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Defining NationsImmigrants and Citizens in Early Modern Spain and Spanish America$
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Tamar Herzog

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300092530

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300092530.001.0001

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Was Spain Exceptional?

Was Spain Exceptional?

(p.164) 8 Was Spain Exceptional?
Defining Nations

Tamar Herzog

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that the question posed in its title involves not just an exercise in comparative history. For most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Spanish exceptionalism was an accepted fact. It was cherished and lamented by Spaniards and foreigners alike. “Europe” served as the standard against which Spain was measured, and it appeared that Spain was indeed different. For some people, this difference meant that Spaniards were superior to other Europeans. For others it signaled, on the contrary, Spain's relative decline and backwardness. Uniqueness and integration in Europe were thus two different expressions of the same inquiry. Those who felt content with Spain's distinctiveness expressed their position against integration in Europe, whereas those holding the contrary view called for the “Europeanization of Spain.”

Keywords:   comparative history, Spanish exceptionalism, relative decline, backwardness, Europeanization

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