Jefferson's Declaration of
Independence in the Spanish
Political Tradition

Joaquim Oltra

The Declaration of Independence in Spanish

The American Declaration of Independence has never been very popular in Spain. This is somewhat surprising since one of the basic Jeffersonian ideas is an old and accepted Spanish thesis: in De Rege et Regis Institutione (On kings and kingship), published in 1598, the Spanish Jesuit Juan de Mariana maintains that under certain conditions the overthrow of a tyrant -- and even killing him -- is justifiable. Since Mariana is no revolutionary, he does not make it easy for would-be tyrannicides. But neither does Thomas Jefferson, who certainly was a revolutionary: He not only calls for prudence -- "Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes" -- but also reminds us that "all experience has shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer" than to recur to expedited ways of righting their wrongs.

Jefferson did know of Mariana; a copy of Mariana's Historia de España appears among the many books in Spanish listed by E. Millicent Sowerby in the catalog of Jefferson's library. And there is no doubt that Jefferson was able to "read" Spanish, as he himself said, but it is doubtful that he knew of Mariana's defense of tyrannicide. At least, I have never found any indication of it, and I have been working on Jefferson's knowledge of Spain and Spanish culture for the last few years. 1

That the Declaration of Independence was so seldom translated into Spanish may be due to various causes. One might be Jefferson's inclusion of the "pursuit of Happiness" among the "certain unalienable rights," which goes against the Spanish understanding of the Catholic teaching on happiness, since this was always understood as attainable only in the other world. This world, as a popular Catholic prayer says, is only a "valley of tears" through which we are only transients on our way to the other world. Even Spaniards who profess to be outside the church and her teachings are influenced by them; indeed, they tend to be less optimistic about human nature and even more puritan in morals than the believers in Catholic doctrine. Whatever the cause, translations of the Declaration of Independence have not been very common in Spain. And the few that did exist never became popular or even well known.

It is difficult to find even references to the Declaration of Independence before the middle of the nineteenth century. The first such reference might be expected during the American War of Independence. As everybody knows, Spain helped the Americans during the first years of that war with money; after the British were defeated at Saratoga, Spain entered the war against her will as an indirect ally of the Americans: the French entered the war and Spain was their ally.

Things could have been different if the Spanish government had paid attention to its representative in Paris, the count of Aranda. Aranda, perhaps the most brilliant mind of the Spanish Enlightenment, was the Spanish ambassador in Paris when Benjamin Franklin arrived and was still at his post when Jefferson came to take Franklin's place. Aranda and Franklin met several times, and either because of Franklin's persuasiveness or because our ambassador had a profound dislike of Great Britain, Aranda always advocated Spain's entering the war against England, as an ally of the colonies. The diplomatic correspondence in which Aranda defended this thesis is well known because the major part of it was published in 1922. 2The surprising thing about this correspondence is that in it there is not a single reference to the American Declaration of Independence, in spite of the respect and admiration that Aranda had for the rebel colonies and for some of their leaders. 3

In the second half of the nineteenth century we find some translations of the Declaration of Independence, but analysis of them suggests that some American concepts were so alien to the Spanish mind that the translators, unable to find the corresponding Spanish words, had to leave them in their original English. In 1865, for example, Antonio Angulo Herrera, a Spaniard resident in Madrid, translated from the French a book about America by René Lefebvre. In the foreword -- two pages of exalted song to the virtues of the American political system -- he did not know how to translate "self-government" and left the word in its original language; in a footnote, though, he explained the term for those of his readers (almost all of them, one suspects) who did not know English. Obviously, since "self-government" is not a French word, we can deduce that the French author of the book had the same problem as his Spanish translator. 4

A quarter of a century later, in 1891, Gumersindo de Azcárate, a well-known Spanish liberal thinker, published a book review of The American Commonwealth, of James Bryce, which had appeared in 1888. The words "book review" are misleading because we are talking about a little booklet of 217 pages of densely printed text. 5Throughout the book we often find -- twice on page 18, for instance -- the word "self-government" in the original language, this time without even an explanatory footnote. By this time, it seems, although the American concept of self-government had not yet found the proper Spanish word -- in time autogobierno became the well known and often used equivalent -- it was sufficiently understood that it did not need to be explained.

