I love when…

…historians oh-so-subtlely contradict themselves. For example, in one chapter, the author suggests that dowries were no longer focused on helping the couple to set up shop on thier own, citing the decline in useful, tool-like items that could be used to help the couple subsist. In the next chapter, however, the author suggests that the dowry was still very much about property. What is property if not a way to subsistance? And why don’t I get any dowry inventories? I don’t care if only 2% of dowries in eighteenth-century São Paulo included a townhouse, as opposed to 40% of dowries in the seventeenth century. This doesn’t tell me anything if I don’t know what the other 98/60% of dowries were like. I know they had townhouses, but did they tend to include things that might take the place of a townhouse? Did those families have a townhouse to give?

That’s all. I know I shouldn’t complain if this is the worst of my complaints.

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