Cover

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Frontmatter

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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p. vii

Illustration and Tables

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p. ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiii

Many people participated in the development of this project at different stages and levels. To them, for their solidarity as I wrote a dissertation and then transformed it into a book, I want to express my gratitude. At the University of Minnesota,my academic adviser, Robert McCaa, was a constant source of support and encouragement then and throughout my ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-20

... men. Even though the language they used and their views of their conflicts changed in form with the differing times in which they lived, the three women shared a wish for a more egalitarian and dignified domestic relationship with their male partners. Juana Feliciana, like other plebeian women in the late colonial period, upheld a vision of marriage in which ...

Part 1: The Late Colonial Period

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1. A Caracas for the Mantuanos, 1700-1811

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pp. 23-59

In the early years of the eighteenth century, creole elites still enjoyed social, economic, and political authority in the Province of Venezuela. The creole elites consisted of a group of whites with family lineages that had long enjoyed privileged status in the colony. As they liked to say, they were the "families that conquered and populated the province with their ...

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2. Law and Its Operation

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pp. 60-91

Elite men perceived the activity of the courts regarding women and slaves as an additional assault on their privileged position in Caracas society. A look at how the Spanish state intruded into mantuanos' private sphere adds understanding of another important dimension of the independence period and of another critical grievance that some men had ...

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3. Women and Men at the Tribunals

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pp. 92-104

Even though the state and church supported a hierarchical society, this did not prevent close contact among the sexes, races, and classes of Caracas. At the level of the household, many people often slept in the same room, including slaves and the free.2 In his diary of the pastoral visit to the province of Venezuela between 1771 and 1784, Bishop Mariano ...

Part 2: The Early Republic

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4. A Nation for the Landowners

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pp. 107-131

The great Bolivarian dream of unity was short-lived and ended abruptly in 1830 with the dissolution of the political entity into three independent states: Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. By then a general consensus existed among the Venezuelan landowning, merchant, and lettered male elites about the need to promote social peace, to reactivate the devastated economy, and most importantly, to protect ...

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5. Equality before the Law

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pp. 132-149

Along the lines of the gendered discourse and interaction among the ruling elites, the legal environment of the new republic framed women's lives within the domestic sphere. This recipe for elite patriarchal order also dictated that labor be controlled and disciplined and private property protected through harsher punishments.While the ...

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6. Ciudadanas versus Padres de Familia

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pp. 150-169

Although the legal framework in Venezuela maintained and reaffirmed the powers of male heads from the late colonial period through the early nineteenth century, there were limits to men's power over women during the latter period as well. Adult women had outnumbered men in the capital city of Caracas since the late eighteenth ...

Part 3: The Late Nineteenth Century

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7. Bourgeois Caracas, 1870-1888

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pp. 173-189

In 1863 Adolph Ernst began his lessons on natural science based on positivist thinking at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and with him the first generation of positivists was formed in Venezuela. One of Ernst's disciples, Rafael Villavicencio, quickly applied positivism to analyze his country's recent past. At an 1869 lecture at the university he stated: ...

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8. Women, Order, and Progress

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pp. 190-212

Antonio Guzmán Blanco's rise to power in 1870 inaugurated the era of "order and progress" in Venezuelan politics. Stressing that a country's progress depended on attaining social and political stability, Guzmán Blanco set out to undo decades of economic havoc, political insecurity, and endemic civil strife.Historians have skillfully researched the ...

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9. Contesting Gender Meanings from Below

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pp. 213-234

María Teresa Belsinger's repeated appeals to the courts illustrate how women attempted to force men and the state to respond to the contradictions between the laws of Venezuela and a hegemonic project that valorized women's place in the domestic sphere. In a claim lodged by María Teresa Belsinger, she contested the Supreme Court's ...

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10. Conclusion

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pp. 235-242

Women's growing participation in the courts over the course of a century rendered some concrete results. Their mounting presence at the tribunals was noticed and considered in the political debates of the early twentieth century. In 1904 a divorce law that allowed the parties to remarry was approved in Venezuela. It was among the first divorce ...

Notes

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pp. 243-308

Bibliography

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pp. 309-328

Index

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pp. 329-335