The 1978 Constitution, which restored parliamentary democracy in Spain, gave considerable prominence to cultural affairs. The “constitutional culture” of the Magna Carta of 1978 is the result of a process lasting throughout the twentieth century in which cultural concerns gained wider and wider acceptance as matters susceptible to constitutional regulation. An obvious precedent was the Constitution introduced by the Second Republic (1931-1939), the first Spanish Constitution to include culture as one of the realms of government intervention and, as such, as a legitimate field in which to establish public and citizen rights.
In the 1978 Constitution, culture appears as one of the main spheres of government action. The importance attached to culture is made clear in the way various tasks are entrusted to the constituted authorities in guaranteeing cultural processes, i.e. the creation, transmission and protection of culture. The Constitution states that culture is a right of all citizens and is to form part of the presiding principles of social and economic policy. To that end, the Constitution entrusts the public authorities with specific tasks in the field of culture. In addition to access to culture (Articles 9 and 44), cultural democracy, that is, freedom of expression and creativity (Article 20), and protection of the historic, cultural and artistic heritage (Article 46) are other important mandates of the Constitution. Linguistic and cultural plurality is expressly protected by the Constitution, both in the preamble and in its articles (Article 3.2). It is equally guaranteed in the charters of the Autonomous Communities.