in the

municipality.639 In Madrid, El Socialista accused the CEDA of planning a coup, complete with

636 Mauricio Sgnchez to MGF, April 25, 1936, in Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario politico, 193-4.

637 MGF to Geminiano Carrascal Martin, May 30, 1936, AGF, legajo B-XIII/30; Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey,
Epistolario politico, 195-6. He never abandoned the party.
638 El Correo de Andalucia, March 5, 1936; El Debate, March 7, 1936.

639 El Correo de Andalucia, March 20, 1936.

attack vehicles and machine guns. The news was false, and the CEDA quickly denied it, but the

accusation damaged the party's credibility.640 Toledo's group succeeded much more in

maintaining its organization, since it had been so successful in the elections. In fact, there

appears to have been no disruption of activity at all, with the small exception that the Comision

de Acts had unsuccessfully tried to annul the elections.

Nationally, the CEDA reached a crisis point in its parliamentary action in June. During the

spring, the Popular Front had worked to implement its political program, revisiting the

anticlerical legislation, agrarian reform, and regional autonomy undertaken during the first

parliament of the Republic.641 The CEDA sought to impede the re-introduction of the Popular

Front' s versions of these elements, convinced as it was of their negative consequences on

Spanish society. During a particularly nasty parliamentary debate, the CEDA and its allies

"spontaneously" walked out of the chamber in protest. Over the next few days, they debated

whether or not to return to the chamber at all.642 Asked what he thought the CEDA' s attitude

should be in the face of the possibility of searches upon entering the Cortes, Gimenez Fernandez

shifted the issue to a discussion of whether or not the CEDA remained a Republican party. He

urged them to remain in the parliament and faithful to democratic ideals.643 In the end, the

Catholic deputies did return to parliament, but this remained possible for only a short time. In

mid-July, a military uprising led to the complete breakdown of normal political and social

activity in Spain.

640 El Debate, March 15, 1936.

641 Gil Pecharromin, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica, 225-8.

642 El Debate, June 5 and 6, 1936.

643 MGF to Geminiano Carrascal Martin, June 8, 1936, AGF, legajo B-XIII/30; Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey,
Epistolario politico, 197-8.

Conspiracy against the Republic

Julio Gil Pecharroman has called violence "the most outstanding trait of national life

between February and July 1936 and that which contributed in the clearest manner to the

progress of the right' s insurrectionist option."644 During the spring of 1936, violence increased

dramatically, with a total of 269 political killings between February 3 and July 17, along with a

number of assassination attempts against leaders of both right- and left-wing parties. In addition,

there were numerous church burning and attacks on newspapers. Gil Robles, in one

parliamentary speech, decried the rising violence, and extremist right-wing groups pointed to the

persistence of anticlerical violence in its overtures to moderates.645 While both right and left-

wing groups took part in the violence, only the Falange was outlawed, an action taken in March

that had little effect on the growth of violence. In the face of such violence, many moderates

began to feel a need to choose sides, lacking confidence that the government would be able to

contain the violence.

As the country's political situation became increasingly polarized, a group of military

conspirators began planning a coup to overthrow the Republican government, which they

believed to be completely ineffective at maintaining public order. Planned as an old-fashioned

pronunciamniento, the uprising was to last only a few days and result in the creation in a military

regime similar to that of Primo de Rivera.646 Though several conspiracies developed during the

spring, the eventual movement that caused the civil war was led by Emilio Mola, a general

disillusioned by the deteriorating political conditions. General Sanjurj o, the leader of the failed

1932 uprising now in exile in Portugal, gave his blessing to Mola's movement after being

644 Gil Pecharromin, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica, 232.

645 Payne, "Political Violence," 281-2; Gil Robles, Discursos parlamentarios, 584.

646 Esenwein and Shubert, Spain at War, 103.

assured that he would be put in charge of any military government established after the coup.647

The uprising did not follow the plan designed by the conspirators. Sanjurjo died en route to

Spain, and the government offered a much stronger resistance than expected. Within just a few

weeks, it was a national civil war, which would last for three years.

Some historians have accused the CEDA of complicity in the conspiracy and civil war, and

there is some indication of at least a knowledge of the coming uprising. In late June, Gil Robles

gave the military conspirators a donation of 500,000 pesetas from the CEDA' s election fund.648

While this would seem to prove Gil Robles's role in the rising, the exact reasons why he gave

Mola the money remain unclear. According to his own 1968 account, Gil Robles claims that

several CEDA members approached him about the possibility of providing General Mola with

funds in case he needed to flee Spain. He acceded to the request, confident that "had they been

able to be consulted about the employment of the funds, in the new circumstances, almost all of

the donors" would have demanded they be employed by the military to end the anarchy facing

Spain. Gil Robles says that Mola never actually used the funds and offered to return them to him

in January 1937, which he refused because of the "many miseries and pains that needed to be

remedied in Spain," especially when the CEDA no longer existed.649 Some historians,

discounting this explanation, take this incident to mean that the CEDA actively supported the


While Gil Robles might have obscured his own reasoning, there is little doubt that some

other CEDA leaders did actively assist the rising. Enrique Herrera Oria, brother of Angel Herrera

647 Stanley Payne, Politics and the Military in Modern Spain (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967), 323.
648 Arraris, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica Espaiiola, vol. 4 (Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1968), 317.

649 Gil Robles, No fue possible, 798.

650 Preston, The Coming, 265.

Oria, delivered Gil Robles's donation to Mola in the company of Carlos Salamanca.651 JOSO

Delgado y Hemandez de Tej ada, a CEDA candidate for Madrid in the February 1936 elections,

played a maj or role in providing material assistance to the conspirators.652 In Valencia, the

Derecha Regional Valenciana, the CEDA' s regional affiliate, made plans to provide men for the

uprising.653 Ram6n Serrano Sufier, Franco's brother-in-law, had left the CEDA for the Falange

and became a key link between the fascists and the military conspirators. Gil Robles himself

clearly knew what was planned, and though he did not provide significant aid to the movement,

he turned a blind eye to events. Significantly, it is also clear that the government itself knew

something was in the works. Generals under suspicion were reassigned to posts away from

important military positions, though the government downplayed the significance of this

action.654 Ultimately, these measures had little effect on the planning of the rebellion.

As an organization, the CEDA played no official role in the uprising, but Gil Robles's

actions defy simple categorization. After giving Mola money, Gil Robles met with Fal Conde,

the national leader of the Traditionalist Commune, who had relations with the conspirators. In

their meeting, Gil Robles offered the CEDA' s aid to the uprising if the rebels agreed to hand

power over to a civilian government as soon as they had control. This condition, however, did

not please Mola, who on July 7 made clear that "we do not have any concomitance with Sr.

651 Arraris, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica Espaiiola, 317. Rafael Aizp~im, a former CEDA minister, helped make
the arrangements.

652 Gil Robles, No fue possible, 719.

653 Preston, The Coming, 265-6; Payne, Politics and the Military, 318. Luis Lucia, the moderate leader of the DRV
for most of the Republic, lost influence to those in favor of a military solution to the Republic's problems after the
February 1936 elections.

654 Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 289-90; George Esenwein, The Spanish Civil War: A Modern Tragedy (New
York: Routledge, 2005), 21-3.

Maura or with Sr. Gil Robles, nor with any other politician."655 When viewed in the context of

other events, this indicates that Gil Robles did in some sense approve of the uprising, but it also

demonstrates that he definitely opposed a military regime.

Despite the actions of some of its leaders, the CEDA as a whole continued to persist in

legalism even after the murder of Calvo Sotelo on July 13, and there is little evidence of

widespread support for the conspiracy among local cedistas.656 The next day, Gil Robles

contacted the CEDA' s deputies to ask their opinion on how to respond to the murder. Because

the CEDA' s leaders considered the government at least morally complicit in the crime, they

considered the possibility of abandoning the Cortes in a show of protest. Gimenez Fernandez

opposed this action, arguing that the CEDA should instead push for a special commission to

undertake a full and open investigation of the government' s role. While the investigation took

place, he also proposed closing the Cortes.657 Events moved too quickly for the proposal to be

accepted, but the planned action demonstrated the persistence of a sense of legalism within the

party. While more extreme groups had already begun to mobilize for the insurrection, the CEDA

remained committed to a legal resolution to the problem of violence.

Gil Robles told CEDA members before the uprising that if the military mounted a coup,

they should "j oin the army strictly personally [not as party representatives] and not take part in

655 Antonio de Lizarza Iribarren, Ademorias de la conspiracion 1931-1936 (Pamplona: Editorial GC~mez, 1969), 122.

656 C81YO Sotelo was murdered in retaliation for the earlier murder of the Socialist Assault Guard Jos6 del Castillo by
falangistas. The government had acceded to a request to round up right-wing leaders in Madrid in an attempt to stop
the rising tide of violence. There is evidence that Gil Robles and Lerroux were also targets of the sweep. It appears
that Calvo Sotelo's death was unplanned. For a detailed account, see Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 354-7: Juan-
Sime6n Vidarte, Todos fuimos culpables: Testimonio de un socialist espaiiol, vol. 1 (Barcelona: Ediciones
Grijalbo, 1978), 213-6.

657 Circular letter from Jos6 Maria Gil Robles, July 14, 1936, and Manuel Gim~nez Fern~ndez to Jos6 Maria Gil
Robles, July 17, 1936, in Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario politico, 209-11. Gim~nez Fern~ndez
proposed himself as the CEDA representative on the commission in order to protect Gil Robles from criticism.

possible organizations of repression."658 Once the war began, most members of the CEDA

supported the rebels, who had risen in defense of many of the same values held by party

members, and many joined the military. Cedista~s became the target of attacks in the Republican

zones. Many, including Dimas de Madariaga, were killed.659 Others, like Francisco Casares, took

refuge in foreign embassies until they could leave Spain.660 The Communist Party took over the

CEDA' s Madrid headquarters, destroying its archives.661 Many local leaders of the CEDA,

believing that the party had become irrelevant in the face of the uprising, simply gave up and

j oined other groups. Luciano de la Calzada, head of the JAP, took control of AP while Gil

Robles remained abroad. He described the CEDA' s involvement in the war thus: "Ideologically

little separated us from other organizations, and that little was drowned in the sea of the war' s

blood and in the imperative necessity of uniting for a common cause."662

The CEDA and the Civil War

In many areas of Spain, the exact nature of CEDA involvement in the early stages of the

war is unknown, but there is some evidence about the party's involvement in the uprising in

Toledo. In that city, the uprising failed initially, and the military rebels holed up in the Alcazar, a

military fortress in the city. When fighting broke out, rightists concentrated at the locales of AP

6 Gil Robles, No fue possible, 801. At least one CEDA member, ex-deputy RamC~n Ruiz Alonso, took part in
repression. He was personally responsible for the murder of Federico Garcia Lorca in Granada. See lan Gibson,
Federico Garcia Lorca: 4 Life (New York: Pantheon, 1989), 455-63; Vidarte, El bienio negro, 52-3.

659 Preston, The Coining, 278.

"6 Francisco Casares,~ i,,;..,, mus-Epaiia, 1936-193 7. 4puntes y recuerdos de un asilado en la Embajada a ;,un,,r, l
de Aladrid (Buenos Aires: Editorial Poblet, 1937).

661 Gil Robles, No fue possible, 799. Similar events transpired in most CEDA offices. More than anything else, this
has complicated the study of the CEDA, since official party documents were lost or destroyed. Very few remain in

6 Francisco Torres Garcia, "Entre la supervivencia, la reconstrucci6n y la unificaci6n: la political de la CEDA
(Acci6n Popular). 1936-1937" in Revision de la Guerra Civil Evpaniola, ed. Alfonso Bull6n de Mendoza and Luis
Eugenio Togores (Madrid: Actas, 2002), 416.

because for some reason, they were the only right-wing offices not closed or assaulted when

news of the rising made its way to Toledo. Traditionalists, falangistas, cedista~s, and RE had all

gone there. When fighting began in earnest, they made their way to the Alcazar, guided by the

son of Silvano Ciruj ano, who was a Lieutenant stationed at the fortress.663 Rather than a

premeditated act, this appears to have been an entirely coincidental chain of events, in response

to the attacks on other right-wing centers and a general fear for what might happen if they

remained unprotected. The situation settled into a siege, and after several months, General

Franco's troops liberated the Alcazar.

Seville suffered a much harsher repression than many other areas of Spain when General

Gonzalo Queipo de Llano's troops took control, killing thousands of suspected leftists in just a

few months. The city fell quickly to the Nationalists, who used it as a staging point for troops

entering Spain from Morocco. Little information is available about what happened to members

of the CEDA there when the war broke out, but it seems most of them would have supported the

uprising.664 They do not appear to have taken part in the repression, but on at least one occasion

Maria Ofelia Ochoa published a supportive article in El Correo de Andalucia. 665 The Falange

and Carlists played a much more important role in the uprising in Seville. Not all CEDA

members were entirely safe in the Nationalist zone. Manuel Gimenez Fernandez, in Cadiz at the

beginning of the conflict, found himself abandoned by the civil government of that province

when they removed the former minister' s official protection. On at least one occasion, a group of

drunken Falangists broke into his home, demanded money, attacked his wife, and threatened to

663 JOrge R. de Santayana, La pequelia historic delAlcrizar (Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1974), 12-4.

664 JOs6 Ramos Campos to MGF, July 29, 1936, in Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario politico, 211-2.
Ramos describes the uprising in Seville for Gim~nez Fern~ndez in terms favorable to the rebels, referring to the
Unidn de Hermanos Proletarios, a leftist group, in offensive terms.

665 El Correo de Andalucia, July 25, 1936.

kill him. The incident drove him to seek protection from Franco, who refused to commit himself.

He finally received help from Queipo de Llano, who protected him from harm on the condition

he not contact Gil Robles, possibly out of fear that they could organize a competing political

movement within the Nationalist zone.""

When rumors began circulating during the fall of 1936 that Gil Robles had left the

Ministry of War the previous fall because he had opposed a coup plan presented by Franco, he

wrote to the general, asking him to publicly disavow these charges, which Franco promptly did.

At the time, Gil Robles intended to leave politics behind, but the positive public reaction to

Franco' s letter inspired him to contemplate the reorganization of AP in early 1937, a task never

completed. The former CEDA leader knew that Franco, who by now had become the undisputed

leader of the Nationalist military, intended to fuse the militias under his command into a single

organization, and he hoped to increase his own role in that future organization. Calzada, still

leading the party within Spain, sought to preserve the independent character of AP in a doomed

enterprise.667 Franco planned to fuse the AP with the Falange and other right-wing political

groups in an effort to unify the political structure of the Nationalist Zone. When he realized that

AP no longer carried the same weight as the Traditionalists in the wake of the uprising, Franco

shifted his focus to combining the Falange and the Comuni6n Tradicionalista, and AP's merger

became an afterthought.668

666 JOs6 Calvo and Javier Tussell, Giminez Ferncindez, precursor de la democracia espailola (Seville, Mondadori,
1990), 228-9; Epistolario politico, 34, 234-5. The communication restriction was lifted in 1943, though Gim~nez
Fern~ndez and Gil Robles had kept in touch through mutual acquaintances.

667 Torres Garcia, "Entre la supervivencia," 418-20; Preston, Franco, 317-9. In November 1936, Gil Robles had
told Franco that the CEDA would take a hiatus.

668 Torres Garcia, "Entre la supervivencia," 421-3.

Once Franco announced the merger of the Falange and the Traditionalists in April 1937,

Gil Robles quickly realized that AP could no longer survive and soon announced that AP would

merge its forces with the other parties.669 In a letter to Calzada, he wrote that "So that the

unification of the national conscience soon becomes a fact, it is necessary that Acci6n Popular

die. A blessed death it is which contributes to the vigorous growth of a seed of new life."670 One

wonders why Gil Robles, who avoided personal identification with the uprising, acquiesced so

quickly to the unification order. Likely, he sought to preserve the possibility of political

influence in the new regime after the war. He played a complex game, seeking to avoid

identification with the outbreak of violence while remaining in Franco' s good graces.

The Spanish Civil War, then, had brought the CEDA to an end just as it brought Franco to

power. Franco, who would rule Spain until his death in 1975, had not trusted the CEDA during

the uprising, and he had seen Gil Robles as a potential rival. The end of the CEDA had allowed

the dictator essentially to exile the party's former leader to Portugal, where he would not cause

problems for the new regime. In fact, apart from Ram6n Serrano Sufier, Franco's brother-in-law,

very few cedista~s achieved high positions in government. In Toledo, the former provincial

president of AP, Silvano Cirujano, became the civil governor after Franco's forces took over.671

A study of Franco' s political aparatus from 1936 to 1945 by Viver Pi-Sunyer has shown that of

669 Torres Garcia, 427-8. He sent two letters to Calzada and one to Franco.

670 JOs6 Guti~rrez-Rav6, GilRobles, caudillo fr~ustrado (Madrid: ERSA, 1967), 199.

671 C8TIOs Maria Rodriguez L6pez-Brea, "Dos claves de la political de Acci6n Popular durante la II Reptiblica:
agrarismo y catolicismo. El ejemplo de Toledo" in Estudios sobre la derecha espaiiola contemporcinea, ed. Javier
Tussell, Julio Gil Pecharromin, and Feliciano Montero (Madrid: Universidad Nacional de Educaci6n a Distancia,
1993), 546.

the 837 government functionaries studied, only seventy-two (or 8.6 percent) had belonged to the

CEDA during the Republic. The vast maj ority came directly from the military.672

The dictator clearly distrusted most of the former members of the CEDA, which he

considered to have worked too closely with the Republic. Many former cedistas, notably Gil

Robles, Jesus Pab6n, and Manuel Gimenez Fernandez, did in fact become critics of the

regime.673 In 1944, a group of former party members, including Candido Casanueva, were

visited by the police, investigating their ties to Gil Robles, who remained in exile. Many were

arrested.674 Few of the CEDA' s leaders went on to work in active opposition to the regime, but

some did later j oin the Christian Democracy movement in the 1960s and 1970s. It was fitting

that Gil Robles's Social Christian Democracy Party ran in the 1977 parliamentary elections that

would bring democracy to Spain after so many years of dictatorship.

672 C. Viver Pi-Sunyer, El personal politico de Franco (1936-1945) (Barcelona: Ediciones Vicens-Vives, 1978),
154, 157. If one includes every functionary labeled Catholicc" (excluding monarchists, traditionalists, and
Falangists), the total only grows to 126.

673 Miguel A. Ardid and Javier Castro Villacafias, Josd Maria Gil Robles (Madrid: Cara & Cruz, 2004), 141-5, 147-
8, 153-4, 271-3; Epistolario politico, 396.

674 Preston, Franco, "Caudillo de Espaiia, trans. Teresa Camprod6n and Diana Falc6n (Barcelona: Mondadori,
1994), 649-50.


The Second Republic provided Spanish women with their first real opportunity for

political involvement. The constitution allowed women to vote for the first time, and with this

right came increased political power and relevance. The maj or political parties began to target

women in order to harness their votes, and the right successfully cultivated already-existing

women's associations to help organize its efforts. By creating an autonomous women's

organization, the CEDA harnessed the votes of Spain's Catholic women. Women played an

important role not only in the success of their own organization but also in that of the CEDA as a

whole, from the very beginnings of the Republic. They played an active role in Accion Nacional

(AN), created their own organization when women were granted the right to vote, and helped the

CEDA become the Republic's largest political force by fulfilling three main roles: "electoral

organization," "Women's propaganda," and "asistencia social. "67 The Women's Section was

the most important auxiliary of the CEDA because of its work in these three areas.

The CEDA' s women' s section was not a unique organization, as it has parallels both in

Spain and elsewhere. One of the key attributes of this group was that it provided women with a

relatively contradictory proposition: they were asked to j oin a political union to protect the ideal

of the domestic woman. Aurora Morcillo, in her study of how the Franco regime articulated its

feminine ideology and how it was received by women's groups, has pointed out that women in

the Falange' s Seccion Femenina undertook a public role that contradicted the core of the

domestic ideology they preached.676 Victoria de Grazia and Claudia Koonz have made similar

675 C. E. D. 4., October 1, 1935.

676 Aurora Morcillo, True Catholic Womanhood: Gender Ideology in Franco's Spain (Dekalb: Northern Illinois
University Press, 2000), 108-9.

arguments about the role of women in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany as well, explaining that

while women promoted the regime's feminine ideal, they also undertook "un-'ladylike"'

responsibilities such as marching, speaking in public meetings, and managing money.677 These

three groups, while they demonstrate the relationship between conservative female organizations

with their male counterparts in right-wing regimes, differed from the CEDA's women's section

in important ways. The chief of these differences is the fundamental catholicism of the CEDA. In

many respects, it had much more in common with the German Center Party under the Weimar

Republic. That group actively courted women to its cause and worked closely with the Catholic

Women's League. Because its ideology was so closely linked to Catholicism, and because

Catholic women strongly favored it on religious grounds, the Center Party eventually took them

for granted, realizing that women would vote for them even without special inducement.

Catholic women, for the most part, undertook their own political organization.678

This occurred in Spain as well. The right created autonomous women's groups, such as AP

Femenina, the Damnas Tradicionalista~s or "Margaritas," the women' s section of Renovacion

Espafiola, and the Seccion Femenina of the Falange (created in 1934). These groups gave women

a role in the political arena. Mary Vincent' s study of Catholic women in Salamanca during the

Republic recognizes the significance of the fact that the Catholic Church openly encouraged

Spanish women to become involved in politics, contradicting fundamental domestic ideology.679

By contrast, the left did not create any successful women's organizations until April 1936, with

677 Claudia Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics (New York: St. Martin's
Press, 1987), 5; Victoria de Grazia, How Fascism Ruled Women: Italy, 1922-1945 (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1992), 265-6.

678 Julia Sneeringer, Winning Women 's Votes: Propaganda and Politics in Weimar Germany (Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 40-2, 91-2.

679 Mary Vincent, "The Politicization of Catholic Women in Salamanca, 193 1-1936" in Elites and Power in
Twentieth-century Spain, ed. Paul Preston and Frances Lannon, 113-4.

the foundation of the Anarchist Muj eres Libres. Socialist Women were particularly disorganized.

No women belonged to the executive board of the Socialist Party in either 193 1 or 1932, and

only a handful were elected to Parliament. When membership in the Socialist UGT peaked at

over 1,000,000 in 1932, only four percent of its membership was female. In fact, it took until

1932 for the number of women in the UGT to equal the number in the Catholic women's

syndicate, the Confederaci6n Nacional de Obreras Cat61icas.680 By contrast, fully forty-five

percent of the total AP membership in Madrid was women in 1933.681 Not only was the CEDA' s

women' s section the most important section of that party, it was the most significant women' s

political organization during the Republic.

Organization and Growth

Female participation in the CEDA began very early in the life of AN. Until late 193 1, there

was not a separate women's section, and women and men belonged to the same group. During

the Cortes campaign of 1931, women were enlisted to undertake the work of correcting the

electoral census.682 In AN's elections for Assembly delegates in July 1931, the party allowed all

members to vote "without distinction as to sex," and one woman, Carmen Fernandez de Lara,

was elected to the Assembly.683 Within months, AN allowed women to join Madrid' s district

680 Mary Nash, Defjing Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War (Denver, CO: Arden Press, 1995), 22;
Nash, "'Ideals of Redemption': Socialism and Women on the Left in Spain," in Women and Socialism Socialism and
Women: Europe between the Two World Wars, ed. Helmut Gruber and Pamela Graves (New York: Berghahn
Books, 1998), 349, 355, 367.

