Political Condition of the 19th century Philippines
The Philippines was governed by Spain through a viceroy from Mexico.
The highest office was that of the Governor-General, the chief executive of the Spanish colonial government, appointed by the Spanish king. The town is managed by a gobernadorcillo. The barangay is the smallest political unit under a cabeza de barangay.
The social hierarchy was in this order: at the top were the peninsulares or the Spaniards from Spain, next were the insulares, Spaniards born in the Philippines and also called Filipinos, the mestizos, born of Spanish and Chinese descent, at the bottom were the indios, the local inhabitants.
A total of 300 insurections and rebellions by the Filipinos all over the achipelago were recorded in the more than 3000 years of Spanish colonialization.
19th century was defined by liberal thinking for the following reasons: 1)
Mexico rebelled against Spain and this brought revolutionary thinking to Manila; 2) the opening of the Suez Canal made the trip to Manila from Europe faster thereby bringing liberal ideas to the Philippines; and 3) rise of the middle class
Liberalism is a set of political beliefs which puts primary consideration on the freedom and rights of the individual which includes the freedom of speck, of expression and of the press.
In 1869, Carlos Maria de la Torre became the first liberal governor-general of the Philippines. For two year, until 1871, he instituted liberal reforms that benefited the Filipino middle class.
Padre Jose Burgos campaigned for the Filipinization of the parochial churches in the Philippines and asked for the expulsion of friars back to Spain.
The Cavite Mutiny of 1872 was used to condemn Frs. Burgos, Zamora, and Gomez to death by garrote or musketry.
The martyrdom of Gomburza was winessed by Paciano Rizal, Jose’s brother. Rizal’s first novel Noli Me Tangere was dedicated to the martyred priests.
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