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Reforming Women, Protecting Men: The Prosecution of Infanticide in Venezuela's Early Republic, 1820–60

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 July 2022

Reuben Zahler*
Affiliation:
Department of History, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon

Abstract

Court records for infanticide present several mysteries. In three centuries of colonial rule, Venezuela’s Mérida province had just one court case for infanticide. During the first three decades of Venezuela’s independence, the province had over thirty cases, while the country’s other provinces had none. The defendants in these cases were all poor, illiterate, single women. Curiously, court officials endeavored to acquit even in the face of incriminating evidence, such that the courts convicted only those mothers that confessed. This article explores how these women explained to officials why they killed and/or hid the body, and why the judicial system prosecuted these cases, given that the colonial system did not and officials were inclined to acquit. The investigation finds that the mothers explained their actions as principally due to economic and emotional desperation, including fear of punishment from their parents, rather than an intent to preserve their feminine honor. Further, the provincial judicial system began to prosecute this crime as part of a larger project to build a liberal, patriarchal republic. The prosecutions facilitated civilian-state relations, legitimized nascent institutions, sought to protect the mothers and “reform” their morals, and shielded fathers from responsibility for illicit sex.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Society for Legal History

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References

1 Archivo General del Estado Mérida (hereafter AGEM), Registro Principal (RP), 1847, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 19–34. “Expediente contra Maria de Jesús Zerpa…,” quote at f22

2 Ibid., f32.

3 Stephen Wilson, “Infanticide, Child Abandonment, and Female Honour in Nineteenth-Century Corsica,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 30 (1988): 762.

4 We find a few cases of infanticide in colonial New Spain, Brazil, Nueva Granada, and the Caribbean, many of which deal with incidences of enslaved adults who killed enslaved children. We find no scholarship on this subject for colonial Argentina or Chile. Jaffary, Nora, “Reconceiving Motherhood: Infanticide and Abortion in Colonial Mexico,” Journal of Family History 37 (2012): 45CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed; and Roth, Cassia, “From Free Womb to Criminalized Woman: Fertility Control in Brazilian Slavery and Freedom,” Slavery and Abolition 38 (2017): 270CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Nora Jaffary, personal communication.

5 There is one case from 1763 and eleven cases from 1796 to 1819. Three cases occurred in the more densely populated north-central provinces (modern states of Yaracuy, Caracas, and Monagas), while the majority were from the more sparsely populated western third of the country (modern states of Lara, Portuguesa, Falcón, Maracaibo, and Mérida). Data from the AGEM, Archivo de la Academia Nacional de Historia (hereafter AANH), Archivo General de la Nación (hereafter AGN), and Archivo Histórico del Estado Falcón (hereafter AHEF).

6 Data from the AGN and AHEF. The AGN houses court records from the early republican provinces of Caracas and Carabobo (48% of the population), which correspond roughly to the contemporary states of the Distrito Capital, Guárico, Miranda, Vargas, Aragua, Cojedes, Carabobo. The AHEF houses records from the early republican province of Coro (3% of the population), which today corresponds to the state of Falcón. Population figures from the 1831 census are found in Antonio Arellano Moreno, Las estadísticas de las provincias en la época de Páez (Caracas: Academia Nacional de Historia, 1973), xxxiii.

7 Population statistics are from Tomás Enrique Carrillo Batalla, Cuentas nacionales de Venezuela, 1831-1873 (Caracas: Banco Central de Venezuela, 2001), 158–63.

8 Jaffary, Nora, “Maternity and Morality in Puebla's Nineteenth-Century Infanticide Trials,” Law and History Review 39 (2021): 304CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Jaffary, Nora, “Medicine, Midwifery, and the Law: Views of Infanticide and Abortion in the Yucatán, 1840-1910,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 37 (2021): 8687CrossRefGoogle Scholar. In a case from colonial Bogotá, the Corregidor recommended the death penalty, but the defense attorney recommended leniency, and it is not clear what the final judgement was. Guiomar Dueñas, “Infanticidio y aborto en la colonia,” Biopolítica y sexualidades (1996–97): 45.

9 The infant's sex was “unknown” because either the authorities did not note its sex or because the body was so decomposed or mangled by animals they they could not tell.