681 El Debate, May 7, 1933; El Correo de Andalucia, May 7, 1933; C. E. D. A., May 20, 1933; Javier Tussell,
Historia de la Democracia Cristiana en Espaiia. Tomo I: Antecedentes y C E. D. A., (Madrid: Cuadernos para el
Dialogo, 1974), 213. Of a total membership of between 17,000 and 18,000, some 8,000 were women, meaning that
membership was somewhere between forty-four and forty-seven percent.

682 El Debate, May 3 and 8, 1931. The paper made it a point to mention the "recordwomen," who carried out the task
of updating the census. They took over this responsibility for every election during the Republic. See Monge Bemal,
1087; Ellas, May 29, 1932.

683 El Debate, July 22 and August 22, 1931.

committees.684 Even so, women felt secondary in AN' s organization and wanted to create their

own group. Fernandez de Lara criticized AN during the 1931 election campaign for not

including any women on their lists, and El Castellano agreed that Catholic women would bring

"the representative voice of the most generalized and predominant women' s thought in Spain" to

oppose that of leftist women. Their quick defense of the faith had already given an example to

"pusillanimous men."685 In late 1931, Fernandez de Lara received Angel Herrera' s blessing to

create a women's organization, "Aspiraciones."686 The association held its first (and only)

national assembly in May 1932, attended by members of AN' s women's section, as well as

ACM and other women' s groups throughout Spain.687 AN appears to have been unhappy with

this organization, because it soon created a competing Women's section, which undercut support

for "Aspiraciones."

AN constituted its Women's Section in Madrid on November 14, 1931, as it became clear

that women would indeed gain voting rights.688 This section would "give an organic and legal

form to that incorporation of women in the labors of Accion Nacional. "68 The AN program said

that the government should gradually carry out the "incorporation in the Civil Code of measures

that tend to establish absolute legal equality between individuals of different sex."690 The

684 Ibid., October 28, 1931.

685 El Castellano, June 8, 1933.

686 Realidades, March 11, 1933; Aspiraciones, January 23, 1932. AN gave them a place to meet and encouraged
their activities, but "Aspiraciones" began because Angel Herrera had refused to organize a women' s section of AN.
Ironically, AN created its women's section almost immediately after the appearance of "Aspiraciones."

687 Aspiraciones, May 21, 1932.

688 El Debate, November 15, 1931; Monge Bernal, 205. Monge Bernal says the group was organized on December
17, 1931. This may have been when the statutes were officially accepted by the government. The committee was
clearly functioning in November.

689 Ibid., December 1, 1931.

690 Ibid., December 6, 1931.

women's section opened membership to all women over eighteen years of age, though it

preserved the distinction of social rank through the imposition of membership levels.691 Local

organizations had three sections: cultural, propaganda, and census.692 At the end of 1931, there

were women's groups in over 100 towns throughout the country.693

In Madrid, Seville, and Toledo, the Women' s Section grew rapidly, and by the end of the

Republic had a significant membership. The committee in Madrid acted as a de facto national

committee. Many of the original committee members were either spouses or relatives of

prominent members of the CEDA, which ensured their ideological purity.694 Matilde Rubio and

other female propagandists from the Madrid association travelled extensively outside the city in

order to establish local committees, using vehicles loaned by wealthy female affiliates. They

began with the suburbs of Madrid, such as Fuencarral, where they had 300 members by the end

of December 193 1.695 By August 1933, there were groups in 90 towns, providing a framework

for extending the women's section throughout the province.696 Madrid women's groups were

organized by district in the capital, which effectively organized the city's Catholic women into

smaller groups that could more effectively influence their own neighborhoods.697 Many of the

members of the Madrid committee spoke in meetings throughout the country, rallying women to

691 MOnge Bernal, 205-7. Membership levels were honorary, protector, active, and adherent. To reach the highest
levels, one needed the approval of the governing committee. "Adherents" gave the group only "moral support" and
did not pay dues. As such, they could not vote in general assemblies.

692 MOnge Bernal, 210-1.

693 El Debate, December 30, 1931. This number excludes non-affiliate groups such as ACM.

694 MOntero, La CEDA, volume 1, 666.

695 El Debate, December 30, 1931; C. E. D. A., August 15, 1933.

696 C. E. D. A., August 15, 1933.

697 El Debate, January 1, 1932.

their cause and helping to organize local committees.698 In October 1933, over 2,000 women

attended a meeting in Chinch6n, where the local AP Femenina affiliate claimed a membership of

700.699 When new elections threatened in April 1935, representatives of 127 committees in the

province of Madrid met in the capital to discuss election planning.'00

The Women' s Section also grew rapidly in Toledo. On December 9, 1931, Ram6n Molina

took the first steps toward organizing AN Femenina in that province. When the new group held

its first meeting two weeks later under of the leadership of Purificaci6n Gamero de Mateo, it had

already amassed a membership of 590.701 Soon thereafter, they began a campaign to extend AN

Femenina throughout the province, starting with Torrijos. The campaign generally consisted of

meetings led by Molina in company of several members of the Toledo women' s committee

(most often Purificaci6n Gamero and Concepci6n Labandera).702 Local groups grew quickly. In

February 1933, there were over 500 members of AP in Torrij os (both men and women). The

campaign continued into 1933, and new organizations sprung up around the province. In some

areas, the women' s section of AN was created before the men's, and in others the women' s

committees had larger memberships than their male counterpart.703 By 1933, AP Femenina was a

698 Ibid., May 7 and June 14, 1932.

699 Ibid., October 29, 1933.

7oo Ibid., April 14, 1935; C. E. D. A., May 1, 1935.

701 El Castellano, December 10, 19, and 24, 1931. The committee consisted of Purificaci6n Gamero de Mateo,
president; Maria del Avellanal, vice-president; Enriqueta Trivifio, secretary; Cristina Yibontrye, vicesecretary; The
Viuda de Trelles, politics; Concepci6n Labandera de Arroyo, propaganda; Patrocinio L6pez de Celestino, social;
Apolonia G6mez.
702 Ibid., December 29, 1931, January 11 and 12, March 18 and 22, April 20 and 22, November 18, 1932; El Debate,
January 13, April 21, December 30, 1932.

703 El Castellano, April 22, 1932, January 9, February 21 and 25, March 28, 1933. The Quintanar de la Orden
women' s group was constituted with 800 members prior to the creation of a male committee in that locality. In
January 1933, the declared membership of AP Femenina in Fuensalida (established several months before the men's
committee) was 700 while its male counterpart had 400 members.

dominant presence in the province of Toledo. When AP chose a provincial committee in October

1932, they made no distinction between men and women, and several women were chosen,

though at the same meeting they chose separate delegates for men, women, and youth to the

Madrid conference.704

Such rapid growth, however, did not come without hiccups. In May 1932, some confusion

reigned after the establishment of a feminine committee in Talavera de la Reina. Its initial

meeting was not "as extensive as it should have been" because only short notice of the meeting

had been given beforehand. As a result, the committee chosen at that meeting was downgraded

to provisional status with the sole mission to "collect declarations of support to Acci6n Popular,

support that women who agree with its ideology should diligently give."'os Within several

weeks, the situation seemed resolved when the men's committee formed and assigned two male

assessors to the women's group, pointing out that it already had "a large nucleus" at the end of

May .706 Further trouble came when Piedad Melgar, the president of AP Femenina in Tembleque,

faced a number of left-wing hecklers as she tried to address a meeting there in February 1933. El

Ca;stellanolll~~~~~~11111 commented on the irony in the fact that the interruptors, whose parties claimed to

support women's rights, had tried to deny "legitimate [political] rights, which they apparently

fail to recognize, even when a woman exercises it."707

Seville's Catholic women took a different path than those in Madrid and Toledo. In 1932,

they formed Accidn Ciudadanadd~~~~~ddddd~~~~ de la 2ujer (ACM), an independent Catholic women' s group,

modeled after Salamanca's Asociacidn Femenina de Educacidn Ciudadanad~~~~~ddddd~~~~ the first women's

704 Ibid., October 17, 1932.

70s Ibid., May 21, 1932.

706 Ibid., June 2, 1932. This was a conunon practice in the CEDA, as discussed later in the chapter.

707 Ibid., February 23, 1933.

organization created by AN' s women. Taking up the slogan "Religion, Patria, and Family,"

ACM organized a leadership committee, a Catholic press committee, committees to handle the

electoral census, a circulo de studio, 7os and a "morality" section, as well as providing funds to

organize a library.709 Members donated furniture for the new offices, and they raised 3,000

pesetas for propaganda efforts by selling flowers from the gardens of prominent members.710

ACM had at least fifteen local groups by August 1932. "1 By the time AP tried to establish its

own women's section in Seville, ACM was already well established.712 A 1933 proposal for AP

Seville's reorganization included a statement that exempted AP Seville from creating its own

women's section whenever "there exists in the Municipality some women's association of

political or social character that accepts the program of the CEDA."713 Even so, the Seville

women's organization refused to define itself as a political organization, claiming instead that it

worked "above political parties."714 In keeping with this approach, ACM representatives

attended both Traditionalist and AN meetings, and the organization sponsored conferences by

Maria Rosa Urraca Pastor, a Traditionalist."

70s Groups organized to study specific issues, or types of issues, were called circulos de studio. Italics added.

709 El Correo de Andalucia, April 10, 1932; Aspiraciones, July 9, 1932; La Unidn, December 11, 1931; Monge
Bernal, Accidn Popular, 1087. Monge Bernal puts the foundation in December 1931. Most other sources agree on
January 1932.

710Aspiraciones, July 9, 1932.

711 Alvarez, "La derecha en Sevilla," volume 1, 509

712 The one exception was Cazalla, where women organized a women's section of AN in March 1932. See El
Correo deAndalucia, March 9, 1932.
713 "Reglamento de la organizaci6n local de 'Acci6n Popular' de Sevilla," AGF, legajo B-VII/12. There is no record
of whether or not this particular point was accepted by the provincial assembly.

714 La Unidn, July 28, 1932.

71s El Correo de Andalucia, February 26, March 1, 8, and 9, 1932; La Unidn, March 4, 1932; ABC (Seville), March
1, 1932.

ACM shared the fate of AP and the Traditionalists in Seville after the Sanjurj ada in August

1932, and the government closed its locale until January 1933.716 In December, a group of ACM

representatives published a plea to the government to reopen their centers. When finally

allowed to reopen, the group returned quickly to activity by organizing a conference series

featuring Pilar Velasco, a national leader in AP Femenina. Members also participated in a

Traditionalist meeting featuring Urraca Pastor." ACM organized a maj or meeting at the

FrontC~n Betis on Easter Sunday 1933, followed by another meeting in Osuna the next day.719

While several new committees formed during the summer, the Constantina branch suffered a

government closure when its leadership refused to hand over its register, cash box, and list of

mem ers.'

Nineteen committees had formed in 1932 and 1933, and there were at least twenty-five

ACM groups throughout Seville in March 1935. It appears that expansion began to taper off at

that point, but the lack of records of new committees after March 1935 may indicate a clerical

problem more than stalled growth.721 Membership increases were fueled by ACM's continued

716 El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 8, 1933.

717 The paper wrote that around Christmas and New Year's, "in many homes those days will appear to be weeks of
Passion [suffering]" because they had lost the happiness associated with the Christmas season as a result of
government persecution against the Church. El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 14, 1932.

71s Ibid., January 26, February 4 and 7, 1933.

719 Ibid., April 18, 19, and 23, 1933; El Debate, April 18, 1933; 4BC (Seville), April 18 and 22, 1933. Attendance
was estimated at 8,000 to 10,000.

72 El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 11, July 4, 1933; 4. B. C. (Seville), July 5 and 16, 1933. They claimed that they did
not turn over the material because the committee was still in its organizational stage, so they did not yet have any of
the requested items. Leandro Alvarez Rey, however, points out that they had already presented their statutes to the
civil government and therefore must have had the information the government had requested. See Alvarez Rey, "La
derecha en Sevilla," volume 1, 511 and 576.

72 Alvarez Rev, "La derecha en Sevilla," volume 1, 509-10: El Correo de 4ndalucia, March 28, 1935. Alvarez's
numbers are based on records from the provincial government, which kept a list of political organizations. However,
these records are notoriously incomplete. Most likely, there were more than twenty-five committees, though one
cannot know exactly how many. Many of the committees in small towns or villages had a very limited membership.

charitable activities such as the summer camps and "cultural sessions." The group in the

provincial capital moved to a larger headquarters in May 1934 to accommodate its growing

membership, as did the Lebrija group in January 1935.722 In Seville alone, ACM claimed some

5,000 members and 13,000 "supporters."723 ACM also claimed to have 3,000 working women in

its ranks in late 1935.724

Such growth did not come without difficulties. A member in Sanlucar la Mayor publicly

raised the issue of incompatibility between membership in ACM and activity in other parties.

Esther Ahuj a, the president of the local gruop, resigned her position in August 193 5 because she

had participated in a Traditionalist meeting. Ahuj a justified her actions by falsely claiming that

the provincial president of ACM, Juana Gamero, acted as Renovacion Espaiola's honorary

president in Seville.725 The issue clearly touched a nerve, and the provincial committee stepped

in to resolve the dispute. Addressing the issue a week later, Maria Ofelia Ochoa, ACM's

provincial secretary, explained that the problem was a purely local dispute caused by confusion

over the nature of the organization. The committee rej ected Ahuj a' s resignation, instead giving

her a leave of absence from her position to help cool the angry passions excited in the exchange.

Addressing the central concerns raised by the dispute, Ochoa reaffirmed that ACM maintained

itself separate from other political groups and that it did not "oblige" anyone to make a

Republican or Monarchist affirmation.726 This appears to have resolved the dispute.

722 El Correo de Andalucia, May 5, 1934, January 4, 1935.

723 C. E. D. A., October 1934.

724 MOnge Bernal, 1087.

725 La Unidn, August 25 and 30, 1935. The dispute began when Concepci6n Marin sent a telegram announcing her
departure from ACM because of the "partial activity" of the local president.
726 El Correo de Andalucia, September 8, 1935.

In addition to the regular women' s section, the CEDA created the JAP Femenina for young

women in 1933.727 Centered in Madrid, groups developed throughout the country and acted as a

preparatory organization for AP Femenina. Though the JAP Femenina' s first national

conference, organized for Avila in the summer of 1935, was cancelled without reason, it was

quite successful in other areas.728 In Order to attract members, the JAP Femenina organized

numerous conferences featuring speakers like Gil Robles, Jose Maria Peman, Carmen Pita, and

others, and set up a library. Conference topics ranged from philosophical and historical issues to

practical tips on public speaking.72 In the 1934-5 course, speakers covered such issues as the

social role of women, "influence and role of women in public offices," and "the apostleship of

example."73 They also offered a scholarship of 500 pesetas for one of their members to study at

the summer program of the Catholic University in Santander.731 Carmen Caro, the winner of a

JAP Femenina writing contest on the theme of "patriotism," received a gold bracelet inscribed

with the JAP's insignia.73 The JAP Femenina also took primary responsibility for the CEDA's

social aid program in Madrid, as discussed below.

The CEDA's Vision of Womanhood

Just as the CEDA in general closely adhered to Catholic theology in its ideological

outlook, so did the women's section rely on Church teachings. Catholicism embraced a

hierarchical vision of gender relations. The family was the basic structure of society, and each

727 El Debate, April 30, May 3 and 5, 1933; C. E. D. A., May 20, 1933. Carmen Primo de Rivera, the daughter of
Miguel Primo de Rivera and sister to Jos6 Antonio, belonged to the founding committee.
728 El Debate, June 7, 1935.

729 Ibid., February 23, March 4, April 8, 1934, May 29, 1936.

730 C. E. D. A., January 31, 1935.

731 El Debate, June 12, 1934.

732 C. E. D. A., March 15 and May 1, 1935.

person had a specific social role that depended on one's position in a family.733 Men and women

should be considered equal "as members of society; but in marriage it would prove to be

impossible. Every society implies hierarchy, and every hierarchy implies inequality of rights and

obligations." Society needed to maintain the "personality" of women. Yet, even though "the

Christian idea lives in her soul, .. when she lacks the restraint of religion she slides toward an

insufferable pedantry and toward a grotesque radicalism."734 Leo XIII' s Arcanus described a

family structure with a husband at the head and a wife subj ect to him. The wife was not to be a

servant, but a companion, "so that her obedience shall be wanting in neither honor nor

dignity."735 In 1931, Pius XI took this idea further by declaring that wives owed "willing

obedience" to their husbands.73 Such obedience was not absolute, however. While Pius XI made

it clear that women should not aspire to complete equality with men (because in so doing, "she

will soon be reduced to the old state of slavery"), he also declared that women need not obey

demands "not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to a wife." If a husband

should "neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family."737

The CEDA applied this standard not only to its domestic ideology but also to the str-ucture

of the party. Regulations stipulating that each women' s committee should have two or three male

"assessors with experience in political matters that can orient its activity" fit perfectly with the

73 For a discussion of hierarchical gender relations, see Mary Nash, "Un/Contested Identities: Motherhood, Sex
Reform, and the Modernization of Gender Identity in Early Twentieth-century Spain" in C. Mr / .. r s;~ Spanish
Womanhood: Female Identity in Modern Spain, ed. Pamela Radcliff and Victoria Enders (Albany: State University
of New York Press, 1999), 25-49.

73 Monge Bernal, 202, 204.

7 Leo XIII, 4rcanuin, 1880, http://www .vatican.va/holy~father/leo_xiii/encyclical/ouet/f1
xiii enc 1002 1880 arcanum enhtml (accessed 5/12/2006).

7 Pius XI, Casti Connubli, 1930, http://www.vatican.va/holy~father/pius_xi/nclasdouethfp
xi enc 31 121930 casti-connubii en.html (accessed 9/13/2006).

7 Pius XI, Casti Connubli, 1930, http://www.vatican.va/holy~father/pius_xi/nclasdouethfp
xi enc 31 121930 casti-connubii en.html (accessed 9/13/2006).

Catholic worldview.738 As Frances Lannon has pointed out in her study of Spanish Catholicism,

Catholic women owed obedience to male superiors in almost everything. Even in autonomous

female religious orders, they "always had male chaplains, male ecclesiastical superiors and

confessors, and usually male spiritual directors."739 As such, the middle- and upper-class women

who organized AP Femenina would have recognized this as the normal way to do things.

Working under these conditions, women in the CEDA did enj oy a great deal of autonomy, even

though they deferred to the male organization for such things as determining party candidates.

The issue of women working outside the home presented difficulties for Catholics because

of their belief that men alone should provide financially for their families and that women should

fulfill primarily domestic roles. Severino Aznar, an influential Catholic thinker, wrote in 1930

that married women should never work. He argued that when workers achieved the family wage,

married women could be barred from working.740 While the ultimate ideal for Catholic women

remained essentially domestic, most Catholics recognized the need for women to work in some

instances and defended a woman' s right to work.741 The CEDA program specifically addressed

"The Problem of the Female worker" by calling for the protection of female and child laborers

(reminiscent of the British Factory Acts of the nineteenth century) and the encouragement of the

"religious, intellectual, and religious education of the proletarian classes."742

For the CEDA, "man is the head and woman the heart" of Spain, and "the equality of the

sexes' rights is not a postulate of the revolution but a Christian principle proclaimed twenty

7 Monge Bernal, 210-1. The assessors were always men.
739 Lannon, Privilege, Persecution, and Prophecy, 55.

7 Severino Aznar, Anpresiones de un democrata cristiana (Madrid, 1931), 48.

74 CEDA, Programa aprobada, 16.

74 Ibid., 14.

centuries ago."743 In theory, the CEDA believed in the political equality of men and women,

arguing that civil and economic inequalities "between the sexes should gradually disappear,"

though they qualified this with the caveat that legal equality should not damage "marital

authority" or "family hierarchy."744 The CEDA adamantly opposed civil marriage and divorce

with the argument that marriage was the responsibility of the Church alone. Its leaders argued

that the abandonment of traditional Catholic marriages would hurt women because husbands

would be able to abandon their wives and leave them without support. They hoped to maintain

the practice of canonical marriage without having to register a civil marriage, but recognizing

political reality, the CEDA initially sought only to modify the divorce law so that it applied only

to civil marriages."

In a meeting at the Pathe Cinema in May 1932, Jose Monge Bernal reminded women of

the great responsibility they bore to "go out into the public way, in order to give an example to

weak or cowardly men, pointing out to them the way of duty, even though at the end of that way

is Golgotha and the Cross."746 Gil Robles believed that once "women [were] incorporated into

public life," their political participation was "indispensable," and Dimas Madariaga argued that

women's oratory should be "simple" and focus on "those issues that principally interest the

female sex."747 Maria Ofelia Ochoa told the local leaders of ACM that "we have gone out to the

field of politics only to defend religion" while Pilar Velasco believed that the "principal duty" of

743 El Castellano, December 15, 1932; El Debate, December 15, 1932.

744 CEDA, Programa aprobada, 14.
745 "'CueStiones religiosas.' Programa minimo," AGF, legajo B-VII/16.

746 El Correo de Andalucia, May 24, 1932.

747 Ellas, May 29, 1932.

women in the Republic was to "defend religion, the patria, and the family."748 Other speakers

declared that women should enter politics the same way as they went to war--as nurses to "splint

so many of the national body's disarticulated bones."749 Once they had completed their mission

and saved Spain, women should "retire to their homes, saying to men: 'There you have welfare

and peace in Spain. We'll see if you know how to conserve them."'750

Women should only join AP Femenina "with spirit of sacrifice and guided by high

ideals."' All Catholic women should take upon themselves the slogan, "For God and for

Spain," and the CEDA celebrated those women who undertook this heroic role, comparing them

to Teresa de Jesus and Queen Isabella.752 CTOwds lauded Abilia Arroyo, the president of

Salamanca' s Asociacion Femenina de Educacion Ciudadanadd~~~~~ddddd~~~~ and mother of twelve, for leaving

her family "to attend to her civic duties" in order to preserve family life for Spanish women

everywhere.753 Pilar Careaga, the first woman to receive a degree in industrial engineering in

Spain, epitomized the progressive Catholic woman admired by the CEDA, defending a "serene"

feminism that maintained traditional values.754

Mercedes Fernandez Villaverde, president of the Madrid women' s section and "prefers to

attend to the care of her home and family, has devoted her activities to politics in these months

precisely to defend in public life that home and those children, to whom she consecrates her

748 El Correo de Andalucia, June 8, 1934; C. E. D. A., January 31, 1935.

749 C. E. D. A., April 15, 1934.

750 El Castellano, February 25, 1933.

751 El Debate, March 7, 1933; El Correo de Andalucia, March 7, 1933.

752 El Castellano, September 5, 1933.

753 El Debate, October 23, 1932; Realidades, March 11, 1933.

754 El Correo de Andalucia, April 18 and 19, 1933.

concerns."75 Pilar Velasco, a lawyer and the secretary of AP Femenina in Madrid, was not "one

of those that believes that the mission of women in politics is to make herself masculine.'"75 But

it was not only the national leaders who gave an example to the CEDA's women. One woman in

a small town in Toledo province was pointed out as a model for other members. In Santa Ana de

Pusa (Toledo), Maria de los Santos Ocafia, a working-class committee member, gave birth to a

baby boy on the same day Dimas Madariaga visited. She named the child after the CEDA

deputy. The day before Madariaga' s visit, de los Santos had helped clean the meeting hall for his

speech. A few days later, "by her own will, weak and sick, but with courage and faith," she went

to the polls and voted in the municipal elections.'"' This was the type of woman idealized by the


While the CEDA represented its own women as the feminine ideal, they tried to emphasize

the degradation of the left' s women. In one Accion Obrerista meeting, a group of antagonistic

young women apparently "mock[ed] Catholic morality before the audience, in such graphic

form, that we cannot nor do we want to describe here, in order not to offend the modesty even of

the men who have seen the 'maja de Goya."'"5 They also pointed out the horrors of divorce and

abortion in Russia, a possible future for Spain if Catholic women did not stand up for what they

thought was right.759

The women' s section took the lead in the CEDA' s campaign for education reform.

