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Distant TyrannyMarkets, Power, and Backwardness in Spain, 1650-1800$
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Regina Grafe

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144849

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144849.001.0001

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Distant Tyranny

Distant Tyranny

The Power of Urban Republics

(p.165) Chapter 6 Distant Tyranny
Distant Tyranny

Regina Grafe

Princeton University Press

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.

Keywords:   Spain, power, spatial sub-units, aristocracy, contractual rule, towns, provincial taxation

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