HIST 1F96 Lecture Notes - Sovereign Council Of New France, Intendant, Bicameralism
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The Politics of Empire
(Week 9, November 12 th
Politics in the New World:
Royal administration in Spanish colonies.
Local interpretation of the laws.
Royal government in New France.
Administration of the laws.
Politics in Virginia.
The town hall meetings.
No sense of democracy.
Little political participation by people in the colonies.
In British colonies beginning of democracy (colonies develop political independence).
Voting rights to approximately 50% of the population (depending on wealth).
From 1492-1524 conquistadors held political power over territories they conquered.
1524 Spain creates Council of the Indies (nominates all colonial officials, coded and
interpreted laws, gathered reports on history, geography, resources and population of
Spanish colonies divided into two Viceroyalties (New Spain with capital Mexico City and
Peru with capital at Lima).
No political structure.
Cortes held too much power because he took over the Aztecs, and the Aztec people
became his personal slaves.
Massive territory in the Viceroyalty, southern to central North America, and southern,
central and western.
These were massive areas for political control.
Each Viceroyalty was led by a Viceroy (increase royal revenues, defend colony, relations
Viceroy’s power was theoretically limited by the Council of the Indies but it was
thousands of miles away.
Local affairs were run by the Audiencias-local councils appointed by the Spanish
Both Viceroy and Audiencias could create and enforce laws.
Don’t have standing armies within colonies (hard to call for help).
All positions appointed by the Crown.
Fear of creating own army because there may be an attempt of independence.
Viceroy’s represent the Crown, they must report to the Council of the Indies (journey to
report), created more power for the Viceroy’s because they were physically there.
Viceroy’s like federal government.
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