What was the type of government for both Spanish and French colonies?

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mrkirschner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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France and Spain had an uncanny challenge in governing colonies that were thousands of miles from their capitals.  Both European powers set up a system that utilized viceroyalties.  A viceroyalty is an appointed official that acted as a governor for the king in the new colonies.  Although the viceroyalty was many miles away, he was required to enforce the laws of the king and make sure revenue was being collected and sent back to Europe.  Both countries also had councils in the home country that oversaw the viceroyalties in the colonies.  The king also sent judges to arbitrate disputes and interpret the laws of the king in the colonies.  The viceroyalty system did not allow for sovereignty or representation by the colonists.  In other words, colonists did not have the right to make laws or govern themselves.  

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