In a postcolonial nation convinced that familial peace was a cornerstone to an orderly society, women who committed adultery effectively cuckolded national leaders as well as their husbands. That men risked their reputations by admitting to their wives' extramarital affairs in court suggests that much was at stake in female dalliances. Plaintiffs' pardons and judges' reluctance to rule demonstrate women's crucial contributions to households via income and labor. Since men's infidelity threatened their families' daily survival, women who initiated adultery litigation generally did so in response to husbands' financial neglect. More than emotion or honor, economic concerns shaped marital relations and the repercussions of infidelity among the poor and working classes. Understanding the extent to which adulterers and scorned spouses influenced gender relations, moral economies, and nation building during the reign of dictator Manuel Estrada Cabrera sheds light on women's plight and contributions in modern Guatemala and on the entwinement of gender, sexuality, family, politics, and economics.

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