This chapter uses criminal cases, legal codes, and newspaper coverage to track Mexicans’ changing attitudes toward the crime of infanticide from the colonial period through the nineteenth century. While rarely denounced during the colonial era, when those convicted of infanticide would theoretically be sentenced with the death penalty, denunciations for the crime skyrocketed at the close of the nineteenth century at the same time as sentences were reduced to imprisonment. This chapter argues that the rise in denunciations reflects a change in popular conceptions of maternity and of female honor rather than merely a shift in the Porfirian state’s increased vigilance about policing the criminal acts of Mexican society’s lower orders. Although conviction rates also rose in later periods, Mexican justices most often absolved those suspected of the crime due to insufficient evidence.
North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.