10 See Chambers, Sarah, “‘To the Company of a Man Like My Husband, No Law Can Compel Me’: The Limits of Sanctions against Wife Beating in Arequipa, Peru, 1780-1850,” Journal of Women's History 11 (1999): 3435CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Díaz, Arlene, Female Citizens, Patriarchs, and the Law in Venezuela, 1786-1904 (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2004), 74Google Scholar; and Ponce, Marianela, De la soltería a la viudez: La condición jurídica de la mujer en la provincia de Venezuela en razón de su estado civil (Caracas: Academia Nacional de la Historia, 1999)Google Scholar.

11 Sueann Caulfield, Sarah Chambers, and Lara Putnam, eds., Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005); Díaz, Female Citizens; Johnson, Lyman and Lipsett-Rivera, Sonya, The Faces of Honor: Sex, Shame, and Violence in Colonial Latin America (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1998)Google Scholar; Pellicer, Luis Felipe, La vivencia del honor en la provincia de Venezuela, 1774-1809 (Caracas, Venezuela: Fundación Polar, 1996)Google Scholar; Iturrieta, Elías Pino, Contra lujuria, castidad: Historias de pecado en en siglo XIII venezolano (Caracas, Venezuela: Alfadil Ediciones, 1992)Google Scholar; Inés Quintero, ed., Las mujeres de Venezuela: historia minima (Caracas: Funtrapet, 2003); and Sloan, Kathryn, Runaway Daughters: Seduction, Elopement, and Honor in Nineteenth-Century Mexico (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2008)Google Scholar.

12 McDougall, Sara, “Pardoning Infanticide in Late Medieval France,” Law and History Review 39 (2021): 235CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Turner, Felicity, “The Contradictions of Reform: Prosecuting Infant Murder in Nineteenth-Century United States,” Law and History Review 39 (2021): 280CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13 See the Siete Partidas, Partida 7, Título 8, Ley 12. Jaffary, “Reconceiving Motherhood,” 5.

14 Escriche, Joaquin, Diccionario razonado de legislación civil, penal, comercial y forense (Caracas, Venezuela: Valentin Espinal, 1840)Google Scholar.“Infanticidio.”

15 Jaffary, Nora, Reproduction and its Discontents in Mexico: Childbirth and Contraception from 1750 to 1905 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016), 124CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Kristin Ruggiero, “Not Guilty: Abortion and Infanticide in Nineteenth-Century Argentina,” in Reconstructing Criminality in Latin America, ed. Carlos Aguirre and Robert Buffington (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2000), 157. Brazil adopted this legal change in 1830, though did not prosecute those crimes until the 1870s. Roth, “From Free Womb.”

16 Recopilación de leyes y decretos de Venezuela, Tomo III, ed. Gobierno nacional de Venezuela (Caracas: Casa Editorial de “La Opinión Nacional,” 1890), 30, No. 984 and ibid., Tomo IV, 27, No. 1257.

17 Código de procedimiento criminal de 20 de febrero de 1873, Ley IV, Art 71-72. Found in ibid., Tomo V, 1075. See also Ley II, Art. 363, in ibid., 661; Ley VIII, Art 401, in ibid., 665.

18 Código penal promulgado en 14 de mayo de 1897, Titulo IX, Capitulo I (Del homicidio), Art. 376. Found in ibid., Tomo XX, 259.

19 Roth, “From Free Womb”; Shelton, Laura, “Bodies of Evidence: Honor, Prueba Plena, and Emerging Medical Discourses in Northern Mexico's Infanticide Trials in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries,” The Americas 74 (2017): 464CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20 Laura Alejanddra Buenaventura Gómez, Malas amistades: Infanticidios y relaciones ilícitas en la provincia de Antioquia (Nueva Granada) 1765-1803 (Bogotá: Editorial Universidad de Rosario, 2017); Dueñas, “Infanticidio y aborto”; Jaffary, “Reconceiving Motherhood”; Lyman Johnson and Sonya Lipsett-Rivera, “Introduction,” in The Faces of Honor: Sex, Shame, and Violence in Colonial Latin America, ed. Lyman Johnson and Sonya Lipsett-Rivera (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), 3–5; Sonya Lipsett-Rivera, “A Slap in the Face of Honor: Social Transgression and Women in Late-Colonial Mexico,” in The Faces of Honor: Sex, Shame, and Violence in Colonial Latin America, ed. Lyman Johnson and Sonya Lipsett-Rivera (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), 192–94; Ruggiero, Kristin, “Honor, Maternity, and the Disciplining of Women: Infanticide in Late Nineteenth-Century Buenos Aires,” Hispanic American Historical Review 72 (1992): 353-73CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Ruggiero, “Not Guilty.” On Europe, see Ann Higginbotham, “‘Sin of the Age’: Infanticide and Illegitimacy in Victorian London,” Victorian Studies 32 (1989): 321; and Wilson, “Infanticide, Child Abandonment, and Female Honour,” 763–64.

