Lawyers, Codification, and the Origins of Catalan Nationalism, 1881–1901

The defense of Catalan civil law against the introduction of the Spanish Civil Code in the late nineteenth century was the catalyst for a broad social movement that would be transformed into Catalan nationalism by the turn of the twentieth century. Lawyers were central to this development. They interpreted and popularized the danger codification presented for Catalan society and they were instrumental in making the civil law a central element in the construction of Catalan national identity. Taking their cue from the experience of other stateless nations in Europe, lawyers developed a principled argument for political autonomy that was institutionalized with the creation, in 1901, of Catalonia’s first nationalist political party, the Lliga Regionalista.[1] Between 1881 and 1901, Catalan lawyers would help found a series of social movements for the protection of Catalan culture and orient these movements toward the adoption of nationalist objectives. Finally, lawyers would form the majority of the Lliga Regionalista’s electoral candidates and the core of the party’s strategists, helping the party climb to a position of dominance in Catalan politics between 1901–1932.

The history of nineteenth-century civil law codification in Europe makes clear that the drive toward legal unity implicit in codification was often subject to social and political compromises. Outright opposition was unlikely to be successful because of the difficulty of organizing and maintaining a coalition of interests. Writing about the German experience of civil law codification, which also took place in the late nineteenth century, Michael John noted the failure of interest groups “to generate sufficient pressure on the government [for reform because of] the difficulties [they] had in arriving at unity concerning important parts of the Code. The breadth and complexity of the Code made it difficult for the interest groups to consider it in a systematic way.”[2] Catalonia is an important variant in the history of civil law codification in that it successfully resisted legal unity by securing the preservation of its own civil law regime when the Spanish Civil Code came into force in 1889.[3] Unlike the German experience, it was possible in Catalonia to consider the civil code in a unified and systematic way because concerned interests agreed to oppose it in its entirety. This agreement was achieved by appealing to a form of collective identity organized around Catalonia’s distinct institutions, including civil law, and making the preservation of these institutions a group objective. In this way, there were no apparent divisions within the Catalan movement that the Spanish government could exploit to its advantage, as had happened in the German case.[4] Although the terms “nation” and “nationality” had not yet been applied to Catalonia, this would change once the Spanish Civil Code was introduced. The victory of 1889 was conditional on fulfilling certain requirements set by Madrid. Therefore, the defenders of Catalan civil law could only pause at this point before returning to the offensive. When they did, they would be key players in the construction of a Catalan nationalist discourse in which civil law was presented as one of the main elements of Catalan national identity.[5]

The story of Catalonia’s success has not been introduced into the general literature on civil law codification nor has there been any attempt to relate the Catalan experience to that of other European cases. This article sets out to correct this omission. Its main objective is to explain this variation by identifying the source of Catalan opposition to codification and the strategies that were used to mobilize this opposition. I hope that by determining why and how legal unification was resisted, the article can make a modest contribution to defining the range of nineteenth-century European experiences of civil law codification.

The article argues that Catalan conservatism provided the impetus to oppose the Spanish Civil Code and a nascent Catalan nationalism provided the means for mobilizing against it. Conservatism here refers to a system of social and economic relations that privileged hierarchy, corporate structures, and a household economy built on family patrimony. The Catalan lawyers who are the protagonists in the story related here emanated from this conservative background in rural Catalonia. They viewed this system as the foundation for the region’s celebrated industrial success, which distinguished Catalonia from Spain’s largely agricultural economy, and they shared this view with Catalan property owners, industrialists, and men with small and medium-sized businesses. The preservation of this system depended on Catalan civil law, a body of local customs and case law that was threatened by Madrid’s codification project. More specifically, this system was threatened by the code’s regime of divisible property, which broke with Catalan custom. Furthermore, Catalan legal professionals, as the gatekeepers of this regional law, had a vested interest in maintaining it.

The use of a nascent nationalist discourse to defend Catalan civil law sets the Catalan case in a broader European framework that was marked by divisions between the Historical School of Savigny and supporters of codification. Friedrich Carl von Savigny’s work was certainly known by Catalan lawyers and influenced their arguments against codification. But it would be a mistake to conclude that Savigny’s influence alone explained the emergence of Catalan nationalism around the defense of civil law. Catalan lawyers also studied and wrote about European nationalist movements and turned to these for political solutions to their particular demands. For Catalan lawyers were not only interested in the origins of the law but also in control over their law. The ability to exercise this control depended on political arguments about the relationship between state, nation, and sovereignty.

The first part of this article situates the Catalan case in a broader context through a general discussion of the literature on civil law codification and lawyers. The second part, which acts as a bridge between the general literature and the specific case study of Catalonia, briefly discusses the history of civil law codification in Spain and identifies the Catalan corporate structures that opposed it. The third part identifies the source of Catalan opposition to codification through an examination of Catalonia’s social and economic system. The fourth part examines the role of lawyers in the rise of the Catalan nationalist movement.

I. Theory of Civil Law Codification and Lawyers

Assumptions about civil law codification fall into one of two broad categories: codification is either regarded as an integral part of an inevitable process of rational state construction or it is studied as the outcome of a series of compromises among social forces, legal professionals, bureaucratic administrators, and the state. According to the first view,[6] the introduction of a civil code was an intentional act of state rationalization on the part of rulers and served as a blueprint for social and political reform undertaken in response to changing conceptions of order. The idea that the social order should be regulated by separate jurisdictions (royal, ecclesiastical, and feudal), each of which sought to protect its special privileges, was rejected by an emerging positivism that affirmed general and universal principles that could be deduced by anyone through the law of reason. Codification also made permanent changes among those entrusted with making law: it took lawmaking away from judges and legal scholars and subjected it to the law of reason, which was placed in the hands of parliamentarians. Again, the motive behind this change was to render the process of lawmaking transparent, accessible, and, ultimately, democratic. Lawmaking would no longer be the right of law professors or judges but, rather, democratically elected representatives of the people. In this way, laws would be enacted in response to particular social needs, but the spirit of the law would always reflect universal principles.

Critics of this approach accept that while some state rulers and bureaucrats viewed codification as a means to a more effective and efficient administration, they were not the only actors interested in the outcome of this process. Legal professionals and social forces more generally would be affected by the legal changes implicit in codification. According to this second view, “Law is too important a subject to be left to legal historians”: the study of the law reveals much about social relations and their institutional arrangements while the study of legal change reveals social attitudes about these relations among different groups.[7] In this approach, codification is a form of legal change that can disrupt established relations not only in the social sphere but also between different groups and the state: interest groups, legal professionals, and legal academics. So the study of codification–or of legal change generally–can tell us something about how different groups are forced to adjust to new legal contexts; it presumes that legal change is important for understanding broader social, political, and economic issues. The line of causality can also run in the opposite direction: the study of how different groups seek to protect themselves against legal change–for social, political, or economic reasons–tells us something about the nature of legal outcomes.

This article follows the second approach by emphasizing the importance of studying social forces to explain the outcome of legal change and takes its cue from the literature on the German experience of civil law codification.[8] This literature engages with the even broader scholarship on German political development[9] and therefore it examines codification with a view to contributing to the debate on Germany’s particular development path (Sonderweg). In this sense, the literature on the German Civil Code is not comparative nor does it attempt to draw general conclusions that can be applied to other cases. It does raise issues that can be applied to other cases: state formation, state-society relations, liberalism, sovereignty, and nationalism are only some of the themes analyzed that were important not only for Germany but for late nineteenth-century Europe generally. But to understand how these issues were linked to civil law codification, we need further comparative studies, which are presently missing from the literature on codification. This article seeks to help define the range of responses to codification in Europe by asking two fundamental questions: why was codification resisted and how was it opposed. It seeks a link between sources of opposition and forms of opposition to codification; as such, it examines the political expression of ideas.

Any study of codification must naturally explore the world of legal professionals and legal scholars. Recent work on the profession of lawyers has emphasized to what extent they are political animals whose forays into the world of politics have been motivated by “‘political projects’ that constitute political liberalism. They have been among the builders of legal states and society.”[10] In this literature, the bar association is equated with collective action while other civil society groups are sources of political alliances for lawyers. The account of Catalan lawyers developed here draws on this model of political action but it obviously rejects its central assumption about political liberalism. While Halliday and Karpik acknowledge that “lawyers have often been reluctant to fight for the expansion of universal suffrage” and that their “political liberalism should not be confused with political democracy or social democracy,”[11] they still assume that lawyers have a liberal core. This article challenges this assumption by arguing that Catalan lawyers rejected liberalism.[12] To explain this characteristic of Catalan lawyers, it uses scholarship that examines how lawyers control entry into their profession. But, in addition, it assumes that lawyers were motivated by more than commercial advantage.[13] In Catalonia, only those lawyers who had been trained in local customs at the University of Barcelona could build up a successful private practice; codification would change this by opening up the market to graduates from other parts of Spain. But lawyers are not only “gatekeepers,” they are also custodians of ideas about social relations, social order, and social peace. These ideas are conveyed in law school, put into practice upon graduation, and then refined over a lifetime of pleading, writing, debating, and discussing in the courtroom, the bar association, and beyond. This article emphasizes the importance of lawyers as custodians of ideas and argues that this role not only shaped their world view but could also be the basis for political action.

II. Responses to Legal Pluralism in Spain

The origin of legal pluralism in Spain was a system of composite monarchy that shaped relations between Castile and other Iberian kingdoms until the War of Spanish Succession (1700–1713). The significance of this system, as Elliott notes for Spain, was that “the king was expected, and indeed obliged, to maintain [the] distinctive identity and status” of the kingdoms and provinces of his monarchy, including the preservation of local institutions: Aragon, Valencia, Catalonia, Sicily, Naples, and the provinces of the Netherlands.[14] This system remained in place until the transfer of the Spanish crown from the vanquished Hapsburgs to the victorious Bourbons after the War of Spanish Succession. While “the chief institutions of Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Majorca, and the Basque provinces, political, administrative, and of civil law, still subsisted substantially intact”[15] at the end of the war, this situation quickly changed as the eighteenth century progressed. However, the extent and degree to which the Bourbon crown abolished local institutions varied greatly. Aragon and Valencia lost their fueros[16] and their public law in 1707, but Aragon was allowed to conserve its special civil law. Under the Nova Planta Decree of 1716–which spelled out the foundations of the new Bourbon regime–Catalonia lost its regional institutions of government (the Consell de Cent and the Diputació), but its legal realm was left completely untouched until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when its criminal and procedural law were replaced with that of Castile. For all of the nineteenth century, civil and commercial law “remained unaltered in their whole extent, including ‘the liberties and political rights relative to the family, property and the individual.'”[17] The Basque provinces retained their fueros well into the nineteenth century while neighboring Navarre retained both its fueros and governing institutions. As Kamen has argued, it seems that the uneven nature of the reforms was a result of the monarchy’s increasing need for funds for its war chest. It introduced new institutions and abolished regional privileges where it was certain that these changes would result in financial gain.[18] Although state centralization was the ultimate objective, the pace of reforms was dictated by other, more immediate concerns: the balance of the interstate system and fighting off colonial rivals in the New World.

