History Professor and LACLxS Co-chair Casey Marina Lurtz wins the Anne Flemming Article Prize 2022.
The American Society for Legal History (ASLH) selected Prof. Lurtz’s article, “Codifying Credit: Everyday Contracting and the Spread of the Civil Code in Nineteenth-Century Mexico,” Law and History Review 39, no. 1 (2021): 97-133. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0738248020000358
Between the 1870s and the 1910s, municipal court officials in southernmost Mexico recorded contracts regarding small debts and credits in what they labeled libros de conocimientos. While only very rarely citing Mexico’s new civil codes of the 1870s and 1880s, the contracts contained in these registers regularly engaged with the kinds of agreements, guarantees, and enforcement mechanisms laid out in the code. They also capture an active, if still elusive, quotidian credit market for the far from well-to-do. This article uses these registers to trace the creation and evolution of Mexico’s civil code from the periphery of the country rather than its center. By looking at the ways farmers, smalltime merchants, housewives, and laborers made use of its forms and norms, we can see how liberal economic policy permeated society through use. The determination of everyday people to make good on the protections and possibilities of liberalized fiscal policy cemented that policy in everyday practice.
Here are further details on the Prize: