Primary Source

José Antonio Juárez, "Petition for Permission to Marry," May 15th, 1830, Children and Youth in History.


Children frequently turned to the courts in seeking greater independence from their parents, especially in matters related to marriage choice. Dozens of petitions asking the state for permission to marry were filed at a time when the state was attempting to socialize young people as citizens of the new nation-state and patriarchy was in decline.

In this document, José Antonio Juárez petitioned a judge for permission to marry Candelaria Portillo. Argentine law legally defined "manhood" at age 25, after which males were allowed to marry without permission from their parents, but Juárez had to prove that he was actually 25. An exception was made if the parents were deceased. Young people had to collect evidence, affidavits, and eyewitnesses to prove either case. Although many lost their legal battles, these experiences likely helped young people in 19th-century Argentina develop a sense of rights and entitlement.

This document also raises the issue of race. José Antonio was a pardo, a term that described someone who was a free, mixed race person. Candelaria, his fiancé, was a slave, and they had to ask permission of her owner. This couple challenged various types of social restrictions.

This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.


José Antonio Juárez requests the court's permission to marry Candelaria Portillo. In Buenos Aires on May 15th, 1830, presented before the Señor President of the Tribunal of Justice is José Antonio Juarez, native of Corrientes, son of Martín Juarez, of Pardo status, and of Manuela Antonia Bentis, Indian, and both parents deceased, and said that he aspires to contract a marriage with Candelaria Portillo, slave of Don Juan Antonio Carmona, who lives in the neighborhood of the residence in this city.

[He is] requesting through the Señor Provisor judicial license in a manner showing that he is older than 25, that he does not have living parents nor kin (relatives) in this city where he has been raised since he was a very young child, that there is a difference of status [between the two], [and] that his expected wife is a slave. In consequence of this request, it will happen that within four days, I will present witnesses which they know and to whom are certain to testify about their deceased parents and of the condition that she has shown. . . Fernando Baez Escobar.


Archivo Histórico de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, 7-5-14-4. Translated and annotated by Jesse Hingson.

How to Cite This Source

"José Antonio Juárez, "Petition for Permission to Marry," May 15th, 1830, Children and Youth in History.," in World History Commons, [accessed December 8, 2023]