21 Carey, David, I Ask for Justice: Maya Women, Dictators, and Crime in Guatemala, 1898–1944 (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2013), 135–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents, ch. 4; Shelton, “Bodies of Evidence.”

22 Echeverri, Marcela, “‘Enraged to the limit of despair’: Infanticide and Slave Judicial Strategies in Barbacoas, 1788–98,” Slavery and Abolition 30 (2009): 403–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ángel, Marta Herrera, “En un rincón de ese imperio en que no se ocultaba el sol: Colonialismo, oro y terror en Barbacaos, siglo VIII,” Anuario colombiano de historial social y de la cultura 32 (2005): 3149Google Scholar; France, Renée Soulodre-La, “‘Por el amor!’ Child Killing in Colonial Nueva Granada,” Slavery and Abolition 23 (2002): 87100CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Jessica Spicker, “El cuerpo femenino en cautiverio: aborto e infanticidio entre las esclavas de la Nueva Granada 1750–1810,” in Geograía Humana de Colombia. Los Afrocolombianos, ed. Luz Adriana Maya Restrepo (Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de Cultura Hispanica, 1998).

23 Jaffary, “Reconceiving Motherhood”; Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents, ch. 4; Roth, “From Free Womb”; and Ruggiero, “Not Guilty.” We see a similar phenomenon in New York City, where middle class activists sought to “reform” the poor in order to improve and modernize the city. Christine Stansell, “Women, Children, and the Uses of the Streets: Class and Gender Conflicts in New York City, 1850-1860,” in Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in US Women's History, ed. Ellen Carol DuBois and Vicki Ruiz (New York: Routledge, 1994).

24 Infanticide numbers from Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents, 107. Population numbers from Victor Uribe-Uran, “Physical Violence Against Wives and the Law in the Spanish American World, 1820s-2000s,” in Murder and Violence in Modern Latin America, ed. Ricardo Salvatore, Pieter Spierenburg, and Eric Johnson (London: Blackwell-Wiley, 2013), 53.

25 Carrillo Batalla, Cuentas nacionales, 158–63.

26 Jaffary, “Maternity and Morality”; Jaffary, “Medicine, Midwifery.”

27 Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents, ch 4; Jaffary, “Maternity and Morality”; and Jaffary, “Medicine, Midwifery.”

28 Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity,” 371–72.

29 Pamela Fernández Navas, “Madres desnaturalizadas o socialización de la violencia? Abandono, maltrato e infanticidio en Concepción, 1840-1870,” Revista Historia Universidad de Chile 1 (2012): 125–28.

30 Jhoana Gregorias Prada Merchán, “Un crimen por honor: El infanticidio en Mérida, 1811-1851,” in Honor, Sexualidad y Transgresión en Mérida, Siglos XVIII-XIX (Cabimas, Venezuela: Universidad Nacional Experimental Rafael María Baralt, 2016).

31 Sara McDougall eloquently describes this pitfall in her explanation of how scholarship on medieval European infanticide over-relies on scholarship from the Early Modern period. McDougall, “Pardoning Infanticide in Late Medieval France,” 237.

32 F. Eduardo Osorio, Los Andes Venezolanos: Proceso social y estruuctra demográfica (1800-1873) (Mérida, Venezuela: Universidad de los Andes, 1996), 76–78.

33 Pedro Cunill Grau, Geografía del poblamiento venezolano en el siglo XIX (Caracas: Ediciones de la Presidencia de la República, 1987), 43–44; and Osorio, Los Andes Venezolanos, 152.

