The University in the Revolutionary Six-Year Period

The University in the Revolutionary Six-Year Period

After the fall of Isabella II in 1868, Spain embarked on a six-year period referred to as the “Sexenio Revolucionario”, which  started a period of radical and exciting reforms. Fernando de Castro, the newly appointed Rector, gave a speech during the inauguration of the academic year 1868/1869 which contained the guidelines of the new academic policy. The objectives set by the new authorities were designed with a view to achieve scientific and educational independence from both  Government and  Church, allow  for freedom of thought and expression as well as to promote ethical performance in   academic activities. The same principles, strongly influenced by Krausism, were supported by Francisco Giner, who developed a university policy aimed at highlighting freedom of education and undertaking substantial reforms in  academic organization. The overall effect of these reforms was to achieve a higher degree of autonomy for universities and the suppression of the baccalaureate certificate as well as theological studies (in 1870). Many of these utopian goals failed during that period of social and political turmoil.

 

The restauration of the  Monarchy in 1875 brought a more conservative attitude among higher education authorities. The few innovative proposals approved in the previous stage were rejected. Once again these limitations led  to conflicts in which the university community took part. This protest was known as  the second university question (La segunda cuestión universitaria).

Despite the idealistic measures and the swinging back and forth between conservative and liberal governments during the Restoration period, the university structure designed by Moyano remained basically unchanged. The university regulations had become obsolete after nearly half a century. Society demanded new professional profiles and research policies, which began to be develped by the University. In this regard special mention must be made of Jose Rodriguez Carracido, Ignacio Bolívar, Ramón Menéndez Pidal or Santiago Ramón y Cajal who didn’t fit in with this obsolete model of the university at that time. It was absolutely crucial to undertake a deep reform.