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Marrying “Well”: Debating Consanguinity, Matrimonial Law, and Brazilian Legal Medicine, 1890–1930

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2015

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On August 28, 1919, Brazil's most famous pediatrician, Dr. Carlos Arthur Moncorvo Filho, addressed his colleagues at the illustrious National Academy of Medicine in Rio de Janeiro, reminding them that consanguineous marriage was the topic of the moment. Dr. Moncorvo Filho's insistence that “everyone knew why” was a reference to a proposal made before the Senate just three months prior by Senators Eloy de Souza of the state of Pernambuco and Álvaro de Carvalho of São Paulo. The senators proposed that language prohibiting marriage between blood relatives in the recently ratified Brazilian Civil Code be amended to allow for special juridical or medical dispensation. Souza and Carvalho, with the backing of the Catholic Church and a minority of members of the Brazilian Institute of Attorneys, supported permitting marriage between third-degree relatives under special circumstances. At issue for the attorneys was how the law would deal with situations in which couples had a compelling need to marry within the third degree of kinship. A recent case of an uncle who had “deflowered” his niece and then offered to “remedy the damage” through marriage brought this issue to public debate. Marriages between uncles and their nieces and aunts and their nephews (third-degree relations) were traditional in Brazil, and Brazilian law had a long history of yielding to custom and context. However, under the new laws of the 30-year-old republic, this type of marriage was no longer legal, having been specifically prohibited by the 1916 Civil Code. Senators Souza and Carvalho, both lawyers by training, proposed reforming the Code, while their ultimately unsuccessful amendment sparked vigorous debate in both legal and medical circles on the validity of marriage restrictions within the third degree of consanguinity. As a result, physicians at Brazil's leading medical schools and their jurist counterparts at the law schools took sides on this critical issue, dividing themselves into rival camps of consanguinistas and anticonsanguinistas.

Copyright © the American Society for Legal History, Inc. 2015 

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1. Arthur Moncorvo Filho, O problema da consanguinidade (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional, 1920), 3.

2. Teodolindo Castiglione, A eugenia no direito de família: O código civil brasileiro e a lei sobre a organização e proteção da família perante a eugenia, a eugenia entre índios brasileiros (São Paulo: Libraria Acadêmica Saraiva & Cia., 1942). For a comprehensive study on deflowering and familial honor in twentieth-century Brazilian law, see Sueann Caulfield, In Defense of Honor: Sexual Morality, Modernity, and Nation in Early-Twentieth Century Brazil (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000).

3. Moncorvo Filho, O problema, 3.

4. Ricardo César Pereira Lira, Instituto dos Advogados Brasileiros. 150 Anos de História: 1843 – 1993 (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto dos Advogados Brasileiros, 1993), 138.

5. I borrow the designation of “Men of Science” from Lilia Moritz Schwarcz. Schwarcz characterizes the leading medical and legal experts of the period as a generation devoted to using “scientifism” to create new social paradigms capable of solving Brazil's problems. Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, The Spectacle of the Races: Scientists, Institutions, and the Race Question in Brazil, 1870–1930 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993), 37.

6. According to Brazil's 1872 census, the liberal professions included “lawyers, doctors, public servants, teachers, midwives, pharmacists, and artisans.” See Brian Owensby, Intimate Ironies: Modernity and the Making of Middle-Class Lives in Brazil (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), 23. On the importance of the liberal professions to state-building, see Gisele Sanglard, Entre os salões e o laboratório: Guilherme Guinle, a saúde e a ciência no Rio de Janeiro, 1920–1940 (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Fiocruz, 2008); and Dominichi Miranda de Sá, A ciência como profissão: médicos, bacharéis e cientistas no Brasil, 1895–1935 (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Fiocruz, 2006).

7. Teresa Meade, “Civilizing” Rio: Reform and Resistance in a Brazilian City, 1889–1930 (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1997); and Madel Terezinha Luz, Medicina e ordem política brasileira: políticas e instituições de saúde, 1850–1930 (Rio de Janeiro: Graal, 1982).

