In the nineteenth century, Mexicans faced the challenge of constructing republican legal institutions in a society shaped by centuries of colonial rule. This talk examines how people met that challenge in towns and in hacienda (agricultural estate) settlements. It also looks at attempts by hacienda residents to transform their settlements on privately-owned land into towns with their attendant public institutions. More broadly, the talk analyzes in what circumstances the creation of legal rule in nineteenth-century Mexico was successful and in what circumstances it failed.
Timo Schaefer is a historian of Mexican legal culture who currently teaches at Brandeis University and Boston University. His Ph.D. dissertation won the 2015 Esther L. Kinsley Ph.D. Dissertation Award from Indiana University and the 2015 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Fine Arts from the Council of Graduate Schools. Schaefer is the author of Liberalism as Utopia: The Rise and Fall of Legal Rule in Post-Colonial Mexico, 1820-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and of articles that have appeared in the Hispanic American Historical Review, Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos, Journal of Social History, andThird World Quarterly.