State University of New York at Stony Brook
Prepared for delivery at the 2000 meeting of the Latin American Studies Association, Miami, March 16-18, 2000
Between 1861 and 1875, Ecuador was dominated by the national vision and political will of Gabriel Garcia Moreno, Latin America's most notorious Catholic caudillo. (1)1 In his inaugural address in 1861, Garcia Moreno articulated a programme that he promised would "launch Ecuador with a vigorous hand on the path to prosperity." In fine progressive style, he promised to construct "vias of communication to foster industry, commerce and agriculture"; to reorganize the public treasury; to combat militarism and professionalize the armed forces; to encourage the value of hard work; and establish a strong nation state. (22
At the center of this imagined development, however, was an unprecedented recognition of Church and religion as valuable and necessary national resources. Garcia Moreno viewed Catholicism as "the only remaining bond" in a country "so divided by the interests and passions of parties, regions, and races," and deemed it to be the fundamental basis for citizenship. Thus, civil authorities would be obligated to protect the prerogatives of the Church--putting that "political institutions in harmony with...religious beliefs." (3) His "Catholic modernization" programme was premised on the belief that true progress could only be founded on the achievement of spiritual betterment and moral superiority. At base, his nation-building project entailed a cultural revolution that sought to construct an "empire of morality" within Ecuador's borders. Captained by a reformed clergy, the country was to be "moralized" through a "solidly religious" education campaign and the "energetic and efficacious repression" of vice. (4)4 This paper studies the attempt of the Garcia Moreno government to implement a state-centered national identity around the notion of "pueblo cristiano" --a thoroughly Catholic citizenry. It addresses how state efforts at "ideological consolidation" functioned simultaneously as a process of "institutional development"--that is, the formation of the state's infrastructural power.5 Specifically, it focuses on the central government's efforts after 1869 to centrally co-ordinate the institutions of municipio (municipal government) and the Church and put them to work for "national" ends.. Finally, it explores the achievements and limits of this model for strengthening state power and disseminating state-centered meanings of citizenship and progress.
Garcia Moreno's version of evangelical modernity had clear long-term goals of creating a national infrastructure capable of unifying a territory sharply divided along ethnic, class and regional lines. Thus, Garcia Moreno focused on increasing the state's "infrastructural power," particularly through extending literacy--enabling the transmission, codification and storage of stabilized information--and improving the communication of messages and of transportation of people and resources.6 The garcianista administrations channeled enormous capital and human resources into improving and extending both its basic schooling and transportation networks throughout the national territory. Indeed, the most conspicuous state achievements of the period were in the areas of education--the initiation of a national primary education system; and public works--the multiplication and modernization of the republic's infrastructure of roads, highways and rail lines. While on both scores these projects came up well short in establishing their ultimate goals of unifying the nation, they did set the groundwork for subsequent nation-building enterprises under central state initiative.
Garcia Moreno, however, was not willing to wait until such modern state infrastructures were in place to disseminate his evangelical message. In the interim, he endeavored to re-establish "public morality" and "Catholic worship" as core national values. This began in 1861, but centralized policies were frustrated by a highly federalist political regime.7 It was only after 1869, backed by the Catholic and authoritarian Constitution of the same year, that the central government forcefully implemented a politics of moralization--specifically: the promotion of worship, the eradication of drinking, the extirpation of pagan festivities and the regulation of sexuality. Through an assemblage of laws, codes and ordinances, government increasingly engaged in the detection and management of vice, immorality and irreligiousity.8 Critical to the administration of both these immediate civilizing initiatives and the infrastructural improvements was the central state's capacity to establish its presence within civil society, and to centrally co-ordinate the implementation of its political decisions.9 Whether raising labor gangs for a national road projects, policing Indian feast days, or rounding up concubines, carrying out the imperatives of the central government required a day-to-day and on-the-ground presence in localities across the sierra.
