Meticulously and convincingly argued, this book seeks to address why litigiousness in six regions of the Spanish empire increased in the eighteenth century. It is well known that the period referred to as the Enlightenment saw an uptick in the number of men pursuing a legal profession, but it is less well known that ordinary and often illiterate litigants increasingly and successfully took to the law by challenging domestic and community authorities before royal judges. Rather than relying on the tracts of the French philosophes as our guide to the Enlightenment, Premo argues that we should heed the voices of litigious African and creole slaves in Trujillo (Peru), indigenous women in two districts of Oaxaca (New Spain), and disgruntled married women seeking recompense from brutish husbands in the viceregal capitals. Premo claims that in the rural and urban arenas of Spanish America,...

You do not currently have access to this content.