Education was a special problem for women because they believed it to be an extension of

7 C. E. D. 4., December 31, 1933.

756 Ibid., October 15, 1933.

7 El Castellano, April 19 and June 8, 1933.

7 Ideas, April 6, 1933. The Goya referred to is a nude painting.

759 ((,QU6 CS lo que quiere el comunismo?" RAH, Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8989.

women' s role as mothers. Because of this, the CEDA supported a return to religious education,

and the women' s section was given "the tasks of a;sistencia social and that of education."760

ACM' s representatives to the "Aspiraciones" assembly argued that the secularization of primary

education would cause the loss of many souls.761 Francisca Bohigas thought that the preparation

of teachers needed to address their moral and religious condition, as well as their intellectual

capacity. Since the most important goal was salvation of the soul, she rej ected any system that

did not make that the center of primary education.76

The CEDA program assigned AP Femenina the task of overseeing the "civic education of

women and their moral, intellectual, and physical training." They were to hold religion classes

for children and adolescent girls, probably to replace the catechism that had been removed from

schools, and adult classes in home management and "rural industries." The program also called

for the creation of a Catholic university for women.763 When El Debate editorialized the opening

of a new "Centro de Cultura Superior Femenina" in mid-1933, it argued that women needed a

separate university to teach them what they needed to know because the current university

system was too male-oriented. Creating a female university would provide them with the proper

religious foundation to "revert to the home, to fortify their spirits, and fulfill their mission as

educators for their children and as supporters and directors of works of social beneficence." It

would "serve as a model for a series of analogous institutions."764 When the Colegio Cantabrico

de Santander gave courses on Catholic culture, syndical organization, and other "social issues,"

761 El Debate, March 7, 1933; El Correo de 4ndalucia, March 7, 1933.

761 4spiraciones, May 21, 1932. Ofelia Ochoa and Maria Joaquina de Manjarr~s presented the proposals to the

762 El Debate, November 24, 1935.

763 CEDA, Programa aprobada, 13.

764 El Debate, August 12, 1933.

AP Madrid sent its working women and young women to learn about "sociological problems"

while mixing with "distinguished ladies that possess brilliant academic titles, elevated social

position, celebrities in the field of oratory."765

The CEDA' s free classes at its Cuatro Caminos centro de barriadaii~~~~~iiiii~~~~ demonstrate the stark

ideological difference between men and women. Courses for women were limited to primary

education and sewing while men could study "grammar and composition, geography, Spanish

history, arithmetic, line and figure drawing, stenography, typing, and languages."766But some

conferences for women dealt with themes not traditionally associated with women, such as a

conference by one "Doctor Piga" on "money and civilization."767 Also, when the Hospicio-

Centro centro de barriada opened, it offered the same basic education courses to men and

women, but women could also learn sewing, and men could learn "mercantile computation."768

Women in the CEDA

When AP began the process of consolidation after the Sanjurj ada, not all women accepted

the party's renewed emphasis on legalism. At the October 1932 conference in which AP

embraced legalism and forced the departure of committed monarchists, 1 12 out of 500 delegates

were women, who participated in the debates to some extent.769 When La Nacion attacked the

decisions made in the conference, the conservative Catholic women's paper Realidaddddesdddddd~~~~~~ seconded

765 C. E. D. A., September 30, 1933.

766 Ibid.

767 El Debate, February 19, 1933.

768 C. E. D. A., June 15, 1935.

769 El Debate, October 23, 1932; El Correo de Andalucia, October 23, 1932; Gil Robles, No fue possible, 82.

the sentiment and remained aloof when the CEDA was organized the next March.770 The

Aspiraciones group, originally organized as a type of AN women' s section before being replaced

by the official women's section, now worked as an autonomous ally and occasional critic to the


The confederation's inaugural congress officially made the women's section autonomous

from the men's section of AP and gave its female leaders broad control over their own

organization." Thus, the CEDA included the women's section on the same organizational level

as the men' s section. The confederation' s program envisioned a union of the associated women' s

organizations (for instance ACM, AP Femenina, and the women' s section of the DRV) that

would work as a parallel confederation within the CEDA. During 1933, ACM gave up its

independent status and officially joined the CEDA, inspiring Traditionalist women in Seville to

create their own organization.772 In 1934, the Madrid committee of AP Femenina created a

Secretariadofemenino to help organize women's groups throughout the country, making it

responsible for organizing the women's section in places where it had languished or had not yet

been established.773 Some women even became leaders outside of the women' s section, though

this was relatively rare. Several women sat on the CEDA national council. In Toledo, Matilde

770 Realidades, October 30, 1932. Realidades briefly replaced Aspiraciones, which had ceased publication in July
1932. Realidades only lasted from October 1932 until April 1933. Aspiraciones returned to publication November
1933. Carmen Fern~ndez de Lara Velacoracho directed both weeklies.

771 El Debate, October 25, 1932.

772 Alvarez Rey, La d'erecha en la IIRepziblica, 375.

773 C. E. D. A., March 1 and 15, 1934.

Bell6n acted as a regional party delegate and participated in the formation of new committees.774

Francisca Bohigas was elected to the Cortes in 1933.77

In Seville, the women's section made significant efforts to maintain the differences of

social rank within its midst. The well-off Catholic women running ACM sought to help poor

women make "appropriate" moral and political choices. In order to reach working-class women,

ACM organized a lending library, a circulo de studio, and "cultural sessions."776 The library

began operating in early May, and the circulo de studio met each Wednesday to study such

topics as "feminine defense," municipal elections, the "family crisis" faced by Spaniards, Church

history, and the political duties of women.' Held on Sunday evenings, the cultural sessions

sought to ensure that ACM' s "members had that little time of distraction on Sundays, above all,

the numerous workers who cannot attend the other acts during the week.""" The sessions

generally consisted of two or three films, between which members listened to lectures, generally

dealing with themes that affected the working class. In early meetings, speakers focused on

elements of work, but as the program progressed, they stuck to such general religious themes as

charity and the Catechism.77 Whether or not these meetings succeeded in their purpose is

unknown, but they clearly demonstrate the goal of ACM to capture the hearts and minds of

working-class women.

7 El Castellano, July 19, 1934.

7 She was not re-elected in 1936, and only one other woman, Francisca Villanueva, was even a candidate.

76 El Correo de 4ndalucia, April 26 and May 16, 1933.

7 Ibid., April 26 and 28, May 10, 16, and 20, June 10, 1933. The library did not limit membership to members of

7 Ibid., April 26, 1933.

79 Ibid., May 17 and 24, January 4 and 17, 1934, January 1, February 6 and 20, April 3, 1935; C. E. D. 4., 15 June

Many of the references made to ACM' s working-class women by leaders used

condescending language. In one cultural session, when Maria Ofelia Ochoa thanked the

Marquesa de Yanduri for lending them her film proj ector, she reminded the audience, largely

composed of working-class women, "that there are very good notable people [gente altar ,

contrary to what they say around here. ."?so In this way, ACM implicitly sought to infuse its

working-class members with the idea that the rich were not necessarily bad by providing them

with material advantages. Ofelia Ochoa called ACM' s working class members "daughters of the

heart." They were given seats in the front of meetings while "the marquesas, duchesses, and titles

are standing in back, as corresponds to every person that she receives in her home."'" Practically

every reference to working women referred to the difference in their social status from those

"distinguished ladies" who ran the women' s section, either in terms of the workers being lifted

up or the leadership reaching down. Women were encouraged especially to seek out their

dressmakers and maids to join the women's groups.782 In fact, the CEDA envisioned the training

of working-class propagandists to propagate effectively its ideology among coworkers.783

In early 1935, the women's section in Madrid and Toledo created the Liga de M~ujeres

Camnpesina~s de Castilla la Nueva. Based on a previous organization created in Castile-Leon

7so El Correo de Andalucia, June 6, 1933.

7si Aspiraciones, July 9, 1932. In the same interview, Ochoa recounted with obvious delight that two of ACM's
leading members had invited "two poor women from the neighborhood of Amate" to eat at their table in the Hotel
Bristol. According to this story, the two rich women "felt more satisfied at their side than when they sat among those
of their same class, because they remembered the doctrine of Our Lord."

782 MOnge Bernal, 211-2. Montero implies that upper-class women coerced their servants into joining the Catholic
party, relying on the Instrucciones para constituir una seccidn femenina reprinted in Monge Bernal. A close reading
of these instructions makes clear that this was not intended to be the case, suggesting only the convenience of having
contacts who worked in the shops who could pass out propaganda. It envisioned a spread of women' s sections
through the social networks of its members. However, it is still possible that some women used their influence to
coerce those dependent on them to join. See Montero, La CEDA, volume 1, 680.

783 CEDA, Programa aprobada, 14.

during the 1920s, the new Liga continued Catholic efforts to educate working-class women.784

Catholic women from throughout the region met in Madrid and established the Liga' s basic

principles and organized a committee. "5 Under the direction of Matilde Rubio, the group began

to extend throughout Castile-La Mancha. Most of its leadership came from the CEDA' s ranks786

Toledo' s women formed a junta of the Liga in January 193 5, with Soledad Melgar Arteaga as

president. At least two of the committee' s members held leadership positions in the CEDA. AP

Femenina' s provincial president, Purificaci6n Gamero de Mateo, acted as vice president of the

new group, and Matilde Bell6n, a district representative, became vice secretary. In Seville, ACM

explored the idea of creating its own group, but nothing appears to have come of it.78

Membership in the Liga was open to all Catholic women who "live from the country and

for the country", regardless of political affiliation." As was the case with the CET, Accion

Obrerista's syndical affiliate, this was mostly a rhetorical distinction, because the leadership of

the two organizations largely overlapped. By April, the Liga had extended throughout Madrid,

Toledo, and Ciudad Real, with fourteen committees. They claimed that 400 women had attended

the organizational meeting in Arganda (Madrid).789 In Order to provide money for the Liga's

activities, members paid an annual fee based on their economic situation, and they also invited

784 El Debate, September 17, 1933.

7 Ibid., January 31, 1935; C. E. D. A., February 15, 1935.

786 C. E. D. A., February 15 and March 1, 1935.

7 El Correo de Andalucia, June 19, 1935.

7 C. E. D. A., February 15, 1935

789 El Castellano, April 10, 1935; El Debate, April 10, 1935; C. E. D. A., April 15, 1935.

wealthy "protectors" to j oin the Liga by giving "donations or their cooperation."790 This would

ensure that the programs received sufficient funding.

The new Liga used Belgium, England, and other northern European countries as its

guide.791 Its main goal was to give "peasant women all of the means to achieve their spiritual,

moral, and material perfection." To fulfill its educational mission, the Liga established courses in

beekeeping, rabbit-raising, and hide tanning and confection, among other things. Their first

classes, begun in April 1935, had twenty-five students. The goal was to bring students to Madrid

to take courses, then send them back to their provinces to teach the women in their local

organization.79 Ultimately, nothing came of this initiative. Apart from the initial announcement

of courses and new committees, nothing appeared in the press.

Asistencia Social

One of the women' s sections' primary responsibilities was "to do good," because women

"should preferably occupy themselves in these works of social aid and Christian charity."793

Most groups minimized their political efforts and focused on charitable activities between

political fights, in order to emulate the ideals of social Catholicism.794 The women's section

began its work of helping the poor very early. AN' s women in Toledo province organized food

and clothing handouts during the winter of 1931-2. In at least one case, distribution preceded

political meetings. 795 In Osuna (Seville) ACM published a tally of what it had given out in the

790 C. E. D. A., March 1, 1935.

791 MOntero, La CEDA, vol. 1, 705.

792 El Castellano, April 10, 1935; C. E. D. A., February 15 and April 15, 1935.

793 C. E. D. A., July 30, 1933.

794 El Correo de Andalucia, June 8, 1934.

795 El Castellano, December 26, 1932, January 9 and 16, 1933; El Debate, December 31, 1932.

first year of its existence. Among other things, they had distributed milk and eggs for the "relief

of the sick," visiting and organizing communion for the ill, sent a blind child to school, and

organized weddings.796

When the CEDA organized its asistencia social program after the 1933 elections, the JAP

femenina took charge of it and set up a distribution system for foodstuffs.797 Its president,

Carmen Topete y Fernandez, "practically directed" the CEDA's charitable efforts in Madrid.798

Often, the JAP Femenina worked with AP Femenina to organize charitable activities.799 To

determine the needs of families, members of the asistencia social section made home visits.soo In

and around Madrid, they concentrated their efforts in the working-class neighborhoods of Puente

de Toledo and Puente de Vallecas.sol They claimed to distribute the aid without regard to

political affiliation, in order to alleviate the suffering caused by unemployment, and argued that

they did not seek to "institute through Charity that which corresponds in Justice. But while

Acci6n Popular implants its social doctrines, it is not possible to leave abandoned the humble

classes that need aid and protection."80 This was only partly true, because while the program did

reach beyond the scope of the CEDA, it gave party members preference.

Reports regularly appeared in the Catholic press lauding the magnitude of the asistencia

social program in 1934. Between January and June 1934, the JAP Femenina distributed just over

796 El Correo de 4ndalucia, April 22, 1933.

79 C. E. D. 4., December 31, 1933, January 15, 1934.

798 Ibid., February 1, 1934. For instance, they collaborated on a clothing drive in February 1934.

799 Ibid., March 1 and April 1, 1934.

8 El Debate, March 3, 1934; C. E. D. 4., February 15, 1935.

8 El Debate, January 25, 1934.

sr2 El Castellano, July 25 and August 9, 1935; El Correo de 4ndalucia, August 9, 1935; C. E. D. 4., December
1934, June 15, 1935. Once, a member of the Catholic CET complained that his Socialist neighbors had gotten bread
and he had not.

400,000 meals in Madrid as part of its regular program.803 After the CEDA' s electoral victory,

ACM distributed 6,000 meals to celebrate.804 Madrid's AP Femenina section sent more than

7,000 items of clothing and money to purchase furniture for affected Catholics in Asturias after

the October 1934 uprising.sos The women of Toledo and Seville followed suit, and ACM sent a

total of 279 pieces of clothing in mid-December.806 In addition, women in Madrid began a

program of visiting the wounded in the hospitals, delivering goods to them.so? The Madrid JAP

Femenina gave out 12,000 Christmas meals in 1934.sos During the winter of 1934-5, the Madrid

section of AP Femenina and the JAP Femenina gave out a total of 200,000 pesetas in aid, either

in cash subsidies or in kind.809 Regular food distribution that year totalled 70,000 food parcels

(five portions per bag of garbanzo beans, potatoes, bacon, and bread), in addition to 8,000 special

parcels (including milk, chocolate, cookies, and bread) for events such as Christmas Eve and

Epiphany. AP also gave out 5,000 items of clothing and 3,000 toys. Other activities included

giving out sewing machines, helping the sick with rent, and subsidizing a private primary school

in Puente de Vallecas and Chamartin de la Rosa.sio

In addition to the massive efforts of the Madrid committee, the provincial CEDA' s

women' sections carried out smaller efforts on a local level as well. AP Femenina in Alcala de

803 El Debate, June 26, 1934.

804 C. E. D. A., October 1934.

sos Ibid., December 1, 1934.

806 El Correo de Andalucia, November 11, December 6 and 15, 1934.

so? C. E. D. A., December 1934.

sos El Debate, December 26, 1934.

809 El Castellano, August 9, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, August 9, 1935; C. E. D. A., December 1934.

slo El Debate, December 10, 1935; El Castellano, February 3, 1936; J. A. P., February 1, 1936. They also gave free
classes to children in many of their centros de barriada.

Henares (Madrid) distributed bread to four families daily, and provided goods to forty more

families on weekends.81 Groups in Toledo were especially active. AP Femenina in Orgaz

collected 350 pesetas and held a meal for the poor of the community while the Ocafia committee

distributed "substantial alms" to the poor of their community, while another group distributed

goods to the poor in Villacafias the next January.812 In Afiover del Tajo, AP Femenina provided

dinners for 125 families to eat on Christmas Eve 1933, in order to "mitigate in part the tortures of

their poverty," and did the same a year later.813 In May 1935, the sewing classes offered to

working-class young women were put to charitable use when they gave some fifty pieces of the

clothing they had made to the poor.814

The Seville organization also contributed to this effort. ACM distributed clothing to the

poor in December 1935 and January 1936. "5 Just after the 1936 elections, ACM collected funds

to aid those affected by serious flooding, which had cut off sections of Seville.816 As part of its

protective mission, the CEDA' s women sought to provide work for their most needy members,

and ACM took the lead in this. It advised members that they could get "maids, women

doorkeepers, seamstresses, etc." at ACM' s offices. They did so because to "favor the poor

with donations is much, but to give her work is more still."s It fit neatly with Catholic ideals of

six El Debate, January 24, 1934.

812 El Castellano, January 2, 1934, January 15, 1935.

813 Ibid., December 26, 1933, December 28, 1935.

814 Ibid., May 23, 1935.

sis El Correo de Andalucia, December 21, 1935, January 8, 1936.

816 Ibid., February 28, 1935.

st? Ibid., May 17, 1934.

sis C. E. D. A., April 1, 1934.

charity, but it also gave them a way to provide an economic advantage to its members.

Employers could count on this system to provide politically reliable employees.

The asistencia social program also gave significant attention to the care of children. The

Madrid JAP Femenina distributed layette sets to newborns in January 1935.819 They did the same

for poor affiliates whose children were born on the same day as Gil Robles's firstborn. In order

to receive the gift, the parents had to submit to a home visit and show the child's certificate of

baptism.820 When Gil Robles's wife gave birth to a son, the Madrid women's section organized a

subscription to fund two places in a children's home for four years.821 Some AP Femenina

groups made rather larger commitments through the Gota de Leche and Los Amigos del Niho

programs. Gota de Leche was an infant nutrition program, which offered poor nursing mothers a

proper diet by providing milk sterilization and giving food to mothers and infants.822 Los Amigos

del Niho, a local charity in Seville, provided medical care for children, as well as distributing

clothing and financial aid to their mothers. The CEDA had a Gota de Leche dispensary in at least

one of its Madrid centros de barriada, but little is known of its extent in that province or in

Toledo. There is more information available about it in the Seville press because of its

connection to Los Amigos del Niho, which had neighborhood clinics throughout the city.823

819 Ibid., November 15, 1934, January 15, 1935.

820 Ibid., July 1, 1935.

821 Ibid., October 1, 1935.

822 El Correo de Andalucia, May 6, 1934.
823 Ibid., January 21 and 27, 1934.

ACM took over Los Amigos del Nih~o, which was suffering Einancially, in early 1934.824

The most immediate impact of ACM' s involvement with Los Amigos del Niho was an increase in

donations. ACM immediately began collecting money and using its network to encourage

Catholics to donate. By March, lists of donors began appearing in the newspaper, and El Correo

de Andalucia itself opened a subscription in behalf of the charity.825 In May, they opened a new

clinic in the neighborhood of San Julian, in order to extend the charity's reach.826 ACM

organized elaborate fundraising efforts, including balls and a "fiesta de acoso y derriba."827

Because of these efforts, the charity could distribute significant numbers of sterile bottles,

formula, grains, and medicines, and had purchased a new sterilization device for one of the

clinics. Yet even with maj or fundraising efforts, Los Amigos del Niho struggled to make ends

meet. In January 1935, the charity needed more donations to distribute toys to needy children for

the Christmas holiday. The Triana clinic closed for lack of funds, and they failed to open a

cafeteria for nursing mothers that they had hoped for.828 Ultimately, while the program clearly

did some good, it was an unsustainable effort.

In addition to these efforts, the CEDA' s women' s sections organized summer holiday

excursions for working women and poor children. Begun in 1932, the program expanded

significantly the next year and continued to grow in 1934 and 1935. Madrid and Zaragoza even

824 Ibid., January 21, 1934. The charity, originally organized by the Seville Ateneo, had been in financial difficulty
for some time. The CEDA's call to social action in late 1933 probably spurred ACM to take the tiny organization
under its wing. See Ibid., April 1, 1933.

825 Ibid., March 22, April 11 and 14, 1934; El Liberal (Seville), March 14 and 15, 1934.

826 El Correo de Andalucia, April 29 and May 6, 1934.

827 Ibid., June 7 and 8, 1934, May 15 and 19, June 21, 1935. A "fiesta de acoso y derribo" involves chasing and
capturing cattle on horseback.
828 Ibid.,, January 3, 9, and 11, 1935. They succeeded in collecting enough to distribute toys, and the Cardinal
Archbishop attended the event several days after the initial call for donations.

developed a friendly competition over which group could raise the most funds and support the

most travellers.829 The Madrid section of AP Femenina organized nine summer camps for

women and children each year. ACM's program grew each year. In 1933, ACM sent out sixty

women. This number nearly doubled to 114 in 1934 and increased to 152 in 1935.830 These

programs were not exclusive to the CEDA, either. Other groups, such as the women's Catholic

Syndicates, also sent out groups of their members during the summer months.831 It came out of a

tradition of providing healthy summer recreation to the less fortunate.

These programs were very expensive to run. In 1934, the program cost almost 30,000

pesetas to run. Most of this came from donations, but AP contributed 8,000 pesetas to make up

the difference between the donations and the actual cost of the program.832 Donors contributed

over 30,000 pesetas in 1935, and AP Femenina' s general funds again helped cover the

difference.833 In Seville, the program cost significantly less. They spent 10,580 pesetas in 1934.

Of this, 5,080 pesetas was donated, and ACM paid the rest out of its own funds.834 In 1935,

ACM spent nearly 13,000 pesetas to organize the camps, a cost subsidized by donations and

fundraisers such as balls and raffles.835

829 J. A. P., August 10, 1935.

830 El Correo de Andalucia, May 17, 1934, and September 28, 1935.

831 ABC (Seville), June 8, 1933, La Unidn, June 7, 1933. The Syndicates emphasized that their programs had come
before that of ACM, which had copied their idea.

832 C. E. D. A., September 1 and 15, October 1934.

833 Ya, August 9, 1935; C. E. D. A., April 1, 1934.

834 El Correo de Andalucia, 11 November 1934.

835 Ibid., June 26 and September 28, 1935. Donor lists appeared frequently throughout the summers in El Correo de
Andalucia. Even the Traditionalist Commune made a donation. In 1935, they held a poetry recital and a merienda
after the Corpus Christi corrida to raise funds. The tea was attended by Seville's "elegant people." Ibid., June 9 and
20, 1935.

To be eligible for the Madrid program, children had to be enrolled in a Catholic school,

and the children of AP members received preference.836 In Seville in 1933, a woman needed to

have belonged to ACM for at least four months, be Catholic, and have fulfilled the precepto

pa~scual by confessing at Easter. Preference would be given to women in poor health and those

who had belonged to ACM for a significant period.837 The rules tightened somewhat in 1934,

and only those who had belonged to ACM for at least six months were eligible to go. Workers

needed to be at least seventeen years old, and attendance at the cultural sessions would be taken

into account.838 To be eligible in 1935, women needed to have been a member of ACM for at

least a year. More than 200 women had signed up, which meant the final group would be chosen

by a drawing.839 For 1936, they intended to create a separate camp for "those poor little things

that suffer something grave and cannot go with the others, and to whom air and sun" would be so

welcome.840 However, due to the deteriorating political conditions of that year, no camps were

sent out.