Following Enrique Ayala, I conceive the 19th-Century Ecuadorian State to be constituted not only as a singular and centralized institution that managed the armed forces, collected customs revenues, and enacted laws, but also to be made up of other decentralized dimensions--corporative entities that functioned within that State, but with high levels of autonomy.10 As elsewhere in early republican Latin America, executing state tasks of tax-collection, juridical punishment, even military defense, entirely under central rule was impossible. Routinely, such functions were farmed out, either formally or on a de facto basis. For the Ecuadorian case, the two most pertinent of these semi-autonomous bodies were the Church and the municipio. To these, could be added other less formalized corporative "institutions" such as Indian comunidades and their authority structures, and large rural estates and their semi-institutionalized clientelisms, that also performed "state functions." Indeed, to varying degrees each possessed a similar nature to the State (exercising varyingly, executive, judicial, fiscal, military, and in some cases legislative roles) while maintaining its own hierarchy and an autonomy from the central government.11
Thus, by state formation in this paper, I refer in part to the territorial expansion of localized (decentralized) networks of civil and ecclesiastic governance, but principally to the subordination of these networks under a central (and secular) decision-making body. The first part of this process occurred between 1861 and 1868, with the creation of new bishoprics, cantons and parishes, and the multiplication municipal and church authorities across the sierra.12 Increasing "the general density of government" throughout the sierra in itself contributed to an important dimension of Ecuadorian state formation: the on-going process of de-Indianizing rural society; that is, the gradual intrusion of white-mestizo authority in the governance of Indian comunidades.13 The second part of the process began in 1869, with a comprehensive policy of subordination of these autonomous networks--that is, the centralization of civil governance and the secularization of ecclesiastic authority. Indeed, it was the centralization and subjugation of its more decentralized aspects of its authority that permitted the Ecuadorian state to partially implement its national modernizing and civilizing projects.
I. Church as State under Garcia Moreno
During the 1860s, the Catholic Church in Ecuador saw its authority favored and strengthened by the central government. With the creation of two new bishoprics and the multiplication of parishes, the church saw its infrastructure multiply considerably. Politically, the signing of a concordat between Ecuador and the Vatican in 1863 gave the church--at least in theory--more autonomy over its administration, such as the rights to name and to punish its agents without the interventi(5) on of civil authority. The 1869 Constitution took the unprecedented step of making Catholicism a requirement of citizenship, and strengthened the duty of "public powers" to protect Church rights. At the same time, the specific social and cultural project of Garcia Moreno prioritized many of the Church's historic concerns over immorality and irreligiousity. During this period, Church criticisms of vice and laxity of customs in drinking, fiestas, and sexual practices were elevated to the status of national problems. While Garcia Moreno addressed internal problems of morality within the Church, he envisioned a reformed clergy as the captains of Ecuador's transformation into a "pueblo cristiano."
Hailed as the bearer of Catholic progress, the Church was empowered with state-sanctioned authority over social and cultural life of the nation. The long-term objective of public primary education system, for example, was to be carried out using both church personnel and its nation-wide infrastructure. In urban areas education was entrusted to foreign regular clergy, most notably the Christian Brothers (male primary and Indian teacher-training), Jesuits (male secondary) and Sisters of the Sacred Heart (female primary) who--at enormous expense to the state--administered state schools. In rural zones, parish priests had their customary role as religious educator reinforced, as the government moved to promote doctrina attendance among indígenas. Centralized school-building and student-recruitment initiatives in the sierra also were done in close co-operation with local clergy, often using church lands and facilities.
The Church also played a leading role in the implementation of the state's immediate moralization policy. Given the apparent accord in objectives between central government and the Ecuadorian Church, this is hardly surprising. Local clergy, who had long been the primary disseminators of state policy and propaganda in rural parishes, had their role extended and formalized. Parrocos were now encouraged, indeed obligated, to collect evidence and suspicions of immoral practices among parishioners and relay these to their superiors or civil authorities. The church hierarchy became an increasingly formalized information-gathering and policy-implementation network for the state. Empowering the church's authority and legitimating its interests effectively redrew the boundaries between civil and ecclesiastic jurisdictions at the local level. Over the course of the garcianista period, local civil authorities saw their authority diminish, pressed to privilege the Church's moralizing concerns over municipal development projects.