As the nineteenth century dawned, the Bourbon monarchy faced additional challenges. The end of the ancien régime in France heralded a new kind of threat in the form of domestic revolution. Due to its proximity to France, Spain was vulnerable to republican propaganda, particularly in Catalonia and the Basque Country, each of which shared a border with France.[19] But Spain as a whole fell victim, like other European states, to the domestic consequences of the French Revolution. Beginning with the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian peninsula (1808) and ending with the loss of Spain’s last colonial holdings in the Spanish-American War (1898), nineteenth-century Spanish history was marked by a series of civil wars, radical regime changes, and the liberation of its New World empire. The challenge of consolidating state authority in the wake of the French Revolution was not unique to Spain, nor was one of the main strategies deployed by both the crown and a succession of governments to confront this challenge–legal unification. By the end of the nineteenth century, most areas of the law had been codified: criminal law (1822; revised 1870); commercial law (1829; revised 1885); civil procedure (1881); criminal procedure (1882); and military criminal law (1890).[20] The notable exception was civil law.

The first attempt to introduce a civil code in Spain was the liberal Constitution of Cádiz (1812), drawn up by the king’s faithful during the Napoleonic occupation of the peninsula: “a single civil code should be in force for all the dominions of the Spanish monarchy” (art. 259). But the return to absolutism following Napoleon’s retreat from Spain (1814) brought the efforts of these parliamentarians to an abrupt stop. As Spanish absolutism was slowly liberalized over the nineteenth century, new efforts at uni fication were attempted but new sources of opposition also emerged. The biggest stumbling block to the uni fication of civil law came from the foral regions–those that continued to enjoy legal privileges in this sphere. Ironically, thanks to the crown’s liberalization of the professions beginning in the 1830s, the foral regions acquired a corporate structure that could organize and coordinate opposition to civil law uni fication: the Colegio de Abogados.

In 1833, the Col·legi d’Advocats de Barcelona was founded as a corporation for the regulation of legal professionals and similar associations were founded in the rest of Catalonia around the same time.[21] Anyone in possession of a licenciado en derecho, a qualification granted after successfully completing a university course in law, could become a member of a Colegio de Abogados, although only practicing lawyers had the right to refer to themselves as abogados (Catalan: advocat).[22] In Catalonia, licenciados would have trained in Castilian in the faculty of law at the University of Barcelona,[23] specializing in either civil, canon, or administrative law and receiving specialized training in Catalan legal institutions. As in other civil law countries, the Spanish university acted as a gatekeeper into the profession and admission into a law faculty was tightly controlled and highly competitive.[24] Those students who made it through to graduation might opt to pursue a career in the public sector, given the expansion of the state bureaucracy during the Restoration period (1875–1923) and the creation of new professional opportunities through various reforms to the justice system.[25] In these cases, a law graduate would have to pass a state examination to become either an abogado del estado;26 a judge; a civil servant; or a notary.[27]

Spanish law graduates who opted to enter the private sphere did not have to pass a professional examination nor undergo a period of apprenticeship in order to become an advocat.[28] A new advocat would set up his practice (bufete), possibly sharing the premises with other lawyers but running his business independently. The large firm (despacho colectivo) was not permitted and is still highly regulated today. In practice, Catalan advocats continued to receive training through the many services offered by the Col·legi d’Advocats.[29] These were supplemented in 1840 through the establishment of the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació in response to a Royal Order allowing for the creation of such institutions as part of a larger effort to establish academies in all major fields and disciplines. Barcelona’s Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació was created to discuss important questions of jurisprudence and legislation as well as to provide training for its members in six areas of the law.[30] Members of the Col·legi were admitted through a two-tiered system: (1) nomination by three members of the Acadèmia and (2) approval by a majority of members through a secret vote in a general meeting. Membership was not exclusive to lawyers. Anyone who had distinguished himself in the field of juridical sciences could become a member if nominated by five existing members and approved by two-thirds of members attending a general meeting. In this way, the Acadèmia acted as a meeting place and forum for the exchange of ideas among a cross-section of legal professionals and legal experts.[31] The calendar of its activities coincided with the academic year (October–May) and included a series of ordinary sessions, lectures, and short courses on legal issues organized around a specific theme, all crowned by an annual address (sessió inaugural) by its president.

The first twenty years in the life of the Acadèmia were characterized by “a sorry state of inaction”[32] that was addressed through the introduction of an annual prize, beginning in 1858, for the best study of Catalonia’s distinct legal institutions. Although the prize doubtless helped to stimulate the intellectual output of the Acadèmia, two other factors were also essential. First was the Spanish government’s establishment of a Comisión General de Codificación in 1843, which included a section on civil law that was mandated to produce a draft civil code based on Castilian law. A draft bill made public in 1851 was rejected by the foral regions, including Catalonia, but sparked interest in larger debates about the implications of codification. Second, beginning in the late 1850s there was a general flourishing of Catalan culture that focused the attention of lawyers on Catalonia’s distinct legal institutions. The idea that Catalan culture and Catalan law might be linked gained ground through the influence of followers of Savigny’s Historical School. In 1858, for the first time, the Acadèmia discussed the implications of a Spanish Civil Code for Catalonia’s civil law institutions and later, in 1869, it supported the establishment of the Fundació Savigny in Spain to defend the Historical School of Law against the creation of a civil code based on Castilian law. In response to these developments, most of the Acadèmia’s lectures and courses between 1858–1860 were devoted to an examination of the codification of civil law.[33]

The efforts of the Acadèmia’s governing board to concentrate its members’ attention on the question of civil law codification were to be put to good use during the 1880s, when the Spanish government made several more attempts to introduce a civil code, Finally succeeding in 1889. During this period, Madrid determined to gain the support of regional interests by granting them certain concessions. The first of these was to include regional representatives on the civil law section of the Comisión General de Codificación who would be responsible for producing a report on “the principal institutions of foral law which, due to their vital importance, it would be indispensable to identify as exceptions to the general Code.”[34] The Catalan representative was Manuel Duran i Bas, nineteenth-century Catalonia’s most prominent and respected jurist, whose published report became a standard reference on Catalan civil law.[35] The second concession was to incorporate these distinct institutions into the civil code by means of an appendix, which would have legal force in each region.

Both of these concessions opened the door to the state-sanctioned participation of Catalonia’s legal corporations in the codification process and initiated an intense period of lectures, seminars, committee work, and reports. The first two were intended to sharpen members’ positions on codification, while the committees were appointed to produce reports on various aspects of the draft civil code, on Catalan legal institutions, and, after 1889, on the effects of the code on Catalan jurisprudence.[36] When the first committee met in 1880 to identify the Catalan legal institutions that needed to be placed in the proposed appendix, it became evident that opinion was very much divided over whether to cooperate with the government or reject the entire codification project. Those who supported cooperation argued that if codification came to pass, it was best to be prepared; those who advocated opposition maintained that it was pointless to “indicate which institutions needed to be protected, because they all had to be preserved for the good and prosperity” of Catalonia.[37] The debate came to a head in February 1881 at the Congrès català de juriconsultes, a meeting of all the Col·legi d’Advocats of Catalonia, where “the decision to oppose the unification of civil law and to make this known to the government triumphed, but not before debates which were tempestuous at times.”[38] Some lawyers clearly supported codification. They might have been state centralists who favored legal unity on rational grounds or Spanish republicans who supported the liberalizing features of the civil code. But the majority of Catalan lawyers attending the Congress, including the seventeen delegates from the Col·legi d’Advocats of Barcelona, opposed codification on three grounds: First, codification would threaten their role as exclusive gatekeepers of Catalan civil law; second, codification would endanger the continued existence of Catalan legal institutions; and third, codification would put at risk the foundations of Catalonia’s economic prosperity. The decision taken at the congress to oppose codification in its entirety is crucial for explaining the subsequent course of Catalan lawyers’ political action. But an examination of lawyers’ strategies needs to be prefaced by a more detailed discussion of the sources of their opposition to the Spanish Civil Code.

III. Catalan Opposition to the Spanish Civil Code

Catalan opposition to the Spanish Civil Code was rooted in a conservative view of society, one in which social order was maintained by structured household relations that dictated one’s place and purpose. Hierarchical relations within the household ensured that members complied with the rules and regulations for its operation while Catalan civil law spelled out the terms of the rules themselves. Social norms provided an additional reason for respecting local customs, as the household was the foundation of a family’s standing in its community. More precisely, household wealth was an indicator of a family’s prestige and status and a determinant of its social and political in fluence. Maintaining family wealth was the most important objective of the household, not only for reasons of social prestige but also to be able to protect the future well-being of all of its members. This goal was not speci fic to a certain class; peasant and industrial families alike pursued it. [39] The importance of patrimony was such that the alienation or division of property was regarded as a moral and material amputation of the family community by which “were lost a part of the territory, a slice of the life, the history and the labor of [one’s] ancestors. This is the fear of selling.” [40] Similarly, contracting a loan was regarded as a form of indenture for the entire family and possibly for future generations: “He who owes, lives hanging on a cross” (“Qui deu, viu penjat en creu”). The goal was to use one’s property as capital for making money but to strive to keep family patrimony protected for future generations. [41]

The Universal Heir

In Catalonia’s dominant household structure, the patrilocal stem family,[42] wealth maintenance was achieved through an intergenerational system of property transfer centered on a universal heir. In rural Catalonia, the home base of the stem family was the casa pairal, a co-residential household that was the “center of rural life” because it “symbolized the strong links between the head of the family, the universal heir, his wife and children, and his brothers, who in many cases lived far away but used the stem family as a source of economic and personal assistance.”[43] Stem families not only lived together, they worked together; the casa pairal was not only a co-residential household, it was also a co-economic one. The presence of multiple generations organized as a type of community was a reminder that family patrimony was to be perpetuated over time; each generation had the moral duty to pass on family patrimony to the next generation, with which it resided and worked. The perpetuation of family patrimony was just as important a tenet for social and economic life in urban Catalonia as it was in the rural world. Indeed, the casa pairal provided the obvious model for structuring family life in Barcelona and other cities; its urban equivalent was the casa industrial, which, like its rural counterpart, was a co-residential and co-productive household. Although in the casa industrial father-son relations at home were reproduced as owner-manager relations at the firm, the purpose was the same: “The permanence of the casa industrial is achieved by the same process as the permanence of the family. The heir, continuator of the personality of the father, is the link that unites the family which started [the work] with the one which finishes it; the heir . . . is he who connects, within the casa industrial, today’s existence with that of yesterday.”[44]

For Catalonia’s élite sectors, the region’s economic prosperity was directly linked to the universal heir for two reasons: First, undivided property provided the capital to fund industrial and commercial enterprises; and, second, the perpetuation of family wealth over generations provided needed stability for the firm. Moreover, the institution of the universal heir, it was argued, had given Catalonia a distinct advantage over the rest of Spain in the area of industry and the proof was to be found in its comparatively higher level of economic development and standard of living. Its supporters claimed that the rest of Spain was disadvantaged by a system of divisible property, which made it impossible to consolidate wealth.[45] Whereas the Catalan head of family had the freedom to dispose of almost all of his property, that of his Castilian counterpart was more limited: one-Fifth before the Civil Code of 1889 and one-third following its introduction. The remainder of the property, known as the legítima, was to be divided into three equal parts: two of these were bequeathed to the testator’s legal descendants in equal parts while the third part could be left to anyone or used to increase (mejorar) the inheritance received by any one heir. If someone died intestate, his property was divided equally among all his legal descendants.

