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Historia mexicana

versión On-line ISSN 2448-6531versión impresa ISSN 0185-0172


BRONDINO, Laura. From subdelegate to political boss: the constitution of governmental authority, 1812-1841. The Case of Yucatán. Hist. mex. [online]. 2019, vol.68, n.4, pp.1463-1538. ISSN 2448-6531.

This article explores the constitution of governmental authority in the context of the separation of powers established in 1812. To illustrate this, it analyzes the transition from the subdelegate of Bourbon origin, a judicial figure appointed by the crown, to the political boss, an agent of the executive branch of the republic, both answering to the government at the party level. This process is studied in the case of Yucatán, where the relatively prolonged survival of subdelegates and late institutionalization of political bosses allows us to observe, better than in other regions, the details of the problematic transformation from judicial to executive authority.

The central hypothesis is that, at least in the case of Yucatán, the prolonged survival of the subdelegate likewise prolonged the old judicial conception of government, without creating a new executive authority, while its adaptation to a republican framework of the separation of powers modified governmental practices, favoring the development of a governmental authority. The political boss, which was definitively institutionalized by 1841, marked a milestone in this process: not simply an executor of laws and orders with powers to negotiate, their essential function and authority arose from the negotiation of interests and rights, discretionally imitating older judicial forms. The objective is to clarify the manner in which legitimate force was constructed and concentrated in 19th Century Mexico, which constitutes one of the peculiarities of the constitution of its government.

Palabras llave : Political Boss; Justice; Executive Power; Subdelegate; Yucatán.

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