Vice and Surveillance in Rural Ecuador
In the 1864 Papal Syllabus, ten of the eighty "errors" designated by Pius IX as threatening to Church prerogative, dealt with the subject of Christian marriage.14 Although marriage in Ecuador remained firmly under church control, Garcia Moreno was similarly concerned with reaffirming the sacrament of matrimony and reinforcing the notion of "legitimate alliance."15 To this end, state policy focused much attention on eradicating extramarital sex--particularly the widespread practice of concubinage. The government's anti-concubinage policy is a particularly salient example of the use of the Church's far-flung infrastructure to implement a key national policy initiative.
There is little evidence to suggest that concubinage was a widespread problem among white-mestizo classes in Ecuador. Indeed, one observer noted that the problem among people of good or middling standing was that they wed too young, with marriages between fifteen year-old males and twelve year-old females commonplace.16 Among the nation's popular rural classes, however, concubinage and illegitimacy--as defined in canonical and national law--were considered widespread problems.17 This perception was strongest with regards to the indígenas in the sierra, who routinely engaged in the practice of prenuptial concubinage--even in areas where Christian customs were thought to be well established.18 In a 1871 report, for example, the provincial Governor of Leon described the widespread custom in which unmarried indígenas lived "in concubinage which they call amananza, with the aim of studying the character of their spouses and unifying their habits before being joined together in everlasting [wedlock]."19 The amananza appears to have been a regional variation of a more generalized Indian custom practiced under different names throughout the sierra.20 The trial-period could last from six to twelve months, and typically involved sexual relations. And while these prenuptial unions almost invariably led to marriage, this was often be precipitated by a pregnancy--raising further issues of illegitimacy.
Before 1869, the government had little legal and policing power to confront it or other vices. In 1867, for example, local state officials were instructed by the Central Government to ensure that they "rigorously apply" punishments for the crimes of drunkenness, adultery and concubinage. Yet, as one jefe politico (canton magistrate) responded, the law was impotent in curbing all three evils. Thus, while the official was in full agreement that these vices were "the enemies of true social progress," he could only shrug his shoulders at how to counter it with the force of the law.21
Legal debility and luke-warm support from civil authorities, however, did not deter the clergy from actively pursuing the spirit of the state's war on vice. Indeed, clergy frequently sought out concubines and attempted to bring them to justice or reform their ways. Such concerns over concubinage, whether among indígenas or lower mestizo classes, were of course not new. But under the Garcia Moreno administrations, the central government tacitly supported these extralegal forays into sexual regulation. When civil functionaries did not co-operate, or complained of the illegitimate authority of local clergy, they typically received reprimand from the central government. This was a lesson learned by Ibarra's Chief of Police (province of Imbabura) in 1867, when he was disposed after his failure to support the Church in punishing a notorious concubine.22 Less than a year later, the provincial governor intervened again on behalf of the church against what was seen as aggressive anti-church behaviour by municipal agents. The central government took the opportunity to voice its new proactive strategy to harmonize state-church relations, through the elimination of "hateful conflict" between civil and ecclesiastical authority.23 This rhetoric of "harmony" increasingly became a euphemism for the subordination of local civil authority to church interests, and allowed the clergy to expand its moralizing role within rural society.24
In 1869, The Archdiocese of Quito held its second Ecclesiastical Council, and produced a comprehensive anti-vice policy to be carried out by its clergy. It specifically addressed the need to remedy the sixth-commandment violation of fornication and adultery, and as such instructed its parrocos to crack down on concubinage.25 Upon discovery, the local parroco was to first privately address the situation using a "paternal" and "prudent" approach. But if concubines remained "stubbornly persistent" the priest was obliged to denounce them to the Bishopric, where they would face excommunication or exile.26 In the same year, the newly reinstalled Garcia Moreno government addressed the legal deficiency of its anti-vice initiatives, criminalizing drinking and concubinage.27 Simultaneously, moves were made to ensure the enforcement of legal initiative, setting up a network of surveillance to investigate suspected fornicators. Unlike Church policy, however, State initiative demanded its local officials to immediately and regularly report incidents of immorality to the central government, where such information could be consolidated. Jefe políticos in each canton were charged with providing biweekly reports to the Executive, submitting lists of all persons meriting punishment because of their "relaxed customs"--particularly concubinage and habitual drunkenness. Police employees and parish priests were similarly instructed to share their intimate knowledge of local society with state agents, and the tenientes políticos and comisarios de policia were empowered to initiate criminal processes. In short, Garcia Moreno demanded that all local authorities devote "daily, tireless and individual care" toward the eradication of concubinage and other social "ills."28
After 1869, civil and ecclesiastic authorities worked in concert to expose and report on mestizo-white concubines in their midst.29 To be sure, such information-gathering was not comprehensive, nor immune from personal and class enmities. Similarly local state-church conflicts did arise, as church accused civil officials of laxity or alternatively of overstepping their jurisdiction in "issues of matrimony." But these exceptions seem to prove the rule of a generally coordinated alliance between ecclesiastic and civil authority on this issue.30 Indeed, these local "vice squads" were an unprecedented demonstration of the state's information-gathering and policy-enforcement capacities within civil society, and showed the possibilities of implementing a nationally orchestrated moralizing campaign through local officials.
