When electors raised their voices: political representation in nineteenth-century Spain from a conceptual perspective

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Political representation is often understood as a static entity; thus, its mutable dimensions have been neglected. In addition, when considering liberal post-revolutionary politics in the nineteenth century, scholars have given most of their attention to the accounts of this period forwarded by liberal elites, thereby taking the voices of those represented for granted. As such, these analysing deputies are disconnected from their electors outside the election processes. This article analyses political representation as a process and considers the voices of representatives and those represented. From a conceptual perspective, it examines notions and terms used by Spanish deputies and electors in the mid-nineteenth century to refer to one another. The enactment of these concepts is placed at the core of their meaning. That is, their meaning changes according to the speaker, the receiver and the context. In conclusion, the author finds that, when electors were mobilized on behalf of their requests, and thus insisted on apt representation, deputies – regardless of their political ideology – acknowledged their right to seek accountability. Therefore, accountability was recognized. When those explicit claims were not raised, accountability was undermined by the deputies, who tended to be disconnected from the voters and prioritized being accountable to their peers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-818
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Review of History/Revue Europeenne d'Histoire
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2022


  • Political Representation
  • Spain
  • electors
  • nineteenth century
  • parliamentary politics
  • representatives


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