Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Pilar Jacqueline Farr L&S Arts & Humanities

Las Hijuelas: Examining Early 19th-c. Indigenous Histories of Mexico

In 1856, the Lerdo Law took effect in Mexico, signifying a future in which liberalism would be the preeminent political philosophy to govern Mexico. Most historians of Mexican history point to this era (La Reforma) and its landmark Law (Ley Lerdo) as the first instance of land reform in the Republic. The Law privatized lands owned by corporations and not individuals, which meant that Church lands and Indigenous lands were the primary victims of the Lerdo Law. The Hijeulas project that I would pursue contests the idea that land reforms of this nature in Mexico did not exist prior to La Reforma and the Ley Lerdo. In fact, nearly 30-40 years before the Lerdo Law, state governments such as Michoacan legislated land reforms to allow and encourage the privatization of indigenous communal lands. These records document the struggles of the indigenous Purepécha people against infringement on their property by neighboring haciendas or other parties and reveal the reasons why some indigenous communities chose to sell their land, while others fought for their right to keep it, with the help of lawyers who rarely had indigenous backgrounds themselves.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much to my donor for supporting my project! This would not have been possible without this funding, and I would not have been able to give the proper care and attention to these endangered documents. I am very grateful for this opportunity to be able to travel to my second home and do research that I love and am passionate about.
Major: History and Legal Studies
Mentor: Margaret Chowning
Sponsor: Fruewirth Fund
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