The Civil Guard has been one of the most important, and most polemical, institutions in contemporary Spanish history. Nevertheless, the benemérita («Meritorious») has been largely ignored by professional historians, political scientists and sociologists. As a result, our understanding of the Civil Guard and its impact in the historical development of Spain is at times erroneous or, more frequently, too simplistic. This article as two objectives: The first being to examine the existing historiography of the Civil Guard. With a few notable exceptions, the majority of the historical literature has been written by members of the corps, and as such often suffers from a lack of critical objectivity, and as such tells us more of the self-image of the Civil Guard than about many significant aspects of its history. Moreover, the majority of academic studies of the Civil Guard focus principally on the foundational period of the corps (1844-1874), and its links with the military. Surprisingly, given the role of the benemérita in the Second Republic, the Civil War and the Franco Regime, little has been written about the Civil Guard in the twentieth century. The second objective of this article is to propose areas for further research, in the hope that such research will shed some light on those lesser-understood aspects of the Civil Guard's history
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