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The Enlightenment on Trial - Ordinary Litigants and Colonialism in the Spanish Empire | Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Enlightenment on Trial: Ordinary Litigants and Colonialism in the Spanish Empire

Bianca Premo


This book demonstrates that ordinary, often illiterate colonial subjects of the Spanish empire were among the Enlightenment’s most adept practitioners. Broadly situated within postcolonial debates about the Enlightenment and modernity, it employs approaches from comparative social science, intellectual history, and legal history to demonstrate that, at end of the 1700s, colonial Spanish Americans began to sue one another with a zeal unseen on the peninsula. Part I examines how and how many lawsuits were generated in the empire. It analyzes civil litigation rates in six areas of Mexico, Peru, a ... More

Keywords: Enlightenment, law, comparative history, natural rights, slaves, gender, native people, Mexico, Peru, Spain

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780190638726
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190638726.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Bianca Premo, author
Associate Professor of History, Florida International University