Francoist Legality: On the Crisis of Authority and the Limits of Liberalism in Jesús Fueyo and José Ortega y Gasset

The European Legacy 13 (2):161-174 (2008)

This paper focuses on a crucial and insufficiently examined issue of the conflict between legality and legitimacy, seen as a key element in securing continuity and providing the intellectual justification of the Francoist regime. Without analyzing the tension between legality and legitimacy, it is impossible to comprehend and successfully dismantle the thesis of the regime's intellectuals, recently revitalized by revisionist historians, according to which Francoism succeeded in re-establishing historical continuity and political normalcy in Spanish society. In the context of the Cold War, it was crucial for Spanish legal scholars to portray Francoism not as a bastion of anti-liberalism, but as a regime whose survival entailed an original interpretation of notions such as freedom, rule of law, sovereignty and authority. They argued that the significance of Francoism consisted not only in defeating liberalism in Spain but in offering an alternative interpretation of its main tenets. By aspiring to justify and overcome its own historical exceptionality, the Francoist regime sought to avoid the inevitability of its demise. By virtue of its failure to do so, Francoism remained outside the European political norm, to which only democratic Spain would be re-admitted
Keywords Francoism  legality  legitimacy  Spanish Philosophy  Spain  Liberalism  Fueyo, Jesús  Ortega y Gasset, José
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DOI 10.1080/10848770801913115
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