8. Third-degree consanguinity refers to persons who are related collaterally, that is not by a simple straight line of descent, and who are three relations removed from a common direct ascendant. This is the case in the relation of uncles and aunts to their nieces and nephews.

9. Julyan Peard, Race, Place, and Medicine: The Idea of the Tropics in Nineteenth-Century Brazilian Medicine (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999); Thomas Skidmore, Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought, 2nd ed. (Durham: Duke University Press, 1993); Borges, Dain, “‘Puffy, Ugly, Slothful and Inert’: Degeneration in Brazilian Social Thought, 1880–1940,” Journal of Latin American Studies 25 (1993): 235–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Nancy Leys Stepan, “The Hour of Eugenics”: Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991).

10. Marcos Chor Maio, “Raça, doença, e saúde pública no Brasil: um debate sobre o pensamento higienista do século XIX,” in Etnicidade na América latina: um debate sobre raça, saúde e direitos reprodutivos, ed. Simone Monteiro and Livio Sansone (Rio de Janeiro: Fiocruz, 2004), 15–44; André Mota, Quem é bom já nasce feito: sanitarismo e eugenia no Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Editora DP&A, 2003); Nísia Trindade Lima, Um sertão chamado Brasil: intelectuais e representação geográfica da identidade nacional (Rio de Janeiro: Revan IUPERJ, 1999); de Castro–Santos, Luis A., “As origens da reforma sanitária e da modernização conservadora na Bahia durante a Primeira República,” Dados 43 (1998): 593633Google Scholar; and Hochman, Gilberto, “Logo ali, no final da avenida: Os sertões redefinidos pelo movimento sanitarista da Primeira República,” História, ciências, saúde – Manguinhos 5 (1998): 217–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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12. See Susan Besse, Restructuring Patriarchy: The Modernization of Gender Inequality in Brazil, 1914–1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996).

13. See Semley, Lorelle D., “To Live and Die, Free and French: Toussaint Louverture's 1801 Constitution and the Original Challenge of Black Citizenship,” Radical History Review 115 (2013): 6590CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Nara Milanich, Childhood, Class, and the State in Chile, 1850–1930 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009); Sueann Caulfield, Sarah Chambers, and Lara Putnam, Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005); Elizabeth Dore, and Maxine Molyneux, Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000); Eileen Findlay, Imposing Decency: The Politics of Sexuality and Race in Puerto Rico, 1870–1920 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000); and Christine Hunefeldt, Liberalism in the Bedroom: Quarreling Spouses in Nineteenth-Century Lima (Penn State University Press, 2000). See also, Mary Ann Glendon, The Transformation of Family Law: State, Law, and Family in the United States and Western Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989).

14. Nara Milanich, “Women, Gender, and Family in Latin America,” in A Companion to Latin American History, ed. Thomas Holloway (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 461–79.

15. Elizabeth Dore, “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Gender and the State in the Long Nineteenth Century,” in Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America, ed. Elizabeth Dore and Maxine Molyneux (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 147–71.

16. Between 1825 and 1870, ten Latin American nations passed civil codes: Haiti, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador.

17. Elizabeth Dore offers a clear and succinct explanation of relationship between patriarchalism and liberal politics in Latin American republics. “Senior men governed females and younger males in their household, a system that sustained the paternalist ideologies of the men who governed the nation and community. In line with these practices, liberal states established a polity based on restricted representation. In most, countries, full political participation was the purview of males with money or a profession.” Dore, “One Step Forward,” 9–10. See also, Emilia Viotti da Costa, The Brazil Empire: Myths and Histories (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000); and Borges, Dain, “Salvador's 1890s: Paternalism and Its Discontents,” Luso–Brazilian Review 30 (1993): 4757Google Scholar.