Catalan succession law was distinguished from Castilian law on two counts: First, the amount of property that could be freely disposed of was 75 percent, compared to 20–33 percent in the rest of Spain; and second, there was no mejora. A designated universal heir (male, hereu; female, pubilla) received 75 percent of family property and the remaining 25 percent was divided among all other legatees, including the universal heir.[46] Legally, there was only one heir; the remaining children were beneficiaries of the estate and had no right to contest the amount they received. The universal heir had a legal duty to preserve–and hopefully increase the value of–the family’s patrimony for the next four generations. The hereu or pubilla essentially held family property in trust (Fideïcomís) and enjoyed a usufruct on it until he or she died.[47] The universal heir did not inherit individual title to the property but, rather, was entrusted to manage it over his or her lifetime: “The death of the father is an important event, but it only results in a substitution in the post of family director or manager and is not fundamentally a question of the transfer of property.”[48] Indeed, the hereu or pubilla assumed all of his or her father’s legal duties and functions; in this way they were considered to represent the continuation of their father’s legal person and the durability and persistence of the family. There was to be no interruption in the social and economic existence of the family, just a smooth transition from one generation to the next that kept the larger social order intact.[49]

The legal instrument in which a universal heir was designated was not the will, as in most of the rest of Spain, but the marriage contract (capítol matrimonial). These contracts not only established a separation of property between husband and wife–compared to a regime of communal goods in the rest of Spain–they also effectively “promulgated the law that would rule relations within the family that was thereby created, for the entire life of those signing the contract and even beyond their lives.” [50] Catalan marriage contracts were characterized as pacts inter vivos, something that Roman law–on which most of Catalan civil law was based–did not allow. In Roman law, most inheritances were made mortis causa; only dowries were made inter vivos. However, in Catalonia all inheritances were established at the time of marriage in the form of a pact between the two contracting families, a type of “inheritance mortis causa by way of a pact,” [51] according to the Acadèmia. Marriage contracts were used to designate a universal heir and to determine the amounts (heretaments) to be given for dowries, to sons who married, to the widow, and to the legatees. These contracts almost always established a trust, thereby effectively guaranteeing that family patrimony would be preserved for future generations and, as such, were the principal legal instrument through which Catalonia’s social system was perpetuated. [52]

The Spanish Civil Code and the Threat of Divisible Property

During the 1880s, the legal opinion of Catalan lawyers, acting through the Col·legi d’Advocats and the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació, was that the various drafts of the Spanish Civil Code threatened the pivotal role of the universal heir in Catalan civil law. Their first source of apprehension was Article 17 of the 1881 bill for the Spanish Civil Code, which stated that once the code entered into force, Roman codes would cease to exist and therefore also the universal heir, as it was descended from Roman law. In its place would be a system of divisible property, which would “cause suffering for families and property” [53] by breaking with the Catalan social objective of preserving family wealth and status. The response of the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació was swift: a three-person committee was formed to write an exposition of its principal concerns and to request that Article 17 be struck out of the bill. Signed and submitted to the government by the Acadèmia’s president, Manuel Duran i Bas, and secretary, Joan J. Permanyer i Ayats, the only of ficial response to the exposition was the promise of a law of exception. When the 1881 bill failed because of foral opposition and political changes in Madrid, there was initial relief, which was buttressed by the Spanish government’s decision, with the next draft code of May 1888, to preserve foral law in an appendix. Article 5 of this bill stated that provinces and territories having foral law would preserve it integrally for the time being and that the code would act as supplementary law. Although the temporal ambiguity of Article 5 was a cause for concern, a careful reading on the part of the Acadèmia of the actual civil code, which was promulgated by royal decree in October 1888, created even further apprehension over the government’s real intentions. Article 15 of the code was interpreted as a direct threat to Catalonia’s inheritance system because its application would increase over time the number of people–including Catalans–who would be subject to the statutes of the civil code in matters of succession. According to Article 15,

The rights and duties of the family relative to the legal status, condition and capacity of the person and the rights and duties of intestate or testate succession stated in the Code are applicable to: (1) Those people born in common law[54] provinces or territories; (2) those children of a father or mother meeting the condition established in 15.1 even if the children were born in provinces or territories where foral law is in force; and (3) to those persons born in foral provinces or territories but who have become resident of a common law province or territory.[55]
Therefore, if two Catalans got married in Catalonia with a capítol matrimonial designating their universal heir (most likely their firstborn son), then moved to a province in which the Spanish Civil Code was in force and had a child there, the child–and any subsequent children–would come under Article 15 and would expect to inherit property according to the code. Similarly, if a Catalan man married a woman born in a province in which the civil code was in practice and they resided in Catalonia, where they had a child, both the child and the mother would fall under Article 15 and therefore the Castilian inheritance system would apply. The implication of this article was that a child born of a Catalan parent or parents could possibly inherit property according to Castilian succession rights and that these rights would take precedence over the Catalan capítol matrimonial, which designated the universal heir and speci fied other heretaments. Moreover, such a child would have a legal right to an inheritance, even if he or she was not the hereu or pubilla. The only families for which Catalan succession rights would continue to apply were those in which a child was born in Catalonia of parents who were subject to Catalan civil law and both the child and the parents maintained constant residence in Catalonia. Although we do not have statistics on interprovincial migration in late nineteenth-century Spain, the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació maintained that for reasons related to business, the facility of communications, and marriages contracted between families of different provinces, it would take little time before most Catalan families would have a member falling under the Spanish Civil Code. Consequently, “Catalan law [was] condemned to a sure and immediate death.” [56] If their predictions proved accurate, Catalan lawyers would lose their status as the gatekeepers of local customs because of the code’s encroachment on Catalan civil law.

Catalan Industry and the Spanish Civil Code

The potential of Article 15 to expand the code’s application into Catalonia also preoccupied Catalan industrialists and businessmen because of the particular social and economic structure of the firm, which was organized around the casa industrial. The division of family property could spell the end of a successful family business, which would affect the social standing of Barcelona’s gent de bé, or, “well-off.” According to Harrison, “most of the family firms of the Principality [of Catalonia] Financed their own developments out of profits.”[57] Moreover, the social expectation that the hereu would increase the value of the family patrimony while he held it in trust meant that profits would be reinvested in the casa industrial. So it was possible for a firm to pursue growth without having to resort to commercial borrowing, but only if the principle of undivided property held sway. The legal status of the firm, however, presented certain challenges to this principle in the context of the casa industrial that did not exist in the casa pairal. In the latter, the younger children–the fadristern (second son) or cabaler (younger son)–worked in the family household until they acquired a career or got married. Among the better-off rural families, one or more of its cabalers would be sent from the countryside to university in Barcelona where they would be trained for a liberal profession: architecture, engineering, law, or medicine. According to a popular Catalan saying, “el primer fill hereu, el segon capellà i el tercer advocat” (“the first son a universal heir, the second a priest and the third a lawyer”).[58] The pathway from the casa pairal into the liberal professions was regarded as an important source of “human capital” that contributed to industrial success and social mobility in Catalonia.[59]

The majority of the lawyers who would become the founding members and leaders of the nationalist Lliga Regionalista were all cabalers of the casa pairal: Enric Prat de la Riba,[60] Ramon d’Abadal i Calderó,[61] Francesc Cambó i Batlle,[62] and Jaume Carner i Romeu.[63] Among those lawyers who remained in Barcelona to launch their careers after graduation, it was not uncommon for their sons to enter the profession themselves, particularly since they could eventually take over their father’s bufete and clients. Certainly, as the campaign to preserve Catalan civil law took off in the late nineteenth century, some sons of lawyers chose the legal profession not as a career but as a vocation. The case of the Barcelona-born brothers Lluís and Ramon Duran i Ventosa is instructive in this regard. Lluís was one of the founders and ideologues of the Lliga Regionalista who pursued his studies in law under the influence of his father, Manuel Duran i Bas. Like his father, young Lluís was a follower of the Historical School of Savigny, which he popularized through newspaper articles, pamphlets, and books.[64] Ramon, meanwhile, was an active member of the Col·legi d’Advocats and especially, its Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació.[65]

The situation was somewhat different for the cabaler from the casa industrial. Depending on the size of the family business, it was always possible for a younger son to be employed there although he might still be sent to university to acquire a degree in law or engineering, which would add to the stock of expertise in the business. Over time, the contributions of cabalers to the family business could be substantial. Moreover, through various marriage strategies, they might bring additional capital or business into the family firm. [66] Yet, according to Catalan custom, the largest part of these contributions would ultimately go to the hereu so that the property of the casa industrial would remain undivided. This was problematic for married cabalers, especially those with children, who were expected to build up the wealth of their own households. There needed to be a way of quantifying the contributions of the cabalers to the family business and allotting them this amount while preventing the division of the family property. At the same time, as with all businesses, the casa industrial had to devise strategies to minimize its exposure to risk while taking into account two social constraints: the social pressure of maintaining family wealth and the social censure on borrowing capital. The possibility of responding to these demands and constraints depended on finding the appropriate corporate form for the casa industrial.

Corporations are differentiated by two of their central features: control and limitation of liability. McDonogh defines the former as “the extent to which owners participate personally and directly in the management of the company”; limitation of liability “is the degree to which an investor is sheltered from loss in company actions.”[67] Given the importance of hierarchical relations within the casa industrial and the need to protect the family fortune from risk, Catalan industrialists favored a firm that gave owners full control over all managerial functions and directorships while providing some form of limited liability. But no company could satisfy both of these preferences. The limited-liability company, which more than any other company minimizes an investor’s risk, adheres to a form of corporate management in which owners and managers are separate. The simple or limited partnership, in which owners and managers are the same, provides little or no protection against personal fortune because all partners share responsibility for debt. From his research on the “good families of Barcelona” McDonogh theorizes that, as family fortunes increased, so did the level of risk associated with maintaining partnerships. Some corporate form was required that would minimize the risk to one’s personal fortune without inserting a distinction between owners and managers. As argued above, this corporate form had also to address the needs of the cabalers.

