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and reformers who altered these arrangements in the eighteenth century seem to reflect an assumption fashionable in our own age, that armed force is best seen as an instrument of political action, a manageable means to a rational end. But the results of imperial military change in the eighteenth century went so far be- yond the terms of the basic assumption, so far beyond anything foreseen or de- sired by those who initiated the changes, that the assumption itself comes into question. Whether this question still arises, or whether the revolutions that sepa- rate the early modern world from the late twentieth century have resolved it, is a matter beyond the scope of this essay.


  • 1)

    What follows is based primarily on my own research for colonial Anglo- america and the United States, but draws heavily from the published work of W.J. Eccles for New France, Christon I. Archer, Lyle N. McAlister, and Charles Gibson for New Spain, C.P. Stacey for Canada, and John Lynch and Charles C. Cumberland for Mexico.

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    Charles Gibson, Spain in America (New York, 1966), 63.

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    T.D. Stewart, The People of America (New York, 1973), 1-70, offers an up-to-date synthesis of knowledge about the pre-columbian population of America.

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    Eric Wolf, Sons of the Shaking Earth (Chicago, 1959), is a brilliant recrea- tion of Indian history before and after the Spanish invasion.

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    Gibson, 26, et passim.

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    Ibid., 35.

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    Stewart, 25-28; Gibson, 3-65.

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    Gibson, 143-147.

  • 9)

    Christon I. Archer, The Army in Bourbon Mexico, 1760-1810 (Albuquer-

que, 1977), 1-3. A fuller, more systematic account is in Maria del Carmen Velasquez, El Estado de Guerra en Nueva Espana, 1760-1808 (Mexico City, 1950), 9-29. On the northern frontier, see Gibson, 182-192, and the fuller treatments in Philip Wayne Powell, Soldiers, Indians, and Silver (Berkeley, 1952) and John TePaske, The Governorship of Spanish Florida, 1700-1763 (Durham, North Carolina, 1964), 3-7, 193-226.


E.g., Gibson.

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