Latin American History
The bureaucracy established in the sixteenth century in Latin-America consisted of many parts. These components include the Council of the Indies, audiencias, viceroys and the Church (Lecture, 2/13). The Crown in Spain formed each one of the components as stabilizing factors that strengthened Royal Authority. Each component had certain responsibilities that they needed to uphold and these responsibilities helped to check and balance the powers of the other bureaucratic branches. They worked sort of like the Checks and Balances of our government today. The Crown didn’t want one branch of power to get stronger than another branch so their responsibilities overlapped each other.
The Council of the Indies was there to oversee every kind of government activity in the Colonies. The Council of the Indies sits in Spain and does not stay in the Americas (Lecture 2/13). Because of this, the council was not familiar with American affairs and eventually the Crown’s failure to come to grips with basic personnel issues thus weakened the Council of the Indies’ ability to provide high quality oversight and administration . The council also issued laws, made recommendations to the monarch, approved major expenditures in the colonies and heard cases appealed from the American audiencias and the House of Trade .
Another component to this bureaucracy was the viceroys. The viceroys were appointed by the king to act as little “sub-kings” in the colonies. As the foremost executives in the colonies, the viceroys were responsible for general administration; the imposition, collection, and disbursement of taxes. The viceroys also administer the construction and maintenance of public works; The maintenance of public order; defense against both internal rebellions and foreign enemies; support of the Church; and protection of the Indians . At the same time, the other high-ranking officials like audencias, treasury officials, and corporate bodies constrained the viceroys’ ability to act alone. This is an example of the overlapping checks and balances of power in this bureaucracy.
The audencias where the people chosen to work as the executive branch and limit the power of the viceroys in the colonies (Lecture 2/13). Without the audencias, the Crown was scared that the viceroys would grow too...