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Catalonia's Advocates

Catalonia's Advocates: Lawyers, Society, and Politics in Barcelona, 1759-1900

Stephen Jacobson
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  • Book Info
    Catalonia's Advocates
    Book Description:

    Offering a window into the history of the modern legal profession in Western Europe, Stephen Jacobson presents a history of lawyers in the most industrialized city on the Mediterranean. Far from being mere curators of static law, Barcelona's lawyers were at the center of social conflict and political and economic change, mediating between state, family, and society.Beginning with the resurrection of a decadent bar during the Enlightenment, Jacobson traces the historical evolution of lawyers throughout the long nineteenth century. Among the issues he explores are the attributes of the modern legal profession, how lawyers engaged with the Enlightenment, how they molded events in the Age of Revolution and helped consolidate a liberal constitutional order, why a liberal profession became conservative and corporatist, and how lawyers promoted fin-de-siecle nationalism.From the vantage point of a city with a distinguished legal tradition,Catalonia's Advocatesprovides fresh insight into European social and legal history; the origins of liberal professionalism; education, training, and the practice of law in the nineteenth century; the expansion of continental bureaucracies; and the corporatist aspects of modern nationalism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0549-4
    Subjects: Law, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Significant Dates in Spanish History
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Note on Style
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. 1 Introduction LAWYERS AND THE CITY
    (pp. 1-27)

    OVER THE COURSE OF what has been termed the “long nineteenth century,” lawyers throughout much of Europe accomplished something rather remarkable. In the late eighteenth century, they constituted an order of experts, modestly comfortable within the privileged universe of the Old Regime. In the new century, however, unlike other professionals, they not only survived political and industrial revolution but thrived. Their feat can be appreciated when compared to others. The physician saw his practice threatened and overturned by educated and popular surgeons, barbers, and other healers more effective at cures.¹ It would take some time before doctors would expand their...

  7. 2 The Modern Profession OLD REGIME AND ENLIGHTENMENT
    (pp. 28-67)

    WHEN DID THE modern profession emerge? This question, once the focus of an entrenched debate, is worth resuscitating because it has not been satisfactorily answered with regard to the legal profession. At one time, sociologists confidently contended that industrialization and the rise of a modern bureaucratic state were the handmaidens of professionalism. Under the Old Regime, professionals were depicted as gentlemanly practitioners dependent on elite patronage and organized into closed, uncompetitive, privileged corporations. The foundation of state-sponsored systems of education, teaching “scientific” disciplines and awarding degrees on the basis of competitive examination, were said to have made the professions more...

  8. 3 The Liberal Profession WAR, REVOLUTION, AND REPRESSION
    (pp. 68-106)

    THE STUDY OF LAWYERS AND REVOLUTION has thus far focused exclusively on the French Revolution.¹ Tocqueville first tried to solve the puzzle of why lawyers who had the “tastes and habits of aristocracy” and an “instinctive penchant for order” had “contributed singularly to overturning the French monarchy.” Although advocates had enjoyed a high status under absolutism, he reasoned, they had been excluded from political power. When such a disjuncture occurs, “lawyers will be very active agents of revolution.”² To Tocqueville, this rule applied not only to France but to other places as well; lawyers headed rebellions against authority when they...

  9. 4 The Conservative Profession INSTITUTIONS, LEADERS, AND THE LAW
    (pp. 107-150)

    IN THE PRECEDING CHAPTER, we discussed a pamphlet, published in 1821, in which a fictional lawyer didactically explained the virtues of the constitution to a peasant, who, according to the author, belonged to a class of individuals who understood “nothing of current events.”¹ As the liberal revolution wound to an end in the early 1840s and reached its elitist conclusion, it is a worthy exercise to explore the extent to which the lawyer made good on his promises.

    On paper, at least, many were fulfilled. Spain was a parliamentary system in which the monarch and the legislature governed, according to...

  10. 5 The Corporate Profession BACKGROUNDS, TRAINING, AND PRACTICE
    (pp. 151-197)

    LAWYERS FACED FREQUENT CRITICISM as a result of their enviable success. A conspicuous number of adages reflected popular wisdom and prejudice. Some are innocuous, offering practical advice or poking innocent fun: “To the lawyer, one tells the truth.” “If you think you have fooled the doctor, the confessor, or the lawyer, you are fooling yourself.” “The lawyer of the peasant gets paid beans.” “With lawyers and patience, one wins the sentence.” “The three most untidy things: the theologian’s conscience, the doctor’s table, the lawyer’s testament.” “The lawyer and the comic actor will play the devil as often as the saint.”¹...

  11. 6 The Nationalist Profession LAW AND CATALANISM
    (pp. 198-238)

    DURING THE LAST TWO DECADES of the nineteenth century, Catalanism grew popular among many lawyers. The bar remained diverse, led by highprofile mercantile and civil advocates closely linked to urban and agrarian elites and dynastic political parties. But many members were not content with the overall state of affairs, for individual prospects had not risen in harmony with corporate power. Some advocates were wealthy, but others found it difficult to break into private practice. As the bar grew in numbers and resources, students and practitioners pressured leaders to support projects that would carve out greater space for their realm of...

  12. 7 Conclusion and Epilogue THE SILVER AGE OF THE PROFESSION
    (pp. 239-256)

    Looking back on the history of Barcelona lawyers over the long nineteenth century, even the most skeptical cannot help but take notice. When Charles III ascended to the throne in 1759, the bar was a shadow of its old self: a few dozen litigators discretely went about their business, representing clients in court, conscious that better days lay in the past. A century later, lawyers had regained much of their lost power, prestige, and influence. Practitioners of diverse though broadly liberal beliefs, led by conservative men of order, exploited opportunities in the industrial city and projected their image back in...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 257-298)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 299-326)
  15. Index
    (pp. 327-336)