18. Keila Grinberg, Código civil e cidadania (Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2001); and “Slavery, Liberalism, and Civil Law: Definitions of Status and Citizenship in the Elaboration of the Brazilian Civil Code (1855–1916) in Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America, ed. Sueann Caulfield, Sarah Chambers, and Lara Putnam (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), 109–30.”

19. da Cunha, Manuela Carneiro, “Silences of the Law: Customary Law and Positive Law on the Manumission of Slaves in 19th Century Brazil,” History and Anthropology 1 (1985): 427–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20. Grinberg, Código civil and “Slavery, Liberalism, and Civil Law.”

21. On Canudos, see Adriana Michele Campos Johnson, Sentencing Canudos: Subalternity in the Backlands of Brazil (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010); Sampaio, Consuelo Novais, “Repensando Canudos: o jogo das oligarquias,” Luso-Brazilian Review 30 (1993): 97113Google Scholar; and Robert Levine, Vale of Tears: Revisiting the Canudos Massacre in Northeastern Brazil, 1893–1897 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).

22. Brazil, Decreto-lei n.181 de 24 de janeiro de 1890 (hereafter Civil Marriage Act), Senado Federal, Subsecretaria de Informações.ção.ListaTextoIntegral.action?id=49585&norma=65368 September 9, 2011.

23. Josette Magalhães Lordello, Entre o reino de Deus e o dos homens: a secularização do casamento no Brasil do século XIX (Brasília: Editora UnB, 2002).

24. Gomes, Orlando, “Historical and Sociological Roots of the Brazilian Civil Code,” Inter-American Law Review 1 (1959): 332Google Scholar.

25. Lauren Benton, Law in Colonial Cultures: Legal Regimes in World History, 1400–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

26. Kenneth L. Karst, and Keith S. Rosen, Law and Development in Latin America: A Case Book (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975), 37. See also, Gomes “Historical and Sociological Roots,” 332.

27. Cunha, “Silences of the Law,” 441.

28. Stanley E. Blake, The Vigorous Core of Our Nationality: Race and Regional Identity in Northeastern Brazil (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), 54.

29. Schwarcz, Spectacle of the Races, 179. On the Recife Law School's exploration of racial science, see Blake, Vigorous Core, 53–54.

30. Schwarcz, Spectacle of the Races, 186.

31. Bevilaqua (1899) quoted in Blake, Vigorous Core, 54.

32. The “affinity” restriction outlawed marriages between mothers/fathers in-law and their sons/daughters-in-law as well as step-parents and their step-children.

33. For a recent analysis of changes in church marriage policy during the Council of Trent, see Sperling, Jutta, “Marriage at the Time of the Council of Trent (1560–70): Clandestine Marriages, Kinship Prohibitions, and Dowry Exchange in European Comparison,” Journal of Early Modern History 8 (2004): 67108CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

34. See Dain Borges, The Family in Bahia, Brazil: 1870–1945 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992); and Linda Lewin, Surprise Heirs II: Illegitimacy, Inheritance Rights, and Public Power in the Formation of Imperial Brazil, 18221889 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003).

35. Borges, The Family in Bahia, 248.

36. Maria Beatriz Nizza da Silva, Sistema de casamento no Brasil colonial (São Paulo: USP, 1984), 132–39.

37. Lewin, Surprise Heirs II; Borges, The Family in Bahia; Lordello, Entre o reino de Deus; and Castañeda, Luzia Aurelia, “Eugenia e casamento,” Historia, ciências, saúde-Manguinhos 10 (2003): 901–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

38. Grinberg, Código civil and “Slavery, Liberalism, and Civil Law.” Also, Karst and Rosen, Law and Development and Joseph Wheless, trans. The Civil Code of Brazil, being law no. 3,071 of January 1, 1916: with the corrections ordered by law no. 3,725 of January 15, 1919, promulgated July 13, 1919 (St. Louis: The Thomas Law Book Co. 1920). The first draft of the project actually came on the heels of the declaration of the Republic and the Civil Marriage Law, although it was abandoned before completion.

