Moderates Reaction in Portugal 1836-1838

[ 1836 - 1838 ]

In July 1836, radicals were elected from Porto by advocating a return to the constitution of 1822 as a way of resolving Portugal's economic crisis. When these deputies arrived in Lisbon, they were met by demonstrations supporting their cause. The following day, the moderate liberal government collapsed and, in September, the radicals, led by Manuel da Silva Passos, formed a new government. The radicals nullified the Constitutional Charter and reestablished the constitution of 1822 until it could be revised by a constituent cortes to make it more compatible with changed social and economic circumstances.

The actions of the radicals resulted in a violent reaction from the moderates, who saw their power threatened and considered the charter the symbol of the liberal victory in the War of Two Brothers. As a compromise, the Constituent Assembly, convoked in March 1838, attempted to reconcile the constitution of 1822 and the Constitutional Charter. In April 1838, Portugal's third constitution was approved. The document abolished the royal moderative power and returned to liberalism's classical tripartite division of government into legislative, executive, and judicial branches. It reaffirmed, as did the 1822 constitution, that sovereignty rested with the nation. It abolished the Chamber of Peers and substituted a Chamber of Senators, and it established direct election of the Chamber of Deputies, although only selected citizens were allowed to vote. The monarch's role was enhanced and the Chamber of Senators was restricted to leading citizens, or notables.

Related Conflicts

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