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Memorias: Revista Digital de Historia y Arqueología desde el Caribe

On-line version ISSN 1794-8886


NAVARRO GARCIA, Jesús Raúl. Puerto Rico, 1808-1837: From Fidelity to Conflict. memorias [online]. 2013, n.19, pp.44-68. ISSN 1794-8886.

Between the War of Independence and the Constitution of 1837, the Spanish metropolis and its American colonies experienced multiple events that eventually shaped the form that peninsular liberalism took to elucidate an old issue: the legal and political reordering that should be applied in the overseas territories. Liberalism did not have a monolithic position concerning the Spanish American colonies. As the Puerto Rican case study demonstrates, there were different "sensibilities" within liberal thinking and they co-existed even within the insular Administration during periods of absolutist rule. The wartime conditions that characterized peninsular history throughout the period of study and the natural disasters affecting Puerto Rico -which were particularly virulent in the 1830's- contributed to a state of affairs that led to the progressive alienation of the local elites as a result of the fiscal policy followed by the colonial metropolis. This discontent, which was based on issues of taxation, was further intensified by the policy changes introduced by the Constitution of 1837: the expulsion of the American deputies from the Spanish Parliament on the one hand and the non-application of constitutional law in the Indies and the Philippines on the other, all of which generated a delicate situation that threatened to endanger the stability and even the existence of so-called insular empire.

Keywords : Puerto Rico; Constitution; Liberalism; Colonial Policy; Racial Discrimination.

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