34 Jaffary, “Reconceiving Motherhood,” 4–5; Roth, “From Free Womb,” 270.

35 AGEM, RP, 1837, Causas Diversas, Tomo III, Fols: 208–213. “Expediente contra Andrés Rodríguez…” Quote from f211.

36 AGEM, RP, 1843, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols. 147–155. “Averiguación sobre un infanticio…” Quote from f154v.

37 Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents; Katie Hemphill, “‘Driven to the Commission of This Crime’: Women and Infanticide in Baltimore, 1835–1860,” Journal of the Early Republic 32 (2012): 437–61; Roth, “From Free Womb”; Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity”; and Shelton, “Bodies of Evidence.”

38 Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity,” 358.

39 Shelton, “Bodies of Evidence,” 469.

40 Cornelia Hughes Dayton, “Taking the Trade: Abortion and Gender Relations in an Eighteenth-Century New England Village,” The William and Mary Quarterly 48 (1991): 42; and Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents, 14. See also Shelton, “Bodies of Evidence”; and Ruggiero, “Not Guilty.”

41 For more on procedure in these cases, particularly with regard to the use of medical personnel, see Prada Merchán, “Un crimen,” 304–6. We see similar legal steps in other countries; see Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents; Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity”; and Shelton, “Bodies of Evidence.”

42 Cases in which a lower court convicted but a higher court acquitted: AGEM, RP, 1849, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 35–70. “Expediente contra Maria Eusebia Sánchez Peña…”; AGEM, RP, 1859, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 216–256. “Expediente contra Felipa Avendaño…”

43 Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents, 107.

44 Jaffary, “Maternity and Morality,” 312; and Jaffary, “Medicine, Midwifery,” 87.

45 Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents, 106–7; and Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity,” 356. In Sonora, acquittal rates were higher (67%) for women who organized their defense around a medical explanation than for women who built their defense around honor (18%). Shelton, “Bodies of Evidence,” 467.

46 See Escriche, Diccionario razonado, “Infanticidio.” See also Ruggiero, “Not Guilty,” 158–59.

47 Díaz, Female Citizens, 73; and Scardaville, Michael, “Justice by Paperwork: A Day in the Life of a Court Scribe in Bourbon Mexico City,” Journal of Social History 36 (2003): 989CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Specific to colonial infanticide cases, see Echeverri, “Enraged,” 413; and Jaffary, “Reconceiving Motherhood,” 13.

48 Zahler, Reuben, Ambitious Rebels: Remaking Honor, Law, and Liberalism in Venezuela, 1780-1850 (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2013), 68–70, 170–74Google Scholar.

49 AGEM, RP, 1830, Heridas, Tomo VI, Fols: 178–183. “Expediente contra Maria de Jesús Ortega…” Quote from f183.

50 Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents, 12–13; and Shelton, “Bodies of Evidence,” 462.

51 Jaffary, “Reconceiving Motherhood,” 11; Pilarczyk, Ian, “‘So Foul a Deed’: Infanticide in Montreal, 1825-1850,” Law and History Review 30 (2012): 633–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Roth, “From Free Womb,” 271–73; and Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity,” 371.

52 Garthine Walker, “Child-Killing and Emotion in Early Modern England and Wales,” in Death, Emotion and Childhood in Premodern Europe, ed. Katie Barclay, Kimberley Reynolds, and Ciara Rawnsley (London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2016), 162–63.

53 AGEM, RP, 1857, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 105–143. “Expediente contra Maria de Jesús Carrero”; AGEM, InvJ, 1863, 7.2 Juzgado de Primera Instancia de La Provincia De Merida. 263/15 (I). “Expediente sobre infanticidio en la parroquia Chiguará.”

54 Jaffary, “Reconceiving Motherhood,” 16; and Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity,” 366–67.

55 Julie Hardwick, “Dead Babies in Boxes: Dealing with the Consequences of Interrupted Reproduction,” in Nursing Clio (2020). https://nursingclio.org/2020/09/10/dead-babies-in-boxes-dealing-with-the-consequences-of-interrupted-reproduction/.

56 AGEM, RP, 1856, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 36–71. “Expediente contra Maria Ana Peña…”

57 AGEM, InvJ, 1863, 7.2 Juzgado de Primera Instancia de La Provincia De Merida. 263/15 (I). “Expediente sobre infanticidio en la parroquia Chiguará.”

