The Power of Urban Republics
This chapter explores how, in Spain, power was predominantly invested in bodies representing well-defined spatial sub-units rather than the corporate representations of a society of estates—such as the Crown and aristocracy—which at least theoretically were “national” in nature. This system of governance protected Spanish conceptions of contractual rule. It was a multilayered structure, but it was polycentric, not hierarchical. In other words, just as rule was not exercised from the top down from the Crown to the territories, it was not exercised from the territories to the towns. The historic territories had powerful means at their disposal to defend rights to provincial taxation and against taxation through their monarch.
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