The reason, probably, is that between those two dates, 1865 and 1891, Spain had gone through her first democratic revolution -- the Glorious Revolution of 1868 -- and some American concepts had entered into the Spanish minds even if the words to designate them had not yet been added to the Spanish political vocabulary. The Glorious Revolution produced the first democratic constitution in Spanish history. And this constitution was strongly influenced by American ideas. 6Although the makers of the constitution drew their inspiration mainly from the American federal Constitution, they seem to have had a certain understanding of Jeffersonian thought since they talked, time and again, of derechos ilegislables, an expression that was then completely new in the Spanish political vocabulary and that probably has never been used since.

Derechos ilegislables remind us of the "unalienable rights" of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, although the Spanish constitutionalists did not content themselves with a philosophical declaration of principles. Since they were making a constitution they declared that those rights are so much of the essence of the human being that no power on earth has the right to regulate or -- hence the word ilegislables -- legislate them. Derechos ilegislables appears then as a combination of the "unalienable rights" of Jefferson and the "Congress shall make no law" of the First Amendment. 7

In the Spanish Constitution of 1869 we find not only ideas with American origins: even some of the words would be familiar to American readers. The first draft of the preamble, for instance, literally translated, announced the author and purposes of the constitution: "The Spanish Nation . . . in order to establish justice, insure freedom and security, and promote the well-being of those that live in Spain."

The words establecer la justicia ("to establish justice"), taken directly from the American Constitution, did not sound acceptable to some Spanish constitutionalists, who found it was not correct Spanish, and the expression was changed. 8Not all the wordings taken from the American Constitution aroused objection: Article 29 of the same document, which is almost a translation of the Ninth Amendment, was accepted without problems: "The enumeration of the rights made in this title does not imply the prohibition of any other right not expressly specified."

These texts suggest a certain admiration among the Spanish constitutionalists of 1869 for the United States, which is understandable since all of them believed in democratic government, and a good number of them were republicans. Of the latter, the majority were in favor of converting Spain into a federation because this was a good way of keeping the unity of the country while respecting the diversity of nations and cultures existing within it. Spain has never been a cultural unit. It is a good example, although a failed one, of what is known as a nation-state, that is, of a multinational state whose governments try to convert it into a single nation. For years the Spanish governments ignored the fact that there are Castilians, Basques, Catalans, Galicians, and others and ruled Spain as if it were a single nation, exclusively Castilian. Only the present constitution and the republican constitutions of 1873 and 1931 accepted the multinational character of the country. Of these two republics the first was federal, because most republicans of that time were federalists, and when thinking of a federation they had no better model to follow than the American democracy, on which they had all the necessary information because the bibliography on the subject -- including a recent edition of Alexis de Tocqueville's famous book -- was abundant. 9The United States was then in fashion among the Spanish politicians; reading the official transcriptions of the sessions of that constituent assembly we discover that practically everyone found something admirable in the American form of government: The abolitionists were impressed by the way in which the Americans had abolished slavery. Catholics, who at the time opposed the freedom of religion contemplated in the new constitution, envied the religiosity of the Americans. The defenders of authoritarian government saw in the United States the confirmation of their ideas, using George Washington -- a hero of the moment -- as a model. And, naturally, the republicans adored the American form of government, since the United States was one of the few republics of the time. One republican, José Maria Orense, marquis of Albaida, was so pro-American that in a moment of enthusiasm he suggested translating the American Constitution into Spanish and promulgating it as the Spanish constitution. 10

The admiration of the republicans for America is understandable if we keep in mind that the great majority of them were federalists. They did have a short moment of glory when, after the abdication of the imported king, Amadeus of Savoy, Spain became a federal republic. This first Spanish republic lasted from 1873 to 1876 and ended in the "cantonal" revolution, so called because the rebels had borrowed that word from Switzerland, although they always talked of federation, never of confederation. One of the leaders of the cantón of Murcia, when besieged by the national armed forces, saw no other way out than to attempt to put the canton under the protection of the United States. 11

