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Cardinal Alberoni and Reform in the American Empire

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Chapter Summary

Carlos Martínez Shaw and Marina Alfonso Mola have recently described the reign of Felipe V as "the opening moment of eighteenth-century absolutism's reformist policy. The reformist agenda of Cardinal Giulio Alberoni embraced through major initiatives all four areas of what would later appear as the secular sphere of the Bourbon reformist agenda under Carlos III. In addition to the commercial, these included innovations in the administrative, fiscal, and military realms. The eighteenth-century Bourbon reforms for the American empire clearly bore characteristics of enlightened thought. The process of modernizing the imperial system that the Bourbon dynasty inherited from its Habsburg predecessors was destined to be long, tedious, and fraught with delays, and it would be interrupted by a host of factors, both internal and external. Yet it had important, concrete beginnings almost from the start.

Keywords: American empire; Bourbon reforms; Cardinal Giulio Alberoni; Carlos III; Felipe V; Habsburg Monarchy



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