In their bid to keep the family at the center of business while protecting its fortune for future generations, Catalans created the sociedad anónima familiar, or close corporation. This was “de fined by personal (familiar) control achieved through the identi fication of owners and managers, yet . . . protected by limited liability. Thus it would retain family dominance in conjunction with organizational innovation.” [68] Shareholders were limited to those who were active in the business, thereby blurring the distinction between owners and managers and creating a company culture where “maintaining the identity of the shareholder is an absolute necessity.” [69] In this sense, the close corporation had some of the characteristics of a partnership: one’s business associates were chosen, which is not possible in a publicly held limited-liability company. However, one of the disadvantages of a partnership–a high risk of losing one’s personal fortune–was minimized by forming a corporation. The close corporation, then, was a private company; its shares were not traded on the market but regulated through social agreements within the firm. The number of shareholders might increase through marriage–for instance, by bringing a new son-in-law into the company–but it was just as likely that the number of shareholders would be held constant and marriages would be exploited as opportunities to expand the company in a different direction. [70]

A Coalition of Opposition against Codification

The owners of the sociedad anónima familiar were all members of the same family who regulated the transfer of wealth among themselves according to private agreements that conformed to Catalan civil law. The strong belief that family wealth was instrumental for the success of the firm was implicit in these agreements. Article 15 posed a threat to that success through its potential to introduce a regime of divisible property in Catalonia. In response to this threat, the owners of family-owned businesses–however big or small–added their voices to that of legal professionals in opposing Article 15. Rural property owners, as the heads of the casa pairal, were obviously no less concerned about the effects of Article 15 than their counterparts in the casa industrial. These three sectors–lawyers, businessmen, and rural property owners–had a shared interest in opposing Article 15, a fact they would have quickly realized through their interactions in Barcelona’s rich associational life. Barcelonan society, particularly the social circles in which these interests moved, was small.[71] At the elite level, two types of associations were most prominent: cultural and intellectual meeting places, such as the Ateneu Barcelonès[72] and the Sociedad Económica Barcelonesa de Amigos del País,[73] and associations for the representation of economic interests, very broadly understood–the Fomento del Trabajo Nacional,[74] the Casino Mercantil,[75] and the Institut Agrícola Català de San Isidre.[76] The pattern of membership across these associations was remarkably uniform, a combination of business and professional interests, including lawyers. Small businessmen formed a third group that figured prominently in both the Sociedad Económica Barcelonesa de Amigos del País and the Fomento del Trabajo Nacional. It was in these associations that the supporters of Catalan conservatism interacted and reinforced their values and preferences; it is no coincidence that these three groups would form the leadership and core support base of the Catalanist movement and, later, of the Lliga Regionalista.

IV. Catalan Nationalism

The most effective way to build support for the preservation of Catalan civil law was to emphasize how it was an inherent characteristic of something that all Catalans shared: a national identity. The creation of a nationalist movement in Catalonia was a twenty-year process that began in 1881 with a social movement for the defense of Catalan culture and culminated in 1901 with the founding of a nationalist political party for Catalan political autonomy. During these twenty years there was a gradual yet steady effort to equate Catalonia with a nation. Lawyers and civil law were constant features in this long process.

At this point, we should consider the broader European context in which this effort was carried out. Catalonia was one instance of a phenomenon appearing in Europe between 1870–1914: the multiplication of what Hobsbawm refers to as “potential ‘unhistorical’ nations [for which] ethnicity and language became the central, increasingly the decisive or even the only criteria of potential nationhood.”[77] Viewed from this perspective, Catalan nationalism does not need to be explained; contextualizing it is sufficient because, according to Hobsbawm, the emergence of nationalism in this period was a function of certain general social and political transformations confronting European society.[78] The problem with any functionalist account is that it does not amount to an explanation. Since political actors are faced with different choices, we must explain why they opt for one over another. Similarly, interpreting the political choices of nationalist actors through reference to their class, as Hobsbawm and others have done, is not an explanation; it is a form of reductionism. While Catalan nationalism certainly was part of a broader European development and gained inspiration from other nationalist movements, there was nothing predetermined about Catalan lawyers’ decision to create and then politicize Catalan national identity. The only thing that could be called predetermined was that this nationalism would be conservative.

The turn to nationalism on the part of lawyers can be explained on three levels. First, at the most basic level, lawyers were attempting to preserve their status as the gatekeepers of Catalan civil law and as custodians of a social order organized around the household. At a second level, lawyers viewed Catalan self-government as a means to expand the ambit of their authority through the acquisition of legislative powers, separate administrative structures, a separate court system, and the capacity to build regional institutions. Put simply, the preservation of Catalan civil law–and its concomitant social system–could never be guaranteed so long as Madrid held exclusive decision-making powers over legal developments. What more effective way could there be to control Catalonia’s development path than for Catalans to obtain these decision-making powers for themselves? Finally, regional self-government would give Catalonia’s political élites the power to set the rules for political representation and citizen participation. The lawyers’ rejection of the civil code was not only related to a rejection of codi fication in fluenced by arguments deployed in the German context. It was also related to the code’s liberalizing features, since these challenged the hierarchical structures that were the framework of the Catalan household and Catalan society more generally. Lawyers attempted to realize these objectives by building a coalition of support for the defense of Catalan institutions and constructing a new political discourse around the “nation.” Their rationale, which was certainly informed by events they witnessed in Europe, was that only nations enjoyed rights to self-government.

The Emergence of the Catalanist Movement

Between 1880–1891, a new political vocabulary emerged in Catalonia as a means of articulating a demand for political autonomy: Catalanisme described the movement for Catalan autonomy while a catalanista was a supporter of this movement. According to Llorens i Vila, Catalanism was “a specific articulation of Catalonia’s position within the Spanish state, independent of what was going on in other [Spanish] regions.”[79] As a first step in staking a claim for special rights, Catalanism focused on what made Catalonia distinctive from Spain’s ruling nation, the Castilians. This new terminology came in response to the Spanish government’s announcement in 1880 that it was relaunching its efforts to produce a civil code. That same year, Valentí Almirall, a lawyer who had turned to a career in politics and journalism, launched a “Congress of Catalanists”[80] from the pages of the Diari Català, the Catalan-language daily newspaper that he edited. Organized as a series of meetings between October and November 1880, the congress attracted over one thousand participants and resulted in the establishment, in 1881, of the Centre Català. The mission of the Centre Català was to give birth to “real Catalan politics” through the preservation of Catalan civil law, the establishment of a Catalan supreme court and a Catalan administration, trade protectionism, and the promotion of Catalan business.[81] “Real Catalan politics” meant a form of political action devoid of internal divisions or factions, particularly class and ideology. This could only be achieved by focusing on features common to all Catalans: their history, language, culture, values, and civil law.

From the start, the Centre Català attempted to build bridges between different sectors of Catalan society in order to build up a strong support base for its program.[82] Its most important initiative in this regard was the Memoria en defensa de los intereses morales y materiales de Cataluña, the outcome of a meeting organized in January 1885 at the Barcelona stock exchange (Llotja de Barcelona). The choice of location was not accidental since the purpose of the meeting was to forge an alliance between Barcelona’s economic élites and lawyers in order to use some “gentlemen’s” pressure to block a proposed free trade agreement with England and yet another bill for a civil code. Speaking to the assembled crowd, the lawyer Narcís Verdaguer i Callís[83] presented a motion requesting approval for a representation to the highest authority of the state to express collective opposition to codification and free trade. With the motion approved, a delegation of twelve members of the Centre Català traveled to Madrid in March 1885 to present the Memoria to King Alfonso XII. Three distinguished members of the Col·legi d’Advocats de Barcelona helped draft and edit the Memoria in addition to providing legal advice and funding: Josep Pella i Forgas,[84] Joaquím Almeda, and Joan Josep Permanyer.

The Memoria was the first public political statement of Catalonia’s claims against the Spanish state although these claims were not substantiated in any way. A similar problem was evident in the work of the Centre Català’s Secció de Dret, which organized a series of public debates in 1882 to raise awareness of the need to preserve Catalan civil law. Taking the initiative as section president and one of the founders of the Centre Català, the lawyer Joseph Coroleu publicly identified the preservation, the legislation, and the adjudication of Catalan civil law as among the central goals of Catalanism. This was the first public argument that the defense of Catalan civil law required separate legislative and judicial powers for Catalonia, although the only rationale offered for this claim was that it was just and fitting.[85] When he took the podium at the same debate, Almirall attempted to flesh out the reasons why Catalan civil law needed to be preserved: “in the first place, because within Spain, we have a right to preserve it; secondly, because it is a question of dignity; and in the third place, because from our perspective, our laws are superior to the others [in Spain].”[86] Catalan claims amounted to moral arguments about racial superiority–a tactic that was not unique in the late nineteenth century. In much proto-nationalist discourse of this period, racial distinctions were drawn between people sharing the same skin color and others in order to develop an argument about different characters. The major flaw in this approach was that there was no further political argument upon which to hang racial distinctions. Such distinctions, however obvious, did not trigger an automatic right to sovereign statehood.

In the mid-1880s, Catalanism amounted to a series of statements that required some compelling arguments before they could be transformed into valid political claims. The first attempt to provide these was the publication in 1886 of Valentí Almirall’s Lo catalanisme.[87] As a republican, Almirall was concerned with the oppression of all “peoples” with different characteristics from those of the ruling nation, not just Catalans. His solution was to reconstruct Spain as a composite state using the principle of what he termed “particularism”: “affection, caring [and] preference for all that which is particular,” or, that which is part of one’s local environment or immediate surroundings.[88]

Almirall had dedicated Lo catalanisme to the youth movement within the Centre Català and hoped that the book would suggest a curriculum for the study of Catalan politics. He never realized how seriously the Catalanist youth movement would take him at his word. In October 1886, a group of university students and recent graduates met to found the Centre Escolar Catalanista, [89] which quickly became the training ground for the future leaders of the nationalist Lliga Regionalista: Narcís Verdaguer i Callís, Enric Prat de la Riba, Lluís Duran i Ventosa, Francesc Cambó, and Joseph Puig i Cadafalch. [90] According to these young Catalanists, Almirall had not gone far enough in Lo catalanisme. He continued to refer to Spain as the “nation” and, although he wrote about Catalonia, he was in fact striving for a doctrine that would recognize Catalonia’s right to self-government without prejudicing that of other regions in Spain. They challenged Almirall’s refusal to recognize that Catalonia was a nation and that as a nation it enjoyed more rights than a region–there were many regions in Spain, but only a few nations. Their dispute precipitated the departure of the Centre Escolar Catalanista from the Centre Català, taking with it writers from the in fluential cultural review La Renaixensa as well as a handful of industrialists, professionals, and intellectuals. Reorganizing themselves as the Lliga de Catalunya (but still retaining the Centre Escolar Catalanista) in 1887 they committed themselves to protecting the Catalan language, civil law, and trade through an active propaganda campaign to promote Catalonia.

