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Military Entrepreneurs and the Spanish Contractor State in the Eighteenth Century$
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Rafael Torres Sánchez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784111

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784111.001.0001

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Economic Policy and Military Supplies

Economic Policy and Military Supplies

(p.13) 2 Economic Policy and Military Supplies
Military Entrepreneurs and the Spanish Contractor State in the Eighteenth Century

Rafael Torres Sánchez

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the military provisioning policy of the government of Spain during the eighteenth century. It analyses the differences between the general principles underlying this policy and actual practice, and the reasons for any discrepancy. As opposed to the traditional view of an absolutist and centralist state capable of enforcing a single, across-the-board, top-down policy, the real picture that emerges is much more complex. The Spanish state had continually to shift its supply policy throughout the century, largely owing to state limitations and the entrepreneurs’ active participation. The real supply policy does not come across as a unilateral, government-enforced decision but rather as the result of a pragmatic balance struck with entrepreneurs whom the state goaded into action even as it reined them back. Questions such as the price of supplies and royal authority show how continual interaction between the two protagonists tended to shape the policy that was finally applied.

Keywords:   state, entrepreneur, supply policy, royal authority, Spain, eighteenth century

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