The province of Barcelona became one of the major industrial regions at the outset of the first industrial revolution in Spain. The province of Barcelona had a distinctive place in the Spanish monarchy and it was an area where agriculture was the most important economic activity. This situation coincided with the beginning of liberal parliamentarism in Spain and it determined the profile of the Catalan MPs. For this reason, this article explores the profiles of the 85 deputies elected by the province of Barcelona during the period of liberal parliamentarianism (1834–54). The date and place of birth, profession, parliamentary experience and political militancy are examined, as is the development of cursus honorum, the ladder of political career advancement, based on the ‘course of honours/offices’ that operated in ancient Rome for men of senatorial rank and comprised a mixture of administrative and political posts. A quantitative analysis indicates a characteristic profile that is also aligned to a general European pattern. For instance, liberal professionals and public officials were significant in the professional status of the MPs. Besides, this study also considers the issues and questions which attracted the attention of the Catalan MPs and which were also willingly used by the MPs to mobilize public opinion. Furthermore, the MPs chosen by the province of Barcelona during the rise of the parliamentary system acted in an autonomous manner. Important examples of this autonomous political behaviour include the defence of a unitary position concerning industrial issues, military intervention in the province of Barcelona, and with tax policies.