Honorable Lives is an important addition to our knowledge of elite behavior in Latin America. Uribe-Uran's work creates a vital connection between group biography and local politics, giving us a social history of late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Colombian politics. By highlighting both lawyers' political actions and the consequences of those actions in the crucial transition period from colony to nation, Uribe-Uran makes a wonderful contribution to our understanding of the process of nineteenth-century modernization.
The first work in English to discuss the social and political history of lawyers in a Latin American country, Honorable Lives presents a portrait of lawyers in late colonial and early modern Colombia. Uribe-Uran focuses on the social origins, education, and careers of those qualified to practice law before the highest colonial courts—Audiencias—and the republican courts after the 1820s. In the course of his study, Uribe-Uran answers many questions about this elite group of professionals. What were the social origins and families of lawyers? Their relation to the state? Their participation in political movements and parties, revolutions, civil wars, and other political processes? Their ideas, education, and training? By exploring the lives of lawyers, Uribe-Uran is also able to present a general history of Latin America while examining the key social and political changes and continuities from 1780 to 1850—particularly the elites and state managers.
Honorable Lives features three genealogical charts detailing bureaucratic networks established by families of lawyers in different historical periods. The text also contains an abundant series of statistical tables and charts, and concise biographical information on approximately 150 Latin American lawyers. This book will appeal to Latin Americanists, students of law, and anyone interested in the lives and histories of lawyers.
Victor Uribe-Uran has written an important book about Colombia in the middle period. On one level it provides an understanding of lawyers, their education, and careers in the late colonial and early republican periods (1780-1850). More broadly, it offers a challenging interpretation of Colombian politics that explains political patterns in the early republican period in terms of family status inherited from the late colonial years. While I do not completely agree with every aspect of the interpretation, I have learned much from Uribe's study. It offers a construction of history that everyone interested in Spanish America in the middle period will profit from reading and pondering.
Colombian specialists, regardless of their discipline, will find much to ponder in this reinterpretation of Colombian history, but because Uribe-Uran has placed his data in a comparative framework, professors and graduate students who study the colonial and postcolonial history of other Latin American countries will benefit as well. A monumental book!
In this work Uribe-Uran looks at familiar data in new ways as well as uncovering much fascinating new data and tying them all together in a refreshingly original interpretation. We have here a major addition to the literature on Colombian history—and specialists in other Latin American nations can profit from reading it too.
This admirable study of Colombian lawyers and their institutions in the late-colonial and early-republican periods challenges the notion that the chaotic hisory of the period was completely dominated by rogue caudillos engaged in an endless struggle for power. . . . [I]t adds greatly to our understanding of the role of lawyers in the important transitional events between colony and independence.
Essential reading for anyone interested in what Uribe-Uran defines as a distinct period, 1780-1850, in Spanish-American history.
Victor Uribe-Uran has penned an important book that crosses the "Independence divide," an oft-recommended passage, but one that few scholars are bold enough to take...By focusing upon the social, regional, and political activities of this citical social section, Uribe-Uran makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Colombia's early national political clutue and the importance of lawyers throughout Latin America...a gold mine of genealogical and familial information.
" . . . offers a fresh perspective on Colombia's transition from colony to republic. . . . It makes an important congribution to the historiography of early republican Colombia, and, with its stress on urban centers and civil society, it offers a healthy counterweight to interpretations that have emphasized the law of force rather than the force of law. It thus enriches our general understanding of the processes of independence and stabe building and will be welcomed by all those interested in the social and political history of Latin America during this period.