58 Hemphill, “Driven to the Commission”; and Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity,” 365.

59 AGEM, RP, 1845, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols: 184–225. “Expediente contra Soledad Rojas…” Quote from f190v.

60 AGEM, RP, 1849, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 35–70. “Expediente contra Maria Eusebia Sánchez Peña…”

61 Chicha is a corn-based alcoholic drink. AGEM, RP, 1835, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols: 51–86. “Expediente contra Maria Alonsa Díaz…” Quote from f58.

62 AGEM, RP, 1851, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 133–175. “Expediente contra Natividad Pino…”

63 AGEM, RP, 1857, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 144–159. “Expediente contra Maria Pilar Palma…”

64 Roth, “From Free Womb”; and Spicker “El cuerpo.”

65 AGEM, RP, 1854, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 233–287. “porque le causo vergüenza con su padre…,” f248v.

66 AGEM, RP, 1857, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 105–143. “porque le tuvo mucha vergüenza a su señora…,” f110v.

67 See Zahler, Ambitious Rebels, ch. 6.

68 AGEM, RP, 1846, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols: 245–265. “Expediente contra Teresa Salas…” Quote from f257v. See also AGEM, RP, 1854, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 233–287. “Expediente contra Maria Luisa Rondón…,” f242.

69 See AGEM, RP, 1811, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols: 1–20. “Expediente contra Maria Isabel Rivas…,” f11; AGEM, RP, 1851, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 176–186. “Expediente contra Estefania Balza…,” f183

70 See AGEM, RP, 1844, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols: 169–183. “Expediente contra Dominga Marquina…”; AGEM, RP, 1856, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 36–71. “Expediente contra Maria Ana Peña …”; 1856, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 72–104; and 1859, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 216–256.

71 Jaffary, “Maternity and Morality”; Jaffary, “Medicine, Midwifery”; Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents; and Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity.”

72 Miguel Izard, “Periodo de la independencia y la Gran Colombia, 1810-1830,” in Política y economía en Venezuela, 1810-1976, ed. Alfredo Boulton (Caracas: Fundación John Boulton, 1976); Lombardi, John V., Venezuela: The Search for Order, The Dream of Progress (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982)Google Scholar; Matthews, Robert Paul, Violencia rural en Venezuela, 1840-1858: Antecedentes socioeconómicos de la guerra federal (Caracas: Monte Avila Editores, 1977)Google Scholar; Iturrieta, Elías Pino, Fueros, civilización y ciudadanía (Caracas: Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, 2000)Google Scholar; and Zahler, Ambitious Rebels, ch. 1 and 7.

73 Simón Bolívar, “Discurso Ante el Congreso de Angostura,” 1819, in Simón Bolívar: doctrina del Libertador, ed. Manuel Perez Vila (Caracas, Venezuela: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1985), 105.

74 Elena Plaza, El patriotismo ilustrado, o la organización del estado en Venezuela, 1830-47 (Caracas: Universidad Central de Venezuela, 2007), 52–53. See also Zahler, Ambitious Rebels, 49–52.

75 Tomás Lander, Manual del Colombiano o Explicación de la Ley Natural, in Pensamiento político venezolano del siglo XIX: textos para su estudio, ed. El Congreso de la República (Caracas: Ediciones conmemorativas del sesquicentenario de la independencia, 1983), 4:93.

76 Cecilio Acosta, “Reseña histórica y prospecto de código del derecho penal,” in ibid., 9:187.

77 Michael Scardaville, “(Hapsburg) Law and (Bourbon) Order: State Authority, Popular Unrest, and the Criminal Justice System in Bourbon Mexico City,” in Reconstructing Criminality in Latin America, ed. Carlos Aguirre and Robert Buffington (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2000).

78 Zahler, Ambitious Rebels, 99–104.

79 “Mensaje del Gobernador Juan de Dios Picón dirigido a los honorables Diputados…” Biblioteca Febres Cordero (hereaftetr BFC), Documentos Históricos (hereafter DH), 1833, Caja 24, Doc 21.

