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Skip to 0 minutes and 23 secondsWho represented Catalonia as a general political community? Well, as I was just saying a moment ago, Catalonia, as a general community, was created as a general public authority, a jurisdictio generalis, which initially corresponded to the prince. We saw that the text that would be developed by the Usatges of Barcelona, a jurisprudential text that is known by the name of the Commemorations of Pere Albert, would attribute general jurisdiction over the whole of Catalonia to the prince. Of course, this was the Justinian model applied to Catalonia, a monist monarchy where the community was only represented by the prince,

Skip to 1 minute and 8 secondsdownward power: he was the prince by the grace of God. However, the Catalan social forces were not happy with this monist system of monarchy and fought also to be represented represented at the highest level of the general community through ascending forces or power that stemmed from the populus, this Catalan populus, represented, naturally,

Skip to 1 minute and 32 secondsby its leading strata of society: nobles, churchmen and citizens. This upward force managed to become institutionalized in the Corts Catalanes, or Catalan Courts, where it could be said the general laws of the land were to be made; but by a means agreed to with the monarch.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 secondsHere is where what is known as “legal pacts” appear: to be able to make the general law of the community, agreement, consent and approval were required; consent of the estates and of the king. And this is how the Catalan constitutions came into being. However, to keep this pact, which was the basis of the Catalan public freedoms, freedoms in a positive sense, because it was in these assemblies of the Courts that the general interests of the land could be defined, the Courts were as necessary, which were temporary in nature, as a permanent body to represent the estates that could, let us say, continue to deal with the king when the courts were licensed.

Skip to 2 minutes and 52 secondsThis institution, which appeared in Catalonia in the late 13th and especially the 14th century (the origins are always very murky), and the great reform, in 1413, that consolidated it, was what is known as the “Deputació del General” or later on, the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), in charge of making donations to the monarch so that he could carry out the public policies decided in the Courts. But also, another very important principle

Skip to 3 minutes and 27 secondswhich made the representation of the general community dual: that it was represented by the prince and the principality through the Courts and the Deputació del General

Skip to 3 minutes and 44 secondsThis factor represents the control of the observance of the constitutions by all. The king was not above the law, but subject to it And this fundamental principle of the Catalan political constitution at that time is what is known as the rule of law. Everyone is subject to the rule of law, and it is therefore necessary to create the mechanisms to control the observance of the law. The Generalitat itself could, through a few “trustees”, appear before the court to challenge the violations of Catalan law by its officers officers or the king himself or other people.

Skip to 4 minutes and 24 secondsFinally, at the end of this period, we could say at the peak of the Catalan political Constitution, in the 18th century, we can see how the court of contraventions was created, a body made up of three of the king’s magistrates and three of the Courts’, who were responsible for judging contraventions; that is to say, any actions that went against the law in force in Catalonia by the monarch, the officers or by other public authorities with jurisdiction. This meant that it sentences would depend at all times on the majority, which, if it couldn’t be reached, three votes for and three against, one of the six was drawn by lots and he would decide.

Skip to 5 minutes and 18 secondsWe will see that this matter, which was not very well known, demonstrates how at the beginning of the 18th century the system, which was not very well known, underwent full transformation and modernization. It was a very modern mechanism for its time in Europe.

Catalonia as a political entity

In this video, Tomàs de Montagut explains how Catalonia became a state of rule according to higher law with dualist Catalan politics and monarchy.

This video is in Catalan language, so remember to activate the subtitles in English, Spanish or Catalan.

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This video is from the free online course:

Getting to Know Catalonia: An Introduction to the Catalan Language, Culture and Society

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

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