The field of our [Lliga] action is Catalonia. . . . We will . . . give all possible assistance to Valencia, Aragon, Navarra and even to those Castilians working for the benefit of their own regions, but our first priority is to work for ourselves [casa nostra] and we’ll look to teaching those other regions more by example than by words.[91]
But like the Centre Català, the Lliga was confronted with the problem of devising a principled argument and could only repeat its predecessor’s strategy of sending a message to the monarch, although at least this time it was written in Catalan. [92]
The Lliga de Catalunya took its name from the Irish Land League and its members were suf ficiently inspired by the Home Rule Bill of 1886 to consider taking the parliamentary route to political autonomy themselves. However, they quickly changed tactics when the Spanish government produced a draft civil code in May 1888. From then on, the core of the Lliga de Catalunya’s political action was “centered on the fight for the preservation of Catalan civil law.” [93] Both the Lliga de Catalunya and the Centre Escolar Catalanista worked with Catalan legal corporations to concentrate on repealing Article 15 (on succession rights) in order to preserve Catalonia’s universal heir. Narcís Verdaguer i Callís, who had moved from the presidency of the Centre Escolar Catalanista to the secretariat of the Lliga de Catalunya in 1889, organized a public campaign against Article 15 between February and June of that same year, which was closely coordinated with the efforts of the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació de Barcelona. A public manifesto was issued in March 1889 calling on all Catalanist organizations to declare their opposition to the application of Article 15 to Catalonia. Both the Col·legi d’Advocats and the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació added their signatures to the Lliga’s petition, as did Catalanist associations across the region. The pressure on the government in Madrid forced the minister of justice to resign and prompted the Queen Regent to intervene and ask three Catalan lawyers–Manuel Duran i Bas, Josep Vilaseca i Mogas, and Joan Maluquer i Viladot–to draft a new version of Article 15, one that would be acceptable to Catalans. [94] The new code finally came into force in July 1889.

From Catalanism to Nationalism

The defeat of Article 15 was, as Verdaguer i Callís famously proclaimed, “Catalanism’s first victory.”[95] The efforts of the Lliga de Catalunya had demonstrated the capacity for coordinated political action across different sectors and different parts of Catalonia. Verdaguer i Callís sought to capitalize on this success by creating a coordinated union of Catalanist associations to work for Catalan political autonomy. Like other prominent lawyers, Verdaguer i Callís was aware that the defeat of Article 15 did not guarantee the preservation of Catalan civil law. Who was to compile the appendix to the civil code and how long it would be in force had yet to be determined. As a response to this challenge, he laid the groundwork for the emergence of the Unió Catalanista in 1891, which, in addition to the Lliga de Catalunya and the Centre Escolar Catalanista, included Catalanist associations from outside Barcelona and the main economic and cultural interest groups from within Barcelona: the Fomento del Trabajo Nacional, the Institut Agrícola Català de San Isidre, the Lliga de Defensa Industrial i Comercial,[96] the Ateneu Barcelonès, and the Sociedad Económica Barcelonesa de Amigos del País.

The importance of the Unió Catalanista was that it served as a bridge between the Centre Escolar Catalanista and the future Lliga Regionalista by giving the university students who had come of age in the former a chance to cut their political teeth in more public roles. At the same time, these new university graduates were entering the ranks of the liberal professionals, which ensured the presence of important members of the Catalanist movement within professional associations, such as the Col·legi d’Advocats, and gave them a platform from which to influence Catalan public opinion. During the 1890s, they had their first opportunity to find a political expression for the many claims to cultural preservation that had been articulated during the 1880s. They deliberately steered their colleagues and peers toward a nationalist discourse in an attempt to produce a principled argument for Catalan political autonomy. They were inspired in this regard by international events in the late nineteenth century, which became a key reference point for the emerging nationalist discourse. Three models in particular captured the attention and imagination of the young Catalanists: Ireland, Hungary, and Bohemia.[97] They reported on the fate of these nations constantly in Catalan-language newspapers, which became the principal vehicle for transporting this new discourse to the Catalan public. After 1888, the newspaper La Renaixensa,[98] the mouthpiece of the Lliga de Catalaunya, began using the term “nationalism” to refer to those political movements for the vindication of peoples living under a regime of force: Catalonia, Crete, Ireland, Bohemia, and Poland. In order to draw parallels between these cases and Catalonia, the young lawyer Francesc Cambó, in his capacity as a special editor of the new weekly La Veu de Catalunya (1890), reported on minority nationalities in the rest of Europe. Altogether, these journalistic efforts demonstrated that Catalonia was part of a broader European movement for the political autonomy of oppressed nations.[99] According to Llorens i Vila, this “new [nationalist] vocabulary appeared with regularity, with an ever increasing frequency and across different journalistic media so that readers of the Catalanist press became sensitized to a new terminology of a decidedly nationalist character.”[100]

The objective of this period, as Prat de la Riba later explained, was to “destroy peoples’ concerns [and] prejudices. . . . [W]ith calculated opportunism, we insinuated in a logical fashion the new doctrines [of nationalism], mixing together the rights of regions, nationalities and patria in order to slowly accustom the readers.”[101] To create publicly an association between Catalonia and the nation could land one into trouble with the authorities–as Prat de la Riba discovered when one of his nationalist works was banned. Therefore, the strategy of the members of the Centre Escolar Catalanista was cautious. They began by questioning the appropriateness of existing terminology used to identify local cultures, terms such as “region,” whose meaning was purely administrative. They then slowly introduced the term “nation” as a synonym for “region” by highlighting the cultural characteristics that distinguished one region in Spain from another.[102]Eventually, they abandoned the term “region” and used “nation” exclusively when referring to any culture that possessed crucial characteristics, which they identified as history, language, law, and art.[103] Enric Prat de la Riba drew the distinction between the two in a speech in 1890: “Today, many are those who see clearly that Spain is not a nation, but a State, and who grasp the difference between the State, man’s creation, an artificial entity, and the Nation, a natural entity, a product of the spontaneous nature of the development of history.”[104] In 1897, during a series of lectures delivered to the Ateneu Barcelonès by members of the Centre Escolar Catalanista, the new nationalist terminology was finally introduced to Barcelona’s cultural and intellectual élites. In the closing lecture (“El fet de la nacionalitat catalana”), Prat de la Riba concluded that “if there is a collective spirit, a Catalan social spirit that has known how to create a Catalan language, legal system and art, I have said that which I sought to say, I have demonstrated that which I sought to demonstrate: that is, that there exists a Catalan nation.”[105]

Prat de la Riba and his cohort of Catalanists in the Unió Catalanista had a very conservative nation in mind, as they had made clear in March 1892 at an assembly of Catalanist groups at Manresa, where members approved a draft constitution of the “Catalan Region.” Largely the work of the architect Lluís Domènech i Muntaner and Prat de la Riba, the constitution was the first attempt by the nascent nationalist movement to give a clear institutional expression to a sovereign Catalan region with legislative, executive, and judicial powers. The importance of Catalonia’s distinct legal system was made clear in the first article of the constitution while the declaration that Catalan would be the only official language (article 3) was an obvious attempt to guarantee that Catalans would enjoy exclusive access to public office (article 4). Despite the fact that the Spanish government had introduced universal male suffrage in 1890–or perhaps because of this–the constitution of the Catalan Region envisaged a corporate assembly elected by heads of households who would be grouped according to their social position, profession, or occupation. The Bases de Manresa,[106] as the constitution was known, was a political blueprint for Catalan conservatism. This was most obvious in the form of corporate suffrage, which, as Molas notes, became “the cornerstone of Catalanism”[107] in the twentieth century. The constitution retained the household as the principal organizing unit of Catalan society and made it the basis for a system of representation. By disallowing universal male suffrage, it preserved the hierarchical household relations that kept Catalan society peaceful and well-ordered. Moreover, the use of corporatism was a further strike against liberalism and, in particular, against free association and the formation of political parties. There was no need to aggregate interests in this vision of a Catalan Region, only to articulate them through regulated corporate structures that were mediated by the disciplined household.

The conservatism that underpinned the Bases de Manresa was a re flection of the importance accorded Catalonia’s social system by the lawyers who had now risen to positions of in fluence within the Unió Catalanista. But they had not yet reached their apogee. This would come in 1901 with the decision of the Centre Escolar Catalanista to capitalize on the achievements of the 1890s by forming a nationalist political party. The events of 1898, when Spain lost its last colonies in the Spanish American War, forced a reconsideration of the terms and purpose of political action throughout Spain, not just in Catalonia. [108] But compared to other regions, which were powerless to defeat Madrid’s system of patron-client relations that oversaw its corrupt and rigged elections, clientelism was not as deeply rooted in Catalonia, making it relatively easier to start a regional political party. [109] Wary of Madrid’s reaction to a party carrying a nationalist label, the young lawyers who would be its leaders opted for the Lliga Regionalista instead.

Lliga Regionalista

The Lliga Regionalista was the party of Catalan lawyers. Data on the profession or occupation of candidates in the general and provincial elections between 1901–1923[110] demonstrates the extent to which they dominated the party. Of the 153 candidates who ran for the Lliga Regionalista in the general elections during this period, 55 percent were lawyers. In the provincial elections for the same period, the party fielded 108 candidates, 40 percent of which were lawyers.[111] The next most significant group comprised candidates who listed professions in industry or commerce: 26 percent for the general and 22 percent for the provincial elections. Landowners were in third place: 11 percent of candidates in the general elections and 17 percent in the provincial elections. Another indicator of lawyers’ predominance among the party’s élite is the membership of the Lliga Regionalista’s Comisió d’Acció Política, which Molas claims “directed the activities of the whole party”:[112] Enric Prat de la Riba, Ramon d’Abadal, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Lluís Duran i Ventosa, and Francesc Cambó–one architect (Puig i Cadafalch) and four lawyers.[113] The Comisió d’Acció Política was by all accounts the most influential organ within the Lliga. Members were appointed for life; they were not accountable to any other sector of the party; and there was no code of procedure governing their actions.

