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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAfter the comunero revolution of 1520-1521, Charles I (1516-1555) defended Castilian constitutional law and institutionalized executive and judicial platforms that the Cortes and comuneros formulated in order to transform royal government into a meritocracy. Charles centralized the Spanish executive and judiciary, and he established a bureaucracy that functioned to secure municipal liberties and to supervise judicial procedures and management reforms. He did not change the structure of Spanish government and he did not introduce administrative categories. He transformed government---an executive of councils and a judiciary of chanceries, audiencias, and over sixty corregimientos---into a dependable mechanism for litigation and for contesting royal policies. In his negotiations with the cities, Charles learned how to execute five strategies of state formation: preserving the assets of the nobility; defending municipal privileges and constitutional law; rationalizing and hispanicizing the executive; overhauling the judiciary and establishing appointment and management standards and auditing procedures; and restructuring and hispanicizing the royal household. Between 1522 and 1528 (and before he could be crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the pope), Charles used his absolute power in order to reward subjects, to pardon the majority of the comuneros, to change parliamentary agenda for the benefit of the cities, and to institutionalize procedures of recruitment and audits. The Empress and Juan Tavera, president of the Council of Castile from 1524 to 1539, governed the Castilian empire according to the principles devised by the Cortes, made merit-based recruitment and auditing procedures routine, and forged a network of reformists. The Cortes compensated the monarchy with revenues in return for the implementation of parliamentary accords affecting the bureaucracy. Charles gained the trust of the Castilian cities, incorporated Castilian elites into his judicial and executive administration, and digested the cultural and civic traditions of Castile. With Castilian financial support, the military assistance of the nobility, and the judicial expertise of ecclesiastics and university graduates, Charles secured domestic peace throughout the Spanish empire, especially after 1522, becoming the founder father of Hispanic town councils in Spain and the Americas, while seeking to reform the institutions of the medieval church.
Degree ProgramGraduate College