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Representation and the State in the Early Modern Spanish Empire


In the past decade, there has been a concerted effort to understand the relationship of the European colonial experience to the conceptual development of the state and international law in the early modern period. This thesis shares in this endeavor, but poses a new question about the relationship of empire to the maturation of the concept of representation, a concept that recent historical literature has shown to have been inextricably linked to the development of the concept of the state in the same period. The latest historians to have written on the subject have acknowledged that representation was first spoken of and exercised in monarchical and ecclesiastical settings, but these writers have not investigated the concept’s articulation within the political practices and theories of empires. This work thus serves to highlight the crucial role the concept played in the building of the Spanish overseas empire.

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