“Estamos Rodeados de Precipicios en lo Físico y lo Moral” : The Bourbon Reforms in the Spanish Realms and the Institution of a New Type of Catholic Masculinity (1746-1792)


The policies put forth by Charles III and his ministers in the second half of the eighteenth century attempted to modernize the Spanish realms. One of the main desires of the Bourbon regime was to transform the Catholic Church and make it an effective instrument of the State. This also entailed that an idealized model of masculinity was promoted, one that would benefit both the State and the Catholic Church. The Bourbon reforms particularly impacted the spirituality religious orders promoted and who had up to that point influenced the laity in different regions of Spain and the colonies: the Jesuits were expelled for posing a threat to the Spanish monarchy’s interests, the cloistered orders were either abolished or their properties expropriated. The diocesan clergy became the reliable bureaucracy for the Spanish monarchy and through the supposed control over the bishops and their sees, the monarchy attempted to shape a particular type of lay masculinity that eschewed the past and looked to modernity. This paper analyzes three aspects of the Carlist reforms that impacted the construction of different masculinity: the first one is how Spaniards began to make distinctions between the correct practice and understanding of religion by distinguishing how it differed from superstition. Secondly the importance of propaganda through the newspapers to impart the knowledge to its subjects that the monarchy was the nearest institution to God and thirdly by looking into the dissolution of cloisters for their representation of lazy masculinity.


Alfonso Gómez-Rossi
Teacher, Education, Instituto Universitario Boulanger/UMIS, Puebla, Mexico


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


The Politics of Religion


Masculinity Catholicism Charles III Superstition Enlightenment laziness regular clergy

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