ACM wanted to "give its little grain of sand to social work" for "their working sisters that

cannot enjoy some restful vacation."841 The summer camps, run by several religious orders,

provided what the CEDA considered both a physically and a morally healthy situation for their

beneficiaries. They pointed with pride to the fact that in Seville, six women who participated in

836 Ya, August 9, 1935; C. E. D. A., April 1 and September 1,5 1934.

837 El Correo de Andalucia, May 27 and June 4, 1933. Women with contagious diseases were banned from the trip.

838 Ibid., May 30, 1934.

839 Ibid., May 24, 1935.

840 Ibid., September 28, 1935.

841 Ibid., May 27, 1933; La Unidn, July 5 and August 28, 1933.

the camps over the years joined religious orders.842 Articles written about the camps emphasized

how happy the children were to be out of the city. One article took pains to paint a bleak picture

of their home life, pointing out that as they prepared to go home, "they know that their welfare

has ended."843 Though this over-dramatized the situation, the summer vacation program was one

of the most important of the CEDA' s asistencia social programs, because each year it provided

many women and children with healthy vacations.

Elections (1933)

In 1933, Spanish women voted in national elections for the first time. Men had gained

universal suffrage in 1890, but women remained without the franchise until the Republic, when

the Constituent Cortes included voting rights for women in the 1931 Constitution. Prior to the

Republic, female activists based their efforts on an ideology of gender difference and did not

pursue political equality.844 ITOnically, the Primo de Rivera dictatorship provided women with

their first experience of political involvement. Female heads of household older than twenty-Hyve

gained the right to vote in municipal elections in 1924. In addition, the dictator appointed fifteen

women to his National Assembly, placing women in national political positions for the first

time.845 When the Republic was established, it took some months before women received voting

rights, because significant divisions existed in parliament over the issue. Ultimately, because

842 El Correo de Andalucia, September 28, 1935.

843 C. E. D. A., July 31 and September 15, 1934. They pointed out that the average child gained two kilograms on
vacation, with some gaining as much as four kilograms.

844 Nash, "'Ideals of Redemption, '" 363.

845 Pablo Villalain, Mujer ypolitica, 53-5.

there was not a popular women' s suffrage movement, women gained voting rights "from above"

by a vote of parliament.846

While there is not space here to include a summary of the debates on women' s suffrage in

the Republic, there are a few points that should be kept in mind.847 The Provisional Government,

in its electoral rules of May 8, lowered the voting age from twenty-five to twenty-three but did

not extend the vote to women. However, the decree did allow women and priests to run for

office.848 This change led to the inclusion of three women in the Constituent Cortes, Clara

Campoamor of the Radical Party, the Radical Socialist Victoria Kent, and the Socialist Margarita

Nelken. Of the three, only Campoamor favored immediately enfranchising women. The other

two believed that women needed time to become educated in politics before gaining the right to

vote.849 When it came time to vote in December, the Socialists and the right agreed about

extending the vote to women while the Radicals, Radical-Socialists, and Accion Republicana

opposed the measure.sso All women over the age of twenty-three could now vote.

The right and the Socialists agreed on extending the vote for women, but they did so for

different reasons. The Socialists believed that once women learned how to vote appropriately,

they would support the left."" In 1932, El Socialista declared that "in the next elections, the

women' s field will remain sterile if it has not been fertilized with great portions of

8 Helen Graham, "Sexual Politics: Women and Social Change," Spanish Ciltural Studies: 4n Introduction, ed.
Helen Graham and Jo Labanvi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 101.

8 For an extensive analysis of this parliamentary debate, see Judith Keene, "'Into the Clear Air of the Plaza':
Spanish Women Achieve the Vote in 1931," in C.* ,, to. r s;~ Spanish Womanhood: Female Identity in M~odern
Spain, ed. Victoria Enders and Pamela Radcliff (Albany: SUNY Press, 1999), 325-347.
8 Villalain, 57.

849 Keene, 332, 335, and 338-9.

"5 TownIson, The Crisis ofDemocracy, 72.

sal El Socialista, June 23 and December 2, 1931.

propaganda."852 In Obedience to this perception, they began a propaganda campaign in February

1933 to "counteract the campaign that the Church and the right" aimed at women voters.853 In

order to secure victory in the next elections the Socialists believed it necessary to counteract the

influence of the clergy among women by educating them "in democratic and anticlerical

ideals."854 Sufficient exposure to Socialist ideology would be enough to make women support

the left, and when the elections came that fall, the Socialists believed firmly that women would

vote for them."

AN and its partisans had endorsed women' s suffrage even before the publication of the

May 8 decree, in many ways for the exact same reason many Republicans opposed it.856 They

believed that women had natural religious sentiments that would induce them to vote for the

right, which would protect the Church and the traditional Catholic family. Rightist deputies

considered voting a "means, not an end," because it would help women "defend our supreme

ideal" by electing qualified men to the Cortes.85 Dimas Madariaga believed that women's "votes

and enthusiasm were always the barrier to all sectarianisms and tyrannies.""

The CEDA and its allies appealed to women's sense of duty to encourage their political

activity. Just before the June 1931 elections, La Union told women that even though they could

not vote themselves, they had "the obligation to encourage your son, your brother, your husband,

852 Ibid., June 29, 1932.

853 El Correo de Andalucia, February 24, 1933.

854 El Socialista, December 9, 1932.

8 Ibid., October 20, 1933.

856 El Correo de Andalucia, May 7, 1931. One author, Elias Olmos, thought that if all men over twenty-three were
deemed competent to vote, then women should also be.

8 Ibid., May 4, 1932.

8 El Castellano, November 14, 1932.

not to fail to fulfil their public duties": to encourage them to vote for AN in the elections and

save Spain's Catholic civilization from the godless Socialist hordes.859 After women received

voting rights, ACM reminded women that "under Catholic principles, if we are to act in public

life, it is with the principal view of defending religion against the persecutions to which it is

being subj ected. And not only do we concern ourselves with the defense of religion as far as it

concerns the Church, but in its fundamental institutions, the basis of society, which today suffer

the buffets of a triumphant and arrogant sectarianism. ."860 Intent on harnessing the newfound

political clout of women, the Catholic press encouraged them to vote, because a lack of

participation "could be taken as a pretext to take away from us tomorrow the right that the

Constitution grants us today."861

The first elections in which women voted took place in April 1933, when many of the

nation's municipalities held elections to replace city councillors who had run without opposition

in 1931. The right-wing press told women that voting was a "inescapable duty," so it was

important that they consider their vote carefully in order to give it not to a "friend or

acquaintance, but to the best" choice.862 When the right did inordinately well in these elections,

women received a great deal of credit for the victory. In Seville, women were "brave and

determined and in some places approaching the heroic"; in a few areas of the province local

officials did not want to allow women to vote, so men carried the women in their arms through

the crowds. Women in one Seville town, unhappy with the choice of candidates, ran their own

859 La Unidn, June 27, 1931.

860 Ibid., July 28, 1932; ABC (Seville), March 1, 1932; El Correo de Andalucia, March 1, 1932.

861 El Castellano, January 10, 1933.

862 ABC (Seville), April 22, 1933.

list and succeeded in electing them to the city council.863 The Radicals, however, used the

elections to question the ability of women to make good political choices. In Vanguardia,

Toledo's Radical newspaper, one contributor suggested that it would take two or three elections

for women to truly understand their political role. As the November parliamentary elections

approached, the paper wondered how women would vote in the upcoming elections, believing

that married women would probably follow the example of their husbands, while "free,

independent" women would never vote for the right. They suggested that it would be useful to

have separate ballot boxes for men and women in order to know exactly how the vote went based

on sex.

As the November 1933 general elections approached, the CEDA and its allies specifically

targeted women' s votes. Generally, the right believed that "women, in their maj ority, will vote

for the right," because "the Spanish woman is a believer and homebody.'"86 They had to combat

those that "sought to impose on them through abuse and force" and "watch over the peace and

tranquility of their homes."866 In Madrid, Aspiraciones returned to the CEDA fold and supported

the Coalicion de Derechas in the elections because Gil Robles was a brave man who would fight

for victory. The women of the "Aspiraciones" group declared that they would always enter the

fray "under the command of valiant men."867 Catholics believed that women, as the "axis of the

home," had the most to lose or gain in the elections. El Debate did not believe that any women

863 El Correo de Andalucia, April 25 and 28, 1933. One might question how literal the paper's descriptions were.

864 Vanguardia (Toledo), June 11 and November 4, 1933. Some historians have continued to assume that women
simply followed the lead of their husbands and priests, though there is no clear way to know how women actually
voted. See Vincent, "Catholic Women in Salamanca," 107-8.

865 El Castellano, October 25, 1933.

866 La Unidn, October 30, 1933.

867 Aspiraciones, November 16, 1933. The paper resumed publication in November 1933, just before the elections.

would vote for the Socialists, who it claimed had destroyed the country.868 At the same time, the

right did not believe that women would blindly follow their priests. One Catholic woman argued

that women would give thoughtful consideration to the various political, economic, and social

issues presented to them and vote for the candidate they believed would most benefit them.869

The right, of course, thought this clearly indicated a preference for "traditional" Spanish ideals,

which would favor them.

The November elections were the first time women voted in national elections, because the

April municipal elections had only involved part of Spain's population. Since the right believed

wholeheartedly that women would support it, it made a significant effort to educate women on

the mechanics of how to vote.s70 In addition to the Eine details of submitting the ballot, one

article counseled women to "wear the Crucifix over your heart, only so that the force of your

spirituality and sacrifice will serve us as a stimulus in the fulfilment of your duty."sn Another

article warned that the Radicals had fought against female suffrage because they knew women

would vote against them, so women should resist new Radical attempts to win their votes.872

Women were a key part of the right' s election campaign. In addition to an important

clerical role in preparing the electoral census, women acted as propagandists.873 During the

election campaign, women speakers took part in more than 90 meetings in Seville. They worked

so well that Jose Monge Bernal declared that the CEDA owed ACM "a very principal part" of

868 El Debate, November 17, 1933.

869 El Correo de Andalucia, November 23, 1933.

870 El Castellano, November 6, 7, and 16, 1933.

871 El Castellano, November 4, 1933.

872 Ibid., November 16, 1933.

873 C. E. D. A., June 30, 1933, December 1, 1934. Under the direction of the ten district secretaries, the Madrid
women' s section enrolled over 40,000 new voters.

the electoral victory in that province.87 One meeting in Cantillana (Seville), suspended by the

attending government authority, led to a women' s march, in which those who had attended the

meeting gave "vivas" to ACM and AP and "mueras" to Socialism."'" The incident did not lead to

violence, but it demonstrated the level of passion during the campaign, something confirmed by

a great deal of written propaganda.

Much of the right' s election propaganda specifically targeted women, and much of it gave

women specific reasons not to vote for the left. The CEDA reminded women that the Radical

Party had "tenaciously opposed" granting them the vote. Another handout told women that if

they did not vote for the Coalicion de Derechas, "Communism will come, which will tear the

children out of your arms; the church of your town, symbol of OUR HOLY RELIGION, will be

pulled down and leveled; the husband that you love WILL FLEE FROM YOUR SIDE,

authorized by the DIVORCE LAW; ANARCHY will come to the fields and to your home

HUNGER AND MISERY." They warned women that the outcome of the elections "depends, in

large measure, on women' s votes" and the example they set for men. If women did not vote,

"thus contributing to the triumph of the left, you will carry on your conscience the guilt of your

bad conduct."87 On election day, El Correo de Andahecia spoke "exclusively to women because

we are ashamed of men, because we have to remind them of the energy and determination of

8 Monge Bemnal, 4ccion Popular, 1087.
8 El Debate, Oct 31, 1933. El Correo de 4ndalucia, October 31, 1933; La Union, October 31, 1933. The meeting
had received government authorization, but the local government delegate in attendance stopped the meeting shortly
after it had begun, demanding written proof of the governor' s authorization. Even after the governor confirmed his
authorization over the telephone, the local delegate demanded that the meeting end.

876 CEDA election leaflet, RAH, legajo 11/8986. Caps in the original.

their mothers, wives, and daughters in the street." Nevertheless, women should vote because they

would find men who were "worthy of having been born of woman" to protect them.s7

The left sought to undermine the efforts of the right. Rumors accused ACM of offering

seventy-five pesetas per vote, which would have made for a very expensive election, indeed. Of

course ACM denied the charge, but this did not stop the Radicals from including similar charges

of vote buying in their propaganda.87 They mocked the rich women who, "with a smile on their

lips, that you have never seen on them, [treat] you with false familiarity and false affection; to

solicit you to vote for the Right." The Radicals tried to separate religion from politics, remarking

that these rich women acted "as if they had a Christian monopoly."879 The leftist Juventudes de

Izquierda sought to counter this supposed monopoly by telling women that "The Right,

exploiting your religious sentiments, conceived war and destroyed your sons, your brothers, your

companions." They argued that the Republic would make war impossible.sso In one violent

example of opposition to the right' s efforts among female voters, several young women were

assaulted in Carmona (Seville) as they distributed right-wing election leaflets.88

In assessing the elections, right-wing newspapers pointed to women as an important

example for men to follow. They used stories of women voters to demonstrate the tenacity of

Catholic women in fulfilling their duty and others to show the lengths to which the left-wing

opposition would go to prevent women from exercising their rights. One old woman told El

8 El Correo de Andalucia, November 19, 1933.

8 La Unidn, October 28, 1933.

879 Radical Party election leaflet, RAH, legajo 11/8986.

sso Election propaganda, RAH, Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8987. The Juventudes did not explain which war they

ssi A. B. C. (Seville), November 11, 1933. The complete circumstances surrounding events are unclear, but
newspapers reported that the young women were cornered by a group that threw stones at them.

Debate that she had "voted and will vote for the right until she dies." The paper claimed that

women were disproportionately represented in the lines in the district of Hospital, and Catholic

women in the Vallecas district made "a demonstration of their enthusiasm," by filling the voting

lines early in the morning.882 They went to vote "accompanied by their husbands, sons, or

relatives and also in groups of four or five friends or neighbors."883 In Talavera de la Reina

(Toledo), women acted "with the most determination" on voting day.884 Gil Robles pointed out

that women "that have gone to the streets when they were occupied by the mob, that have

accompanied the sick, have visited wavering voters, have climbed hundreds of staircases,

bearing insults with the Christian spirit that is essential in our work."""

While the Right spent much of its election energy in pursuing women's votes, it did not

work as hard in electing female candidates. In the 1931 elections for the Constituent Cortes, AN

had put forward no women as candidates. This commission had not gone unnoticed, even at that

early stage of the Republic. As mentioned earlier, Carmen Fernandez de Lara criticized AN for

it. In a letter to the editor of El Castellano, Fernandez wrote, "I read with great satisfaction that

miss Victoria Kent is presented for deputy. And the right? They are not going to present any

[women]? Or is it that among these [right-wing parties] there is not any woman in all of Spain

who can be compared with those of the left?"886 In 1933, this changed somewhat. The CEDA

presented two women for election, and one of them, Francisca de Bohigas, was elected to the

Cortes, though they presented no female candidates in Madrid, Seville, or Toledo. While this

8 El Debate, November 21 and December 5, 1933.

8 El Correo de 4ndalucia, November 21, 1933.

8 El Castellano, November 23, 1933.

8 El Correo de 4ndalucia, December 7, 1933.

886 El Castellano, June 8, 1931.

improved on the 1931 election, it was significantly fewer than the fourteen the Socialists

presented, of whom three were elected.'"" In the 1936 election, however, the CEDA returned to

the situation of 1931 and presented no female candidates. Clearly this adhered to its ideological

conception of a social hierarchy in which men took leadership roles while women supported

them .

Historians have generally accepted the premise that the introduction of female suffrage

significantly influenced the rightward shift in the 1933 elections. However, there is little

evidence that the women's vote actually threw the election to the right.888 The exact nature of

how women's votes affected the outcome of the elections is obscured by the fact that in 193 1 the

right was completely disorganized, and the Republic's electoral system overwhelmingly favored

the formation of broad coalitions. Because of the shift in coalitions between 193 1 and 1933, with

the right making more alliances while Republican-Socialist cooperation broke down, it is rather

difficult to determine how much of the right' s success had to do with changing alliances, and

how much was due to women's votes. In all three provinces under consideration, there were

more women voters than men in 1933, but there is no way to track those votes, since the

suggestion to use different colored ballots for men and women was rej ected.889 It seems clear that

women were more actively involved with the right' s electoral propaganda than with that of

8 Villalain Garcia, 281-3; Nash, "'Ideals of Redemption,"' 367.

8 Gerard Alexander, "Women and Men in the Ballot Box: Voting in Spain's Two Democracies" in C at 0.., r, s;
Spanish Womanhood: Female Identity in Modern Spain, ed. Victoria Lorde Enders and Pamela Beth Radcliff
(Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999), 351; Nigel Townson, The Crisis ofDeinocracy in Spain:
Centrist Politics Under the Second Republic (Portland: Sussex Academic Press, 2000), 159 and 161i. William Invin
points out that the Socialist Party reached out to women by asking them to "vote against those who exploit your
father, your husband and your sons." Invin, "The CEDA in the 1933 Cortes Elections," 154.

889 El Castellano, October 18, 1933; Villalain, 259. Fifty-seven percent of Madrid's voters were women.

Republican groups.890 However, this does not necessarily mean that more women voted for the

right because participation in propaganda does not necessarily translate into votes, as the CEDA

found out in 1936 when its massive propaganda campaign ended in failure. Unfortunately, there

are too many variables to account for in determining the exact influence of the women' s vote,

though to all appearances, women took into consideration the same factors as men in

determining for whom they would vote.891

Elections (1936)

In the face of new elections in the beginning of 1936, the CEDA' s women acted quickly to

ramp up their propaganda efforts. The JAP took the lead in preparing the electoral program, but

the women's sections played a valuable support role. As the election effort ramped up, AP

Femenina in the Vallecas neighborhood of Madrid and Alcala de Henares held meetings to

encourage their members to work individually for a victory. In total, women took part in

seventy-three election meetings in the province of Madrid.892 While the members of Toledo' s

women's section did not play an extensive role in election propaganda like leaders in Madrid and

Seville, Purificaci6n Gamero, Concepci6n Labandera de Arroyo, and Paquita Martinez Vega

undertook a propaganda trip to several parts of the province. In one meeting, they gave speeches

"full of faith in the caudillo of the CEDA."893 The Catholic evening paper in Madrid, Ya, put

women at the center of the CEDA' s election efforts when it ran a full-page image of a woman

holding a ballot, superimposed on an array of election propaganda. The caption read, "For the

891) Townson, The Crisis ofDemocracy, 159. In Madrid, the Socialists employed more women in their electoral
meetings than the AP. See Villalain, 226.

891 For an extended discussion of the influence of female suffrage on the 1933 elections, see Villalain, 259-269;
Gerard Alexander, "Women and Men in the Ballot Box," 357-9.

892 El Debate, January 22 and February 7, 1936; Villalain, 364. Several of the Madrid leaders also participated in
meetings outside of that province.

893 El Castellano, February 8, 1936.

salvation of the patria! "894 The next day, the paper told women that "triumph tomorrow is in

your hands."895

Leading up to the elections, El Ca;stellanolll~~~~~~11111 published an editorial by Enrique Herrera Oria

calling on women to "Save the Schools!" by voting for the right, which would uphold the

establishment of Catholic-based schools. Secular schools would always be "more or less

revolutionary," and "religious education is the only antidote against the revolutionary

environment" to which children were being forcibly exposed.896 The next day, Rodrigo de

Arriaga editorialized on the conservative "Manifesto of Spanish Women." He pointed out the

importance of listening to women' s opinions on political issues, especially given their status as

the mothers of "future citizens." Arriaga argued that women had a double influence: they voted,

and they also influenced the men in their lives.897 This contradicted the prevailing attitude that

women's votes would be influenced by their husbands and priests.

In Seville, Maria Ofelia Ochoa played a key role in the election campaign, appearing in

numerous meetings. In the days leading up to the elections, Ochoa wrote a series of articles

directed toward women voters, explaining why they should vote for the right. Rather than

scaremonger, Ochoa simply encouraged women to be brave and vote. She called upon patriotic

and religious sentiments, telling them that if they voted for the right, their children could study in

religious schools and the religious orders would regain their political and economic rights.898 She

894 Ta, February 14, 1936.

895 Ibid., February 15, 1936.

896 El Castellano, February 3, 1936.

897 Ibid., February 4, 1936.

898 El Correo de 4ndalucia, February 13, 1936.

urged Catholic women that they should vote like they prayed--"with all of our trust placed in


Concepci6n Zampana Zarza, from ACM in El Ronquillo, played a critical part in the

intense propaganda effort unleashed beginning in January in anticipation of elections. Zampana' s

rhetoric provided an important example of the anger inherent in the CEDA' s electoral approach,

discussed in the previous chapter. Without concealing her rage, she called the Asturias rebels

"sons of the devil" and "new satans," inviting Spanish women to j oin the crusade to stamp out

socialism in Spain.900 In a later article about "Duties and Rights," she reminded readers that in

order to enj oy their right to practice Catholicism, they first needed to fulfill their duty to protect

"Catholic Spain" from "Anti-Spain" in the upcoming elections.901 "Una Espafiola" reminded

women of the violence caused by the left--church burnings and Asturias--and argued that

Catholics wanted "peace, tranquility."902 ACM in Marchena proclaimed that its members "were

dedicated at all hours of the day to destroy Marxist doctrine, the enemy of the Catholic

Church."903 Catholic women in Almonte formed the Feminine Antirevolutionary Electoral Bloc

and put themselves at the disposal of Maria Ofelia Ochoa.904

The election propaganda of the 1936 elections played on the fears of Catholic women to an

even greater degree than in 1933. In one pamphlet, they warned of the dangers of communism,

arguing that in Russia the divorce law made it technically possible for a mother to become the

899 Ibid., February 15, 1936.
9001 Ibid., January 15, 1936.

901 Ibid., February 15, 1936.

902 Ibid., January 19, 1936.

903 Ibid., February 1, 1936.

904 Ibid., February 5, 1936.

legal spouse of her own child. They presented visions of anterooms full of young women waiting

for abortions because their pregnancies would make it difficult for them to work.905 The

pamphlet implied that if the Popular Front won in Spain, it would open the door to Communism,

and as a result, women would be forced to have abortions and marry their children. None of

these accusations was accurate, but they sought to inflame the passions of Catholic women to

keep them from voting for the left. Among other things, handouts warned that "The masonic

enemy wants to destroy the treasure of our sacrosanct Religion" and "The Revolution wants to

take away your children and destroy your family." Husbands were told that "if Marxism

triumphs," they would face the "distribution of your wives" to other men906

After the elections went badly, Maria Ofelia Ochoa wrote a series of articles trying to

explain what had happened. The articles mostly avoided political themes and emphasized a

return by ACM to a more social role. An April article about Holy Week drew comparisons

between the sufferings of Christ and the sufferings of Spanish Catholics after the February

elections and looked forward to a future in which they would rise again politically.907 Clearly the

elections had struck a chord with the right, which had felt very confident of victory in the

elections, only to lose.

Excepting the final stage of the Republic, in which the CEDA as a whole failed, Catholic

women played an important political role, and they were particularly crucial to the success of the

CEDA. While maintaining the traditional character of a Catholic women's social organization,

the group adapted itself to the new political environment that needed them to participate

politically. By combining social and political action, the women's section of the CEDA

905 ((,QU6 CS lo que quiere el comunismo?" pamphlet, RAH, Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8989.

906 Election pamphlets, RAH, Fondo Angulo, legajo 11/8989.

907 El Correo de Andalucia, April 7, 1936.

transformed itself into a formidable ally to its male counterpart, greatly improving its reach. One

wonders what might have happened had the CEDA entrusted electoral propaganda to the

women's section in 1936, rather than the JAP. A more moderate tone might have kept voters

from abandoning the party and led to victory.


