The picture has prevailed in Spanish social history of a revolutionary, insurrectional peasantry in the south of the country. Aided by literary or artistic analyses, this article shows the existence, in the Spanish north during the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, of a counter-model consisting of small landowners. This model was based on real facts, such as the permanence of small and medium land properties, the preservation of the commons, and the stability of leaseholds, all of which contributed to its literary idealization.
However, a more profound and detailed analysis uncovers the existence of other types of conflicts which are different from the large unionized demonstrations of the Andalusian south. In fact, conflict arose in the north with respect to leaseholds and surpluses of milk, cider, or sugar beet. Old emblems of peaceful peasant life such as popular festivities were tainted with criminality, as well as with “urban” and “industrial” delinquency and the old systems of communal solidarity were redefined, which forced political bargaining in local and municipal life.