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Title: "Monstrous and Illegal Proceedings:" Law, Sovereignty and Revolution in the Río de la Plata Borderlands, 1810-1880
Authors: Younger, Joseph Patrick
Advisors: Adelman, Jeremy I
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Argentina
Subjects: History
Latin American history
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation explores the history of the Río de la Plata borderlands over the course of the 19th century as the region underwent a violent transformation from imperial periphery to part of a regional, export-oriented state system. It focuses on the contested grounds in the eastern half of the Río de la Plata drainage along the Uruguay River. It begins by examining the region's dissent into revolutionary violence at the beginning of the 19th century. The collapse of imperial authority on the Iberian Peninsula tore apart the foundations of the old colonial order in the borderlands. Sovereign frictions then combined with revolutionary state projects in the periphery to preclude new national structures from emerging. While acknowledging these violent conflicts, this dissertation is fundamentally a story about the law. It explores the institutional and legal structures that peripheral inhabitants developed in order to survive in their violent world. This dissertation argues that the region's residents developed a set of legal practices - borderlands legalities - that were uniquely suited to the conditions they encountered in their contested ground. These practices drew upon elements of local autonomy that had arisen in the initial revolutionary upheavals against the Spanish empire. They also tapped into traditional concepts like vecindad to express notions of personal standing in the community. Traders and landowners used these local building blocks to develop dense webs of connections that sustained commerce along the region's rivertine trading arteries. This dissertation argues that these alternative legalities proved surprisingly durable. With their political and economic relationships rooted in systems premised on cross-border trade and local legal practices, borderlands inhabitants jealously guarded their autonomy from the efforts of elites in putative national capitals to erect boundaries and police their world. It was only in the final third of the 19th century that governments in the region developed sufficient strength to compel allegiance from their peripheries. Even then, borderlands courts remained critical sites where prickly questions regarding the nation and its peripheries were negotiated. By using the courts, the inhabitants of national peripheries retained their power to define their personal allegiances and political associations.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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