The most controversial section of the CEDA was its youth movement, the Juventud de

Accion Popular (JAP). Organized in 1932, the JAP played a militant role as the vanguard of its

parent organization. The JAP did not gain significant influence in the CEDA until 1934, after the

electoral victory of November 1933. In its position as vanguard, the JAP tended to take on

extreme positions on most issues, focusing attention on what it saw as a Manichean struggle

between Catholicism and Marxism. From its inception, this group moved further and further to

the right, and by 1934 it had developed a leadership cult that bordered on fascism. Yet the JAP

was never fascist and clearly disavowed any connection with that system. Rather, it represented a

militant, youthful, Catholic approach to politics. Ultimately, its excesses contributed to the

CEDA' s electoral defeat in 1936, an event that pushed the country closer to civil war.

Historians have tended to view the JAP as representative of what the CEDA wished to

become ideologically. Jose Montero has argued that the youth movement' s ideology and

organization demonstrated the fascist nature of the larger confederation; it was "only the advance

guard" of what the CEDA would "inevitably" become after Gil Robles's schemes had

succeeded.90 Similarly, Gabriel Jackson declared that the JAP "used the anti-semitic vocabulary

of the Nazis and dreamed of a St. Bartholemew of Masons and Marxists," and other scholars

have spoken openly of the JAP's fascism.909 Other scholars have continued this trend of

908 MOntero, vol. 1, 582.

909 Jackson, 177: Sid Lowe, "The Juventud de Acci6n Popular and the 'failure' of 'fascism' in Spain, 1932-1936,"
(master's thesis, University of Sheffield (UK), 2000), 8: Preston, The Coming, 257.

attaching the fascist label to the JAP, arguing that it occupied the same political space as the


Such historians as Stanley Payne and Martin Blinkhorn have acknowledged the

ambiguities of the JAP's relationship to fascism but recognized that the affinity for certain

external conventions did not necessarily constitute fascism.911 But perhaps the most interesting

argument has been made by Richard A. H. Robinson, who argued that Gil Robles "was obliged

to give Japistas a measure of independence to retain their allegiance even though their youthful

exuberance provided the Left with ammunition for their accusations of 'Fascism."'912 His point,

that the JAP did not in fact represent the true ideals of the CEDA, has merit. The JAP, as a

vanguard movement, often took on postures that went far beyond the demands of the

confederation at large, perhaps in the hope that it would gain at least some of what it sought. In

order to avoid losing their support, Gil Robles had to tolerate the JAP's extremism,

uncomfortable as it might have been.

Youth groups, from the fascist Falange on the right to the Communist Youth on the left,

stayed at the forefront of the Republic' s street violence. The prevalence of university students in

these organizations made Spain's universities ideological battlegrounds. Since the Socialist and

Communist youth dominated the Federacion Universitaria Espahola (FUE), Spain's largest

university student organization, the Falange created the competing Sindicato Espahol

Universitario (SEU), complete with its own militia. The Falange, Socialist Youth, and

910 Lowe, 8; Preston, The Coming, 257. Angel M. Varas Carrasco spoke of the JAP's "if not fully fascist at least
close to fascist character." See Varas Carrasco, "El catolicismo social durante la Segunda Reptiblica: Aproximaci6n
al pensamiento politico de las Juventudes de Acci6n Popular," unpublished manuscript, 178.
911 Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 171, 174, 179; Martin Blinkhorn, "Conservatism, Traditionalism, and Fascism
in Spain, 1898-1937" in Fascists and Conservatives, ed. Martin Blinkhorn (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990), 132.
912 Robinson, The Origins, 169.

Communist Youth all took to the streets and engaged in violence with each other, especially

because the Socialist and Communist Youth, based on the recent experiences of Italy and

Germany, refused to allow a similar outcome in Spain.913 All of these groups had their own

militias, as did the Carlist Youth and the youth section of RE. Within the Traditionalist

Commune, the youth rebelled against "the control of cautious Juntas in whose eyes numerical

strength was an excuse for inactivity and who above all shrank from 'crazy behaviour' such as

attacks on the locals of rival parties."914 Set against this background of violence, the JAP' s

rhetorical extremism set it apart, because though it often employed angry words, its members

rarely took part in street violence. The JAP therefore acted as a bridge between the CEDA and

the more extreme right-wing groups, a non-violent alternative for Catholic youth disappointed

with the direction of the Republic' s politics but committed to working within legality.

Youth and Politics: The Formation of the JAP

The JAP developed out of a European tradition of Catholic youth groups.915 Catholic

Action youth groups had appeared throughout Europe during the 1920s, and in 1923, the

Asociacidn Catdlica Nacional de Propagandista~s (ACNP) played an instr-umental role in the

creation of the Spanish Juventud Catdlica Espaiola (JCE). An apolitical group, the JCE became

a breeding ground, along with the ACNP, for the JAP. In some cases, an organization's structure

913 Gil Pecharromin, Josd Antonio: Retrato de un visionario 2nd ed. (Madrid: Temas de Hoy, 2003), 216-7, 218-9;
Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 200-1.

914 Blinkhorn, Carlism and Crisis, 134. For more on the RE youth organization, see Gil Pecharromin,
Conservadores subversives, 150-2.

915 Martin Conway, "Introduction," in Political Catholicism in Europe, 1918-1965, ed. Tom Buchanan and Martin
Conway (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 22-3, 55, 83-4. In Italy, Catholic Action was the only legal non-Fascist
group in the country in 1929, but its membership, and especially the youth movement, faced Fascist violence during
a 1931 conflict between the Church and State. The Catholic university students' organization also became the
incubator for the future leaders of Italy's Christian Democracy movement. When P~tain effectively ended France's
Third Republic in 1940, the Catholic youth movement there "looked to the Marshal to restore a sense of the sacred
in public life and to prepare the way for a Christian renaissance."

transferred over to the JAP almost intact. For instance, Jose Maria Valiente, the first JAP

president, led the JCE until 1932.916 Very quickly, the JAP eclipsed the JCE because of its

political, rather than social, role. The JAP found a great deal of support in the Confederacidn de

Estudiantes Catdlica~s, since students were officially barred from participating in political


The CEDA' s youth auxiliary j oined the Carlist youth, the youth section of Renovacidn

Espahola, and the fascist Falange as the Republic's right-wing youth political movements,

though only the JAP enjoyed a mass following for most of the Republic. The Carlists and

Renovacidn Espahola represented monarchists' interests, which had very much fallen out of

favor under the Republic, while the Falange never developed a significant membership until the

February 1936 elections led many to give up on reform under the Republican system. The JAP,

while consciously mimicking fascist style, never embraced the idea of working outside the

bounds of legality, making it palatable to the masses that hated the Republic's reforms but had

no taste for violence.

During the summer of 1931, AN took the first steps toward creating a youth group. AN' s

leaders wanted to develop citizens, not "guerrilleros," calling for the "civic education" of youth

through a separate organization, and by October, AN had firm plans to create the Juventud de

Accidn Nacional (JAN), organized in Madrid the following February and becoming the Juventud

de Accidn Popular (JAP) in April.918 While most of the members were not what one today might

call "young," it was intended as a formative group to prepare future leaders for political action.

916 Chiaki Watanabe, Confesionalidad catdlica y militancia political: La Asociacidn Catdlica Nacional de
Propagandistas y la Juventud Catdlica Espaiiola (1923-1936) (Madrid: UNED Ediciones, 2003), 435.

917 Vincent, Catholicism in the Second Spanish Republic, 225. The CEC, however, denied any official ties to the
CEDA. See, for example, El Correo de Andalucia, 23 December 1934.

918 El Debate, July 14 and 15, October 18 and 20, 1931; Monge Bernal, 223, 225.

They believed that "those that know the youth that just left the university classrooms or that still

attend them, know that in coming years there will be other interesting revelations on the right,"

and these youth would one day be "excellent municipal administrators and excellent men of

Government."919 To fulfill this vision, the JAP had three goals: first, the "political formation of

members"; second, "propaganda and aid to the political party [AP]"; and third, "organization for

the defense of our civic rights."920 The local organizations were intended to fulfill these

purposes. According to its regulations, JAP members would "distinguish themselves by their

solid Catholic convictions, by their love of Spain, and by their spirit of discipline and by their

decisiveness in citizen action."921

The Madrid JAP set an example for groups elsewhere. In its first year, it established an

extensive organization, complete with circulos de studios, a library, an Academy of Oratory,

and other cultural initiatives intended to fulfill its role of educating the "young." Its members

took part in numerous propaganda meetings throughout Spain, coordinating efforts with the

larger CEDA. In addition, the JAP created a sports section that organized soccer, tennis, aviation,

and camping activities. Its members provided security for CEDA meetings and for election day,

and took on the role of protector for the larger confederation.922 The JAP also lost no time in

expanding into the province.92 However, government resistance caused most of its activity to

take place outside the public eye. For example, the government suspended a public meeting

scheduled for May 1932 without providing a reason, though meetings that were allowed to go on

919 El Debate, January 1, 1933. Membership was open to those between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five.

920 C. E. D. A., August 15, 1933.

921 MOnge Bernal, 228.

922 C. E. D. A., August 15 and September 15, 1933; Ideas, April 6, 1933.

923 El Debate, April 20, 1932. In April, a group in San Lorenzo del Escorial formed a committee with 100 members
and a newspaper.

tended to be fairly successful.924 The JAP understood the government's actions to mean that

"equality before the law does not exist, nor [does] freedom of assembly for the parties and

entities not linked to the government."925

The groups in Toledo and Seville did not have the same early success. The Seville group,

organized in April 1932 under the presidency of Jer6nimo Paj ar6n Gimenez with founding

principles of "Piety, Study, and Action," quickly failed in the wake of the Sanjurj ada.926 At the

group's first meeting, Paj ar6n argued with obvious exaggeration that "Until now, we, who call

ourselves Catholics before the world, have permitted that acts of vandalism, without precedent in

the civilized world, be realized with impunity. .. And I say from here to all of Spain's youth,

that we must not renounce morality and faith because we are young; on the contrary, precisely

because of this we have the obligation to go to the struggle with more fervor."927 In Toledo,

where the JAP was organized in June 1932, the first two years of activity are shrouded in

mystery because few reports of its activities made it into the press.928 The JAP president,

Antonio Jimenez Salazar, told his group that "to be neutral is the sterile cult of selfishness and

the voluntary castration of heart and mind. Let nothing frighten you, not even death, because

until that moment we depend upon the ineffable comfort of a 'forgive them, Lord' and a 'Viva

Espafia !"929

924 Ibid., June 24 and November 22, 1932. One meeting in Fuencarral had an attendance of over 1,000.

925 Ibid., May 22 and 24, 1932.

926 El Correo de Andalucia, April 12 and 16, 1932; El Debate, April 16, 1932.
927 El Correo de Andalucia, May 24, 1932.

928 El Castellano, June 21, 1932.

929 Ibid., August 1, 1932.

Jose Maria Perez de Laborda, the JAP's vice president, declared at the beginning of August

1932 that "the juventud wants to be a renewing movement that frees the people from caciquismo,

whose orientation is consistent with the doctrines of the Encyclicals, that is the only one that

assure dignity in work, justice in salary, and support in disability or old age." The rich should not

pursue more riches but be "good administrators of the goods that God put in their hands." He

went on to argue that "the juventud should have three principal obj ectives: citizen action, cultural

and political education, and popular propaganda." They should be "always enemies of all

violence, not making one step forward to attack, but never backwards in defense; exercising all

civil rights, without fear of any kind, always willing to exercise legitimate defense, no matter the


The Sanjurj ada had a chilling effect on the right' s organization, especially in Seville. As a

result, the JAP, still in its organizational infancy, had to wait until the situation calmed

sufficiently before launching any maj or initiatives, and the JAP effectively waited until 1933 to

begin serious growth. Once the government repression after the Sanjurj ada had loosened

sufficiently, the JAP returned to public activity. In January 1933, the Madrid JAP opened a

"social campaign" of conferences intended to explain the CEDA' s program among the "popular

classes and the outer neighborhoods of Madrid."931 In One meeting, Tomas Cerro chided the

parties of the left for responding violently to the CEDA' s doctrines by declaring that "to answer

an argument with a shout or a punch is not answering."932 Interspersed between these meetings,

the JAP continued its normal schedule of circulos de studio and conferences on political and

religious issues in the various centros de barriada throughout the city, as well as larger meetings.

931) Ibid.

931 El Debate, Januany 6, 1933.

932 Ibid., January 6, 8, and 10, 1933.

Jose Maria Valiente told an audience that "Accion Popular is characterized by its optimism.

This, in the beginning, could have seemed like a delirium of youth, but it is that we trusted .. in

an all-powerful God and in an all-powerful Spain as well."933 Gil Robles warned the Madrid JAP

to" keep in mind that violence and firmness are different" and told them to prepare themselves

for the day in which they might have to use force "as a defensive element."934

A process of reorganization began in February 1933, in preparation for the CEDA

congress. Madrid's section held an Assembly on February 21, designating delegates and

planning for the JAP's participation in the CEDA congress. In addition, the Madrid committee

called for more support for the sports section by agreeing to create gymnastic and

mountaineering sections.93 At the Seville AP provincial assembly, the party took steps to clarify

the relationship between it and the JAP, making JAP membership obligatory for those under the

voting age and voluntary for others under thirty-five.936 In mid-March, the JAP elected a new

president, Francisco Abascal Fernandez, who put into preparation a circulo de studios

municipalista~s to study local government and prepare possible city councilors, though it did not

immediately begin activity.937 After the CEDA' s constitution, its youth committee (made up of

the youth groups of the regional affiliates) agreed that every CEDA affiliate would create a youth

section, focusing on the tasks of educating their members, providing propaganda for the wider

933 Ibid., February 7, 1933; El Correo de 4ndalucia, February 7, 1933.

934 El Debate, February 17, 1933.

935 Ibid., February 22, 1933.

936 El Correo de 4ndalucia, February 12, 1933.

937 Ibid., March 18, 1933.

confederation, and organizing groups to act as security for meetings and elections. The Madrid

group would act as the link between these groups throughout the country.938

Two other significant events also happened during the spring of 1933: the CEDA and its

allies won the April municipal elections, and the party created a JAP counterpart for women (the

JAP Femenina). After the elections, the JAP argued that the victory represented "the result of a

political vision, a tactic, constant activity, a spirit of sacrifice." The Socialists had brought the

country to ruin, they argued, with their materialist conception of society. The JAP wanted to

renew the nation with a spiritual ideal.939 The JAP Femenina called on Catholic women to help

Spain in "difficult times, of violent transformations and great responsibilities."940 As discussed in

the chapter on the women's section, the JAP Femenina took responsibility for the asistencia

social program in Madrid, distributing food and other aid. By June 1934, the group had

distributed 79,317 food packages, totaling 396,585 meals.941 This program became integral to the

mission of the CEDA, which sought to provide a total solution to Spain' s problems and

demonstrate a commitment to social justice.

By mid-1933, the JAP had groups in only a handful of Seville' s towns.942 Real growth did

not come to the Seville JAP until 1934, when the national CEDA assigned all AP members

938 El Debate, March 10, 1933.

939 Ibid., April 25, 1933.
941) Ibid., May 5, 1933; C. E. D. 4., May 20 and August 15, 1933.

941 El Debate, June 26, 1934.

942 Alvarez Rey, "Las derechas en Sevilla," 81 1-3; El Correo de 4ndalucia, August 11 and September 23, 1933.
Apart from the capital, there were committees at least in Marchena, Carmona, Los Palacios, MorC~n de la Frontera,
and Constantina. In August, the Marchena JAP held a series of conferences to promote the CEDA's ideology, and in
Constantina, the new JAP held a meeting in October. See El Correo de 4ndalucia, August 11 and 16, October 22,
1933; El Debate, October 24, 1933.

thirty-five and under to the JAP.943 Prior to this point, AP Seville, much as it had done with AO,

treated the JAP as a subordinate organization. In the other provinces, the JAP enjoyed a greater

degree of autonomy than in Seville. This change in the JAP's membership policy reflected the

autonomous role the JAP played in other provinces, so the Seville JAP still had to catch up to

them. Still, this was a difficult proposition for them. At a meeting in Constantina, Ramos

Hernandez had declared that the JAP was exclusively for educating the youth, rather than giving

them a chance to act, as they did in other provinces.944 It was only later that the Seville JAP was

given a more independent role.

In the fall of 1933, the JAP sent commissions on "study trips" to Belgium, Italy, and

Germany to "feel the pulse of the spirit of friendly countries that are passing through or have

confronted more or less similar problems as those that Spain has posed, taking advantage of their

experience and avoiding falling in the errors which they might have incurred."945 Gil Robles

himself attended the Nazis' Nuremburg rally that fall, which impressed him with its

organization. While rejecting much of the Nazis' ideology, such as its "pantheistic essence" and

"violence erected in a system," Gil Robles was clearly influenced by that rally.946 The JAP

wanted to "examine with all care the experiences which in different nations are undertaken in

order to structure a new world that is not based in the old democracy of liberalism and in which

943 Alvarez Rey, La derecha en Sevilla, 358. They expanded the regulation that all members under the voting age
belong to the JAP. Now all males under thirty-five had to belong to the JAP.

944 El Correo de 4ndalucia, October 22, 1933.

945 C. E. D. 4., September 15, 1933; El Debate, August 23 and September 13, 1933. It should be noted that at this
point, Hitler had only just come to power in Germany. While his ideology certainly left little doubt of his intentions,
there was as yet no substantial violence against his enemies. The Socialists had been suppressed, but there was not
yet a concerted attack on the Jews or other groups. Italy was not at this point a significantly oppressive state, either.
As became clear in later statements by the CEDA's leaders, the later actions of these leaders were completely

946 C. E. D. 4., September 30, 1933. Nuremburg influence was particularly evident in the El Escorial rally.

an ideal of social justice and organic constitution of the State are undertaken, more Christian than

the current economic and social organization of States." The travelers saw the beginnings of the

grand labor organization envisioned by Mussolini, but they readily pointed out their reservations

about Fascism' s glorification of the State and its "cultivation, perhaps excessive, of sports and

militias, begun at a very early age." In addition, they lauded the Duce's respect for the Catholic

Church.947 Though the findings generally tended to make the Fascists look good, they did

recognize the flaws of Mussolini's regime and made clear the differences between Fascism and

the JAP.

When the government announced parliamentary elections in October, the JAP quickly

moved to do its part. The JAP resigned itself to "accept the battle where it presents itself to us,

using whatever civic arms come into our hands" to achieve victory. They suspended all other

activities during the campaign, urging members to raise money, help with propaganda, and act as

election workers to ensure the fairness of the process.948 Most of the JAP's contributions to the

election campaign took place behind the scenes, with a few exceptions.949 In Madrid, the JAP

urged its supporters to "fulfill your duty" and vote for the right.950 When someone began

removing CEDA election posters from the walls in Madrid, members of the JAP took the

responsibility for replacing them.951 During the campaign for the second round, seventeen cars

947 El Debate, September 13, 1933; C. E. D. A., October 15, 1933; El Debate, January 14 and 21, February 4, 11, and
23, March 4, 1934. The Church later ran into significant difficulties with the regime.
948 El Debate, October 12, 1933; J. A. P. (Avila), October 14, 1933.

949 El Debate, October 24, 1933.

950 Ibid., November 19, 1933.

951 El Correo de Andalucia, October 29, 1933.

staffed by the JAP sent propaganda throughout Madrid.952 In Seville and Toledo, the JAP played

a very similar role, taking on most support activities.

The JAP and Fascism

The JAP's open admiration for the Fascist and Nazi spectacle made its claims to

Republican loyalty suspect, and it long had to contend with accusations of fascism.953 OaplSta~s

had uniforms, insignias, and a salute, though they specifically denied their importance. It is no

coincidence that the JAP began holding mass meetings after Gil Robles visited the rallies in

Nuremberg in 1933. This angered Spanish fascists, who competed with the JAP for supporters.954

Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, head of the Falange Espafiola de las JONS, called the JAP a "sad

caricature" of fascism, whose members were "without nerve."955 Much of the JAP's ideology

directly contradicted that of the fascists, and part of its outward show found inspiration in the

Socialist Youth.956 Valiente argued that "in the Spanish tradition there are too many motives for

inspiration for us to need to go begging for them elsewhere.'"95 At a meeting in Barcelona, Gil

Robles specifically denounced fascism as a violent "absorbing and pagan statism" that had no

952 El Debate, December 2, 1933.

953 Martin Blinkhomn, "Conservatism, traditionalism, and fascism in Spain, 1898-1937," in Fascists and
Conservatives: The radical right and the establishment in twentieth-century Europe, ed. Martin Blinkhomn (London:
Unwin Hyman, 1990), 132. Blinkhomn calls the JAP fascisant.

954 Robinson, The Origins, 100. In 1932, the fascist JONS had recruited many JAP members "who had despaired of
the passivity of that organization" in Zaragoza.
955 JUliO Gil Pecharromin, Josd Antonio Primo de Rivera. Retrato de un visionario, second edition (Madrid: Temas
de Hoy, 2003), 245.

956 Robinson, 170.

957 El Castellano, April 9, 1934.

place in Spain.958 In his memoirs, he argued that the JAP and fascism had nothing in common

but gestures.959

Though many accused the JAP of violence, the JAP opposed "violence as a system, but not

force to oppose the violence of our enemies: this is the exercise of legitimate defense."960 They

put this in practice in June 1933, dispatching JAP groups to help protect Catholics during a wave

of vandalism. Some of them became involved in violent confrontations, and at least one was

shot.961 The CEDA used this incident to complain of the unfair treatment it received from the

government, which it believed sided too readily with those causing the disturbances. The JAP,

while involved in these confrontations, rarely instigated them. More often, the JAP was the target

of violence, and its leaders argued that the violence perpetrated against it constituted "the most

formidable arguments of our propaganda."962 Responding to a bomb attack on one of the Madrid

centros de barriada in August 1933, the JAP blamed the government and warned that it planned

to "organize [itself] in the legitimate defense of [its] ideals and rights, in order to avoid drowning

in ignominy."963 The JAP, then, appealed to violence only as a defensive measure, and incidents

involving the JAP generally took place because someone else initiated it.964

958 El Debate, March 7, 1933.

959 Gil Robles, No fue possible, 203.
961) El Debate, January 23, 1934. See also El Debate, April 22, 1934.

961 C. E. D. 4., June 30, 1933; El Debate, June 25, 1933; El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 25, 1933. He went to the
hospital, and the next day they announced that he was out of danger.

962 C. E. D. 4., August 15, 1933. Two JAP members were gunned down in the street in Cuenca several days after the
November 1933 elections. See El Debate, November 30, 1933; El Correo de 4ndalucia, November 30, 1933. A
member of the JAP Femenina was murdered outside of Madrid. The paper claims she was murdered by the president
of the local Casa del Pueblo. See El Debate, December 8, 1933.

963 C. E. D. 4., August 15, 1933.

964 El Correo de 4ndalucia, November 3, 1933. In one case, a group of japistas that was attacked with stones was
arrested for gun possession and sentenced to four months confinement. The JAP did not protest this result but
wondered why the initial aggressors had not been arrested as well. See El Debate, February 8, 1934.

The JAP bristled at comparisons between itself and fascism. Perez de Laborda explained

the situation thusly: "Is it that we are fascists because we have announced a civic demonstration

at El Escorial, with flags and standards? In order to reach the hearts of the youth it is necessary to

resort to outward symbols. That is how the Socialist youth does it, and so they did it in their

camp in Torrelodones, with tents lent from the Ministry of War, and those Sunday marches, four

deep, uniform of white hat and sexual promiscuity. We prepare a movihizacion civil that will put

itself at the disposition of the authorities to oppose the revolutionary strike, but this is pure

citizenship. .. The only fascism, as they interpret it, is that of socialism."96

The Nineteen Points, prepared in preparation for the meeting at El Escorial, distilled the

JAP's ideology into a concise list. The points were

* Spanish Spirit. Think of Spain. Work for Spain. Die for Spain.

