Félix Varela y Morales (Cuba, 1788-1853)
M.C. Mirow and Rafael Domingo, eds., Law and Christianity in Latin America: The Work of Great Jurists (Routledge, 2020 Forthcoming)
32 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020 Last revised: 21 Aug 2020
Date Written: 2020
Born in Havana, Félix Varela y Morales was an eminent Cuban intellectual of the nineteenth century. An educator, philosopher, and deputy, he advocated for Cuban independence through peaceful revolution. He was ordained a priest in 1811, lived modestly, and disposed of his property for the benefit of the poor. Varela served as a professor of constitutional law in Havana, wrote one of the first books on constitutional law in Spanish, and served as a deputy to the Spanish Constitutional Cortes in 1822 and 1823. This chapter explores Varela’s constitutional thought through his writings and service as a deputy to the Cortes. His work in this field reveals a form of eclectic liberalism infused and consistent with Catholic thought. In the Cortes, Varela’s interventions advocated for autonomous structures of colonial government in the Americas and urged Spanish recognition of the independence of new American republics. He defended the interests of the church and promoted a wide variety of issues related to education. He spent his last thirty years in the United States in exile from his Cuban homeland. He was a thoughtful apologist for the Catholic Church in New York and served several parishes there. His poor health led him to return to Saint Augustine, Florida, where he had spent his childhood.
Keywords: constitutional law, constitutional history, Constitution of Cadiz, Cortes, Varela, Spanish Constitution of 1812
JEL Classification: K10, Z12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation