Colonial System (Summary)

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COLONIAL SYSTEM

The Philippine condition was a reflection of the political, economic and socio-religious developments of Spain. During the 16th and the 17th century almost all European monarchs adopted the political idea of absolutism as well as the economic system of mercantilism. Under the system of mercantilism, the king was involved in extensive intervention of any economic life to foster national growth. The Spanish government was highly centralized in form. All the Spanish governmental powers were all undertaken by this council; executive, legislative and judicial, and were transmitted to all governor-generals in each respective colony. The royal orders and edicts became the guides of any governor-general in administering the Philippines. He was at first appointed by the Viceroy of Mexico and later by the monarch of Spain. His vast powers and the distance of the Philippines from either Spain or Mexico shaped natural tendencies of a governor-general to be abusive. The Philippines was divided into provinces and special districts. They were known as alcaldias and each under the charge of an alcalde mayor. The special districts were the unconquered regions or corregimientos, where Filipino resistance still went on. Unlike the governor-general, the alcalde mayor never had any legislative power. Only judicial cases over his towns were under his jurisdiction cases involving the amount of not more than Php200. The church prevailing principle of adaptation greatly influenced the Spanish government to relatively retain the prehispanic political structure of the Filipinos. In the beginning of Legaspi’s conquest, the office of gobernadorcillo, which is equivalent to the present town mayor, was heredity; opened to descendants of the datu or chieftains. The mayor political change in the choice of a gobernadorcillo came in 1847, when the Spanish Crown directed and sent the first Spanish Code of Laws for the native Filipinos. The election laws of 1847, according to...
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