39. Clóvis Bevilaqua, Em defeza do projecto de Codigo Civil brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro: Livraria Francisco Alves, 1906), 21. See also, João Luiz Alves, Código Civil da República dos Estados Unidos do Brasil: promulgada pela Lei n. 3.071, de 1916, anotado pelo Doutor João Luiz Alves (Rio de Janeiro: F. Briguiet, 1917).

40. Karst and Rosen, Law and Development, 45 n. 55.

41. On family policy in the Civil Code, see Clóvis Bevilaqua, Direito da família (Recife, Ramiro M. Costa & Filhos, 1910); Caulfield, Sueann, “The Right to a Father's Name: A Historical Perspective on State Efforts to Combat the Stigma of Illegitimate Birth in BrazilLaw and History Review 30 (2012): 136CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Neder, Gizlene and Filho, Gisálio Cerqueira, “Os filhos da lei,” Revista brasileira de ciências sociais 16 (2001): 113–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

42. Marriages between uncles/ aunts and their nieces/nephews had been banned by ecclesiastical law, but the church permitted dispensations. Upon the promulgation of civil marriage in 1890, these types of marriages found no impediment in the law. Therefore, the Civil Code introduced the marriage impediment at the third degree of consanguinity into civil law. Brazil, Código civil da República dos Estados Unidos do Brasil: Lei n. 3.071, de 1 de janeiro de 1916 com as correcções ordenadas pela Lei n. 3.725, de 15 de janeiro de 1919 (Rio de Janeiro: Imprenza Nacional 1922) (hereafter Civil Code). See also Lewin, Surprise Heirs II and Maria Amália de Figueiredo Pereira Alvarenga, O casamento inválido no novo código civil: Reflexos do direito canônico na legislação civil (São Paulo: Lemos & Cruz, 2003).

43. Marriage between cousins remained legal and was apparently uncontroversial. For opponents of consanguine unions, the danger lay in proximity, and the relationship between cousins was further removed that that between tios and sobrinhos as counted by distance to a direct ascendant.

44. Barbosa may have rejected multiple revisions of the Code due to a personal grudge against Bevilaqua or jealousy over not being invited to compose the code himself. Yet the lengthy tome he penned with minute grammatical corrections to the Civil Code remains a landmark treatise on Portuguese linguistics. See Grinberg, Código civil e cidadania and Azevedo, Philadelpho, “Do casamento entre sobrinhos,” Revista jurídica: doutrina, jurisprudencia, legislação, 18 (1920), 4649Google Scholar. Also, Brazil, Ruy Barbosa e o Codigo Civil: ou, O codigo civil brasileiro; Lei n. 3.071, de 1 de janeiro de 1916, com as correcções ordenadas pela Lei n. 3.725 de 15 de janeiro de 1919 com apostillas de Ruy Barbosa, Clóvis Bevilaqua, Carneiro Ribeiro e outros (Rio de Janeiro: Imprenza Nacional, 1931); and Brazil, Ministério da Justiça e Negócios Interiores, Actas dos trabalhos da Commissão Revisora do projecto de Codigo Civil Brazileiro (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional, 1901).

45. Costa, The Brazilian Empire, 233.

46. Skidmore, Black into White, 149.

47. Barbosa quoted in Schwarcz, Spectacle of the Races, 216.

48. Barbosa was among the most important liberal politicians of the Republican period, holding several high offices including a 31 year position in the Senate and unsuccessfully campaigning three times for the Brazilian presidency.

49. Araújo, Ana Lúcia, “History and Heritage of Slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade in the South AtlanticLuso–Brazilian Review 50 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar: 1: and Kim D. Butler, Freedoms Given Freedoms Won: Afro-Brazilians in Post-Abolition São Paulo and Salvador (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2000), 7.

