The legal system

Once the Anglos took over the government for the Republic of Texas, they changed the legal system to English common law instead of the Spanish legal system that had been ruling the area for years. The Spanish system valued women to be almost as equal as men. However, in the English system married women had no rights at all. According to English law, “a married woman could not make a contract, could not own property, could not write a will, could sue or be sued, could not even fight for the custody of her own children because she did not have a legal identity separate from that of her husband.” In Spanish law, women could do all of these things. Fortunately, some of the Spanish system was brought back when the statehood constitution was written in 1845. Tejano women suffered the most from the change in legal system. By the time some of the Spanish system came back, most of the Tejano women had lost all of their land to violence or fraud.

The information above is taken from the book “Women and the Texas Revolution,” edited by Mary L. Sheer and chapter written by Jean A. Stuntz. The picture is taken from the book and is originally from the Library at Southern Methodist University.