"This book challenges the view of Spain as backward, 'timeless' and isolated from wider European movements: impervious to modernity. By tracing the diffusion of democratic ideas and republican associations in the towns and villages of eastern Andalucia between 1854 and 1875, Spain is shown to have shared fully in Europe's mid-nineteenth-century democratic enthusiasm. Small-town democrats captured the imagination of hundreds of thousands of rural people who viewed politics as an esoteric pastime occupyingonly the wealthy and the educated. They achieved this by using the press for delivering their message, by organising clandestine Carbonari societies for extending their support and fighting elections, by preparing for (mostly abortive) popular insurrections, and by dramatising the analogy between the Italian Risorgimento and Spain's own regeneration. Hence, during the two decades of political conflict that preceded the 'Glorious' Revolution of September 1868, Spain moved from patrician to mass politics.""The book explores this political awakening by tracing the heated rivalry between two neighbours from Granada's second city of Loja, the centre of the region of study. The lives of Conservative chieftain General Ramon Maria Narvaez, Duke of Valencia, appointed seven times as First Minister by Queen Isabel, and Rafael Perez del Alamo, a veterinarian-blacksmith who in July 1861 led Spain's first civilian 'socialist' mass uprising, exemplify the two competing visions of political modernity that divided Spain during the nineteenth century, and had such tragic consequences for the twentieth."--BOOK JACKET.