* Discipline. The leaders do not make mistakes.

* Youth. Faith. Bravery. Will. Youthful spirit in the new politics.

* Repeal of sectarian, socialistic, and anti-Spanish legislation.

* Christian family, against pagan modernism.

* Strength of the race. Premilitary education. Abolition of the soldado de cuota. 6

* Freedom of education. Children do not belong to the State.

* Love of region, basis for love of Spain.

* Specialization. More preparation and fewer speeches.

* Our revolution is social justice. Neither selfish capitalism, nor destructive Marxism.

* More landowners and fairer distribution of wealth.

965 El Debate, January 23, 1934; El Correo de 4ndalucia, January 23, 1934. Italics added.

966 This system allowed the rich to pay their way out of military service.

* War on decadent playboyism and professional idleness. Recognition of all activities. Work
for all. "He who does not work, does not eat."

* Antiparliamentarism. Antidictatorship. The people are incorporated in the Government in
an organic and hierarchical form, not through degenerate democracy.

* Reconstruction of Spain. War on class struggle. The economy at the service of the Nation.

* Spain strong and respected in the world.

* Reason first. Against violence, reason and force.

* Prestige of Authority. Strong Executive Power. To prevent, better than to repress.

* Before the martyrs of our ideal, iPresente y adelante!96

* Before all, Spain, and above Spain, God.968

These points outline an authoritarian system embracing social equality and denouncing

Marxism. In addition, they promoted Catholic ideals and exalted the nation. Valiente explained

that "the leaders do not make mistakes" meant that though leaders certainly could be wrong at

times, the time for discussion was in party assemblies. After a decision had been made, members

had to accept that. In describing the JAP's "anti-parliamentari sm," Valiente claimed that a

parliament is too unwieldy to undertake quick action. According to Valiente, the Parliament is

"to legislate and not to govern." Rather, there should be a "hierarchical" system of voting that

would choose a government.969 The JAP's ideology reaches its most basic expression in the

nineteenth point: "Above all Spain, and above Spain, God." One JAP speaker in Madrid declared

that "Spain and Religion are two synonymous words for us."970 While its ideology tended toward

an authoritarian regime, the JAP focused on the maintenance of a traditional hierarchy, based on

967 Literally, "Present and Forward!"

968 El Debate, January 12, 1934.

969 C. E. D. A., February 15, 1934.

970 El Debate, January 11, 1934.

the hierarchy of the Church. Ultimately, they sought to create some sort of "organic" government

that included all different sectors of society and respected leadership. This ideal was never fully

developed, however, and remained vague.

The JAP opposed "the State-God" and dictatorship, which could "degenerate into

tyranny ."971 Asked to distinguish the JAP's ideology from fascism, Jose Maria Valiente declared

that "Doctrinally the absorbing statism separates us. For us, the State must recognize the family;

the Municipality; freedom of education, which is the right of parents to educate their children;

the freedom of the Press, seriously regulated, above all; human liberty, understood as our

theology understands it and not in the liberal manner. Strong, very strong, Authority, which

imposes without contemplations or hesitations the law to all, for which it is dangerous, useless,

impolitic, and anti-Christian to drown that which God made free."972 In Other words, the JAP

believed in an authoritarian system, but not in an all-encompassing dictatorial system like those

in Germany and Italy. Instead, the JAP sought to create a Catholic, corporatist state much closer

to the Portugal of Salazar than to Hitler' s Germany or Mussolini's Italy.

El Escorial

1934 was a turning point for the JAP, because the electoral victory gave them confidence

and significantly more freedom of movement. All three provinces became significantly more

active. Activity, especially in Madrid and Toledo, focused on the organization of a JAP national

congress in Madrid, culminating in a mass meeting in El Escorial in April.973 In addition to a

propaganda campaign, the Madrid JAP developed its sports section, creating an aviation course,

971 Ibid., January 23, 1934.

972 C. E. D. 4., February 15, 1934.

973 Ibid., August 15, 1933; El Debate, November 23, 1933. The congress had been in the works since early 1933.
Many of the proposals initially planned for the JAP congress were discussed at the CEDA congress in
February/March 1933. The election victory accelerated planning for spring 1934.

ski program, and soccer tournament, and the organization of new committees.974 The Madrid

JAP modified its committee in late February to include"lawyers and workers, engineers,

architects, merchants and employees."975 The Toledo JAP began activity in earnest in early 1934,

in preparation for the rally at El Escorial. They organized the first maj or JAP committee outside

of the provincial capital, in Ocafia, and a circulo de studios in Talavera de la Reina.976 Several

months later, the group celebrated the blessing of its flag in a mass at the local church.977 During

the same period, organizational problems forced the cancellation of numerous events.978

The congress had a program by the end of February.979 The congress, along with the El

Escorial rally took on a symbolic importance as the JAP's first maj or undertaking. The manifesto

declared that "before the old and austere stones that speak to us of a great Spain, the Juventudes

de Accion Popular makes a profession of faith in Spain, because we believe in its future, because

we are willing to continue its glorious history, far from the corr-uption of the old politics and

Marxist factionalism, that has been at the point of drowning it in ignominy."980 The Seville JAP

looked forward to the creation of "a new Spain, upon the pure principles of a rigorous social

justice."98 Preparations became so complicated that the JAP organized a special office to help

974 El Debate, December 21, 1933, January 14, 24, and 31, 1934; C. E. D. A., September 15, 1933, February 1, 1934.
They considered the sports section part of their emphasis on "premilitary" education. See C. E. D. A., May 1, 1934;
El Debate, April 21, 1934. In February, they created a new committee in Aranjuez. The new group quickly
organized a circulo de studios. See El Debate, February 25, July 12, 1934.
975 El Debate, March 2, 1934; C. E. D. A., March 15, 1934.

976 El Castellano, January 15 and 19, May 17 and 24, 1934.

977 Ibid., May 23, 1934.

978 Ibid., January 22 and 26, February 1, August 4, September 13, 1934

979 El Debate, February 21, 1934.

980 Ibid., March 1, 1934; C. E. D. A., March 15, 1934; El Castellano, March 1, 1934.

981 El Correo de Andalucia, March 11, 1934.

with travel plans and housing issues.982 Enthusiasm ran so high that the CEDA headquarters

resembled "the days before an election."983 Toledo and Seville sent numerous delegations.

Toledo wanted to be "the province from which the greatest number of congresista;s attends."984

Seville organized a propaganda blitz to encourage participation, though this did not occur as

planned because of the state of alarm.985 They announced that they would go to El Escorial to

"proclaim our faith in the eternal destinies of Spain."986

Initially, the JAP planned the meeting for April 8 but moved it to later in the month. The

Socialists had planned a meeting in the same town on the same day--an effort to force the

government to cancel both meetings.98 Ultimately, the JAP avoided this problem by moving its

demonstration to April 22. The Socialists then unsuccessfully tried to change their own

meeting.988 They believed the El Escorial meeting constituted a "military mobilization,"

declaring ominously that "today's act will not remain without an answer."989 The JAP knew of

982 El Debate, March 15 and April 7, 1934. Many provincial groups organized special trains to El Escorial for the
meeting, and obtained a rail discount for japistas who had to travel to Madrid for the congress. One group of 100
from Valencia planned to bicycle to the meeting at El Escorial. Most traveled in buses. See El Debate, March 10 and
31, April 19 and 20, 1934; El Cobrreo de Andalucia, April 4, 6, 10, and 12, 1934; El Castellano, April 21, 1934.

983 El Castellano, April 7, 1934.

984 Ibid., April 13, 1934. The Toledo committee began organizing excursions to the meeting in late March,
ultimately deciding to organize a caravan of buses to travel together. See El Castellano, March 29, April 4, 5, 6, 7,
10, and 19, 1934.

985 El Correo de Andalucia, March 7, 1934. The government had suspended some constitutional rights and
heightened the police's security level to quickly deal with potential threats to public order.

986 Handbill, April 13, 1934, RAH, Fondo Diego Angulo, legajo 11/8988.

987 Rafael Salazar Alonso, Bajo el signo de la revolucidn (Madrid: Libreria de Roberto de San Martin, 1935), 76; El
Correo de Andalucia, January 20, 1934. Salazar Alonso recalled that the Socialists had solicited authorization for
April 8 before the JAP had formally requested permission to hold its own meeting, so he granted the Socialist
petition. Because of this, the JAP then requested permission for April 22, instead of April 8. The Socialists then
approached Salazar Alonso angrily to point out that the entire reason for soliciting that date had been to stop the JAP

988 El Correo de Andalucia, April 4, 1934. The government refused to allow it.

989 El Socialista, April 22, 1934.

violent threats against its members and the meeting.990 A pamphlet from the "Battle Committee

of Cuatro Caminos" argued that the meeting at El Escorial represented a "'test' that will tell all

of the fascist murderers to what measure they have prepared the terrain." The Battle Committee

called upon all anti-fascists to "stand up against all of the fascist scum. Let us crush the fascist

concentration. Let us break their organization."991 Even in light of this opposition, the JAP and

the government sought to reassure the public that "nothing will happen" during the congress,

because "everything is prepared to avoid it."992 But this proved more difficult than anticipated. A

general strike was declared in reprisal against the meeting at El Escorial, and there were attacks

made against those traveling to it.993 An attack on the CEDA' s Madrid headquarters led to the

death of a jpista, Rafael Roca Ortega.994 While tragic, this event played directly into the hands

of the JAP, which viewed the attack as a desperate attempt to stop the rally at El Escorial after

legal means had failed. The JAP would go unified "to El Escorial to demonstrate that the savage

incident, revelatory of a plan that luckily has been aborted completely, cannot make our energy

fall, on the contrary, they feel their energy increased, in view of the current circumstances."995

991) C. E. D. 4., April 1, 1934.

991,4 GStifScino, [April 1934].

992 El Debate, April 21, 1934; El Correo de 4ndalticia, April 4 and 10, 1934.

993 El Socialista, April 22 and 24, 1934; El Correo de 4ndalticia, April 24, 1934; El Debate, April 22 and 24, May 9,
1934. Catholic papers called the strike a "rotund failure." In Aranjuez (Madrid), a crowd overturned two trucks.
Trains were shot at and a train line in Avila destroyed. There is some evidence that at least one JAP bus fired shots
at a crowd gathered on the side of the road. The police were unable to discover who had done it, however, so
nothing definitive can be said about this.

994 El Debate, April 21, 1934; El Correo de 4ndalticia, April 21, 1934. Roca became the preeminent martyr of the
JAP because his death occurred in relation to the meeting at El Escorial. See C. E. D. 4., May 1, 1934.

995 El Correo de 4ndalticia, April 21 and 22, 1934; El Debate, April 21 and 22, May 9, 1934. The JAP later opened
a subscription for the police injured in the attack, and a youth who chased down an attacker was chosen to preside
over one of the congress sessions. See C. E. D. 4., May 1, 1934.

Over 800 regional delegates attended the congress, which focused on the Nineteen Points

and with five other proposals on issues such as JAP activity in municipal governments and

national party organization.996 In keeping with this authoritarian and anti-parliamentarist

ideology, the congress did not vote on proposals. If, after debate, there was not unanimity on any

issue, the session presidency would make a decision, and if they could not agree, the JAP

president would decide. The audience would approve them by acclamation.997 The closest the

congress came to open debate was a disagreement over the second point: "The leaders are never

wrong." Rafael Esparza, presenting the topic, argued that "The JAP must establish itself on a

very solid discipline, which does not allow excuses or hesitation. One must be fully with the

leaders, while they are such, or make them quit. Because of this they are not wrong." The JDRV

pointed out that its own statutes declared that "God inspires. The leaders lead. He who obeys is

not wrong."998 The final version did not change. Ultimately, this confirmed the JAP's

authoritarian bent, best expressed by Jose Maria Valiente when he said that the JAP wanted a

"strong authoritarian power, .. that keeps in mind the will of Spaniards," which they assumed

they represented.999

The El Escorial meeting went largely as planned. The government barred a planned parade

(march-past), but other activities continued on schedule.1000 Gil Robles believed that the

government feared that any parade would take on a military character, with uniforms and flags.

996 El Correo de Andalucia, April 21, 1934; El Debate, March 1, April 13, 15 and 18, 1934. Some estimates had
reached 850.

997 El Debate, March 1, April 19, 1934; C. E. D. A., March 15, 1934. Proposals were distributed ahead of time to
simplify the debate process. See El Debate, March 31, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, April 12, 1934.
998 El Debate, April 21, 1934; C. E. D. A., May 1, 1934.

999 Ibid.
1000 El Correo de Andalucia, April 18, 1934. This led to some confusion, as many thought the entire meeting had
been cancelled.

Tellingly, Gil Robles claims that "there was none of that" planned, even though they definitely

planned to have numerous regional flags, and attendees were encouraged to wear the JAP

emblem.1ool Salazar Alonso recorded a conversation with Alcala-Zamora after the act had been

authorized, in which the President asked him, "And will they bring their flags? And will they do

their salutes, extending the arm? And maybe uniforms and insignias?" Salazar Alonso reassured

him, "None of that; flags, it is clear, but there will not be uniforms; It will not be a fascist

demonstration."1002 The JAP discouraged the imposition of a formal uniform, but "given the

rural and sporting character of the day," attendees were encouraged to wear high boots, breeches,

and ecru-colored sport shirts.1003 Seizing on this, El Socialista loudly proclaimed that "the youth

ofAccio~n Popular constitute a uniformed militia and aspire to change the regime."1004

The meeting at El Escorial began the introduction of a carefully orchestrated "civil

liturgy."1oos A maj or part of the activities at El Escorial revolved around paying homage to the

"martyrs of the ideal." The names of the martyrs were read out while jpista~s made the "old

Spanish salute" by putting their hands across their chests to the left shoulder and cried "iPresente

y Adelante!" in response to each name. Gil Robles declared that the martyrs demonstrated the

1ool El Debate, April 18 and 19, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, March 13, 1934. While the JAP did have a uniform,
it was never widely used, and photos from El Escorial make it clear that very few wore any sort of uniform that day,
other than the JAP insignia sewn on their coats. El Debate actually pointed out the day before the congress that they
should not wear uniforms to the meeting, since the government had prohibited them. They could purchase the
insignia for one peseta. See El Castellano, April 10, 1934. The flags superimposed the JAP insignia over a
background of regional colors. The JAP Femenina made the flags, and the JAP expected about 1,000 to arrive at El
Escorial. See El Debate, March 10, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, March 13 and April 13, 1934; El Castellano,
April 18 and 23, 1934.
1002 Salazar Alonso, Bajo el signo, 77.

1003 C. E. D. A., March 15, 1934. That fall, the JAP did design an official uniform, but it never seems to have
received widespread use and quickly fell out of favor. The JAP insignia consisted of the victory cross on a white
background. See J. A. P. (Madrid), November 10, 1934.
1004 El Socialista, March 16, 1934.

100s C. E. D. A., February 15, 1935.

party's willingness to sacrifice and "guaranteed" victory because "each drop of our blood, if we

have to spill it, is a seed that God causes to be fruitful."1006 The JAP anthem extolled the virtues

of youth and patriotism. Beginning with a call to action, the anthem called upon the JAP to

"overcome or perish" and called on "those that feel proud to be Spanish" to stand up and be

counted.1007 The CEDA later took up this anthem as its own, singing it at almost every meeting.

The JAP also made a special "oath of fidelity" to the "program and spirit of the JAP," and to

obey Gil Robles "without discussion and without hesitation."1oos Gil Robles declared that he

wished the JAP's Spanish spirit to become a "paroxysm," a word he later employed at

Covadonga, telling the audience that "we are going to exalt national feeling with insanity, with

paroxysm, with whatever; I prefer a nation of lunatics to a nation of miserables."1009 The meeting

drew 50,000 people.iolo In assessing the results of El Escorial, Perez de Laborda, while claiming

the meeting had met, but not exceeded, expectations, dwelled at length on the sacrifices made by

1006 El Debate, April 22 and 24, 1934; C. E. D. A., May 1, 1934.

1oo? C. E. D. A., April 1 and May 1, 1934. In order to ensure that everyone attending the meeting knew the words, the
JAP provided sheet music and a recording of the anthem to local groups.
100s Ibid., May 1, 1934.

1009 Ibid., May 1, 1934; El Debate, April 24, 1934; Gil Robles, Discurso pronunciado por D. Josd Maria Gil Robles
en la Asamblea de las Juventudes de Accidn Popular celebrada en Covadonga el dia 9 de Septiembre de 1934
(Madrid: Imprenta Palomeque, [1934]), 17.
'0'0 El Debate, April 24 1934; C. E. D. A., May 1, 1934; El Castellano, April 9, 1934. JAP membership totaled
112,000. Photographs corroborate descriptions of the attendance. Projections before the meeting had ranged between
25,000 and 40,000. See El Debate, April 18 and 19, 1934; C. E. D. A., April 1, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, April
15, 1934. According to press reports, the train company reported transporting 20,000 people to the meeting, while
most of the attendees arrived in buses (which the JAP claimed came by the hundreds). The area reserved for the
meeting could hold 40,000 people, and it was full, while many others had to listen from the north porch. See El
Debate, April 24, 1934; C. E. D. A., May 1, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, April 17, 1934. Toledo alone reported
sending more than 2,000 to the meeting. See El Castellano, April 23, 1934. The Socialists' claim that attendance did
not exceed 10,000 was clearly wrong. They said that AP was going "from defeat to defeat," mocking the supposed
failure of the meeting, which they claimed had a somber aspect to it and lacked energy. See El Castellano, April 9,
1934. Richard Robinson's estimate of 20,000 also seems low. He does not provide a source for his number. See
Robinson, The Origins, 171.

many members to attend. The JAP now wished to take advantage of the spirit created by the

meeting to continue its process of organization.1011

After El Escorial

Not long after the El Escorial rally, the press revealed that Valiente had met secretly with

King Alphonse XIII in Fontainebleau, France, in June. To avoid the potential problems that

might appear if the CEDA were connected to the king, the CEDA denied that Valiente had made

the trip. He had gone essentially to ask the king to allow monarchists to continue working in the

CEDA. If the CEDA took power during a "crisis of regime," he said, it would support a return to

monarchical government, "though not the monarchy fallen on April 14, of which even Don

Alphonse was a victim."101 None of this was surprising given the monarchist propensities of

many cedista~s, but at the time, the CEDA was working its way toward entering the government,

and any overt connection to the king could have stopped it. The party therefore distanced itself

from Valiente and prohibited him from speaking at any more political meetings. Ultimately, he

stepped down from his position as president of the JAP, and a year later, he j oined the

Traditionalist Commune.1013 The left pounced on this incident as well, pointing out that it did not

surprise them, since they believed that the CEDA was simply biding its time to return the

monarchy anyway.1014 Within the JAP, the leadership change brought on by the departure of

1011 C. E. D. 4., June 1, 1934.

'0'2 Jos6 Maria Valiente, "Por qu6 me fui de la CEDA," La actualidad espaiiola, January 29, 1970, 24. The series
continued on February 5 and 12, 1970. Valiente was very bitter about how he had been treated. He met with Gil
Robles in secret the night he returned and never saw him again. He felt like a sacrificial lamb, yet he did not admit to
the meeting in Fountainebleau until 1970. Gil Robles lamented the aspersions cast on his former friend, and he
denied a claim that Valiente had gone to ask for six months of the king's support. See Gil Robles, No fue possible,
10'3 Valiente, "Por qu6 me fui," February 12, 1970, 25; C. E. D. 4., June 15, 1934; El Castellano, June 13, 1934.

10'4 El Socialista, June 8 and 10, 1934.

Valiente and the ascension of Perez de Laborda to the presidency influenced the increasing

radicalization of the group during the rest of the Republic.

The success of the Madrid congress and El Escorial meeting led the JAP to plan similar

congresses throughout Spain. The group dedicated the summer of 1934 to preparing a series of

regional conferences in September and October, each of which was to be followed by a maj or

meeting modeled on that held at El Escorial--outside with thousands in attendance. They even

outlined a format based on El Escorial, beginning with honoring the dead and culminating in a

speech by Gil Robles. They planned the meetings for historically significant landmarks in order

to better acclimate the membership to these places and encourage patriotism. Sites were selected

in "places evocative of Hispanic glories, especially the Reconquest, in places that are tr-ue

sanctuaries of the race."lois More important than the speeches, which they considered "clarion

calls," were the meetings of party leaders held in the days leading up to the assemblies. They

used these as an opportunity to resolve local problems and prepare for upcoming challengeS.1016

Because the government prohibited all public assemblies in late July, and the JAP was forced to

temporarily suspend its own meetings, it celebrated only one of ten planned meetings, at

Covadonga on September 8.1017 Even when they were able to hold meetings again, the graphic

arts unions of Madrid refused to print the JAP' s posters.101

While not as massive as that of El Escorial, the Covadonga meeting followed much the

same format, though the civil governor made them promise not to sing the JAP anthem.1019

'0'5 El Debate, June 17 and July 7, 1934; C. E. D. A., June 1, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, June 17, 1934.

1016 El Castellano, September 24, 1934.
'0'7 J. A. P., October 27, 1934.

10's El Debate, August 29, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, August 29, 1934.

1019 El Castellano, September 4, 1934.

Though it was a regional conference, the Madrid JAP sent representatives to show its support.1020

They calculated an overall attendance of some 10,000 people, who stood in the rain to listen to

Gil Robles speak.1021 Salazar Alonso, then the Interior Minister, pointed to the "civic bravery of

Acci6n Popular and the JAP and Mr. Gil Robles."1022 In his speech, Gil Robles argued for a

"healthy regionalism" in which Spain's regions could have some measure of autonomy as long

as they kept the needs of the national state above those of the region. He warned those who

wished to return to some preconceived notion of the Spanish past, telling them that the CEDA

did not intend to return to the past. Rather, they believed that "it is necessary to revise all social

and political concepts" in order to bring social justice to all. Those who did not agree with this

should quit the party or risk expulsion.1023 While the meeting appeared to portend an important

development in the traj ectory of the JAP, the October insurrection intervened, stopping the JAP

from holding more meetings that fall.1024 The next meetings were not held until 1935.

Predictably, El Socialista complained about the supposed unequal treatment between

Socialist meetings and those of AP. The paper accused the government of keeping them from

meeting "even in the cemetery." Arguing that "in a Republic that had not lost its head that would

be impossible," El Socialista hinted at the frustration felt by a growing sector of the left, which

would eventually explode in the October uprising.1025 Several days later, after the meeting at

1020 El Debate, September 1, 1934.

1021 Ibid., September 11, 1934.

1022 Salazar Alonso, Bajo el signo, 295.

1023 Gil Robles, Discurso pronunciado por D. Josd Maria Gil Robles en la Asamblea de las Juventudes de Accidn
Popular celebrada en Covadonga el dia 9 de septiembre de 1934 (Madrid: Imprenta Palomeque, [ 1934]), 10 and 18;
El Debate, September 11, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, September 11, 1934.
1024 J. A. P., October 27, 1934.

1025 El Socialista, September 4, 1934. Not long after, the paper recounted a massive meeting of the Juventud
Socialista in Madrid. See El Socialista, September 16, 1934.