There is no accurate record of party membership that would allow us to claim with certainty that lawyers were also dominant among the Lliga Regionalista’s rank and file. There is one extant party membership list, dated 1911,[114] that provides the names and addresses of all 716 members. Since a professional would also be a member of an association or corporation, the party list was cross-referenced with membership lists from Barcelona’s professional associations and interest groups to determine professionals’ overall presence in the party. This method allows us to identify the occupation or profession of approximately one-third of Lliga members: 12 percent of all members were also members of the Col·legi d’Advocats de Barcelona while less than one percent of members were architects, pharmacists, business agents, or commercial brokers.[115] The largest occupational group within the Lliga Regionalista was made up of shop owners, retailers, and artisans–nearly 15 percent.[116] Although this data is not complete, it does suggest that the owners of small family businesses figured most prominently among the rank and file of the party while lawyers, and to a lesser extent industrialists and landowners, occupied the greatest proportion of the party’s leadership positions. In other words, the data support the argument developed in Part 3 that these sectors had conservative interests; that they formed an alliance for the defense of their conservative interests; and that their support of nationalism was related to this conservatism.

The Lliga Regionalista espoused a form of conservative nationalism that largely echoed the 1892 Bases de Manresa. It was cemented with the publication of Lluís Duran i Ventosa’s Regionalisme i federalisme in 1905 and, in 1906, of party leader Enric Prat de la Riba’s La nacionalitat catalana. Duran i Ventosa rejected the possibility that the interests of a people could be defined as the interests of the democratic majority, arguing that “the nation is not the sum of the will of individuals that is manifested in a given moment, nor is it the will of the majority. [Instead] the nation is a live organism,” which exists above the will of individuals.[117] Prat de la Riba maintained something similar: “A nationality is an integral society, natural, spontaneous, superior to the will of men, superior to the will of public officials.”[118] The regionalist doctrine that Duran i Ventosa expounded could not accept “that the majority of votes cast by those citizens enjoying the right to vote can represent, in absolute, the nation, especially in the sense that with such a form of representation everything that this majority decides should be considered legitimate while everything else should not be considered legitimate.”[119] Democratic majorities could not determine the will of the nation, which in fact was almost impossible to discern. Therefore, the business of politics should be left to “superior minds” that alone possessed an understanding of the character of the nation.[120] All politics, in fact, was to be reduced to the nation since individuals did not possess universal rights: “freedom of conscience, of thought, universal suffrage, none of these can be appreciated in the abstract or completely independently of the spirit of each country and national needs and aspirations.”[121]

During the 1890s, the Centre Escolar Catalanista and the Unió Catalanista had established that Catalonia was a nation; in the first decade of the twentieth century this fact was used as the basis for demands for Catalan political autonomy. The Lliga Regionalista was unwavering on this point: “Each nation must have its state. . . . No, more: each nation must have a single state that translates its collective aspirations into action. . . . [A state] is the juridical fact that must correspond to the social fact of nationality.”[122] The Lliga Regionalista was not a secessionist party and, at its core, supported Spain’s monarchy. Like other nationalist parties and movements of the period, it struggled to find the right constitutional expression for political autonomy. During the first thirty years of the twentieth century, the Lliga wrote the history of its particular attempts,[123] a history that takes us beyond the scope of this article. What Part 4 has attempted to demonstrate is how intrinsic lawyers were to these attempts. Their views on Catalonia’s social order infused the party’s nationalist discourse through their efforts to construct an argument for the preservation of the region’s legal institutions. The popularity of this discourse–as evidenced by the party’s repeated successes at the poll–was due to lawyers’ ability to couch their conservatism in something that would appeal to all: a national identity that spoke to what was distinctive about Catalans.

V. Conclusion

This article began with a straightforward purpose: to explain why Catalan lawyers were opposed to the codification of civil law and how they successfully opposed it. In addressing the first question, it examined the importance of a particular Catalan legal institution–the universal heir–for maintaining social order and ensuring economic prosperity in Catalonia. This, at least, was the view of Catalan lawyers. They firmly believed that the casa pairal and the casa industrial underpinned social harmony. Lawyers were convinced of the validity of their views. They had been educated to believe them and they committed to them professionally when they set up their private practice. They were not easily persuaded to convert to other perspectives. For most of the second half of the nineteenth century, Catalan lawyers knew that codification was a very real possibility in Spain; they had plenty of time to arrive at a decision on the merits of replacing Catalan civil law with a code based on Castilian law. But in their debates and discussions in both the Col·legi d’Advocats and the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació most rejected codification because of its liberalizing features. In their estimation, the introduction of a regime of divisible property would, within one generation, increase the number of property owners but decrease the wealth of families. This redistribution of wealth would multiply the types of interests in Catalan society and the potential for social conflict. If the hierarchical household could remain intact, conflict would not be a problem. Interests would be limited to those of the family, as articulated by its head.

Catalan lawyers were not alone in their conservative view of society. The potential for creating a coalition of opposition to the Spanish Civil Code was discovered in their interactions with industrialists, landowners, and businessmen in the civil society associations they frequented. But the political expression of this opposition went in fits and starts as Catalans struggled to find the right vocabulary that would allow them to put forward a coherent argument for political autonomy. Even if terms such as “nation” and “nationality” existed, they had never been applied to Catalonia–not even by Catalans themselves. Moreover, to suggest that the sovereignty of the Spanish state was divisible might result in censure or even the closing down of corporations and meeting places. By creating a climate for the reception of these new ideas and terms, Catalan lawyers were able to make some progress in staking political claims against Madrid. Only nations had rights to statehood and statehood was the key to acquiring self-governing powers. For Catalan lawyers, these powers would allow them to move into positions of political decision making so that they might preserve the conservative society in which they felt most secure. Nothing could be more straightforward in theory and more difficult in practice. As Catalan lawyers would discover through the Lliga Regionalista, the popularity of this logic was no guarantee that Madrid would take much notice.

At another level, this article has attempted to show the potential for concepts such as “nation” and “nationality” to unite sectors even when these concepts were ill defined or their political implications were not clear. There was much “muddling through” in the Catalan story but there was also a focus that kept everyone on board–the campaign against codification. Even after 1889, the fear that Madrid might change its mind about the appendix[124] acted as a strong motivator for continued action. The importance of the role of ideas for explaining patterns of political action–independently of whether this action meets its objectives–can tell us something about how legal change influences longer processes of political development. The Lliga Regionalista never managed to win statehood for Catalonia but the party’s ideas about Catalan autonomy–which were directly linked to the politicization of lawyers–shaped Catalan politics until the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and were a reference point for all subsequent twentieth-century Catalan nationalist parties.

The importance of ideas can add to our general understanding of how lawyers perceive their role as “gatekeepers” of their profession. We need to move beyond a materialist view of this role and think more broadly. The status of lawyers in the civil law world was also related to their role as custodians of the ideas on which social relations were based. The Catalan case suggests that lawyers did not take this role lightly; much more research needs to be done before we can claim that this was true in other cases. However, conducting this research would be key to determining why lawyers in some civil law countries opposed codi fication while others did not, thereby adding to the comparative literature on European experiences of civil law codi fication. Catalan lawyers not only opposed codi fication because of their roles as gatekeepers and custodians; they were also threatened by the code’s liberalism. Opposition to codi fication is not necessarily an indicator of conservatism. This article devoted considerable space to explaining why Catalan lawyers were conservative and research on other cases should do the same. But so long as the Catalan case is not unique, it forces us to reconsider our assumption that lawyers are almost always liberal. In part, we need to investigate nineteenth-century liberalism more closely. Although this has been done for the German case, the experience of many other European states–including Spain–has been overlooked or misunderstood.

The study of legal change opens up many avenues of enquiry, underscoring the importance of the law for social and political development generally. This article has concentrated on the link between legal change and nationalism as a way of de fining the range of European responses to codi fication. It has contributed not only to our understanding of the origins and orientation of Catalan nationalism but also to the complicated relationship between state, nation, and sovereignty in nineteenth-century Europe.

Siobhán Harty is lecturer in Comparative European Politics in the Department of International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. She thanks the anonymous referees for Law and History Review for their very insightful criticisms and especially Christopher Tomlins for his support and encouragement. She also acknowledges the financial support of a Killam Research Grant (Killam Trusts, Canada) and the assistance of the library staff at the Il·lustre Col·legi d’Advocats de Barcelona. All translations are by the author unless otherwise noted.


1 The most authoritative account of the Lliga Regionalista is Isidre Molas, Lliga Catalana: Un estudi d’estasiologia, 2 vols. (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1972). For other important accounts, see Borja de Riquer, Lliga Regionalista: La burgesia catalana i el nacionalisme (1898–1904) (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1977); and Charles E. Ehrlich, “The Lliga Regionalista and the Catalan Industrial Bourgeoisie,” Journal of Contemporary History 33 (1998): 399–417.

2 Michael John, Politics and the Law in Late Nineteenth-Century Germany: The Origins of the Civil Code (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989), 245.

3 Strictly speaking, Catalan civil law (along with other regional law and privileges) was to be placed in an appendix to the civil code.

4 John, Politics and the Law in Late Nineteenth-Century Germany, 246.

5 In this article, the nation is understood as an ethnically distinct group; nationality refers to the status of belonging to a particular nation; and nationalism refers to a doctrine used to mobilize people around their national identity for political purposes.

6 See in particular, R. C. van Caenegem, An Historical Introduction to Private Law, trans. D. E. L. Johnston (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); and Alan Watson, The Making of the Civil Law (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981).

7 John Breuilly, “Civil Society and the Labour Movement, Class Relations and the Law: A Comparison between Germany and England,” in John Breuilly, Labour and Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Essays in Comparative History (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992), 160.

8 John, Politics and the Law in Late Nineteenth-Century Germany; and James Q. Whitman, The Legacy of Roman Law in the German Romantic Era: Historical Vision and Legal Change (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).

9 J. J. Sheehan, German Liberalism in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978); David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley, The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984); and Konrad H. Jarausch and Larry Eugene Jones, eds., In Search of a Liberal Germany: Studies in the History of German Liberalism from 1789 to the Present (Oxford: Berg, 1990).

10 Terence C. Halliday and Lucien Karpik, “Politics Matter: A Comparative Theory of Lawyers in the Making of Political Liberalism,” in Lawyers and the Rise of Western Political Liberalism: Europe and North America from the Eighteenth to Twentieth Centuries, ed. Terrence C. Halliday and Lucien Karpik (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 15.

11 Ibid., 51.

12 I refer here to substantive liberalism, not procedural liberalism.

13 Richard L. Abel and Philip S. C. Lewis, eds., Lawyers in Society, vol. 2, The Civil Law World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988).

