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Title: "El Amparo de la Ley": Hispanas' Use of Spanish Mexican and Anglo American Law in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, 1848-1912
Author: Archer, Carol
Advisor: Jameson, Elizabeth
Keywords: Hispanic American Studies
Issue Date: 7-Jan-2015
Abstract: Following the conclusion of the Mexican American War of 1846-1848, and the acquisition of nearly one-half of Mexican territory, the United States replaced Spanish civil law with judicial procedures based on English common law in both New Mexico and Colorado Territories. New Mexico retained a community property system which ensured more property rights for women than the common law. However, based on the legal records of Rio Arriba County in New Mexico and Conejos and Costilla counties in Colorado, it is evident that Hispanas in both territories exercised customary inheritance practices, marital customs, and selective use of the law long after conquest. Changes in land title and taxation procedures, increased numbers of European Americans, especially in southern Colorado, and differing social attitudes affected the status of Hispanas. Cultural identity remained firm but new legal practices and power imbalances led to tremendous property loss.
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