50. Alves, “Código civil,” 158. Also, Supremo Tribunal Federal, “Casamentos consanguineos.”

51. Barbosa quoted in Pereira and Andrada e Silva, Direitos de família, 55.

52. Of the many and varied uses of “degeneracy,” as social critique rather than biological defect, see Borges, Dain, “‘Puffy, Ugly, Slothful and Inert’: Degeneration in Brazilian Social Thought, 1880–1940,” Journal of Latin American Studies 25 (1993): 235–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and The Recognition of Afro-Brazilian Symbols and Ideas, 1890–1940Luso-Brazilian Review 32 (1995): 5978Google Scholar. Also, Marcos Chor Maio and Ricardo Ventura Santos, Raça, ciência e sociedade (Rio de Janeiro: Fiocruz, 1996).

53. Clóvis Bevilaqua, Código Civil dos Estados Unidos do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Rio, 1975), 496. Also, Castiglione, A eugenia no direito.

54. On the diverse connections between Brazilian modernization and the medicalization of twentieth-century family life, see Blake, The Vigorous Core; Caulfield, In Defense of Honor; and Jurandir Freire Costa, Ordem médica e norma familiar (Rio de Janeiro: Edições Graal, 1979).

55. For studies of Moncorvo Filho and the development of children's health institutions, see Wadsworth, James E.Moncorvo Filho e o problema da infância: modelos institucionais e ideológicos da assistência à infância no Brasil,” Revista Brasileira de História 19 (1999): 103–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Tamera Marko, “When They Became the Nation's Children: The Foundations of Pediatrics and its Raced, Classed, and Gendered (Re)Inventions of Childhood in Rio de Janeiro, 1870–1930” (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2006).

56. Moncorvo Filho, O problema, 15.

57. Like most Latin American eugenicists, Brazilians generally subscribed to a French-style eugenics based on the early nineteenth century theories of biologist Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, the Chevalier of Lamarck. Neo-Lamarckian understandings of eugenics held that environmental poisons such as alcohol, venereal disease, and tuberculosis could cause hereditary defects, degenerating several generations of a family bloodline. Neo-Lamarckian genetics differed from Mendelian genetics in this theory of the successive transmission of acquired traits, and the Neo-Lamarckian strain characterized the broadly shared Latin conception of eugenics that emerged in France, Italy, and Latin America. Brazilian eugenics has a developed historiography. In addition to the classic work—Stepan, The Hour of Eugenics, see Éder Silveira, A cura da raça: eugenia e higienismo no discurso médico sul-rio-grandense nas primeiras décadas do século XX (Passo Fundo, RS: Editora UPF, 2005); Mota, Quem é bom; Ana Paula Vosne, Visões do feminino: a medicina da mulher nos séculos XIX e XX (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Fiocruz, 2004); Maria Lúcia Boarini, Higiene e raça como projetos: higienismo e eugenismo no Brasil (Maringá, Paraná: Eduem, 2003); and Vera Regina Beltrão Marques, A medicalização da raça: médicos, educadores e discurso eugênico (São Paulo: Editora Unicamp, 1994).

58. Nancy Leys Stepan, “Eugenics in Brazil, 1917–1940,” in The Wellborn Science, ed. Mark Adams (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 125.

59. Netto Campello of Recife quoted in Schwarcz, Spectacle of Races, 210.

60. Arthur Neiva and Belisário Penna, Viagem científica pelo norte da Bahia, sudoeste de Pernambuco, sul do Piauí e de norte a sul de Goiás (Brasília: Academia Brasiliense de Letras, 1984); and de Sá, Dominichi Miranda, “Uma interpretação do Brasil como doença e rotina: a repercussão do relatório médico de Arthur Neiva e Belisário Penna (1917–1935)História, ciências, saúde – Manguinhos 16 (2009): 183203Google Scholar.

61. Nísia Trindade Lima and Gilberto Hochman, “Condenado pela raça, absolvido pela medicina: o Brasil descoberto pelo movimento sanitarista da Primeira República,” in Raça, ciência e sociedade, ed. Marcos Chor Maio and Ricardo Ventura Santos (Rio de Janeiro: Fiocruz, 1996): 23–40.

62. Lafayette Rodrigues Pereira and José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, Direitos de família: anotações e adaptações ao Código Civil, 5th ed. (first publication 1869) (Rio de Janeiro: Livraria Freitas Bastos S.A., 1956), 45.

63. Brazil, Civil Marriage Act, Art. 20.

64. Brazil, Civil Marriage Act, Art. 72 no. 3.

65. This refers to Article 180 of the French Civil Code. See E. Blackwood Wright, The French Civil Code as Amended up to 1906 (London: Stevens and Sons Limited, 1908).

66. Pereira and Andrada e Silva, Direitos de família, 51–52.

67. Alves, Código Civil, 158.

68. Ibid.


69. Brazil, Civil Code, Art. 219 no. 3.

70. Doria, Rodrigues, “Questões medico-legaes relativos ao casamento,” Revista jurídica: doutrina, jurisprudência, legislação 7 (1922): 392Google Scholar.

71. Later in his life, Charles Darwin began to doubt whether kin marriages were “injurious” to future generations. See Alan H. Bittles, Consanguinity in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 48–50.

72. Glauco Carneiro, Um compromisso com a esperança: história da Sociedade Brasileira de Pediatria, 1910–2000 (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Expressão e Cultura, 2000).

73. The Children's Department was founded on March 1, 1919. On its establishment and the flu epidemic of 1918, see Arthur Moncorvo Filho, Historico da protecção á infancia no Brasil 1500–1922 (Rio de Janeiro: Empreza Graphica, 1926), 262.

74. See Wadsworth, “Moncorvo Filho.”

75. On Bahia as a center of race science, see Schwarcz, Spectacle of the Races; and Dain Borges, “Puffy, Ugly, Slothful.” On the institutionalization of public health programs, see Blake, The Vigorous Core and Otovo, Okezi T., “From Mãe Preta to Mãe Desamparada: Maternity and Public Health in Post-Abolition Bahia,” Luso-Brazilian Review 48 (2011): 164–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

76. Altough Bahian doctors did not organize themselves into eugenic societies to the extent that their southern counterparts did, their involvement in state government and in local private organizations ensured that eugenic rhetoric translated into an unprecedented level of investment in public health infrastructure focused on reproduction and women's and children's health and welfare.

77. Moniz, Gonçalo, “A consanguinidade e o código Civil Brasileiro,” Gazeta Medica da Bahia 53 (1922): 102–9Google Scholar; 53 (1922): 251–67; 53 (1923): 297–314; 53 (1923): 357–70; 53 (1923): 385–91; 53 (1923): 446–71; 53 (1923): 477–91; 53 (1923) 523–38; 54 (1923): 271–85; 54 (1923): 335–50; 54 (1923): 437–52; 54 (1923): 493–502; 54 (1924): 671–86; 55 (1924): 79–85; 55 (1924): 161–78; and 55 (1924): 255–71.

78. Moniz's discourse on consanguinity can also be taken as representative of the general school of thought on the issue at the Medical School of Bahia and that of the editors of the Gazeta Medica, who comprised that community's most prominent members. His article was the result of decades of debate in Bahia, as illustrated by the graduate medical theses listed below. It also confirms that the controversy over consanguine marriage still resonated even after the Souza–Carvalho challenge was resolved. See Francisco Cavalcante Mangabeira, “Impedimentos de casamento relativos ao parentesco,” 1900; Antonio Raposo Pinto, “Fraz o casamento consanguineo a degeneração da Raça?” 1905; Octavio de Souza Brandão “Do casamento e sua regulamentação,” 1905; Waldemir Augusto Deiró Lefundes, “Consanguinidade,” 1911; Samuel Dutra da Silva “O Casamento e a Prole,” 1915; Ivo Gonçalves de Souza, “Hygiene da Procreação,” 1919; Clodoaldo de Magalhães Avelino “Eugenía e Casamento,” 1924, (Graduate Medical theses, Archives of the Faculdade de Medicina da Bahia).