During this period a number of histories of the United States, either original or in translation, were published. Some of the original studies were written by federalist revolutionaries who were less interested in the history of the United States than in showing how their own political ideas could work and, indeed, did work well in a faraway land. But there were also many translations of works written in English, like the three-volume Historia de los Estados-Unidos of J. A. Spencer and Horace Greeley, published in Barcelona in 1870. In this work the authors give us the complete text of basic documents, such as the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and, naturally, the Declaration of Independence. There is a remarkable thing about this translation. In the rest of the work the translator has problems with some words: "bill," for instance, is often left in English, perhaps because of the many possible meanings of the word. But all the documents are translated fully, without even a single word left in the original language. 12

There are several possible explanations of the popularity of the United States in the Spain of the sixties and seventies of the last century. The first one is that the American internal war was a newsworthy event at a time when communications between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean were fast improving. And Spain -- we should not forget it -- was on both sides of the Atlantic, since Cuba was then a Spanish province.

But the most important explanation is that in the sixties and seventies there was a change of attitude among Spanish leaders. One reason was the thinking of a small group of philosophers whose main ambition was to import into Spain the European cultural patterns of the time. They eventually created La Institución Libre de Enseñanza, one of the most influential cultural institutions of the end of the century. 13 The men of this group were known as Krausistas because originally they got their inspiration from an obscure German philosopher, Karl Christian Krause. Their importance, though, derives from the fact that they provided a cultural environment, an alternative to traditional Spanish thinking, in which all ideas -- liberal, democratic, even republican -- could flourish. Their influence lasted until the second republic, proclaimed in 1931, which was in part a product of their ideas.

Although the Spanish Krausists were not especially interested in the United States, they could not ignore what was going on at the other side of the Atlantic. Gumersindo de Azcárate, cited above as a commentator on Bryce's The American Commonwealth, was a significant member of the group.

The Spanish admiration for America did not last long; by the end of the century it vanished almost completely, and it is not difficult to understand why: In the Spanish-American War the United States became the enemy, an enemy that showed us how weak we were and that destroyed the remnants of what used to be a powerful empire, destroying at the same time Spanish national pride. The impact of this defeat was so great that a whole generation of writers and thinkers, some of them heirs to the Krausists' ideals of europeanizing Spain, are known as la generación del 98 (the generation of 1898).

The United States would never again be the land for Spaniards to imitate. 14 The republicans continued to defend their ideas, but federalism lost the appeal it had in the nineteenth century. When in 1931 the king abdicated and we began what is known as the second republic, no reference was made to the United States.

How do continental Spaniards of today, and especially the historians, face the problem of translating the American Declaration of Independence? Looking at four relatively recent translations, we will be able to analyze the problems their authors faced and the solutions they found. Naturally, the majority of historians do not translate the full text, since the essence of Jefferson's thought is in the first paragraphs. All of them, though, give at least one or two of these paragraphs.

The most recent history of the United States published in Spain is Los Estados Unidos de America, by Juan José Hernández Alonso, a professor of American history at the University of Salamanca. In his work, intended mainly for use as a textbook, Hernández Alonso opts for no translation of the text. That is, he gives the English text of the -- in his words -- "preamble of the Declaration of Independence, the most brilliant and most transcendental part of the document." 15 Naturally, after giving the original text, he enters into a detailed analysis of the main points of Jefferson's thought and of the historical context in which it was produced. Hernández Alonso can afford to give the original untranslated text of the Declaration of Independence because his book is intended mostly for students who know English. Since he teaches American history to students of the Department of English, all his students are familiar with the language, if not with the ideas, of the Declaration of Independence. His efforts, then, are directed to clarifying those ideas.

Another example is given by what is probably the most widely read history of the Unites States in Spain now: Los Estados Unidos de América, the work of several European authors under the direction of Willi Paul Adams. Published first in 1979, it has had several printings in Spanish, both in Spain and in Mexico. When coming to the Declaration of Independence, the author of this section of the work, Adams himself, opts for the standard quotation of part of the Jeffersonian text and for the necessary commentaries on both the text and its historical context. 16

The Spanish translators of the work (Máximo Cajal and Pedro Gálvez) have put into Spanish practically every word of the author, as well as the words of Jefferson selected by him. With Jefferson the translators had no problem, but elsewhere in the text they face the problem of the "untranslatable words," that is, those words that are perfectly clear in the language a quo but do not have equivalents in the language ad quem: "whigs" and "tory" are left untranslated and without any explanation of their meaning. 17 For the German readers for whom the work was originally intended, and certainly for English and American readers of an English translation, those two English words might be clear enough, but for the average Spanish reader the words have no meaning whatsoever.

