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A Mariejol Jean Hippolyte The Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella Rutgers University Press New Jersey 1961 337 pages BUntil the 15th century Spain was only a distant participant in the general movement of European affairs The different kingdoms sharing the Spanish peninsula were individually too weak to pursue an energetic foreign policy The marriage of royal cousins Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille in 1469 brought stability to both kingdoms Both understood the importance of unity together they effected institutional reform such as in the Spanish Reformation and left Spain one of the best administered countries in Europe Even with the personal union of the crowns Castille and Aragon remained constitutionally distinct political entities Ferdinand who had received his political education in the federalism of Aragon brought a new emphasis on constitutionalism and a respect for local towns to Castille Ferdinand was one of the most skillful diplomats in an age of great diplomats and he and Isabella transformed Spain into a dual absolute monarchy At the time of their rise to power the crown had beaten off the last assault of the feudal world These great monarchs had the firm will necessary to restore order and to fix the institutions and the governmental hierarchy The King was the symbol of national and religious aspirations The influence of Roman Law only increased this respect for the King and in this case also the Queen The Catholic Monarchs instituted royal councils composed of the Council of State the Council of Justice and the Council of Finance The Council of Justice dominated the whole judicial organization and was the essential organ of royal power The Council of State was presided over by the sovereigns in person and it dealt with foreign affairs The Council of Finance supervised the administration of public finances Eventually the persecution of the Moors and Jews led to the organization of the fourth council the Council of the Inquisition The Sovereigns
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