Women's rights and annexation

On a couple of occasions, my wife has mentioned how, in Mexican occupied territories in North America, women enjoyed more freedoms under the Mexican government vs the American government after these territories were annexed/purchased.

I’m rather skeptical. Most of these areas were sparsely populated, so the influence of culture and different laws post-annexation would probably have little, if any effect. Is there any truth to this?

It’s generally true. For instance, under Mexican law in the early 19th century, married women could own property and control their own property, while American women didn’t start getting that right in general until the 1850s-1860s.

Here’s the Texas State Historical Association’s encyclopedia talking about women’s rights in Texas, and looking, among other things, how Mexican law and tradition led to post-independence Texas women having more legal rights than in Anglo states:


It was true for other minorities, too.

After all, the state of Texas broke away from Mexico and became an independent republic because Mexico outlawed slavery.
Later, Texas joined the US after Congress passed laws to ensure that southern states could retain slavery.

That’s fascinating. I wonder how many women got screwed over in the change of administration; ie owned a cantina or hacienda that they inherited from dad/late husband, land gets annexed by US govt, courts no longer recognize legal ownership?

This came up when we were discussing women’s rights. I asked my wife why she seemed to care more about racial discrimination than sexism (since sexism/gender issues affect a greater percentage of people). She said that where her family is from in Mexico, women always had a lot of clout in both family and business matters. While it still wasn’t fully equal, it was surprisingly close.

Does this mean that Spanish civil law didn’t go back to the Roman code? When I moved to Quebec in 1968, whose civil law was based on the Roman code, a friend told me that in order for his wife to order some furniture, he had to sign the contract twice, his first signature to permit her to make the order and the second permitting her to sign the contract. Needless to say, the idea of a woman having her own credit card was absurd.

The wheel has turned to the extent that a woman cannot now adopt her husband’s name, even if she wants to.

Spanish law is based on Roman Law to the same extent most civil law is/was, but lots of stuff evolves over time.

Here’s a nice little read:


That is indeed a fascinating article. I learned a lot that I didn’t know. Thank you for posting it.

Not true, women in Quebec are free to take their husband’s name (& vice versa); they just have to go through the exact same process everyone else does if they want to change their name, no freebies just 'cause they got married.