Jake Frederick undertook this study to better understand how shifts in eighteenth-century imperial policy affected the balance of power in local Mexican settings (p. 3). To accomplish this he examines four of six uprisings in Papantla, Veracruz, between 1736 and 1787. The book assesses how Papantla fit within an increasingly more aggressive Spanish colonial system aimed at greater control over New Spain's economic, social, and political development. This resurgence of imperial authority began with a new Bourbon ruling house that ascended the Spanish throne in 1701. Adopting French administrative philosophy, the Bourbons stressed centralization of political authority, a more relaxed form of colonial mercantilism, and assimilation of modern social ideals that stressed European superiority over colonized subjects. Frederick correctly points out that the resulting Bourbon reforms intensified under the reign of Charles III (1759–88), a period during which all but one of...

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