Biography of Práxedes Mateo Sagasta (1825-1903)

Sagasta. Engraving of the time.

Spanish politician and engineer. The Liberal Party leader and protagonist of the system canovista of peaceful shift of parties in power.

He was born in the Riojan village of Torrecilla de Cameros, in 1825, in a modest liberal family. He/She moved to Madrid to study at the school of engineers of road, which, eventually, would be Professor.

From an early age, it is linked to the progressive party. He/She actively participated in the revolution of 1854, as President of the revolutionary Junta. That same year, gets Act of Deputy for the province of Zamora, in the constituent courts. Two years later, and as a result of the liquidation action of O'Donnell of the so-called "Progressive biennium", is forced to flee to France.

Monument to Sagasta, Paseo de Logroño (La Rioja) RAM.

Back in Spain, is a Deputy elected in the courts of 1858. Throughout the legislature he/she was a strong opposition to the policy of the Government of the Liberal Union, distinguished by his speaking ability and verbal violence. His work of opposition in Parliament was completed with which developed from the Iberia, influential organ of press he/she would become director in 1863. In this same year, Sagasta is, already, occupying important positions of the progressive party.

In the manifesto on September 8, 1863, written by Sagasta, formally raises "seclusion" of the progressive party with respect to the parliamentary game, by his denaturalisation, which meant the repudiation of the constitutional monarchy of Isabel II. As a solution to accept the revolution, that would, he/she said, turn a true representative regime. In the year 1865 is validates this stance in the manifesto of November 20.

Its ideological position led him to participate, from now on, in conspiracy against the Elizabethan regime movements. Sentenced to death for his involvement in the "events of the headquarters of San Gil" in 1866, is forced, again, to flee to France.

After the triumph of the revolution of 1868, he/she returned to Spain and became part of the Government as Minister of the Interior and State. In 1870 vote favorably the candidacy of Amadeo de Saboya as King of Spain. During this reign (1871-1873), he/she was President of the Council of Ministers.

Unsuccessful Republican experience, Sagasta will play an important role in the political system of "shift of parties" of restoration. He/She is in charge of transforming the historic progressivism into the new Liberal Party, a key part in the turnista system.

Sagasta recognized the monarchy restored in the person of Alfonso XII in 1875 and, after a first phase of liberal integration, reach the Presidency of the Government, charge that holds from 1881 to 1883. During this period he/she began to liberalize the regime, with measures such as the replenishment of the separated by the previous Conservative ministries Professor and the design of the Police Act of printing (1883), which opened the doors to freedom of the press.

The death of Alfonso XII and the critical situation created by such an event precipitated the conventions of the so-called "Pact of el Pardo" (1885), Sagasta and Canovas. There remembered that the first was proclaimed head of the Liberal Party and that it turnaría with the curator of Cánovas, in Government.

Solved the problem of the Regency in the person of María Cristina, it turns on the system canovista, which would be opened with Sagasta as head of Government, who occupies, stably, until 1890.

During this lengthy period of Government promoted an important liberal legislation: the law on associations of 1887, of the jury of 1888, the law for the formation of the Civil Code (1888) and the introduction of universal male suffrage (1890).

Subsequently, Sagasta corresponds to, as President of the Council of Ministers, the crisis of 1898. He/She could not help the war with the United States, which demanded the independence of Cuba, nor the harsh conditions of the subsequent Treaty of Paris of 1898. It is from this moment when they revealed the limitations of the system of shifts, which will precipitate towards the failure with the disappearance of the two leaders that had made it possible.

In 1901 he/she returned to become President of the first Government of the reign of Alfonso XIII. Few months after leaving office, he/she died in Madrid on January 5, 1903.