One of the few translations into Spanish of the full text of the Declaration of Independence was published in 1993 in one volume of the Taller de Estudios Norteamericanos, a series of selected American texts, political and literary, that gives, side by side, both the original work and its Spanish translation. A publication of the University of León, under the direction of Juan José Coy and a group of Spanish specialists in American studies, the Taller has made available some interesting documents that are not easy to find. Number six of the series is dedicated to the publication of both the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Sentiments, better known as the Seneca Falls Declaration, a text that follows almost literally the words of Jefferson. The two declarations are preceded by an introductory study by Mario Hernández Sánchez-Barba, who is also the translator of the first of the two declarations (the translator of the other is Maria Coy Girón). 18

This version of the declaration illustrates the difficulties of rendering into Spanish the idea of natural law as Jefferson understood and expressed it. An experienced and well-known historian, Hernández Sánchez-Barba has had no problem in preparing a solid introduction to the Declaration of Independence, but I suspect that when he attempted to translate the text he encountered, among others, the problem that all Spaniards have when faced with the English genitive: the Jeffersonian phrase "to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them" has a cadence, a musicality, that is difficult to maintain when translated into Spanish. Hernández Sánchez-Barba translated the words of Jefferson in the following way: " a la que las leyes de la Naturaleza y de la Naturaleza Divina le dan derecho. "19 In other words, he translates the idea in an abstract way -- reminiscences of Krausism? -- but his translation loses both the Jeffersonian innuendo and its personal impact. A "God of Nature" is not the same entity, except perhaps in a philosophical discussion, as a "Divine Nature." Dios de la Naturaleza ("Nature's God") conveys a personal connotation of the divinity that does not exist in "Divine Nature," la Naturaleza Divina. For Spaniards, used to the Catholic idea of God as a personal being, "Divine Nature" translates the idea of "Nature's God" but does not translate anything else.

The fourth translation, also of the complete Jeffersonian text, does not have a date or give the name of the translator; it is a publication of the Servicio Informativo y Cultural de los Estados Unidos de America. The brief book presents in a single volume both the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution. The unknown author or authors of this translation should be congratulated for a well-done job, easy to read.

As for myself, I have twice translated the first paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, and I have also translated other political texts, especially the Constitution, for my latest book on American political institutions. 20

With respect to the Declaration of Independence I have translated into Spanish only the small paragraph that refers to self-evident truths. 21 I am now translating a larger part of it -- including that paragraph -- into Catalan for a study of nationalism on which I am now working; in neither of the two languages have I found any special difficulty as far as the use of the appropriate words is concerned.

Nor does it seem that, for the moment at least, there are strong objections to the unavoidable -- because of the time when it was written -- masculinity of the Jeffersonian text. Both the Spanish and the Catalan languages use the masculine plural as the universal plural, and in both languages adjectives, as well as nouns, have gender, which makes the matter of gender clearly noticeable. But there is not yet a strong movement against this type of writing.

The difficulties for the translator come more from the ideas than from the words. Some Jeffersonian ideas are alien to the Spanish tradition: That the "pursuit of Happiness" could be included in the basic rights of any individual, as already pointed out, goes against the traditional Spanish understanding of happiness. Also alien to the Spanish tradition -- indeed, to the European tradition in general -- is the idea "that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men" and that they derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed." One does not have to look too far back into European history to realize that for the majority of European countries, democracy is somewhat of a novelty.

Fortunately, traditions are not permanent: in the last few years some American ideals -- and that includes some Jeffersonian ideas -- have become part of the Spanish understanding of politics. 22 For most of our younger people it is unthinkable that a government could rule without the consent of the governed. In the Spain of today, a military coup d'état is not only unlikely but virtually impossible.

