The History of Juridical Institutions in California and the Other Southwestern States
HISTORIA DE LAS INSTITUCIONES JURÍDICAS DE LOS ESTADOS DE LA REPÚLICA MEXICANA, Honorable Senado de Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, ed., Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, UNAM (2010).
18 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2009 Last revised: 12 Jan 2019
This article, one of a series commissioned by the Senate of Mexico on the legal histories of the Mexican states, focuses on the northwestern Mexican provinces and their American successor jurisdictions in the area annexed by the United States via the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The study challenges the idea that the Treaty marked a sharp dividing line between pre- and post-conquest legal institutions and doctrine. In the period prior to the U.S. takeover, the remote territories of California and New Mexico developed local courts and legal communities based on the ideology of decentralization that characterized early nineteenth-century Mexican federalism. Under American rule, the redrawn political units in the area, ultimately states, preserved some specific features of Mexican law, such as community property, landholding requirements, and the prohibition of slavery. Further, the new U.S. states’ constitutions, codes, and jurisprudence maintained a decentralized federalist structure by emphasizing independent doctrinal grounds for judicial decision-making. This incorporation of Mexican principles and the development of semi-autonomous doctrine have positive implications for trans-border cooperation and legal convergence at the state level.
Note: The downloadable document is in Spanish.
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