Legal History of the State and Church in 18th-Century New Spain
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 25 November 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0174
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 25 November 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0174
The existing literature on the legal history of 18th-century New Spain focuses mainly on the Bourbon Reforms carried out by Carlos III. Two aspects of the reforms have attracted most of the attention; the intendant system, discussed by Pietschamann 1996 (cited under Bourbon Reforms), and the reforms to the Royal Treasury. In virtue of the fact that the reforms were designed to retake control of the Indies, and to increase the centralization of government, there was an increase in the number of protests carried out and, in effect, united all the different sectors of New Spain’s society. Given that the reforms directly affected the colonial economy, the literature covering the reforms has also tended to concentrate on the economic impacts of the changes. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, there was a proliferation of studies relating to the colonial economy. Thereafter, there was debate on whether or not the colonial economy grew as a result of Carlos III’s reforms or whether the Bourbon Reforms simply resulted in increased tax revenue through increased efficiency. Also of interest in these discussions was the impact of the sustained increase in the population throughout the 18th century and its relationship to the increase in production, the conclusion being that there was no real increase in agricultural production, but rather a proportional increase in line with the population growth. With respect to the church, there is ample literature on both the secular church and the regular church, as both churches were affected by the Bourbon Reforms. In fact, a Fourth Mexican Provincial Council was held, though not approved by the Holy See, as a result of the excessive intervention on the part of the Crown. There is also an ample body of literature on the foundation of new academic institutions; in particular, on the Academy of San Carlos, the Botanical Gardens, and the Colegio de Minería. The institutional and social history of the Royal University of Mexico has also been the subject of a large amount of literature since the mid-1990s. Many other institutions were created that have not yet been properly studied. For example, the Supremo Consejo de Indias was disrupted by the founding of the Secretaría de Estado y de Despacho Universal de Indias, in 1717, thus absorbing many of the functions of the former. In the economic sphere, the founding of the Contaduría General de Propios y Arbitrios, in 1766, was designed to reorganize the municipal finances of both the Indian towns and the villas and cities of the Spanish.
The Bourbon Reforms
The Bourbon Reforms were basically political-administrative reforms that introduced a new form of government for America. These reforms were, to a large extent, as Pietschamann 1996 shows, carried out in line with suggestions made by José de Gálvez on New Spain between 1765 and 1771. Priestly 1980 offers a complete survey of the visita of Galvez in New Spain. There is a large body of literature on this theme. On the one hand, there are general works, such as Arcila Farías 1976 and Burkholder and Chandler 1984; on the other hand, there are works that analyze the introduction of the said reforms in the different regions of New Spain, such as Hamnett 1971 (cited under Commerce, Free Trade, and the Consulados de Comerciantes), on Oaxaca.
Arcila Farías, Eduardo. Reformas Económicas del siglo XVIII Nueva España. 2 vols. Mexico City: Sep Setentas, 1976.
This is a pioneering work that provides a consistent vision on the collection of the reforms that were introduced. The first volume focuses on the ideas of the 18th century that led to the introduction of the “free trade” system. The second volume is dedicated to an analysis of the application of these ideas in America.
Borah, Woodrow, ed. El gobierno provincial en la Nueva España, 1570–1787. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2002.
This publication contains several articles on the history of the government of New Spain, looking at the functions and attributes of the provincial governor, and covering the administration of justice through the magistrates and mayors; the relationship between the priests and the mayors; and, in particular, the government of the Marqués del Valle.
Burkholder, Mark A., and D. S. Chandler. De la impotencia a la autoridad: La Corona española y las audiencias en América, 1687–1808. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1984.
This book quantifies the changes undergone in the American audiencias as a result of the rise of the Bourbons to the Spanish Crown. It shows how preference was given for peninsular officials, who were given priority over the local Creoles, to the detriment of the latter.
Calderón Quijano, José Antonio. Los virreyes de Nueva España en el Reinado de Carlos III. 2 vols. Seville, Spain: Escuela de Estudios Hispanoamericanos, 1967–1968.
This work provides an account of the management of all the viceroys covering the period 1759–1787, offering detailed accounts of the administrative attributes of the government of the viceroys.
Pietschamann, Horst. Las reformas borbónicas y el sistema de intendencias en Nueva España: Un estudio político administrativo. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1996.
This work examines the introduction of the intendente system in New Spain, proposing that it was not the result of a simple transference of an institution from the French tradition, but rather that documentation has been found in Castile which served as the basis for the introduction of this administrative-territorial reform.
Priestly, Herbert Ingram. José de Gálvez, Visitor-General of New Spain 1765–1771. Philadelphia: Porcupine, 1980.
This is a study on the institution of the visita and the visit made by Gálvez. There is a special emphasis on the proposals for the reform of the Royal Treasury, tobacco monopoly, the reforms made to the Customs House (Aduana) of the Port of Veracruz, as well as the expedition to the north of the kingdom, which passed through Sonora to the Californias. First published in 1916.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Agricultural Technologies
- Andean Contributions to Rethinking the State and the Natio...