79. Pereira Barreto quoted in Supremo Tribunal Federal, “Casamentos consanguineos: impedimento de casamento entre tios e sobrinhos,” Revista do Supremo Tribunal XIX (1919): 481.

80. Martins, Ana Paula Vosne, “Entre a benemerência e as políticas públicas: A atuação da Liga Bahiana contra a Mortalidade Infantil no começo do século XX,” Gênero, Cadernos do Núcleo Transdiciplinar de Estudos de Gênero 6 (2005): 4360Google Scholar; and “Políticas públicas para a maternidade e a infância no Brasil na primeira metade do século XX,” in História da saúde: olhares e veredas, ed. Yara Nogueira Monteiro (São Paulo, Instituto de Saúde, 2010), 99–121.

81. Edgar Roquette-Pinto quoted in Moncorvo O problema, Filho, 54.

82. Ibid.


83. Ibid.


84. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, Annuario estatístico do Brazil, 1908–1912, v. 1–3 (Rio de Janeiro: Directoria Geral de Estatística, 1916–1927) (December 23, 2012).

85. Moniz, “A consanguinidade,” 82.

86. See Stepan, The Hour of Eugenics; and Kehl, Renato, “In Brazil,” The Eugenic Review 23 (1931): 234–37Google Scholar. Also, de Souza, Vanderlei SebastiãoEm nome da raça: a propaganda eugênica e as idéias de Renato Kehl nos anos 1910 e 1920,” Revista de história regional 11 (2006): 2970Google Scholar.

87. Afrânio Peixoto quoted in Moncorvo Filho, O problema, 47.

88. Borges uses the term, “medical marriage” in The Family in Bahia, 110. Also see Costa, Ordem médica, 219–26.

89. See Barreto, Maria Renilda Nery, “Pro Matre: arquivo e fontes para a história da maternidade no Rio de Janeiro,” Historia ciência saúde-Manguinhos 18 (2011): 295301CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

90. Fernando Magalhães quoted in Moncorvo Filho, O problema, 24.

91. Ibid., 24–27.


92. See Castiglione, A eugenia no direito; Castañeda, “Eugenia e casamento;” and Stepan, The Hour of Eugenics, 26. For an interesting comparative case, see Milanesio, Natalia, “Redefining Men's Sexuality, Re-Signifying Male Bodies: The Argentine Law of Anti-Venereal Prophylaxis, 1936,” Gender & History 17 (2005): 463–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

93. Supremo Tribunal Federal, “Casamentos consanguineos,” 474. See also Ivair Nogueira Itagiba, A família: comentários á lei de sua organização e proteção (Rio de Janeiro: Irmãos Pongetti editores, 1941).

94. For other anticonsanguinista discourses see, da Rocha Castro, Ricaldi, “A propósito de nubentes consanguíneos,” Gazeta Medica da Bahia 15 (1883): 564–66Google Scholar; Alfredo Magalhães, “O matrimonio entre parentes,” Jornal de Notícias (Salvador) May 23, 1904; and Magalhães, Alfredo, “Educação eugênica em geral, consciência da responsabilidade eugênica na família, nas escolas, nas universidadesGazeta Medica da Bahia 60 (1930): 531–44Google Scholar.

95. I borrow this phrase from Nara Milanich, who uses it to describe the relation between what she calls the “social construction of paternity and the contractual logic of kinship” in the creation of Chile's Civil Code, see Children of Fate, 69. For Brazil, I argue that many jurists read the controversy over kin marriage through the lens of a liberal critique of patriarchalism, and used the occasion to argue for a new logic of political, social, and economic relations that would not tip in favor of the privileged.