Covadonga, the paper declared that only 3,000 had attended, and that the strikes declared

throughout the province to stop the meeting had succeeded in keeping many away from the

meeting. 1026

The JAP continued its activities throughout the summer of 1934. A July meeting of the

JAP national assembly laid the groundwork for future activities. They planned to implement their

program of movilizacion civil, improve the capacity for training future city councilors, and

develop sports sections and choirs. In addition, the JAP clarified its position with respect to other

political parties, banning its leaders from joining any other party and prohibiting all members

from joining parties that "have principles contrary to Catholic doctrine." This, however, was

essentially moot, as the assembly also determined that except for special cases, JAP members

could not j oin other political parties, "even allies."102 They also planned to release a newspaper,

J. A. P., in October, in order to extend its propaganda among Spain's youth "to keep them from

turning toward dangerous extremisms."1028 One maj or change that affected the JAP that summer

was a prohibition against the political activity of minors, forcing the JAP to require parental

consent formS.1029 In late June, Perez de Laborda had declared that "our youth need to be strong,

in soul and in body, because we must bring to an end the \Iailot isl de cabaret and the \lidici isl de

cafd, and we must breathe pure air."1030 The Madrid JAP, responding to this call, organized a

camp in August. Sleeping in tents, the group attended Mass every day and made daily excursions

1026 Ibid., September 11, 1934.

1027 C. E. D. A., July 15, 1934.

1028 El Debate, August 4, 1934. They also denounced El Socialista, which had accused two japistas of planning to
murder an unnamed important figure in Spanish politics.
1029 Ibid., August 30, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, August 31 and September 1, 1934.

1030 C. E. D. A., July 1, 1934; El Castellano, September 24, 1934. These two terms refer to playboys who wasted
their time in cabarets and cafes.

to the surrounding area. While the camp was rather rigidly organized, it does not appear to have

been militaristic in nature.1031 They sought to create "virile youth" by promoting sports, which

was part of their larger mission to instill their membership with a sense of enthusiasm and

vigor. 13

In Toledo, where the JAP had suspended its activities for the summer, the group returned

to work in the fall to prepare for the regional assembly slated for the Castillo de Calatrava.1033

The Talavera JAP planned a local assembly in advance of an anticipated provincial assembly, in

order to prepare its delegates to participate in the name of their local group.1034 After a lecture by

Manuel Gimenez Fernandez on "The Catholic concept of sovereignty and the theory of forms of

Government" in June and a provincial assembly in early July, the Seville JAP essentially stopped

its activities until September, when it reconvened in preparation for the regional assembly

planned for November 4 at the Castillo de Almod6var.1035 During this time, Seville's JAP had

instituted a "reorganizing commission," likely due to the weak performance of the JAP in Seville

up until this time.1036 In the fall, they began a program of visits to the various towns of the

province in order to prepare the way for the November assembly. The visits, made by the

1031 C. E. D. 4., September 1, 1934.

1032 El Castellano, September 24, 1934.

'033 Ibid., August 1, 1934.

'034 Ibid., August 8, 1934.

1035 El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 9 and 12, July 3, September 21, 1934.

1036 Ibid., July 3, 1934. In late June, one Victoriano P~rez, who was soon moving to Seville from Salamanca, sent a
letter of introduction to the JAP, to which he belonged in Salamanca. The paper published it, most likely to inspire
the Seville JAP with the letter' s descriptions of the intense labor carried out by the Salamanca JAP. See El Correo
de 4ndalucia, June 28, 1934.

CEDA' s deputies from Seville, had as their obj ect the transmission of specific instructions for

the assembly, which never took place because the October insurrection intervened.1037

Movilizaci6n Civil

After the CEDA' s electoral victory in November 1933, the JAP formed movilizacidn civil

sectionS.1038 News of this development frightened the Socialists, who considered it a provocative

counter-revolutionary move and accused the JAP of planning a coup.1039 Clearly counter-

revolutionary, the movilizacidn civil groups had no goals for overthrowing the government, and

Socialist fears appear overstated in their press. In its first test, the JAP helped distribute El

Debate and A. B. C. in Madrid during the March graphic arts strike. Japistas moved the papers

from the press to designated distribution points, manned those posts, and also provided mobile

distribution in two truckS.1040 The Socialists, for their part, disdainfully called this action AP's

first step toward engaging in street violence. Because there were not enough japistas to substitute

the missing workers at the presses, they would merely distribute the work of the "scabs" who

worked for the Catholic paperS.1041 After the printing strike, the JAP told its members that "for

the first time, in this age, an authentic right-wing movement offered its help to the authorities to

make another revolutionary action fail."1042 After the El Escorial rally, the JAP put a great deal

of effort into organizing their movilizacidn civil effort, and it paid off in October.

1037 Ibid., September 23, 26, 28, and 29, 1934.

1038 C. E. D. A., December 31, 1933. They created a file of members who had mechanical or other skills in order to
maintain services in the event of a general strike. The questionnaire asked about specific technical assignments, such
as the maintenance of the electrical system or trains. They gave preference to the "services of first necessity," such
as electricity, water, and food. See El Castellano, October 24, 1934.
1039 El Socialista, December 21, 1933.

1040 El Debate, March 14, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, March 14, 1934. The paper claimed that the 400,000
copies sold that day were the most in its history.
1041 El Socialista, March 11, 1934. El Debate employed non-union labor.

1042 El Debate, March 17, 1934.

The October uprising dwarfed the March strike. In Madrid, where a general strike had been

called, JAP members helped run the city's basic services: streetcars, sanitation, electrical

services, food transportation, burying the dead, and feeding cattle.1043 In addition to these efforts,

the JAP also provided transportation to the police, sending three cars to each station, eventually

putting 300 cars and 30 trucks into use to transport not just the police, but other citizens and

goods.1044 In both Seville and Toledo, JAP members presented themselves to local authorities

and helped the police patrol the city. The Catholic press conjured images of the activity, pointing

out that "engineers have been seen carrying sacks of bread, lawyers sweeping the streets, Army

captains as conductors and drivers of streetcars, architects lighting streetlamps, and all competing

in serving better and in the place of greatest risk." There were some violent incidents, though

these received little more than passing reference.1045

The peaceful action of the movilizacion civil should have put Socialist fears of an armed

militia to rest, though its counter-revolutionary activities still concerned them.1046 Other

assessments were more positive, especially those from the JAP and its allies. The Madrid

provincial government thanked the JAP for its "act of citizenship."1047 El Debate declared that

the "movilizacion civil, though inexperienced, has demonstrated its civic bravery and what that

1043 C. E. D. A., October 1934 (special); El Debate, October 9, 1934.

1044 J. A. P. (Mladrid), October 27, 1934.

1045 El Debate, October 21, 1934. In one incident, a funeral car driven by a japista got into an accident, and as the
drivers almost came to blows, they realized that they both belonged to the JAP, which ended the argument. See
C. E. D. A., October 1934 (special); El Debate, October 9, 1934. The Toledo JAP, which lacked a fully organized
movilizacian civil section, focused its efforts on guarding convents. See El Castellano, October 20 and 22, 1934;
J. A. P. (Madrid), November 10, 1934.
1046 The only possible exception took place when the JAP and Radicals occupied Madrid's ayuntamiento. However,
that was still peaceful, and the JAP did not act unilaterally. They acted in the presence of an Infantry Colonel on
orders from the Civil Governor. See El Correo de Andalucia, October 7, 1934.
1047 El Debate, October 9, 1934.

means" for future strikes and insurrectionS.1048 The JAP claimed that its actions represented only

part of a "national reaction against barbarism."1049 Gil Robles lauded the JAP's actions, noting

that the JAP had helped defeat the uprising without "showy uniforms, servile copy of exotic

organizations, in order to feel the essence of that iron discipline of the ideal, which does not

require commanding voices rooted in your own soul."1oso Even so, the JAP argued that this labor

should have been carried out by the government, which had a duty to maintain basic services in

the event of a strike. For them, it was unfair to leave such an important task up to a single

political group.lost By the end of the year, the Madrid movilizacio~n civil had 14,217 memberS.1052

Toledo and Seville's leaders made movilizacio~n civil a key priority, reorganizing it in 1935.1053

Even so, the groups never again acted as strike-breakers.

Mass Meetings and Discarded Plans: The JAP in 1935

The uprising gave the CEDA (and in turn the JAP) a chance to exert increased control in

Spanish politics. This showed in the development of the JAP's own newspaper. In October 1934,

the national JAP took over the Avila party's newspaper, J. A. P., transforming it into a national

edition printed in Madrid.1054 As the mouthpiece of "an authentic national movement," J. A. P.

"molds to perfection the ideology of a youthful mass, virgin in politics, free from

1048 Ibid., October 21, 1934.

1049 J. A. P. (Mladrid), October 27, 1934.

1050 Ibid., October 27, 1934. Ironically, this article came two pages after an image demonstrating the JAP salute and
explaining its significance, rooted in the Spanish past, complete with an image of a japista in uniform making the
salute. By the beginning of 1935, uniforms had clearly fallen out of favor.
'0si J. A. P. (Mladrid), November 10, 1934.

1052 C. E. D. A., February 15, 1935.

1053 El Castellano, October 24, 1934; El Correo de Andalucia, October 13 and 16, 1934.

1054 El Debate, October 26 and 28, 1934.

conventionalism, promoter of austerity and cleanliness in carrying out public offices."o'"" With

obvious exaggeration, Monge Bernal described the distribution of J. A. P. in Seville as "one of

those that has its readership most widespread."1056 From its opening demand of "We want a new

State!," the paper took a relatively strong line in its activities, which caused it to be censored

several times.10s? They also called for "All Power for the Jefe [Gil Robles]."1oss Originally a bi-

weekly paper, it expanded to weekly coverage in April 1935.1059

The first half of 1935 brought new challenges. In the face of possible elections, the JAP

reaffirmed its "blind confidence" in Gil Robles, claiming that the JAP "has found itself again,"

implying that it felt it had lost its way.1060 When Gil Robles addressed the Madrid JAP assembly

in late April, he reminded his audience that his party had known its path would not be easy but

had made it anyway. If his followers had patience, he believed they would succeed in the future,

declaring that "if we meet obstacles we will continue onward in the way of legality, since, like

always, we will not be the ones to go outside of the law; it will be, in every case, those who

combat us who will go outside of it to combat us."1061 In every case, the Catholic press sought to

impress on readers that the JAP (and the CEDA in general) had a renewed enthusiasm that would

o'05 El Castellano, December 3, 1934.

1056 MOnge Bernal, 1088.

1057 When J. 4. P. failed to present one of its issues to the censor, the government imposed a 5,000-peseta fine. See
El Debate, April 14, 1935; El Correo de 4ndalucia, April 14, 1935. Gil Robles later made the JAP collect an issue

J. 4. P. printed in June because it had committed imprudencess of expression, which the censor had tolerated but
that he [Gil Robles] could not permit." See El Correo de 4ndalucia, June 11, 1935.
'05s J. 4. P. (Mladrid), October 27, 1934. They meant that they wanted him to become the Prime Minister.

1059 El Debate, April 6, 1935.

1060 El Correo de 4ndalucia, April 7, 1935.

1061 El Debate, April 24, 1935; El Correo de 4ndalucia, April 24, 1935; J. 4. P. (Madrid), April 27, 1935;
c. E. D. 4., May 1, 1935.

bring it victory. On the day AP held 197 meetings throughout Spain, El Correo de Andalucia

pointed out that in Morata de Tajufia (Madrid), "even the children know and sing the JAP

Anthem." When someone commented on this, a woman reportedly responded that "Here children

are put to sleep with the JAP Anthem!"1062

The JAP had no formal national committee, and local groups depended on local AP

affiliates for guidance and support.1063 To bring a sense of coherence to its groups throughout the

country, the JAP held several national councils during 1935, at which leaders from the various

provinces could meet and exchange ideas. A January 1935 council maintained the JAP's

adherence to the leadership of Gil Robles and pushed for the introduction of a new campaign for

constitutional revision. They also agreed to continue the organization of the movilizacion civil

and the sports section, as well as support J. A. P.1064 When they met in Zaragoza in June, they

designated the Virgen del Pilar as the JAP's patron and April 22 as the dia de los mcitires. 'ossI

addition, they planned a massive propaganda campaign in advance of a series of regional

assemblies throughout Spain and resolved to ask the government to keep the Socialist Casa~s del

Pueblo closed.1066 The JAP's December council decided to hold meetings every three months, in

order to better coordinate the JAP's activitieS.1067 This meeting also reflected a new militancy in

1062 El Correo de Andalucia, April 30, 1935.

1063 J. A. P. (Madrid), January 5, 1934. The Madrid JAP played the role of liaison committee for the national groups.

1064 El Debate, January 5, 1935; J. A. P. (Madrid), January 19, 1935; El Castellano, January 7, 1935; C. E. D. A.,
January 15 and 31, 1935.
1065 El Debate, June 2, 7, and 9, 1935; C. E. D. A., June 15, 1935. It seems clear that the JAP was preparing a
liturgical calendar of its own, with commemorations in April and October, conveniently six months apart. The Dia
del Pilar also coincided with the Dia de la Hispanidad (Columbus Day). See El Debate, October 6 and 13, 1935.
1066 El Debate, June 16, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, June 9 and 11, 1935. The casas del pueblo had been closed
since the October uprising.
1067 El Debate, December 15, 1935; J. A. P. (Madrid), November 16, 1935. The JAP council does not appear to have
met again, however, due to the changed political situation after the February elections.

the JAP, which declared "war without quarter on shameful Marxism" and sought to extinguish

from their party the "old politics, corrupted by a false prudence," indicating a desire for more

public action.1068

During the Spring of 1935, the JAP expended a great deal of energy planning a congress

for Ucles (Cuenca) on May 26, a renovation of the previous year' s regional assemblieS.1069

Members from throughout New Castile would attend. The JAP organized a major propaganda

campaign in May to drum up support for the assembly, holding over 50 meetings on May 19.1070

The day before the assembly, a group of 300 members of the JAP's "order groups" arrived at the

monastery in Ucles in order to spend the night and thwart any potential disturbances planned to

cause problems for the meeting.'07 In the event, nothing did happen, and the meeting went ahead

as planned, with an attendance of nearly 45,000.1072 At the meeting they would "proclaim, one

more time, our faith contained in the 19 points of the JAP program and promise faithfulness to

our 'supreme leader,' the illustrious don Jose Maria Gil Robles."1073 The Toledo JAP reminded

its members that "without the tinsel of uniforms, but with the soul swollen with faith and the

1068 El Debate, December 18, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, December 15, 1935; J. A. P. (Madrid), December 21,
1935; C. E. D. A., December 1935.
1069 J. A. P. (Mladrid), April 13, 1935; C. E. D. A., April 1, 1935. The Madrid JAP was put in charge of organization.

1070 El Castellano, May 13 and 16, 1935; J. A. P. (Mladrid), April 20 and May 25, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia,
May 19, 1935. The JAP held a contest for the best poster ideas, alongside a caricature contest, organizing a display
of about 100 entries in Madrid. See El Debate, May 10, 1935; C. E. D. A., May 31, 1935; J. A. P. (Madrid), May 18,
1935. The Seville JAP also held a contest in preparation for the meeting at La R~bida. See El Debate, August 1,
1935; El Correo de Andalucia, July 28, 1935.
1071 El Debate, May 25, 1935; El Castellano, May 25, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, May 25, 1935.

1072 El Debate, May 28, 1935; El Castellano, May 27 and 28, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, May 28, 1935;
C. E. D. A., May 31, 1935. Even so, the JAP had to contend with accusations of paying for the attendance of its
public. La Nacidn claimed that the JAP had offered "coffee or a drink, tobacco, food, and 16 pesetas to all those who
go to Ucl~s." The news was false. See El Correo de Andalucia, May 25, 1935.
1073 El Castellano, May 15, 17, and 21, 1935. They planned to bring bands and traditional dancers as well to provide
a festive atmosphere. See El Debate, May 23, 1935.

heart full of home," they would show that "we constituted the true national will."1074 Gil Robles

spoke only very briefly before returning to Madrid, as he had recently become the Minister of

War. In his stead, a number of speakers (including Dimas Madariaga, Jose Maria Hueso, and

Perez de Laborda) urged the crowd on in defense of their values.1075 After the meeting, the JAP

again confronted violence, when several of its members were shot at while driving home, and the

doorman of the AP center on the Paseo de Extremadura in Madrid was killed when someone

attempted to set the center on fire.1076

The JAP had only mixed success in organizing more meetings.l077 Two meetings in late

June--one in Medina del Campo in Old Castile, and another in Mestalla (Valencia)--drew huge

crowds, while others failed to draw significant attendance or had to be cancelled. Gil Robles

spoke at both meetings on the same day, leaving Medina del Campo in an airplane to make it to

Valencia on time.'07s An Assembly in Santiago de Compostela had to be shortened due to a

maj or rainstorm, diminishing its impact.1079 In the summer, the JAP began planning a "monster

meeting" in Madrid for October, expected to draw 500,000 attendees, in order to "demonstrate in

an obvious and definitive manner in the capital of Spain the will of the Spanish people."'oso The

1074 Ibid.,

1075 El Debate, May 28, 1935; El Castellano, May 27 and 28, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, May 28, 1935.

1076 El Correo de Andalucia, May 28, 1935.

1077 J. A. P. (Mladrid), July 1, 1935. Ucl~s was intended as the starting point for a massive campaign of regional
'07s El Debate, July 2, 1935. In Medina del Campo, Gil Robles addressed 50,000, and 200,000 in Valencia. The
press began comparing the JAP's meetings with those of Germany and Russia. See El Correo de Andalucia, July 4,
1079 El Correo de Andalucia, September 3, 1935. They had planned for up to 60,000 attendees. See C. E. D. A.,
August 1, 1935. The JURD, Galicia's affiliate to the JAP, could not pay the cost of the meeting, and had to request
supplemental payments from local groups. See Emilio Grandio Seoane, L~os origenes de la derecha gallega. la
C.E.D.A. en Galicia (1931-1936) (A Corufia: Edicios do Castro, 1998), 239.
10so El Castellano, July 16, 1935; El Debate, August 1, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, August 8 and 13, 1935.

Seville JAP planned a meeting for La Rabida as well, with Gil Robles expected to attend and

address the crowd.'0si Neither meeting actually happened, however, demonstrating the JAP's

propensity to promise more than it could deliver. The Madrid meeting, set for mid-October, was

"postponed," but not "cancelled," leaving open the possibility of holding it later.1082 It was never


Planning for La Rabida consumed the Seville JAP from July to October. They planned to

meet at the convent to celebrate "a tradition and a history that synthesizes the Catholic racial soul

and the iron will of Isabel the Catholic."108 Officially under the control of the Huelva JAP, the

group in Seville began to work feverishly to promote attendance and enthusiasm.1084 They would

"give the lie to the anti-Spain, showing that the authentic and true Spain is with Gil Robles."loss

The poster was a "symbol of action and spirituality," depicting a Spanish youth in front of the

monastery, superimposed on a ship with the Victory Cross on its sailS.1086 By late August, they

expected an attendance of over 20,000 at the assembly, planned for October 13.10s7 Problems

began to appear in the week prior to the meeting, as the government took protective measures to

prevent any sort of activities related to the anniversary of the October uprising, effectively

'ost El Debate, October 6, 1935.

1082 El Correo de Andalucia, September 15 and 18, 1935. The JAP continued to urge enthusiasm for the meeting,
blaming the delay on problems of organization.
1083 Ibid., July 17, 1935.

1084 As a side note, one of the most enthusiastic support articles written came from Sanlitcar la Mayor, where a
projected local JAP periodical had been "impeded by the cold and calculating reason of numbers." See ibid., July
20, 1935.
10ss Ibid., July 26, 1935; J. A. P. (Mladrid), August 3, 1935.

1086 Ibid., August 2 and September 19, 1935. They planned to put up 25,000 of these posters in different colors to
announce the Assembly.
10s? Ibid., August 29, 1935. They organized special trains to move japistas from Seville to the meeting. See El
Correo de Andalucia, October 1, 1935.

halting the propaganda campaign. They faced local opposition as well.'0ss Within just days, the

CEDA national committee announced the cancellation of the Assembly, clearly a shock.1089

According to Monge Bernal, "when enthusiasm was greatest and success most certain, the order

of suspension was communicated to us from Madrid, which we obeyed with great spirit of

discipline." On the date set for the meeting, the Seville JAP held a special mass before its patron,

the Virgen del Pilar but held no political rallieS.1090

During the summer, the JAP urged its provincial and local affiliates to organize camps in

the mountains in order to get their members "far from the foul atmosphere of the city,

strengthening themselves physically and morally, for the next struggles that are approaching."

They argued that getting into the country would refresh their members and help them learn how

to overcome problems using their mind and strength. Excursions should choose destinations

linked to the Spanish past, to encourage jpistas to "love Spain more and better," and several

groups went out in August.1091 In the late summer, the Madrid JAP began holding meetings in

areas surrounding the city, such as Valdemoro, where they blessed the local JAP flag in

August.1092 In December, the Prosperidad centro de barriada initiated a series of conferences on

1oss Ibid., October 6 and 8, 193 5. The mayor of Sanlitcar la Mayor had two japistas arrested for putting up posters
announcing the meeting, prompting an outcry from the JAP.
1089 Ibid., October 9, 1935. They had contracted five special trains and "all the trucks available" to move their
members to the meeting, where they now expected 25,000 to attend.
1090 MOnge Bernal, 1090-1; El Correo de 4ndalucia, October 16, 1935. On the same day, the JAP held activities
throughout Spain, including sports activities and masses. See El Debate, October 13, 1935; El Correo de 4ndalucia,
October 8, 1935; J. 4. P. (Mladrid), October 19, 1935.
1091 J. 4. P. (Madrid), May 25 and July 20, 1935.

1092 Ibid., August 3, November 30, December 7, 1935; C. E. D. 4, April 15, 1935. In San Martin de Valdeiglesias,
they had a nucleus of 200 members. See J. 4. P. (Mladrid), April 20, 1935. They also established a new JAP group in
AlcalB de Henares. See J. 4. P. (Madrid), September 28, 1935.

social themeS.1093 The Toledo JAP planned a provincial assembly in November, but the political

situation led to its cancellation.1094 In Seville, the JAP organized numerous local activitieS.1095

The group in the provincial capital continued its circulo de studios municipalista~s, training

members for possible future participation in local government.1096 The sports section also

continued its activities, and two local soccer teams played against their Traditionalist rivalS.1097

The Seville JAP chose Jose Maria Olivares Fernandez as its new president in November,

and the outgoing president, Isidro LC~pez Martinez, became a provincial delegate for the JAP.1098

The next week, the group published a manifesto, recognizing the need to do more to reconquerr

Spanish society." It called on the JAP to work for "a new Spain, firmly Catholic, a just Spain, an

imperial Spain."1099 Groups throughout the province became more active, such as in El Coronil,

where the JAP held the blessing of its flag in November.1100 They created a circulo de studios

hispcinicos in late November, as part of a reorganization and move toward efficiency.1101 They

even began preparations for a newspaper called "iPatria!" A contest to draw the title for the

1093 El Debate, December 6, 1935. In addition, they planned a new edition of the writings of Gil Robles's father,
Enrique, in order to honor his work and that of the jefe. The edition does not appear to have gone to press. The 1961
edition of the work does not list any edition from the 1930s, only the original 1899 and 1909 editions. See Enrique
Gil Robles, Tratado de derecho politico (Madrid: Afrodisio Aguado, 1961).
1094 El Castellano, November 1, 1935.

1095 J. A. P. (Madrid), March 30 and June 8, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, February 27, September 4, 7, 8, and 24,
October 16,1935. In Lebrija and MorC~n de la Frontera, JAP meetings in March filled local theaters.
1096 El Correo de Andalucia, February 26, 1935; J. A. P. (Madrid), March 2, 1935.

