Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis



Second Department

Hispanic Studies

Reader 1

Andrew Aisenberg

Reader 2

Jennifer Wood

Reader 3

Cesar Lopez

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Rights Information

© 2014 Ann Kirkpatrick


Spain underwent a series of tumultuous social and political changes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Prostitute women directly experienced these changes as fluctuations in their social and legal status within Spanish society. The years spanning from 1874 to 1931 are known as the Restoration, when the Bourbon monarchy was reinstalled under King Alfonso XII (1857-1885) after the crumbling of the First Spanish Republic (1873-1874). During this time, Spain experienced a period of growing nationalism and urbanization, and prostitution began to be interpreted as a threat to the nation in terms of public health and decency. Between 1923 and 1930, Spain was under the royally-sponsored military dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera (1870-1930). Primo de Rivera stifled much of the public discussion around the problem of prostitution. Spain later returned briefly to a Republican mode of government in 1931, and the Second Republic turned a portion of its divided attention to the reform of prostitution laws. The chaos of the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939 disrupted these Republican reforms but provided an opportunity for radical groups, including Mujeres Libres, to campaign against prostitution in new and innovative ways.