By Gabriel Haslip-Viera
Younger, negative women and men migrated from the nation-state and swelled the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed in Mexico urban in the course of the eighteenth century. With this quick development in inhabitants got here a rise in highway crime, thefts, attacks, and murders, in addition to ethical crimes, prostitution, adultery, and vagrancy. those transgressions supplied a gentle circulate of inmates to the city's six jails. This pioneering social background of crime and punishment in past due colonial Latin the United States plunges us at once into the lifestyle and stories of its lawbreakers. ladies usually represented 30 percentage of all criminals, and by means of the eighteenth century challenge for his or her welfare ended in Mexico City's first makes an attempt at rehabilitation. This Enlightenment-era test in social re-education took the shape of putting ladies in separate amenities or in deepest houses to function maids to "respectable" households, which frequently amounted to little greater than exploitation of unpaid employees. For males, reformatory was once a way-station through critical corporal punishment after which years of pressured exertions. Many male criminals have been assigned to scrub rubbish-filled streets and open canals of Mexico urban. Others went into factories, mines, or army provider. All have been expendable and regularly died ahead of finishing their time period of confinement.
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Extra resources for Crime and Punishment in Late Colonial Mexico City, 1692-1810
However, there was no doubt that the most fabulous mansion in Mexico City was that of the Marqueses de Jaral. The first Marqués purchased a convent on the Calle de San Francisco and, for 100,000 pesos, converted the structure into a replica of the Royal Palace of Palermo. The facade of this magnificent structure was decorated with wrought-iron balconies and sculptural decor in the Churrigueresque style, and served as Agustín de Iturbide's royal palace, when he became emperor of Mexico in 1821. 9 The sumptuousness of the private residences, often decorated with imported French furniture and Chinese porcelains, were matched by the opulence of the properties owned by secular clergy and the religious orders.
Archival source materials were most frequently used in discussing the nature of urban crimi- Page 4 nality. Trial procedures, government correspondence, police records, and institutional and notarial records provided invaluable information on lawbreakers, judges, lawyers, prosecutors, jail keepers, and the constabulary. They also provided case histories that are used to support ideas and concepts advanced in the contemporary literature on crime. All of the statistical information presented in this study was based on data obtained from eighteenth-century institutional documents and police records.
Contemporary descriptions of the city were strongly motivated by personal, political, and emotional considerations and were rarely written in a balanced or impartial manner. Observers were inclined either to celebrate the comforts and the beauty to be enjoyed or to denounce the city as a social and environmental disaster not fit for human habitation. In 1777, Juan de Viera, the administrator of accounts for the Colegio de San Pedro y San Pablo, described Mexico City in this manner: Its buildings are magnificent and opulent, its houses are quite large, beautiful and comfortable.
Crime and Punishment in Late Colonial Mexico City, 1692-1810 by Gabriel Haslip-Viera