Universal agreement is less easy to find with respect to other points of the Declaration of Independence: Jefferson's "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it" is understood differently in Catalonia than in the rest of Spain. Jefferson is saying here that people have the right to self-government; the Spanish word for it -- which after Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen-Points is not so much autogobierno as auto-determinación -- has a completely different meaning in Spanish and in Catalan (or in Basque, I suspect). Yet it is striking that there is little reference to Jefferson in Catalan nationalist literature (I have not found any, but the writing is so abundant and of so many political shades that it is difficult to know all of it and consequently to deny the existence of such references). The Catalan nationalists do mention Woodrow Wilson now and then, or at least they did in the past. This pattern reinforces a previous observation: In Spanish politics since the late 1890s, even people who might have found Jefferson's ideas congenial have not turned to the Declaration of Independence for inspiration or legitimation.

Differences of attitude toward the Jeffersonian concept are manifested publicly now and then. When the Catalan parliament declared the right of autodeterminación of Catalonia, the rest of the Spaniards -- excluding the Basques, since their parliament did the same -- grumbled and protested and seemed ready to talk about high treason. At the same time, during an official visit to Israel, the king of Spain reminded the Israeli government of the Palestinians' right to autodeterminación. The question is unavoidable: What do the Palestinians have that the Catalans or the Basques or any other people do not have? But this is only one of the many questions Europeans could ask themselves when reading Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. And it is not a purely academic question, since the European Union is already at an advanced stage -- a common currency is a reality. In the European Union now the real political power is in the Council of Ministers, in which only the fifteen member states have representation (France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the rest). The Council of the Regions (to which Scotland, Bavaria, Catalonia, Brittany, and other nations and regions send representatives) is only a minor forum where they can interchange information, mostly economic. But the European Union is still in the making and there is no way of knowing what will happen when the European Parliament (the only truly representative institution of the European Union, since its members are elected by popular vote) becomes a real legislative power. It is not yet clear if what the European people desire is a union of European states or a union of European nations.

Joaquim Oltra is professor in the Departament de Filologia Anglesa, of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where he teaches American history and American politics and government. He is a founding member and was the first secretary of the Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos. He has just received a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education to direct a three-year study on "Jefferson's thought on the language, culture and politics of the Spain of his time."
Much of his work is signed Joaquín Oltra.

1. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson (5 vols., Washington, 1952 - 1959), I, 79. In a letter of April 1817, Thomas Jefferson wrote: "I read Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish and English, of course, with something of its radics, the Anglo-saxon." Adrienne Koch and William Peden, eds., The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson (New York, 1944), 680.

2. Juan F. Yela Utrilla, España ante la independencia de los Estados Unidos (Spain in relation to the independence of the United States) (2 vols., Madrid, 1922).

3. This correspondence was reviewed for Joaquín Oltra and María Angeles Pérez Samper, El Conde de Aranda y los Estados Unidos (The Count of Aranda and the United States) (Barcelona, 1978).

4. René Lefebvre, París en América (Paris in America), trans. Antonio Angulo Herrera (Madrid, 1865). The title of this translator's own book repeats the untranslatable concept: Antonio Angulo Herrera, Estudios sobre los Estados Unidos de América: La democracia y el "self-government" (Studies on the United States of America: Democracy and "self-government") (Madrid, 1865).

5. G. de Azcárate, La República Norte-Americana, según el profesor Brice (The North American republic, according to Professor Bryce) (Madrid, 1891).

6. See Joaquín Oltra, La influencia norteamericana en la Constitución Española de 1869 (The North American influence in the Spanish Constitution of 1869) (Madrid, 1972).

7. The idea that some individual rights are previous to the existence of law and that the law cannot abolish them appears very often in speeches at the constituent assembly. Cristóbal Martos, a prominent member of the constituent assembly, for instance, said that if so many politicians of different parties and ideologies were discussing a constitution based on "the common principle of the individual ilegislable rights," it was because all of them believed that those rights "reside essentially in the individual and derive directly from his proper moral nature. That is why they are ilegislable. " A few lines later he adds words that remind us of Jefferson: getting personal, he says the rights "are born with me, live with me, and will die also with me, unless a tyrannical law deprives me of them, and then I will have the right to rebel against it." Diario de sesiones de las Cortes Constituyentes ( Journal of the constituent assembly) (Madrid, 1869), LVI, 1293.