14 J. H. Elliott, “A Europe of Composite Monarchies,” Past & Present 137 (November 1992): 52–53.

15 Rafael Altamira, “Spain,” in Various European Authors, A General Survey of Events, Sources, Persons and Movements in Continental Legal History (Boston: Little Brown, 1912), 677.

16 Fueros is Castilian for “regional privileges.”

17 Altamira, “Spain,” 679.

18 Henry Kamen, “L’abolició dels furs: Una mesura absolutista?” L’Avenç 200 (February 1996): 48–50, 67.

19 Jean-René Aymes, ed., España y la revolución francesa (Barcelona: Crítica, 1989); Loreto Busquets, ed., Cultura hispánica y revolución francesa (Rome: Bulzoni Editore, 1990); and Enric Riera i Fortiana, Els afrancesats a Catalunya (Barcelona: Curial, 1994).

20 See the discussion in Thomas W. Palmer, Jr., Guide to the Law and Legal Literature of Spain (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1915).

21 For a history of this corporation, see Enric Jardí, Història del Col·legi d’Advocats de Barcelona, 2 vols. (Barcelona: Col·legi d’Advocats, 1989).

22 An advocat is responsible for the legal defense of parties and litigates in the courts in the district of his/her Colegio.

23 Until the 1960s, the University of Barcelona was the only Catalan university offering a degree in law. Castilian was imposed on the University of Barcelona from the late eighteenth century. On the complicated history of language use in nineteenth-century Catalonia, see Pere Anguera, El català al segle XIX: De llengua del poble a llengua nacional (Barcelona: Empuriés, 1997).

24 Richard L. Abel, “Lawyers in the Civil Law World,” in Lawyers in Society, 1–53.

25 For example, a much-needed penal reform was accompanied by the emergence of criminology as a field of study and practice while reforms of the judicial system in 1882 and 1892 resulted in new criminal tribunals at the provincial level. See Stephen Jacobson and Javier Moreno Luzón, “The Political System of the Restoration, 1875–1914: Political and Social Elites,” in Spanish History since 1808, ed. José Alvarez Junco and Adrian Shubert (London: Arnold, 2000), 106.

26 The abogado del estado is responsible for representing the state in legal proceedings.

27 Since the nineteenth century, notaries have been regulated by both the Ministry of Justice and their own professional corporation, the Colegio de Notarios (Catalan: Col·legi de Notaris). The state controls the number of practicing notaries (there are presently 367 notaries in Catalonia) and openings are scarce. In 1862, Madrid enacted the Ley de Notariado (Law of Notaries), article 25 of which stated that all public instruments would be written in Castilian. Still today, notaries come under Spanish jurisdiction so that those working in Catalonia produce documents in Castilian.

28 However, those graduates who became procuradors did have to take a state examination and were regulated through their own Colegio de Procuradores (Catalan: Col·legi de Procuradors). A procurador is an official representative who, through a power of attorney (poder suficiente), represents parties in courts and other official departments. The intervention of a procurador is compulsory in most civil law cases and all criminal law cases.

29 Membership lists for the Col·legi d’Advocats were published annually as the Guía Judicial de Cataluña, Listas oficiales de los colegios de abogados, procuradores y escribanos. The number of members was fairly consistent for the period under investigation: approximately one thousand. The ratio of practicing to nonpracticing lawyers did vary, but in any one year there was a majority of the former.

30 These were civil legislation; criminal legislation; organization of civil and criminal judgments; public legislation; legal statistics; and canon law.

31 There were 158 members of the Acadèmia in 1896. See Laureà Pagarolas i Sabaté, Història de l’Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació de Catalunya (Barcelona: Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació de Catalunya, 2000), 104.

32 Ramon Martí i d’Eixalà, president of the Acadèmia (1848–1857) in Pagarolas i Sabaté, Història de l’Acadèmia, 46.

33 Pagarolas i Sabaté, Història de l’Acadèmia, 47–50, 56. There is no historical record to suggest that the Fundació Savigny became a permanent fixture of Barcelona’s legal or cultural circles.

34 See Article 4 of the Royal Decree of the Minister of Grace and Justice, Saturnino Alvarez Bugallal (2 February 1880) in Francisco Tomás y Valiente, “Los supuestos ideológicos del código civil: El procedimiento legislativo,” in Miguel Artola et al., La España de la Restauración: Política, economía, legislación y cultura, ed. José Luis García Delgado (Madrid: Siglo XXI, 1985), 381–83.

35 Manuel Duran i Bas, Memoria acerca de las instituciones del derecho civil de Catalunya (Barcelona: Imp. De la Casa de Caridad, 1883). Manuel Duran i Bas occupied every prestigious juristic post in Catalonia. He was dean of the Col·legi d’Advocats (1885–1891); president of the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació (1867–1871; 1882–1883; and 1892–1894); dean of the faculty of law and rector of the University of Barcelona; and a deputy and a senator to the Cortes in Madrid. He also wrote the prologue to the first Castilian-language translation of Savigny’s work. He used his position as minister of justice in the Conservative government of Francisco Silvela (1899–1901) to lobby for the preservation of Catalan civil law. See Borja de Riquer, “Manuel Duran i Bas i el conservadorisme català sobre la Restoració,” in El pensament polític català del segle XVIII a mitjan segle XX, ed. Albert Balcells (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1988).

36 Five reports were issued between 1881 and 1895 and are referred to in Part 3. For a bibliography of the Acadèmia’s output, see Pagarolas i Sabaté, Història de l’Acadèmia, 291–92.

37 Ibid., 79. Statement made by Joan Permanyer i Ayats, while a member of a special committee set up by the Acadèmia in 1880 to prepare its position on the draft civil code. He would later be president of the Acadèmia between 1895–1897.

38 Antoni Rovira i Virgili, Resum d’història del catalanisme (Barcelona: Barcino, 1936), quoted in Josep M. Mas i Solench, El dret civil dels Catalans (Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de Justicia, 1985), 37.

39 Llorenç Ferrer, “L’ús de la família per la burgesia de la Catalunya central,” in Família i canvi social a la Catalunya contemporània, ed. Santi Ponce and Llorenç Ferrer (Vic: EUMO Editorial, 1994), 15.

40 M. Casals Colldecarra, El pacto de retro y la carta de gracia (Barcelona: Bosch, 1943), 51.

41 Families in need of additional revenue resorted to certain long-term leaseholding arrangements, such as emfiteusi or rabassa morta, or land sales in which the owner retained some form of domain, such as compraventa a carta de gracia or retroventa. See Casals Colldecarra, El pacto de retro y la carta de gracia.

42 Àngels Torrents, “Marriage Strategies in Catalonia from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century: A Case Study,” Continuity and Change 13 (1998): 475–96. The stem (or troncal in Castilian) family consisted in the head of the household and his wife; the hereu (universal heir; usually the firstborn son); his wife and children; and the siblings of the hereu, who were permitted to live at home until they were married. See also David S. Reher, La familia en España: Pasado y presente (Madrid: Alianza Universidad, 1996).

43 Reher, La familia en España, 85–86.

44 Enric Prat de la Riba, Ley jurídica de la industria: Estudio de filosofía jurídica seguido de bases para la formación de un código industrial, in Obra completa, vol. 2, 1898–1905, ed. Albert Balcells and Josep Maria Ainaud de Lasarte (Barcelona: Proa and IEC, 1998), 128. For an extensive analysis of Barcelona’s industrial class and its social background, see Gary Wray McDonogh, Good Families of Barcelona: A Social History of Power in the Industrial Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986).

45 Prat de la Riba, Ley jurídica de la industria, 129.

46 Joan Maluquer i Viladot, Les caracteristiques del dret català i el seu valor social (Barcelona: La Casa de la Caritat, 1933), 45.

47 Casals Colldecarra, El pacto de retro y la carta de gracia, 50; Maluquer i Viladot, Les caracteristiques del dret català, 43.

48 Ramón Maria Roca Sastre, “La necesidad de diferenciar lo rural y lo urbano en el derecho sucesorio,” Anales Academia Matritense del Notariado 1 (1945): 338.

49 Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació de Barcelona (hereafter AJLB), Memoria formulado por la comisión nombrado en sesión de 31 de Mayo de 1889 acerca de las instituciones jurídicas de Cataluña que conviene conservar en el apéndice al código civil y aprobado por la academia en sesión de 28 de Agosto de 1899 (Barcelona, 1899), 41. See also Maluquer i Viladot, Les caracteristiques del dret català, 19.

50 AJLB, Memoria formulado, 13.

51 Ibid.

52 Ibid. See also Maluquer i Viladot, Les caracteristiques del dret català, 47.

53 Exposición que la Academia de Jurisprudencia i Legislación de Barcelona ha dirigido al Senado sobre la necesidad de que se sigan aplicando en Cataluña a los Códigos romanos y decretales en los casos en que actualmente se acude a sus textos aunque se promulgen un Código civil general para todo el reino, hasta que se haya sancionado y publicado la Ley de excepción prescrita en el párrafo 1 de la Base 17 del Proyecto de Ley del Ecmo. Sr. Ministro de Gracia y Justicia de 21 de octubre de 1881 (Barcelona: Imprenta Barcelonesa, 1882).

54 Common law here referred to those regions where the civil code applied.

55 See the discussion in Exposición dirigida a los Cortes en suplica de que se modifique el artículo 15 del nuevo Código civil, signed by Juan Coll y Pujol and Joaquin Casades (Barcelona: n.d.). Between 1888–1890, Coll y Pujol was the president of the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació de Catalunya while Casades was its First Secretary.

56 Ibid., 7.

57 Joseph Harrison, An Economic History of Modern Spain (London: Holmes and Meier, 1978), 71.

58 In Reher, La familia en España, 109. In those families that could not afford university education, at least one cabaler would be forced to enter the priesthood.

59 Ibid., 25. This view was popularized by one of Catalonia’s most respected social historians, Jaume Vicens Vives in Noticia de Catalunya (Barcelona: Destino, 1954).

60 Enric Prat de la Riba, from Castellterçol, was party leader of the Lliga Regionalista from 1901 until his death in 1917. He was the key ideologue of the party as well as an active member of the Col·legi d’Advocats and the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació de Catalunya. In 1899, he was appointed to a committee of the Acadèmia charged with determining which of Catalonia’s civil law institutions were to be preserved in the appendix to the Spanish Civil Code. He also wrote a regular column for the Acadèmia’s journal, the Revista Jurídica de Catalunya. The book that secured his place in the pantheon of Catalan nationalists was La nacionalitat catalana (1906).

61 Ramon d’Abadal i Calderó, from Vic, was president of the Ateneu Barcelonès (1902) and the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació de Barcelona (1903–1905) and dean of the Col·legi d’Advocats (1924–1935).

