The Assembly of Public Trust. Republicanism and the Birth of Political Economy in Eighteenth-Century Spain
In Carolina Armenteros ed. “Monarchy and Modernity, 1500-1945”, History of European Ideas (forthcoming).
33 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2020
Date Written: November 17, 2020
This article studies how a plan to reinvent the Spanish parliamentary Cortes generated the growth of eighteenth-century Spanish political economy. The article sheds light on how eighteenth-century Spanish debates over investment, assemblies, and corporations recovered parliamentary ideals, envisioned corporate boards of transnational cooperation, and deliberated on the political economy of patriotism. Contrary to the prevailing historiographical view, Spanish republicanism did not wane under the Bourbon Monarchy. In order to resolve the social and economic impact of dynastic crises in the Spanish Empire, political economists believed the establishment of corporations throughout the peninsula could republicanise Spanish finances and revitalise trust in the Spanish Monarchy. The article reconsiders early modern Spain’s republican and parliamentary traditions, and suggests that eighteenth-century Spanish political economy emerged from the need to escape the cycles of dynastic crises and put an end to ‘the fear of the new’.
Keywords: early modern Spain, eighteenth-century Spain, monarchy, Spanish Enlightenment, corporations, republicanism, political economy, shareholder sovereignty
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