96. Lira, Instituto dos Advogados, 157 note 63.

97. Supremo Tribunal Federal, “Casamentos consanguineos,” 466. Instituto da Ordem dos Advogados Brasileiros, Noticiario: Relatorio do 1° Secretario relativo ao anno de 1919,” Revista jurídica: doutrina, jurisprudencia, legislação 18 (1920): 380–81Google Scholar.

98. Supremo Tribunal Federal, “Casamentos consanguineos,” 464.

99. Ibid. For other legal arguments on consangunity, see Espinola, Eduardo, “Casamentos de tios com sobrinhos. Quarto impedimento do art. 183 do Codigo Civil,” Revista geral de direito, legislação e jurisprudência 3 (1921): 296304Google Scholar; and Alfredo Balthazar da Silveira, Casamentos consanguineos (Rio de Janeiro: Oficinas Graphicas da Livraria Francisco Alves, 1919). de Lacerda, Manoel, “Casamentos consanguineosRevista jurídica: doutrina, jurisprudencia, legislação 4 (1919): 241Google Scholar.


100. Alves, “Código civil,” 158. Also, Supremo Tribunal Federal, “Casamentos consanguineos.”

101. Supremo Tribunal Federal, “Casamentos consanguineos,” 464.

102. Ibid,


103. Pontes de Miranda (1928) quoted in Gomes, “Historical and Sociological Roots,” 338.

104. The Code's lengthy section (Chapter Six) “Patrio Poder” included 18 articles, numbers 379–95.

105. Brazil, Civil Code, Art. 233.

106. Brazil, Civil Code, Arts. 183, 185, 186, and 187.

107. Besse, Restructuring Patriarchy, 17; and Dore “One Step Forward,” 18.

108. Besse, Restructuring Patriarchy, 12.

109. Owensby, Intimate Ironies, 33–34.

110. For a brief discussion of tense compatibility of individualism and competition in Brazilian liberalism, see Owensby Intimate Ironies. On private property in debates over abolition, see Grinberg, “Slavery, Liberalism, and Civil Law;” and Cunha “Silences of the Law.”

111. Supremo Tribunal Federal, “Casamentos consanguineos,” 469.

112. Ibid.


113. Ibid., 464. On this issue, the experience of Mexican eugenicists is analogous, as they fought a similar battle to reconcile consanguinity restrictions with liberal tenets. See Soriano, Fabricio González and Beltrán, Carlos López, “Consanguinidad, sífilis, herencia y matrimonio: el lento advenimiento de la intervención médica en las leyes mexicanas del matrimonio,” Memoria y Sociedad 13 (2009): 87100Google Scholar.


114. Doria, “Questões medico–legaes,” 396.

115. Supremo Tribunal Federal, “Casamentos consanguineos,” 476–77.

116. Consanguineous marriage restrictions were not the only arena that confirmed this analysis. In other legal histories, scholars have also found that a certain view of modern hygiene and social order trumped patriarchy. See Stoner, K. Lynn, “On Men Reforming the Rights of Men: The Abrogation of the Cuban Adultery Law, 1930Cuban Studies 21 (1992): 8399Google Scholar; and Besse, Susan K., “Crimes of Passion: The Campaign against Wife Killing in Brazil, 1910–1940,” Journal of Social History 22 (1989): 653–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

117. Caulfield, In Defense of Honor, 21.

118. See Arts. 1 and 2 of Brazil, Decreto-lei n. 3.200 de 19 de abril de 1941, Senado Federal, Subsecretaria de Informações (September 9, 2011) Although the third-degree marriage ban did not last long, Brazil's Civil Code proved an enduring document. It survived various political transitions—authoritarian, military, and democratic regimes––to remain in vigor until 2002 when a new Code was ratified under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Brazil, Lei n. 10.406 de 10 de Janeiro de 2002, Senado Federal, Subsecretaria de Informações (December 7, 2013)

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