8. Manuel Palanca, a republican, argued that "justice is not really established; it is an absolute, necessary, indispensable condition." The Constitutional Committee accepted Palanca's objection and "to establish" was changed to "to ensure." Ibid. , L, 1066. What was not acceptable in 1869 was accepted in 1978; the present Spanish Constitution begins: "The Spanish Nation, desiring to `establish' justice."

9. Before 1869 there were at least four translations into Spanish of Alexis de Tocqueville's work: published in Paris, 1836 and 1837; Madrid, 1854; and Buenos Aires, 1864. Antonio Palau y Dulcet, Manual del librero hispano-americano (Handbook of the Spanish-American librarian), vol. VII (Barcelona, 1927), 37. Many Spaniards then could read French: the 1895 catalog of a famous Barcelona library (the Biblioteca /Arús) lists two copies of Tocqueville's work: the Spanish edition of 1854 and the French edition of 1840.

10. Diario de sesiones, XLIII, 901, XLVIII, 1002, LXXI, 1817, LXXIV, 2002.

11. Juan Mañé y Flaquer, La revolución de 1868 juzgada por sus autores (The revolution of 1868 judged by its authors) (2 vols., Barcelona, 1876), II, 237. See also Joaquín Oltra, "La Primera República y los Estados Unidos" (The first republic and the United States), Historia y Vida (Barcelona), extra 3 (1974), 82; and Antonio Puig Campillo, El Cantón Murciano (The Murcian canton) (Murcia, 1986), 334.

12. J. A. Spencer, Historia de los Estados-Unidos, desde su primer periodo hasta la administración de Jacobo Buchanan, continuada hasta nuestros días por Horacio Greeley (History of the United States from its first period until the administration of James Buchanan, continued until our time by Horace Greeley) (Barcelona, 1870).

13. See Vicente Cacho Viu, La Institución Libre de Enseñanza (The Free Institution for Learning) (Madrid, 1962).

14. The interest in American technology did not disappear, but those who expressed it made little reference to American political ideas or institutions. See, for example, Antonio G. Echarte and Miguel Otamendi, De Madrid a San Luis: Impresiones de un viaje a los Estados Unidos (From Madrid to St. Louis: Impressions of a trip to the United States) (Madrid, 1905); and Eduardo Maristany y Gibert, Impresiones de un viaje por los Estados Unidos (Impressions of a trip through the United States) (Barcelona, 1905).

15. Juan José Hernández Alonso, Los Estados Unidos de América: Historia y cultura (The United States of America: History and culture) (Salamanca, 1996), 82 - 84.

16. Willi Paul Adams, ed., Los Estados Unidos de América (The United States of America), trans. Máximo Cajal and Pedro Gálvez (Madrid, 1977).

17. Ibid. , 25 - 26.

18. Taller de Estudios Norteamericanos, La Declaración de Independencia. La Declaración de Séneca Falls (The Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Seneca Falls) (León, 1993).

19. Taller, Declaración de Independencia, 57.

20. Joaquín Oltra, América para los no americanos: Introducción al estudio de las instituciones políticas de los Estados Unidos (America for non-Americans: Introduction to the study of the political institutions of the United States) (Barcelona, 1996). My experience -- which I think must be everybody's experience -- is that some American political concepts have their equivalents in Spanish even if the words have to be found in very specialized vocabularies. For instance, when talking about the "dissenting opinion" of a judge, the temptation is to translate it as opinión disidente, an expression that has no meaning in the Spanish legal vocabulary; the appropriate Spanish expression is voto reservado. Other concepts that appear simple in English are untranslatable into Spanish, for example, "double jeopardy." The expression never appears in the Constitution, but all the constitutional scholars use it precisely because in only two words they can summarize a good part of the Fifth Amendment. No equivalent expression exists in Spanish.

21. Oltra, Influencia norteamericana, 107.

22. At times the borrowing is surprising: In 1998 the Spanish Socialist party adopted primary elections to choose its candidates for the next general election. Although it is too soon to make a valid judgment, it is difficult to understand how the American system of primaries, designed basically to weaken party leaders, can be accommodated to a parliamentary system, based on a strict party discipline and the undisputed authority of the party leadership.