Defining responsibility: Printers, politics, and the law in early Republican Mexico City

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article explores how printers and their collaborators shaped the implementation and interpretation of freedom of the press laws in early republican Mexico City. Far from passive reproducers of texts written by elites, printers and other behind-the-scenes actors facilitated republican politics by navigating legal categories such as responsibility and authorship that were defined by liberal law yet under debate and unevenly enforced. Focusing on the production, dissemination, and fallout over a controversial 1840 promonarchist pamphlet written by the Yucatecan senator José Mariá Gutiérrez Estrada, the article uncovers a trio of collaborators, especially the young "printer citizen" Ignacio Cumplido, who undermined official efforts to consolidate state authority over political speech and deployed high-minded liberal principles as political strategy. By shifting focus from the pamphlet's well-reasoned arguments to its places of production, reception, and regulation, the article provides insight into how freedom of the press was implemented, manipulated, and debated on the ground.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-222
Number of pages34
JournalHAHR - Hispanic American Historical Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


Dive into the research topics of 'Defining responsibility: Printers, politics, and the law in early Republican Mexico City'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this