Ángel Ossorio y Gallardo

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Ángel Ossorio y Gallardo

Angel Ossorio y Gallardo (b. Madrid, 20 June 1873 - d. Buenos Aires, 19 May 1946) was a liberal Catholic Spanish lawyer and statesman. He first came to political prominence as leader of the Partido Social Popular. Inspired by Luigi Sturzo's Italian People's Party, the PSP was founded in 1922 but broke up after Primo de Rivera's coup of 1923. He served as Minister of Development during the reign of Alfonso XIII. He became estranged from the king following Alfonso's appointment of Primo de Rivera in 1923, though he was not a republican, in 1930 defining himself as a 'monarchist without a king.' [1] Severino Aznar, a leading social catholic theorist, sympathetic to Ossorio, believed his position an impossible one : on the left Ossorio would be 'nothing more than a prisoner', while conservatives continued to see him as a leftist who would 'agitate the pure and calm waters of the right'.[2]


Having earned his Bachelor of Law from the Central Madrid University, Ossorio y Gallardo won great prestige as a lawyer and writer in the early twentieth century, with works such as The Soul of the Toga and Divorce in civil marriage. He chaired the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation and the Ateneo de Madrid.

In July 1909, while serving as the governor of the province of Barcelona, Tragic Week broke, in which he was opposed to using the army to end the strike occupying Barcelona finally to flee by sea.[clarification needed] (The flashpoint was conscription which was well known to be avoidable for those with influence and money. When a party of conscripts boarded ships owned by the Marques de Comillas, a noted Catholic industrialist, en route for an unpopular war in Morocco the soldiers had been accompanied by the Royal March, and religious medals distributed by pious, well dressed ladies. As the crowd jeered and whistled, emblems of the Sacred Heart were thrown into the sea. A week of antiwar protests followed - 104 civilians died during the Tragic Week and only 9 policemen and soldiers. Ossorio y Gallardo commented: " In Barcelona a revolution does not have to be prepared, for the simple reason that it is always prepared." ) [3] The government of Antonio Maura replaced him with Evaristo Crespo Azorín. His experiences during these tragic events were reflected in his book Barcelona, julio de 1909 (1910). Then he led the Social Popular Party which José María Gil-Robles y Quiñones joined in 1922.


Ossorio y Gallardo served a career in the Congress during the Spanish Restoration as deputy for the Caspe district of Zaragoza constituency, as a member of the Conservative Party, beginning his political career as MP for Zaragoza, a seat he obtained at subsequent elections until 1923 and the dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera, when he moved away from politics.

In the three elections held during the Second Spanish Republic, which he strongly supported, because, despite his monarchical ideas he explicitly called for the abdication of Alfonso XIII declaring himself a "monarchist without a King at the service of the Republic." [4] He was appointed president of the juridical commission charged with drawing up a first constitutional draft for the new republican regime. This document turned out to be cautious and proposed complicated governmental structures. Not only was there to be a 'corporative' second chamber, intended to act as 'a reflective and moderating influence' but also further senatorial restraint on the executive in the form of a permanent consultative commission on legislation. Finished in July 1931, it was abandoned shortly afterwards. It won little favour on the left who saw it as excessively legalistic and cerebral, and as failing to capture the mood of the nation, and it was never even debated in the Constituent Cortes. That it was not liked by the left did nothing to make Ossorio's proposals appeal to those on the right, particularly amongst his fellow Catholics. Ángel Herrera Oria's El Debate confessed to serious reservations. Though Ossorio's draft was not hostile to the Church - certainly not when compared with what was to come in the constitution itself - El Debate took the proposed introduction of freedom of worship, together with the designation of the Church as an institution of public law, as evidence of 'a spirit, which is threateningly laic, atheist, almost pagan, areligious.' Its gravest defect was its ' democratic-parliamentary prejudice' which would be ' corrosive'. According to the paper, 'no man of a certain intellectual level ignores the fact that, in Spain, it is necessary to preach not liberty and democracy but authority and a spirit of social discipline and obedience.' Ossorio's rejected draft was quickly replaced by a much more radical document. In the elections of 28 June 1931, he was chosen by Madrid in the self-denomination of Candidate in Support of the Republic obtaining one of the seats reserved for minorities.

As a Catholic republican he argued in 1931 that while Church-State relations were a matter for concern, there was no reason to fear the republican government. He also denied the imminent danger of a communist threat.[5] Following the events of 11 May 1931 when convents were burned in Madrid and elsewhere, Ossorio said he believed they were likely to have been the work of monarchist agents provocateurs, a theory which Gil Robles categorically denied, and he defended the minister of the interior, Miguel Maura.


He served as Minister of Development between 15 April and 20 July 1919 in the government of Antonio Maura. He was also Mayor of Barcelona.


With the coup of Primo de Rivera away from politics to returning to the Second Republic was appointed between 1936 and 1939 ambassador to France, Belgium and Argentina, a country that when he went into exile to end the Civil War which would form part one of the governments in exile.


He is the author of works such as History of the Catalan political thought during the war of Spain with France (1913), The Soul of Toga (1919) and Life and Sacrifice of Companys (1943).


  1. ^ Mary Vincent, Catholicism in the Second Spanish Republic, p.141
  2. ^ Severino Aznar, Gaceta regional, 9 april, 1930, quoted , M.Vincent. p.142
  3. ^ Vincent, Mary. Spain 1833-2002. p. 103. 
  4. ^ Mary Vincent, p.171
  5. ^ Mary Vincent, p.157

"In Angeles National Forest Demons of the Republic National Movement. The relationships of two Republican lawyers Gago Angel Galarza (1892-1966) and Angel Ossorio y Gallardo (1873-1946): the easy entente of two ministers with three different ideologies (Christian Democrat, the radical socialist and socialism largocaballerista) ", Contributions to Social Science, March 2009, online