The Pillars of Government
DOI link for The Pillars of Government
The Pillars of Government book
On the 12th of January of 1624, the viceroy of New Spain, the marquis of Gelves, with the approval of the Mexican audiencia (High Court), ordered the expulsion of the archbishop of Mexico from New Spain. This act of force on the part of the viceroy against the highest religious authority of the viceroyalty would ultimately provoke a riot in Mexico City three days later. In the course of this riot, the High Court, with the help of the municipal council, would decide to depose the viceroy and take over the government of the viceroyalty. Years later, in 1647, Juan de Palafox, bishop of Puebla and visitador general of New Spain, after a long and bitter history of clashes with the Society of Jesus and with the count of Salvatierra, the viceroy at that time, was forced to flee his diocese and take refuge in the mountains when the viceroy made the decision to send troops to Puebla to eliminate the opposition of Palafox and his supporters.1 In an extreme way, these occurrences sum up perfectly the tensions and constant conflicts that engulfed New Spain in the seventeenth century and which constitute the most remarkable aspect of its political history in that period. Such tensions and confrontations clearly belie the traditional image of a colonial society dominated by a unified and coherent ruling elite with common goals. All this makes necessary a more nuanced approach to the study of the Spanish ruling class, one in which colonial political agendas are not considered to be self-evident.