Two forces shape the narrative of eminent historians Allan Kuethe and Kenneth Andrien in this insightful and well-researched analysis of the Spanish American world during the eighteenth century: war and reform. One of the main arguments of this study is that between the years 1713 and 1796, a clearly “symbiotic relationship” existed between the phenomena of war and reform that allowed the Bourbon dynasty to transform Spain from a composite monarchy into a more centralized state (p. 1). Using a chronological approach and different case studies, the authors develop an account of how the Spanish crown struggled to reform its empire. The different political conflicts in which Spain was engaged during the eighteenth century fundamentally helped to shape the reformist policies that the Bourbon kings and their ministers tried to put into effect in America. This reformist agenda responded not only to...

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