“Explain Why the Bourbon Reforms Heightened Rather Than Reduced Creole Discontent with Spanish Rule.”

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The Bourbon Reforms were a series of changes imposed by the Spanish Crown, Charles III and IV, upon their colonies in Latin America in the 1780s. The central goals of the reforms included centralizing Spanish government, restoring finances, and reorganizing the military. These innovations also aimed at limiting the power of the Catholic Church, imposing taxes, limiting powers of the Creole elite, and largely merging political and economic interests for the progress of Spain. The Bourbon reforms were a major source of social and political unrest, military recruitment, and laid the foundations for revolution led by the Creole elite. A major objective of the of the Bourbon commercial and political reforms was increased revenue for the Spanish crown, which was applied to strengthening the land and sea defenses of the Spanish empire. In an attempt to make military service more appealing to the upper class creoles, who contributed the officer corps of the new force, the Spanish crown granted numerous exemptions and privileges to creole youths who accepted commissions. Along with the lure of prestige, the fuero militar added protection from civil jurisdiction and liability. However, under the Bourbons, the power of the colonial military was held in check by groups such as the church and civil bureaucracy. Even though the extension of the colonial military establishment under the Bourbons presented some advantages and opportunities to upper class creole youth, it did close to nothing to alleviate the enduring resentment the creoles felt about their exclusion from holding positions in the higher offices of state and church and large scale commerce. Bourbon policy underwent two different phases to address this issue. During the first phase, in the first half of the eighteenth century, wealthy creoles sometimes purchased high official positions. The second phase, in the second half of the eighteenth century, was the time of an anti-creole reaction. José de Gálvez,...
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