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Introduction

The Collective Making of an Empire

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2023

Adrian Masters
Affiliation:
Universität Trier, Germany
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Summary

Beginning with the mysterious problem of the so-called “caste system,” this introduction questions the ubiquitous scholarly understanding of the monarchy as a cabal of lawmakers determined to legislate every detail of vassals’ lives. It introduces a very different perspective – namely, that subjects submitting gobierno or administrative-legislative petitions not only prompted the vast majority of the empire’s dizzying thousands of royal decrees – including those concerning novel categories of human difference. It explains how both liberal-era and Habsburg mythologies of Spanish imperial rule envisioned the king as the primary author of these texts, and proposes a labor-oriented, Actor-Network Theory-inspired alternative explanation. It introduces the petition-and-response system, explaining that early modern participants sought intimate lord–ruler dialogue, in which vassals and lords endowed their writings with voluntad or volition, in order to save the consciences of all involved. It also argues that in order for this communication to thrive, a number of legal fictions – including the transfer of voluntad across the globe – was necessary. Also lurking in the distance was violence against the saboteurs of this ruler–ruled dialogue. Lastly, this segment introduces the source material and book structure.

Type
Chapter
Information
We, the King
Creating Royal Legislation in the Sixteenth-Century Spanish New World
, pp. 6 - 46
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Introduction
  • Adrian Masters, Universität Trier, Germany
  • Book: We, the King
  • Online publication: 02 March 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009315425.002
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  • Introduction
  • Adrian Masters, Universität Trier, Germany
  • Book: We, the King
  • Online publication: 02 March 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009315425.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Adrian Masters, Universität Trier, Germany
  • Book: We, the King
  • Online publication: 02 March 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009315425.002
Available formats
×