1097 El Correo de Andalucia, February 26, March 1, April 10, May 1, 1935. Both games ended in ties, 1-1 and 2-2.
The Traditionalist youth had created a sports section in late February.
1098 J. A. P. (Mladrid), November 23, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, November 17, 1935; El Debate, November 19,
1099 El Debate, November 26, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, November 23, 1935; J. A. P. (Madrid), November 30,
1100 El Debate, November 26, 1935; El Correo de Andalucia, November 27, 1935.

1101 El Correo de Andalucia, November,20, 22, 23, 26, and 29, December 1, 6, and 18, 1935. They claimed the need
for efficiency and more organizations came from a significant growth of the party.

cover of the paper stipulated that entries had to use red and that "the type of letter to be

employed will be as valiant and daring as good artistic justice and the best way to express the

youthful spirit counsel."1102 In addition, the JAP re-initiated its program of a;sistencia sociallios3

Collapse and Civil War

Starting in late December 1935, the JAP took part in a massive propaganda effort in

advance of the coming elections. In Marchena, Isidro LC~pez Martinez announced that since the

elections had been called they would follow Gil Robles's lead and invoke the slogan "against the

revolution and its accomplices!"1104 The JAP held a local meeting in El Escorial, as well as

sending representatives to meetings throughout Spain f los In Toledo, the provincial committee

declared itself to be "on war footing," and willing to defeat its enemies with "their [enemies']

own weapons, without prejudice against working as the circumstances oblige us. 'FACING


Reina JAP planned to send groups of propagandists throughout the province.1107 The JAP also

ran its own candidates in some provinces.110s

1102 Ibid., December 12, 1935. The paper never appeared.

1103 Ibid., December 19, 1935.

1104 Ibid., December 27, 1935.

1105 El Debate, December 25 and 27, 1935.

1106 El Castellano, December 24, 1935. Caps in original.

1107 Ibid., December 26, 1935.

110s El Correo de 4ndalucia, February 20, 1936. Isidro LC~pez Martinez, the former Seville JAP president, ran for
election in that capital and became involved in a dispute when he was not elected to a minority position in the
Cortes. Responding to allegations, he strongly denied that he had been cheated out of a seat by the placement of his
name at the bottom of the list. He claimed that had happened because Jaime Oriol, whose name went above, had
already been elected to the Cortes once, in 1933 and so was thought to stand a better chance.

When the electoral campaign officially opened, the JAP in Madrid, Seville, and Toledo

took charge of organizing, and its leaders participated in larger meetings as well.1109 But the

heart of the JAP's participation in the election campaign was the creation of posters and

handouts. The CEDA put its entire written propaganda effort in the hands of the JAP. In Madrid,

a group calling itself the "Syndicate of the Pencil" churned out new ideas every day under the

direction of Perez de Laborda and Alvarez de Toledo.lll0 With the slogans of "For the 300!i,"

"Vote for Spain!," and "Against the revolution and its accomplices!," the JAP invoked every

conceivable attack on the left that it could. They reminded voters of the violence of Asturias,

where "in the name of progress Marxism destroys factories and workshops."""l

The problem with the JAP's approach was its emphasis on quantity. It fully intended to

inundate Spain with its propaganda message to drown out the voices of opposition.1112 A maj or

reason for the JAP's focus on quantity must have been a desire to demonstrate its size and

influence, much as it had done with the semi-successful campaign of regional Assemblies. The

JAP declared that it would "centuplicate" the effort of 1933, which had been massive in its own

right.1113 They planned to distribute a total of fifty million posters throughout the country.111

1109 J. A. P. (Mladrid), December 28, 1935, January 4, 18, and 25, 1936; El Debate, January 11, February 7 and 8,
1936; El Castellano, January 2, 1936; El Correo de Andalucia, February 8, 1936. El Debate also reported that they
took on tasks such as distributing propaganda and security at meetings. See El Debate, January 1, 1936; El Correo
de Andalucia, February 13, 1936.
1110 El Debate, January 10 and 16, 1936; J. A. P. (Madrid), February 1, 1936.

""1 J. A. P. (Madrid), January 25, 1936. The 300 refers to the number of seats they would need for a parliamentary
majority. Ironically, the CEDA ran less than 200 candidates nationwide.
1112 Early on, El Debate claimed that AP's posters had a "monopoly" in Madrid, while other political parties had not
dared to put up their own propaganda. El Debate, January 18, 1936.
1113 J. A. P. (Madrid), January 25, 1936.

1114 El Debate, January 10 and 11, 1936; El Castellano, January 11, 1936; El Correo de Andalucia, January 11,
1936. The JAP put up 10,000 on its first day. They contracted the work out to a press in northern Spain, which
calculated that it would use 10,000 kilometers of paper to complete the task.

Tactics such as dropping pamphlets from airplanes and launching balloons to accomplish a

similar effect mostly seemed like overkill." Even so, the most disturbing of the JAP's

propaganda effort must have been the placement of a huge poster (three stories tall) of Gil

Robles in the Puerta del Sol, carrying the caption "These are my powers. Give me an absolute

maj ority and I will give you a great Spain." To top it all off, the poster carried images from some

of the JAP's assemblies to represent Gil Robles's "powers."1116

The CEDA lost the elections, and the JAP's participation in the elections stands out as a

maj or cause of the defeat. Probably the most important factor in the election' s outcome was the

reconsolidation of the left in the Popular Front. However, the extent of the JAP' s propaganda, as

well as its violent, Manichean, and demagogic focus, likely pushed away moderate voters from

supporting them. By blanketing the country with its message, the JAP exceeded the limits of

good taste, and by making the election a struggle between good and evil, many voters might have

become wary of the lengths to which the JAP would go in fighting the enemies it believed were

trying to take over the country.

After the elections in mid-February, the JAP effectively collapsed, though exact details of

this collapse remain cloudy. At the time, the JAP claimed a membership of 225,000.111 No one

knows for certain how many people left the JAP after this point, there was certainly cause for

alarm. Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the Falange's leader, estimated that approximately 15,000

japista~s had j oined the Falange. "l Blinkhorn' s analysis of the power shift from the JAP to the

"I' El Debate, February 13, 1936.
1116Ibid., February 14, 1936.

1117 J. 4. P. (Madrid), February 7, 1936.

nis Gil Pecharromin, Josi Antonio Primo de Rivera: Retrato de un visionario, 2"d edition (Madrid: Ediciones
Temas de Hoy, 2003), 422.

Falange in early 1936 suggests that a large number of japistas left the organization to join the

Falange, "not for doctrinal reasons but because of the latter' s unambiguous acceptance of the

violence that thousands of japistas now became convinced was necessary."1119 This assumes that

the JAP's membership shrank in direct relation to the growth of the Falange, and the increase of

political violence in the spring of 1936 is ascribed to the disillusioned members of the JAP and

their Falange counterparts. However, the movement of 15,000 people, while significant, does not

explain either the Falange's growth in the spring of 1936 or the JAP's rapid decline. It merely

indicates that at least 15,000 members quit the JAP, and at least 15,000 new members joined the


Most likely, the JAP's decline after the elections stems from two factors: many members

left either to j oined another party or simply quit politics altogether, and a general calming of the

CEDA' s activity after the electoral wake-up call.1120 In Seville, the Carlists sought to capitalize

on discontent within the JAP to increase its own membership, following the Falange's lead. They

argued that the JAP's ideology had always been the same as theirs, and that they would succeed

where Gil Robles had failed.1121 In a rare comment, the JAP's president, Perez Laborda, denied

that the JAP had declined and claimed, "the JAP is where it was." Nothing had changed, and "the

JAP has its own personality and a doctrine that it does not need to clarify."1122 Regardless of

such denials, the JAP continued to seek an alliance with the Falange. This solution was

1119Ibid., 131-2.
1120 It seems clear that the CEDA and the JAP did not cease activity but slowed down significantly. In Seville, for
instance, the period after the elections focused on helping those affected by the intense rainfall. See El Correo de
4ndalucia, February 20 and 21, 1936.
1121 La Union, March 29, 1936.

1122 El Correo de 4ndalucia, May 17, 1936; El Debate, May 17, 1936.

ultimately rej ected because the Falange demanded that the JAP simply put itself under the

Falange's orders.1123

When the uprising of July 1936 occurred, a number of political militias put themselves at

the orders of the conspirators, and once the war started these militias were incorporated into the

wider war effort. Some ninety percent of these volunteers came from the Falange or the Carlists.

The other ten percent came from a variety of sources, including the JAP. The CEDA, for the

most part, sympathized with the uprising's goals and most cedistas recognized a need to choose

sides.1124 Because of its role as the CEDA' s youth organization, the JAP became the CEDA's

source of military volunteers, and its militias accounted for 1.4 percent of the total number of

militia members.112 The militias were concentrated in the Valladolid military district, where

nine JAP companies made up twenty-four percent of the total, and in the Burgos district, where

the JAP had three companies, two in Burgos itself and one in Santander.1126 These numbers do

not include Japistas fighting in militias organized by other parties, nor does it include jpista~s in

the regular army or jpista~s who left the party to j oin the Falange or the Carlists after the

February 1936 elections. The JAP militias continued to function on their own until Franco issued

his decree of unification in April 1937, ordering the consolidation of all the militias. Gil Robles

put AP at the disposal of the Falange, and the JAP officially ceased to exist.

The JAP's role as a vanguard within the CEDA led it to push the confederation further to

the right. Its energy and activity gave the CEDA a much-needed sense of direction. However,

''23 Gil Pecharromin, Josi Antonio, 422.

124 The CEDA had only minimal knowledge of the plot beforehand, regardless of Socialist charges that they had
organized a fleet of "assault cars" to attempt a coup in March. El Socialista, March 15, 1936.
125 Rafael Casas de la Vega, Las milicias nacionales, volume 1 (Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1977), 20 and 269.
Collectively, the non-Carlist and non-Falange militias made up ten percent of the militias' strength. Of that total,
JAP militias accounted for 900 soldiers.
1126 Ibid., 237 and 256.

this came at a price. The constant need for the CEDA's leadership to moderate the JAP took

valuable energy away from its other pursuits. The JAP's use of fascist style and rhetoric

distracted from its essentially conservative Catholic message and became a flashpoint for

controversy. Its role in the CEDA's 1936 electoral failure brought it into disrepute and ultimately

undercut its effectiveness even within the CEDA. Its refusal to employ violence in pursuit of its

goals alienated many who had trusted in a legal victory but now believed it to be impossible. As

the CEDA lost its place at the head of the conservative movement, other groups moved in to

replace it--most notably the Carlists and the Falange.

Though many historians have named the JAP's ambiguous rhetoric as a maj or contributing

factor in the outbreak of the Civil War, it was the JAP's ultimate faihere that did the most

damage. When many of its supporters abandoned the JAP, this strengthened more radical groups

willing to use violence to protect what they considered Spain' s fundamental institutions. Groups

that accepted and promoted the employment of violent methods in the pursuit of political goals

appealed to di sillusioned japista~s.1127 Yet faced with such a maj or loss of members, the JAP

remained committed to its clericalism, rooted in a deep respect for authority embedded in

Catholic theology. This view of the world, though compatible in many ways with a democratic

electoral system, made the JAP suspect in the eyes of Republicans and left-wing groups as well

as the extreme right, ultimately causing its downfall.

"27 Blinkhorn, Conservatism, traditionalism, and fascism," 132.


Acci6n Obrerista (AO) was the CEDA' s workers' affiliate, similar in structure to the

women' s and youth sections of AP. Though the Carlists, Falange, and Renovacion Espaiola also

had worker sections which supported syndicalist efforts, AO was the only right-wing working-

class political organization conceived of as an independent movement. It gave workers a voice in

the confederation and at the least paid lip service to the needs of the working class. However,

Jose Montero accurately depicted AO's place in the CEDA when he called it the "least

important" section of the larger confederation.1128 Its small size and limited resources made it

AP's junior partner in the CEDA. AO's membership of 40,000 in late 1933 and 80,000 in early

1936 accounted for only five percent of the CEDA's original membership in 1933 and still less

than ten percent in 1936.1129 A study of this group, however, shows exactly what Catholic

workers sought, and it highlights the struggles that a confessional working-class movement

faced, both from external opponents, and within the CEDA itself.

AO was the only CEDA organization that never achieved a large membership base, due to

both external and internal problems. Part of the problem was that it identified itself too closely

with the employer class, urging workers to patience instead of pushing for concrete reforms.

Because of this, it never gained the trust of most workers, and its members were viewed as weak

minions of their employers and landlords. The relationship between AP and AO within the

CEDA was never fully defined, and the debate over whether AO was an independent

organization from AP led to occasional acrimonious disputes. Compounding the tension between

112s Montero, La CED 4, vol. 1, 747. Most authors, including Colin Winston in his influential study of workers on
the right from 1900-1936, completely ignore AO. Colin Winston, Workers and the Right in Spain, 1900-1936
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985).
1129 Ideas, January 4, 1934; Jorge Cera to Manuel Gim~nez Fern~ndez, February 25, 1936, AGF, Hemeroteca
Municipal de Sevilla, B-XIII/36; Braojos Garrido and Alvarez Rey, Epistolario Politico, 178-9.

the two groups was AO's resentment over the CEDA's failure to produce meaningful labor

legislation while in power, which destroyed the fragile alliance and pushed Catholic workers out

of politics. Eventually, AP gave up on AO almost completely and competed directly for the

membership of workers. Ultimately, the lack of a shared vision destroyed AO's credibility and

ended AP's support for its worker affiliate.

Building a Right-Wing Worker Party

Like most of Spain' s Catholic right, Catholic workers remained relatively disorganized

when the Republic came. Under the Primo de Rivera dictatorship, Dimas Madariaga had worked

to create a political party for Catholic workers, but had met with only limited success. In 1927 he

helped organize Orientacion Social to compete with the Socialist Party. Unfortunately, the

Catholic syndicates, with "an inconceivable horror toward politics," refused to support it and it

collapsed.1130 The government' s attitude did not help, either. Madariaga decried the poor

treatment his organizations had received under the dictttttttttttttttttadura in place before the Republic--he

was forced to wait for meetings with government representatives while Socialist representatives

were shown right in. This attitude reflects the larger problem of the neglect of Catholic workers

by the government.1131 In 1930, Madariaga warned that a large part of the working class

already obeys the dictates of Socialism," and that without immediate action, "the date is not very

far off in which we will see the great maj ority of workers j oin this party."1132 His words proved

true. When the Republic came in 1931, Madariaga' s Confederacion Nacional de Sindicatos

1130 JOs6 Monge Bernal, Accidn Popular, 313.

1131 El Debate, November 26, 1932. See also Ideas, December 1, 1932.

1132 Dimas Madariaga, Mirando al campo obrero: El advance socialist y la actuacidn de los catdlicos (Madrid:
Talleres Tipogrificos de "El Financiero," 1930), 8.

Catolicos Obreros (CNSCO), had only about 40,000 members, while the Socialist UGT boasted

almost 300,000.1133

In July 1931, Angel Herrera called for the creation of a "workers' group" to represent "the

fraction of genuine intellectual and manual workers."1134 He argued that AN had to help Catholic

workers gain access to Parliament with "true liberty and with real independence." Otherwise, it

would be "a fiction."113 Herrera believed the right could send 125-150 deputies to the

Parliament, at least 30 to 3 5 of whom should represent the working class in order to make good

on AN' s inclusion of "Labor" in its slogan.113 A different version of the speech has Herrera

calling for a "workers' party," rather than a "workers' group." Probably originating with Dimas

Madariaga, this version argued that the "syndical organization of the worker element and the

intellectual element will always be the firmest base of the great party that is to be formed."1137

The implications of these different interpretations reflect a conflict over the degree of

sovereignty that should be held within the CEDA by the proposed workers' section.

In the fall of 1931, Dimas Madariaga, Rafael Sanz de Diego, and Jose RamC~n Otero laid

the groundwork for implementing Herrera' s idea. They wanted to create a "great party of manual

and intellectual workers alien to politics" that would "respect all coexisting with it in the greatest

harmony possible."1138 In early 1932, these three led the formation of the Coalicion Espaiola de

1133 JuliO Gil Pecharromin, Historia de la Segunda Repziblica Espaiiola (1931-1936) (Madrid, Biblioteca Nueva,
2002), 193-5; Payne, Spain 's First Democracy, 57. By 1932, the UGT had over 1,000,000 members.
1134 El Debate, July 14, 1931.

1135 Ibid.

1136 Ibid.

1137 Ideas, December 7, 1932; Monge Bernal, Accidn Popular, 314-5. Montero points out that Herrera compared AN
to the Belgian Catholic party, which, though it was a single party, consisted of four sections: agrarians, syndicalists,
the middle class, and business owners. He takes this to mean that Herrera had said "group," rather than "party" in
keeping with that formula. See Jos6 Montero, La CEDA, vol. I, 748-750.
1138 El Castellano, September 26, 1931.

Trabajadores (CET) to group together "workers of intelligence or muscle, from the city or the

country." They were not "revolutionaries poisoning simple consciences" but "adversaries of

Socialism, which puts the suggestions of the foreign Marxist before the patriotic ideal."113 The

CET was intended as a Catholic counterpart to the Socialist UGT and paved the way for the

official organization of AO on June 25, 1932. The CET paved the way for AO, officially

organized on June 25, 1932. The two organizations played complementary roles. The syndicate

focused on the "professional and economic interests of the proletariat" and acted as a labor

union, while AO had "an independent, peculiar, and clear mission in the field of politics" and

acted as a political party.1140 However, because of the significant overlap in their leadership, the

roles of the two organizations became confused, and AO often seemed more like a labor

organization than a political party. For its part, the CET tended to remain overshadowed by its

"political" counterpart.

Madariaga quickly became the face of AO. He prided himself on remaining a worker, even

after election to the Cortes, and maintained a job as accountant at a cookie factory, where he

earned 400 pesetas per month.1141 A "man of action," Madariaga never shied away from

publishing his triumphs, even though newspaper articles frequently mentioned his modesty.1142

When Madariaga was elected to the Cortes in 1933, Idea~s claimed, "We interpret this new

exaltation of Madariaga to the parliamentary investiture, not as reduced to the circle of the vulgar

political victories in the base sense, but as the guarantee of a man who proclaims the authentic

1139 Ideas, April 1, 1932.

1140 MOnge Bernal, 357; Ideas, July 1, 1932. In case of dissolution, AO's funds would revert to the CET.

1141 El Castellano, December 10, 1934. He had been a manual laborer before studying accounting.

1142 El Castellano, April 20, 1935; C. E. D. A., July 30, 1933. Madariaga never seems to have refused a personal
tribute. Los Navalmorales named its bullring after Madariaga in 1935. See El Castellano, April 30, 1935;
C. E. D. A., May 1, 1935.

doctrine of labor, who speaks loudly and clearly of the true social justice between the hysterical

screams of the false Marxist apostles and the routine egoism of Spanish landowners."1143

The party was most successful in Castile and the south of Spain, while in Catalonia and

other areas of the industrialized north, it had only a very limited membership.1144 For many

months after the formation of the national committee, the party did not make any significant

headway. In Toledo, local groups started appearing in early 1933. AO quickly developed a

significant support base there, and the province' s proximity to Madrid allowed members of the

national committee to speak regularly at party meetings in that province.114 During 1933, AO

continued to grow rapidly in Toledo, establishing numerous new committees and CET syndicates

with significant memberships.1146 In the April 1933 municipal elections, AO candidates even

won a number of conceal positions throughout the province.1147 While AO's national

organization was active in Madrid after its founding there in June 1932, there was no sense of

significant growth in the province, and committees in the countryside developed slowly.1148 The

party did not establish a local committee in the capital until March 1935.1149

" Ideas, January 4, 1934.

"4 Jorge Cera claimed a total of only 5,000 AO members in Catalonia in early 1936--clearly a disappointment.
Jorge Cera to MGF, February 25, 1936. AGF, B-XIII/36.

ms5 El Castellano, January 13, 1933.
1146 Ibid., August 23, 1933. In Sevilleja de la Jara, they established a "Sindicato de campesinos." In 1935, one local
group boasted of having 800 members. See El Castellano, May 17, 1935.

ne- Ideas, May 11, 1933; El Debate, April 25, 1933; El Castellano, April 24 and 25, 1933. AO claimed to have won
31 seats throughout Spain, but an article giving a breakdown mentions only 24. AO won at least 16 seats in
municipalities of Toledo province, but it is possible that AO won even more seats than that. The party designations
given in newspapers were not always fully reliable.

ms8 C. E. D. 4., September 15, 1933; El Debate, November 26, 1932, January 19, 1933; Ideas, December 1, 1932.
1149 El Debate, March 12, 1935; C. E. D. 4., March 15, 1935.

A great deal of information exists about the organization of AO in Seville. In February

1933, a "group of workers that want to make a campaign" requested instructions from Idea~s for

forming a group, and in March, "more than one thousand workers of Osuna" asked Dimas

Madariaga to speak in Osuna during an upcoming visit to Seville.11so When he came, he visited

the capital, Osuna, Marchena, and Dos Hermanas. In Marchena he spoke with a group of 500,

but the highlight of the day was his morning meeting in the Pathe Cinema in Seville (capital),

where he discussed the "worker' s wing" of AP and the CEDA.""S Within a month after

Madariaga' s visit, 500 workers created a commission in Seville, and groups of workers in Osuna,

Marchena, and Dos Hermanas announced plans to j oin AO.1152

In August, Monge Bernal presided over the creation of an "admission" committee as a

preliminary measure to formally organizing AO in Seville. The assembly elected Juan Morales

Clemente, a mechanic, president of the "workers' section of Acci6n Popular."115 The

composition of the organizing committee demonstrates a key virtue of the Seville section of

AO--it was composed mostly of workers.115 By the end of August, a number of worker

organizations had j oined AO wholesale, which, though a boon to AO's growth, created

11so Ideas, February 23, 1933. See also El Correo de Andalucia, March 21, 25, and 28, 1933; El Debate, March 22,

"1s El Correo de Andalucia, March 28, 1933. See also ABC (Seville) March 28, 1933. Jes~is Pab6n used almost the
exact same language in his speech at the inauguration of AO in October 1933. See El Correo de Andalucia, October
3, 1933. The speech was later printed and distributed as a pamphlet for propaganda purposes. C. E. D. A., July 30,

1152 Ideas, April 6, 1933. See also El Debate, March 28, 1933.

1153 El Correo de Andalucia, August 3, 1933. This meeting is also mentioned very briefly in Ideas, August 24, 1933.

1154 COmpare the composition of the Seville party with that of the national committee, which included numerous
professionals, rather than manual workers. Probably the two best examples of this are Dimas de Madariaga and
RamC~n Ruiz Alonso. Madariaga was an accountant, and Ruiz Alonso, though a "typographer," was employed by a
catholic newspaper that probably allowed him to inflate his status as a worker. The use of committees as a basis for
social analyses of the CEDA's membership is generally suspect. Within the CEDA's ideology (closely aligned with
the Catholic practice of deference to authority), workers needed guidance, and so most of the party leaders were
from the upper class or white-collar occupations. Because of this, studying the occupations of party leadership tells
researchers very little about the party's social composition.

organizational complications as it became difficult to keep up with the rising membership."'"5 An

assembly reportedly attended by 2,000 members officially constituted AO in Seville in

October.115 At the meeting, Guillermo Mufiiz Liafiez, speaking for the president, Juan Morales,

who was too emotional to speak to the assembly, elicited rousing applause when he proclaimed

that "soon his Cofr~adia would go out as naza~renos. "nr7

After the November elections, AO Seville focused on increasing its membership and

organizing itself. In March 1934, AO held a general assembly and elected Angel Fernandez

president, while Juan Morales Clemente became the vice president."' The "reorganizing

committee" proposed to create a Bolsa de Trabajo and a mutualidadddddddddddddddd to protect workers in case of

unemployment or ill health, as well as a library.115 During the next month, AO worked qui