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Families of most military officers depended upon salaries rather than property, and chapter 5 argues that the petitions filed by families of those who had given their lives for the nation resulted in a significant expansion of the military pension system. Facing chronic budget shortfalls and strictly interpreting eligibility laws, treasury officials rejected many applications, but the impression that the state was abandoning the widows and orphans of national heroes was politically untenable for presidents and legislators. In addition to preserving Spanish regulations that granted pensions to widows and orphans of officers who married with prior permission at the rank of captain or higher, reforms extended eligibility to dependents of officers who served a minimum of ten years and reached at least the rank of second lieutenant. During periods of political reconciliation, moreover, presidents granted pensions to the dependents of defeated rivals in order to reunite the “greater Chilean family.”

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