Victoria Kent, Defending The Right Of Women To Vote

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Victoria Kent, defending the right of women to vote

The Second Spanish Republic was the democratic government that existed in Spain from 1931 to 1939. The Republic was proclaimed on April 14, 1931, after the deposition of Alfonso XIII, and lost the Spanish Civil War on April 1, 1939 before the rebel faction that would establish a military dictatorship under the government of Francisco Franco.

After the proclamation of the Republic, a provisional government was established that lasted until December 1931, when the 1931 Constitution was approved and a constitutional republic was formally established. Manuel Azaña’s republican government began numerous reforms designed to modernize the country. After the general elections of 1933, Alejandro Lerroux (Radical Party) formed a government with the confidence and supply of the Spanish Confederation of Right Autonomous Groups (CEDA). Under the mandate of Lerroux, the Republic was in front of an insurrection of anarchists and socialists who acquired revolutionary dimensions in Asturias. The revolt was finally repressed by the Republic with the intervention of the Army. The Popular Front won the 1936 general elections. From July 17 to 18, 1936, a coup d’etat fractured the Spanish Republican Armed Forces, marking the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

During the Spanish Civil War, there were three governments. The first was directed by the leftist Republican José Giraral (from July to September 1936); However, a revolution mainly inspired by socialist, anarchist and communist libertarian principles broke out within the Republic, which the Government of the Republic weakened. The second government was directed by the socialist Francisco Largo Caballero of the General Workers Union (UGT). The UGT, together with the National Work Confederation (CNT), were the main forces behind the aforementioned social revolution. The third government was led by the socialist Juan Negrín, who led the Republic to the military coup of Segismundo Casado, who ended the republican resistance and finally led to the victory of the nationalists, who established a military dictatorship under the government of Francisco Franco, known as Franco’s Spain.

Victoria Kent, born in Malaga, Spain, was affiliated with the Radical Socialist Republican Party and jumped to fame in 1930 for defending, in a martial court, Álvaro de Albornoz, who shortly after would become Minister of Justice and then the future president. From the Republican Government in exile (1947 to 1949 and 1949 to 1951). He became a member of the first parliament of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931. That same year, the President of the Republic, Niceto Alcalá-Zamora, appointed its Director General of Prison.

One of the most prominent and controversial moments in Kent’s personal and political life would be his opposition to female suffrage before the Spanish Parliament in 1931, when he faced another feminist, Clara Campoamor, in a dialectical and significant battle on a subject that would have a Great effect on women’s rights. She declared that Spanish women were not socially and politically prepared to vote. According to her, Spanish women were also influenced by the Church and her vote would be conservative and harmful to the Republic. On the contrary, Clara Campoamor defended that women had the right to vote as she defended the equality of all human beings. After her intervention, Victoria lost her popularity and, therefore, did not participate in Parliament in the 1933 elections. Campoamor finally won the debate against Victoria Kent in 1933 and this made women vote for universal suffrage. The 1933 elections were won by the right, since it was united.

Campoamor, along with Kent, lost her seat in the courts after the 1933 elections. The most active of the three women chosen in 1931, she had been interrupted in Congress during her two -year term for her support for divorce. However, she continued to serve in the government after being appointed public welfare head later that year, only to leave her position in 1934 in protest of the government’s response to the Asturias Revolution of 1934.

The Franco totalitarian regime was replacing, with the passage of troops, to the Republic and republican legislation on women. The rights that women enjoyed, who had enabled their participation in the political life of the State, were abolished: the return of women to domestic life was guaranteed as one of the programmatic bases of the new state.

The social change of women in the republican period was relative, says Mª Gª Núñez Pérez, legislatively advanced but this was not accompanied by an increase in incorporation into non -domestic production, except during the war. Likewise, labor legislation faced the interests of the conservative classes and radical sectors of the labor movement, which hindered the implementation .


I think Victoria Kent was right and she knew how to foresee how women were not prepared to vote at that time and her vote would be totally influenced by the Church. I think that Clara Campoamor won the dialectical duel for the false feminism of thinking that women had than that of men. First they had to teach them to think for themselves and then to give them the vote so that they do not see her trial as happened.

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