marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
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marycatelli

To Love, Honor, and Obey In Colonial Mexico

To Love, Honor, and Obey In Colonial Mexico:  Conflicts over Marriage Choice, 1574-1821 by Patricia Seed

Tracing alternations in beliefs, practices, and legal apparatus over this era. . . in the early part of the era, Spain had conformed its laws to Catholic canon law, that parental consent was not required.  (Only England also allowed this.)  When parents tried to interfere, church officials -- with the support of the marrying couples' relatives and neighbors -- could intervene.  They could marry the couple secretly, they could put them in protective custody so they could have a few days to get over their fear and reveal their true intentions.  Young lovers spoke of how they willed to marry each other, not of how they loved.  Honor was a matter of keeping one's word, and covering up the weakness of a woman who yielded to her lover.  Inter-racial marriages (at least those on record as being a source of conflict) were a matter of a Spanish man marrying his black or Indian mistress of many years, often after having many children.  All Spaniards were effectively nobles, exempt from the poll tax

Then things changed.  To remove the children from their parents' control, the church officials used the royal officials.  The royal officials start to demand that they ask for it.  This slowed down the process, and made them more reluctant to ask, conserving their requests for dire cases such as removing priests who had refused to stop saying Mass.  The young people themselves started to disavow their oaths.  This played into the hands of controlling parents, who argued that the children were making foolish judgment and needed their parents' prudent guidance -- or rather, their fathers', because while interference had come equally from both parents earlier, as the time went on, men interfered with their children far more than women did.  Honor came to be viewed as status and position. Interracial marriages also expanded greatly, and started to have Spanish women marrying black, Indian or casta (mixed race) men.

An intriguing tracing of the changes, from a complete support for freedom to marry, to a heavily parentally controlled system.
Tags: ethos, families: matrimony, families: parent/child, world-building: law, world-building: social classes
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