A Spanish Moment? Electoral practices and constitutional culture in the Two Sicilies, 1820

Gian Luca Fruci
Dipartimento di Civiltà e Forme del Sapere – Università di Pisa, Itália

A revolutionary electoral moment marked the new politics of the 1820s in the Bourbon space from Spain to the Two Sicilies, from Mexico to the Gran Colombia-under-construction, from Peru to Rio de la Plata. In summer 1820, the constitutional and military prounciamento led by Guglielmo Pepe in Naples was legitimized by extensive and capillary experience of popular suffrage. In fact, it was thanks to the pyramidal electoral system designed by the Cádiz Constitution of 1812 that a new «Neapolitan National Parliament» was appointed and celebrated. My paper focusses on the «Spanish moment» of the electoral and political apprenticeship in the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It highlights the extent to which the tendency to unanimity that combined in an original way the number and the reason, the ballot and the lot, the religious rituals and the political practices, represented the central feature of the political culture of this early constitutional experiment.

Keywords:

Elections, Neapolitan Parliament, 1820, unanimity, ballot, lot