80 Exposición que el Gobernador de la Provincia de Mérida dirige a la honorable legislatura provincial en su reunión ordinaria de 1860. Mérida, Imprenta de Juan de Dios Picón Grillet, 1860. BFC), Colección Tulio Febres Cordero (hereafter TFC), Cota: 177. Also in Cota 177, see Memoria que dirige el Gobernador (1849); “Ordenanza 4° de policía de 30 de junio” (1855); in Cota 196, see Código de las ordenanzas decretos (1856).

81 “Educación e instrucción,” El Civil, Mérida, October 1, 1858, 2–3, in BFC.

82 “Estadística de la Provincia de Mérida llevada por Juan de Dios Picón.” BFC, DH, 1832, Caja 59, Doc 01, f12.

83 AGEM, RP, 1831, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols: 21–36. Expediente contra Tomasa Contreras…” Quote from f23.

84 AGEM, RP, 1835, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols: 51–86. “Expediente contra Maria Alonsa Díaz…” Quote from f174.

85 See Bushnell, David, The Santander Regime in Gran Colombia (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 1954), 46Google Scholar; Chambers, Sarah, From Subjects to Citizens: Honor, Gender, and Politics in Arequipa, Peru, 1780-1854 (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), 141–45Google Scholar; and Shelton, Laura, For Tranquility and Order: Family and Community on Mexico's Northern Frontier, 1800–1850 (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2010), 1516Google Scholar.

86 Jaffary, Reproduction and its Discontents, 132–33; Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity”; and Elisa Speckman Guerra, “Las flores del mal. Mujeres criminales en el porfiriato,” Historia Mexicana 47 (1997): 213.

87 Green, Elna C., “Infanticide and Infant Abandonment in the New South: Richmond, Virginia, 1865-1915,” Journal of Family History 24 (1999): 203–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

88 AGEM, InvJ, 1863, 7.2 Juzgado de Primera Instancia de La Provincia De Merida. 263/15 (I). “Expediente sobre infanticidio en la parroquia Chiguará,” f1v-2.

89 AGEM, RP, 1843, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols. 147–155. “Averiguación sobre un infanticio…”

90 AGEM, RP, 1846, Infanticidio, Tomo I, Fols: 245–265. “Expediente contra Teresa Salas…” See also AGEM, RP, 1849, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 71–82. “Expediente contra María de la Cruz Rivas…”

91 AGEM, RP, 1834, Homicidios y muertes violentas, Tomo IX, Fols: 80–125. “Expediente contra Prudencia Toro y Lorenzo Parra…”

92 Osorio, Los Andes Venezolanos, 210.

93 AGEM, RP, 1830, Heridas, Tomo VI, Fols: 178–183. “Expediente contra Maria de Jesús Ortega…” Quote from f178.

94 AGEM, RP, 1851, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 133–175.

95 Chambers, From Subjects to Citizens, 214; María José de la Pascua Sánchez, “Women Alone in Enlightenment Spain,” in Eve's Enlightenment: Women's Experience in Spain and Spanish America, 1726-1839, ed. Catherine Jaffe and Elizabeth Franklin Lewis (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University, 2009), 133; and Pino Iturrieta, Contra lujuria, 125–26.

96 AGEM, RP, 1856, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 72–104. “Expediente contra Josefa Briceño…” Quote from f98.

97 Siete Partidas, Partida 4, Título 19, Ley 5.

98 Osorio, Los Andes Venezolanos, 210.

99 I have borrowed the term “reproductive responsibility” from Carey, I Ask for Justice, 128–29. See also Ruggiero, “Honor, Maternity,” 360; and Shelton, “Bodies of Evidence,” 468.

100 For example, AGEM, RP, 1857, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 144–159. “Expediente contra Maria Pilar Palma…”

101 AGEM, RP, 1858, Infanticidio, Tomo III, Fols: 191–215. “Expediente contra Carmen Peña…”

102 AGEM, RP, 1849, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 71–82. “Expediente contra María de la Cruz Rivas…”

103 AGEM, RP, 1847, Infanticidio, Tomo II, Fols: 19–34. “Expediente contra Maria de Jesús Zerpa…” Quote from f31.

104 See Méndez, Luis Alberto Ramírez, “Los amantes consensuales en Mérida colonial,” Procesos Históricos. Revista de Historia y Ciencias Sociales 1 (2002): 145–66Google Scholar.

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