62 Francesc Cambó i Batlle, from Verges, was a member of the Col·legi d’Advocats and a career politician from the founding of the Lliga Regionalista in 1901. He continued to practice law even while he ran as a candidate for the party.

63 Jaume Carner i Romeu, from El Vendrell, masterminded the first election campaign of the Lliga Regionalista in 1901. He converted to republicanism five years after the Lliga was founded.

64 Lluís Duran i Ventosa was secretary (1897–1898) and later president (1915–1917) of the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació. Duran i Ventosa’s importance as an ideologue for the nationalist movement was established with his book Regionalisme i federalisme (1905). His close friend Enric Prat de la Riba wrote the prologue.

65 Ramon Duran i Ventosa was secretary of the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació in 1890–1891.

66 Ferrer, “L’ús de la família per la burgesia de la Catalunya central,” 28–32.

67 McDonogh, Good Families of Barcelona, 64.

68 Ibid., 65.

69 José Puig Brutau, “Algunas consideraciones sobre la llamada sociedad anónima familiar,” Revista Jurídica de Cataluña 57 (1958): 572.

70 Ferrer, “L’ús de la família per la burgesia de la Catalunya central,” 24–25.

71 For most of the nineteenth century, the population remained under 150,000 while that of Catalonia as a whole grew. By 1887, two years before the Spanish Civil Code was introduced, the population of Barcelona increased to 272,500 or one in seven Catalans. See Robert Hughes, Barcelona (New York: Vintage, 1992), 337.

72 The Ateneu Barcelonès continues to play a central role in Barcelona as a meeting place for the exchange of ideas. For a general history, see Jordi Casassas Ymbert, L’Ateneu Barcelonès: Dels seus orígens als nostres dies (Barcelona: La Magrana, 1986).

73 The Sociedad Económica Barcelonesa de Amigos del País was founded in 1882 to lobby for protectionism and act as a forum for the exchange of economic ideas.

74 For a history of the association up to 1911, see Guillermo Graell, Historia del Trabajo Nacional (Barcelona: Imp. De la Viuda de Luís Tasso, 1911).

75 The Casino Mercantil was Barcelona’s unofficial stock market.

76 The Institut Agrícola Català de San Isidre was made up of farmers, rural property owners, and lawyers.

77 E. J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, 2d ed. (Cambridge: Canto, 1992), 102. The main reason for this development was the declining force of the principle that only large nations could be states (the threshold principle). But as Hobsbawm notes (32) this principle was never completely abandoned, which is one important reason why early twentieth-century minority nationalists in Europe championed federalism as a state design.

78 Ibid, 109–10 (my emphasis). These were: the resistance of traditional groups to modernity; the emergence of nontraditional classes in urban centers; interstate migration; democratization; and modern administrative states.

79 Jordi Llorens i Vila, La Unió Catalanista i els orígens del catalanisme polític: Dels orígens a la presidència del Dr. Martí i Julia (1891–1903) (Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 1992), 28.

80 See Jordi Galofré, El primer congrès catalanista (Barcelona: Rafael Damau, 1979); and Josep M. Figueres, El primer congrès catalanista i Valentí Almirall (Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, 1985). Almirall (1840–1904), a committed republican, was of an earlier generation than the protagonists of the story told here, having participated in the federal-republican revolution that produced the Sexenio Democrático in 1868. He founded El Estado Catalán, a federalist newspaper, in 1869 and the Diari Català, the first Catalan-language newspaper, in 1879.

81 “Programa de Catalanisme,” Butlletí del Centre Català, 12 June 1883.

82 See the statement against codification sent to the Spanish government by lawyers and property owners: Exposició que envian a les Corts per impuls propri y per encarrech de molts proprietaris de Catalunya en súplica de que’s conservi al principat son dret civil especial: D. Joseph A. Buxeres, D. DelFi Artús, D. Alvar Ma. Camin, D. Emili Sicars, D. F. Romani y Puigdengolas, Advocats y proprietaris (1882), in Comissió per la Conservació del Dret de Catalunya, Traducció catalana de importants documents en favor de la conservació del dret civil vigent a Catalunya (Barcelona, 1886).

83 Verdaguer i Callís would later become president of the Centre Escolar Catalanista (1887–1888) and of the Acadèmia de Jurisprudència i Legislació de Barcelona (1889).

84 Pella i Forgas would later become president of the Ateneu Barcelonès and of the Sociedad Económica Barcelonesa de Amigos del País.

85 The debate took place on 13 Dec. 1882 and is reproduced in Maria Carmé Illa i Munné, El segon congrès catalanista: Un congrès inacabat (1883–1983) (Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament Adjunt a la Presidència, 1983), 31–33.

86 Ibid., 33.

87 Valentí Almirall, Lo catalanisme (Barcelona: Llibreria Verdaguer i Llibreria López, 1886; repr., Les millors obres de la literatura catalana, 22, Barcelona: Edicions 62 and “la Caixa,” 1994).

88 Ibid., 102 (page references are to reprint edition).

89 The Centre Escolar Catalanista was organized into five sections: (1) law, philosophy, and literature; (2) medicine; (3) science and pharmacy; (4) special subjects; (5) Fine arts. Although there are no membership records, it was reported that in 1887 there were eighty-Five lawyers or law students in the organization. See Molas, Lliga Catalana, 21, n. 28.

90 Josep Puig i Cadafalch was one of two architects (the other was Lluís Domènech i Muntaner) who would be among the original leaders of the Lliga Regionalista.

91 Pau Sans i Guitart, president of the Lliga de Catalunya, in a speech made at the organization’s inaugural session (5 Nov. 1887) and published as “Discurs inaugural de la Lliga de Catalunya,” La Renaixensa, 6 Nov. 1887.

92 See “Missatge a la Reyna Regent,” La Renaixensa, 3 June 1888.

93 Molas, Lliga Catalana, 25.

94 Pagarolas i Sabaté, Història de l’Acadèmia, 85.

95 Ibid.

96 Lliga de Defensa Industrial i Comercial was an organization of small business and shop keepers.

97 Llorens i Vila, La Unió Catalanista, 236–46.

98 Among its writers during the 1890s figured some of the members of the Centre Escolar Catalanista and future leaders of the Lliga Regionalista: Lluís Duran i Ventosa, Enric Prat de la Riba, and Josep Puig i Cadalfach.

99 Joan B. Culla i Clarà, “De Budapest a Dublin passant per Cristiània: O sobre alguns models internacionals del catalanisme,” Revista de Catalunya 2 (Nov. 1986): 37.

100 Llorens i Vila, La Unió Catalanista, 182.

101 Enric Prat de la Riba, La nacionalitat catalana, 2d ed. (Barcelona: “La Cataluña,” 1910; repr., Les millors obres de la literatura catalana, 5, Barcelona: Edicions 62 and “la Caixa,” 1978), 57 (page references are to reprint edition).

102 See the speech by Lluís Duran i Ventosa given at the Centre Escolar Catalanista on 23 Nov. 1889, in Prat de la Riba, La nacionalitat catalana, 53.

103 Lluís Duran i Ventosa, Regionalisme i federalisme, with an introduction by Enric Prat de la Riba, 2d ed. (Barcelona: Editorial Catalana, 1922; repr., Francesc de Carreras, ed., Biblioteca dels clàssics del nacionalisme català, 29, Barcelona: Edicions de la Magrana and Diputació de Barcelona, 1993), 37–40 (page references are to reprint edition).

104 “Discurs del President del Centre Escolar Catalanista de Barcelona Don Enric Prat de la Riba llegit en la Sessió Inaugural del Curs 1890–1891,” in Enric Prat de la Riba, La nació i l’estat: Escrits de joventut, Biblioteca dels clàssics del nacionalisme català, 17 (Barcelona: Edicions de la Magrana and Diputació de Barcelona, 1987), 13.

105 Enric Prat de la Riba, “El fet de la nacionalitat catalana,” in Prat de la Riba, La nacionalitat catalana, 93 (emphasis in original).

106 A copy of the Bases de Manresa is reproduced in J. A. González Casanova, Federalisme i autonomia a Catalunya (1868–1938) (Barcelona: Curial, 1974), 536–39.

107 Molas, Lliga Catalana, 27.

108 Sebastian Balfour, The End of the Spanish Empire, 1898–1923 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997).

109 Siobhán Harty, “The Institutional Foundations of Substate National Movements,” Comparative Politics 33 (2001): 191–210.

110 The Lliga Regionalista First fielded candidates in 1901. In 1923, the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera put an end to parliamentary politics until 1931.

111 There were ten general and nine provincial elections for the period reviewed. The election of 1907 was omitted since candidates ran as part of an alliance with republicans. The Lliga Regionalista published the lists of its candidates in its party newspaper (La Veu de Catalunya), which for most elections also included candidates’ profession or occupation. Those candidates for whom it was not possible to establish their profession using other reference materials are treated as missing data. The missing data, as a percentage of total data, stands at 9.5 percent for the general elections and 27 percent for the provincial elections. The figures reported here exclude the missing data.

112 Molas, Lliga Catalana, 180.

113 These names are taken from Francesc de Carreras, “Estudi preliminar,” in Duran i Ventosa, Regionalisme i federalisme, xvii.

114 Lliga Regionalista, Llista de socis (Barcelona, 1911).

115 See Guía Judicial de Cataluña, Listas oficiales de los colegios de abogados, procuradores y escribanos, 1909, 1910, and 1911; Associación de Arquitectos de Cataluña OFicial y de Utilidad Pública 1910, Lista de los individuos que la componen (Barcelona, 1910); Lista de los agentes de negocios del colegio de Barcelona, 1910 and 1911 (Barcelona: Tip. Valls y Borras, 1910 and 1911); Colegio de Corredores Reales de Comercio de Barcelona, Individuos del colegio (Barcelona: Imp. De la Bolsa, 1915). Pharmacists were identified from the Lliga Regionalista’s membership list by their address. It was not possible to obtain membership lists from doctors’ or engineers’ associations.

116 These people were identified by the address they provided on the Lliga Regionalista’s membership list. They listed the type of shop or business they ran.

117 Duran i Ventosa, Regionalisme i federalisme, 149, 152.

118 Prat de la Riba, La nacionalitat catalana, 99.

119 Duran i Ventosa, Regionalisme i federalisme, 151.

120 Ibid., 153.

121 Ibid., chap. 3.

122 Prat de la Riba, La nacionalitat catalana, 95–97.

123 Lliga Catalana, Història d’una política: Actuacions i documents de la Lliga Regionalista, 1901–1933 (Barcelona: Biblioteca de Lliga Catalana, 1933).

124 In fact, the appendix went nowhere largely because of Madrid’s inertia. Several unsuccessful attempts were made by Catalan legal corporations to compile an appendix before the process finally got under way in 1960. The compilation was completed in 1984.