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1 - Paper Ceremonies for a Global Empire

Gobierno Petitions and the Collective Work of Voluntad

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2023

Adrian Masters
Affiliation:
Universität Trier, Germany
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Summary

This chapter provides the first overview of the gobierno petition-writing process. It focuses on how subjects would create and structure these documents, devoting particular attention to the contributions of many intermediary figures: formal and informal assistants, translators, and procurators, as well as notaries and others. It frames petitioning as a paper ritual emulating the vassal–ruler encounter in which the subject’s voluntad flows to the heart and mind of the monarch, and asks how these lifeless papers could come – through a scaffolded series of legal fictions – to contain this volition. Specifically, vassals might reach to the fictions of notarial truth and signatures to seal this will to manuscripts. The result was that a wide range of subjects, even illiterate ones, might partake in the petition-and-response system. Moreover, the social backgrounds of these intermediaries could be quite diverse, meaning that before these texts even reached the court this dialogue was already touched by many actants.

Type
Chapter
Information
We, the King
Creating Royal Legislation in the Sixteenth-Century Spanish New World
, pp. 47 - 77
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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