- Antislavery Narratives
- Arab Diaspora in Latin America, The
- Argentina in the Era of Mass Immigration
- Argentina, Slavery in
- Argentine Literature
- Army of Chile in the 19th Century
- Asian Art and Its Impact in the Americas, 1565–1840
- Asian-Peruvian Literature
- Baroque and Neo-baroque Literary Tradition
- Bello, Andrés
- Black Experience in Colonial Latin America, The
- Black Experience in Modern Latin America, The
- Borderlands in Latin America, Conquest of
- Bourbon Reforms, The
- Brazilian Northeast, History of the
- Buenos Aires
- Caribbean Philosophical Association, The
- Caribbean, The Archaeology of the
- Cartagena de Indias
- Caste War of Yucatán, The
- Caudillos, 19th Century
- Cádiz Constitution and Liberalism, The
- Chaco War
- Children, History of
- Chile's Struggle for Independence
- Chronicle, The
- Church in Colonial Latin America, The
- Chávez, Hugo, and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela
- Cinema, Contemporary Brazilian
- Cinema, Latin American
- Colonial Central America
- Colonial Portuguese Amazon Region, from the 17th to 18th C...
- Contemporary Maya, The
- Costa Rica
- Cárdenas and Cardenismo
- Cuban Revolution, The
- Development of Architecture in New Spain, 1500-1810, The
- Development of Painting in Peru, 1520–1820, The
- Drug Trades in Latin America
- Early Colonial Forms of Native Expression in Mexico and Pe...
- Ecuador, La Generación del 30 in
- El Salvador
- Enlightenment and its Visual Manifestations in Spanish Ame...
- Environmental History
- Era of Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1911, The
- Family History
- Film, Science Fiction
- Football (Soccer) in Latin America
- Gender in Colonial Brazil
- Gender in Postcolonial Latin America
- Guatemala and Yucatan, Conquest of
- Guatemala City
- Haitian Revolution, The
- Health and Disease in Modern Latin America, History of
- History, Cultural
- History, Food
- Honor in Latin America to 1900
- Horror in Literature and Film in Latin America
- Human Rights in Latin America
- Immigration in Latin America
- Indigenous Elites in the Colonial Andes
- Indigenous Population and Justice System in Central Mexico...
- Japanese Presence in Latin America
- Jewish Presence in Latin America, The
- Las Casas, Bartolomé de
- Latin American Independence
- Latin American Urbanism, 1850-1950
- Law and Society in Latin America since 1800
- Legal History of New Spain, 16th-17th Centuries
- Legal History of the State and Church in 18th Century New ...
- Literature, Argentinian
- Machado de Assis
- Maroon Societies in Latin America
- Martí, José, and Cuba
- Mestizaje and the Legacy of José María Arguedas
- Mexican Revolution, 1910–1940, The
- Mexican-US Relations
- Mexico, Conquest of
- Mexico, Education in
- Migration to the United States
- Military and Modern Latin America, The
- Military Government in Latin America, 1959–1990
- Military Institution in Colonial Latin America, The
- Modern Decorative Arts and Design, 1900–2000
- Modern Populism in Latin America
- Modernity and Decoloniality
- Musical Tradition in Latin America, The
- Native Presence in Postconquest Central Peru
- New Conquest History and the New Philology in Colonial Mes...
- New Left in Latin America, The
- Novel, Chronology of the Venezuelan
- Novel of the Mexican Revolution, The
- Novel, 19th Century Haitian
- Novel, The Colombian
- Oaxaca, Conquest and Colonial
- Painting in New Spain, 1521–1820
- Paraguayan War (War of the Triple Alliance)
- Perón and Peronism
- Peru, Colonial
- Peru, Conquest of
- Peru, Slavery in
- Philippines Under Spanish Rule, 1571-1898
- Photography in the History of Race and Nation
- Political Exile in Latin America
- Popular Culture and Globalization
- Popular Movements in Nineteenth-Century Latin America
- Post Conquest Aztecs
- Post-Conquest Demographic Collapse
- Poverty in Latin America
- Preconquest Incas
- Pre-Revolutionary Mexico, State and Nation Formation in
- Printing and the Book
- Prints and the Circulation of Colonial Images
- Protestantism in Latin America
- Revolution and Reaction in Central America
- Rosas, Juan Manuel de
- Sandinista Revolution and the FSLN, The
- Science and Empire in the Iberian Atlantic
- Sexualities in Latin America and the Caribbean
- São Paulo
- Spanish and Portuguese Trade, 1500–1750
- Spanish Caribbean In The Colonial Period, The
- Spanish Colonial Decorative Arts, 1500-1825
- Spanish Florida
- Textile Traditions of the Andes
- 16th-Century New Spain
- Transculturation and Literature
- Trujillo, Rafael
- Tupac Amaru Rebellion, The
- United States and Castro's Cuba in the Cold War, The
- United States and the Guatemalan Revolution, The
- United States Invasion of the Dominican Republic, 1961–196...
- Urban History
- Urbanization in the 20th Century, Latin America’s
- U.S.-Latin American Relations During the Cold War
- Vargas, Getúlio
- Women and Labor in 20th-Century Latin America
- Women in Colonial Latin American History
- Women in Modern Latin American History
- Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas