Families in War and Peace: Chile from Colony to Nation
Constituting the Greater Chilean Family: Nation-State Formation and the Restitution of Property
Based on lawsuits and legislative debates, chapter 4 analyzes policies regarding the properties that had been seized during wartime as these evolved after independence during nation-state building. From 1823 to 1829, using the rhetoric of family, legislators hotly debated the respective rights of Chileans who had rented or purchased those properties and émigrés who returned to reclaim their property. The liberal Congress was on the verge of passing principles to guide lawsuits over sequestered property when the government was overthrown. Conservative presidents after 1830 prioritized consolidating the national debt and regularizing diplomatic relations with Spain, in order to encourage economic investment and development. Both efforts depended upon resolving disputes over sequestered assets; only in 1853 was a definitive law passed that recognized as part of the national debt almost all claims arising from sequestered property, whether filed by the original owners or more likely by their Chilean-born heirs.