Families in War and Peace

Chile from Colony to Nation

Families in War and Peace

Book Pages: 304 Illustrations: 14 illustrations Published: May 2015

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, History > Latin American History, Latin American Studies > Southern Cone

In Families in War and Peace Sarah C. Chambers places gender analysis and family politics at the center of Chile's struggle for independence and its subsequent state building. Linking the experiences of both prominent and more humble families to Chile's political and legal history, Chambers argues that matters such as marriage, custody, bloodlines, and inheritance were crucial to Chile's transition from colony to nation. She shows how men and women extended their familial roles to mobilize kin networks for political ends, both during and after the Chilean revolution. From the conflict's end in 1823 until the 1850s, the state adopted the rhetoric of paternal responsibility along with patriarchal authority, which became central to the state building process. Chilean authorities, Chambers argues, garnered legitimacy by enacting or enforcing paternalist laws on property restitution, military pensions, and family maintenance allowances, all of which provided for diverse groups of Chileans. By acting as the fathers of the nation, they aimed to reconcile the "greater Chilean family" and form a stable government and society.


"This is a richly documented study, detailed in its findings and replete with narratives drawn from personal correspondence and thus closely grounded in the human side of violent conflict." — Mark D. Szuchman, Hispanic American Historical Review

"In Families in War and Peace, Sarah C. Chambers offers an insightful analysis of the intricate connections between the Chilean state and the family during independence and the following period.... This book is a solid work of scholarship and a welcome addition to the literature of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Latin America. — Guiomar Duenas Vargas, American Historical Review

"Sarah Chambers . . . has produced another excellent monograph on Spanish America’s transition from colonialism to independence and its highly conflictive process of state-building. . . . [I]t offers an unequalled examination of family law as it developed in Chile during the first half of the nineteenth century." — Joanna Crow, Journal of Latin American Studies

"Families in War and Peace will serve as the foundational text for studies on national family policy in Chile during the nineteenth century. The cases of political reintegration that Chambers has examined in the case of Chile have broader implications for other growing areas of scholarship, such as the transformation of property rights, the increasing use of pardons and amnesty, and the general decline in wartime confiscations in the Americas. The author has assembled an impressive collection of evidence to reconstruct the lives of numerous Chilean families struggling to survive the instability of the early nineteenth century. These stories stretch across the Atlantic world. The family secrets of the Carreras laid bare in these pages make it a fascinating book and an essential contribution to family history." — Jesse Hingson, Journal of Family History

"Families in War and Peace provides an intriguing, exhaustive, and analytically rigorous account of the tumult of independence and the early republican era." — Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt, EIAL

Families in War and Peace represents an excellent contribution to the history of Latin America in general and the history of Chile in particular.” — Sarah Walsh, The Latin Americanist

“A fascinating narrative.” — Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee, Canadian Journal of History

"Where many historians of Enlightenment-era revolutions note the central metaphor of 'family' in political struggles, Sarah C. Chambers looks at actual families and actual family policies where those ideals played out. Her careful attention to policy struggles over sequestered property, widow and orphan pensions, and custody in the decades immediately following Chile's independence provides an overwhelming sense of the importance of family politics to state-formation."
— Heidi Tinsman, author of Buying into the Regime: Grapes and Consumption in Cold War Chile and the United States

"Families in War and Peace is a highly original and engaging account of a formative period in Chilean history. Sarah C. Chambers does not simply assert but illustrates with rich social texture that the politics of independence and nation-state formation are also a politics of family. In so doing, she excavates the origins of a longstanding pattern in Chilean political history. Family metaphors are a familiar dimension of the Atlantic revolutions. Chambers's engaging study of Chile shows that these metaphors were not mere rhetoric: they provide insight into the course of war and reconciliation as well as into the state and society that emerged out of the conflagration." — Nara B. Milanich, author of Children of Fate: Childhood, Class, and the State in Chile, 1850–1930


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sarah C. Chambers is Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of From Subjects to Citizens: Honor, Gender and Politics in Arequipa, Peru, 1780-1854.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part I. Families at War

1. Kin Mobilized for War: The Carrera Family Drama, 1810–1824 25

2. Reconquest and War to the Death: Patriot and Royalist Families Face Sanctions and Separation 62

3. Émigrés, Refugees, and Property Seizures: Chilean Officials in the Role of Family Providers 91

Part II. Reconciling the National Family

4. Constituting the Greater Chilean Family: Nation-State Formation and the Restitution of Property 125

5. Protecting Soldiers' Patrimony: Expanding Pension Eligibility for Widows and Orphans 155

6. Enforcing Paternal Responsibilities: Legal Disputes over Family Maintenance and Custody 182

Conclusion 213

Appendix: Chronology of Events in Chile 225

Notes 229

Bibliography 267

Index  277
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5883-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5898-5
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