The problem of Indian (premarital) concubinage was handled more unilaterally by the Church. Despite the multiplication of municipal officials and their steady intrusions into Indian administration, the presence of civil authorities outside of major population centers was feeble. Thus, the central government depended heavily on the clergy's paternal presence to confront vice and immorality in Indian society. 31 Unlike the public investigations and central consolidation of information on extramarital sexuality elsewhere in provincial society, the attack on Indian concubinage remained largely private and decentralized enterprises. Disregarding formal procedures, local parrocos enjoyed tacit authority from the state and Church to put the spirit of the anti-concubinage dispositions into practice. They fully exercised their "paternal" influence--broadly defining their obligation under Church policy to use "all prudent means" before formally reporting concubines. Priests in Indian parishes regularly cracked down on illegitimate unions, extralegally exercising state juridical and enforcement functions. Armed with its petty Indian officials, they were active and even violent crusaders against concubinage. In the 1870s, the parish priest of San Luis (Province of Imbabura), for example, routinely instructed his alcaldes doctrineros to seek out and bring him presumed Indian concubines. Once located, they were obligated to marry. In the church's version of a shotgun wedding, indígenas who refused were summarily beaten. 32
Beyond Harmony: Secularizing Church Power in the Northern Sierra
Given central government's ideological alliance with the Church against the and its near-monopoly of state powers in Indian areas, it is tempting to conclude that the church had achieved its long-sought-after goal of autonomy from civil authority. With the concordato and 1869 Constitution, the State had seemingly abdicated enormous power to the clergy, who in turn had every reason to expect a new era of expansion, protection and autonomy of their authority. Indeed, one might reasonably argue that it was the church using the state to fortify its "national" infrastructure and legitimize a monopoly claim over cultural and social issues.33 However, while clergy might gained the upper hand in its petty disputes with local police chiefs and municipal councilmen, the entire Church hierarchy remained answerable to the central government. Indeed, during 1860s and 1870s, the church and state became more closely intertwined, and the Church more carefully subjected under the administration of Garcia Moreno.
Indeed, if the post-concordat church expected full sovereignty form civil authority, the central government was quick to remind them of the limits of ecclesiastical power. While unfaltering in its protection Church prerogatives from the expanding pretensions of local government, the Executive was equally adamant in protecting (and expanding) its domain of centralized authority vis-a-vis the Church. Thus, despite the state's protectionist discourse, the Church remained vulnerable to state intervention. State and church engaged in high level power struggles of their own over questions such as tithe-collection, clergy-naming, record-keeping, and clerical morality. When clergy did not defer to high civil functionaries, the State reacted to impede such transgressions with a "vigorous hand."34
The correspondence between the Executive Branch and the Bishop of Ibarra between 1865 and 1875 is revealing as to the ability of the central government to subordinate and secularize church's authority. In mid 1866, for example, the Governor of Imbabura informed the Minister of Interior of a rash of accusations made by indígenas against the abusive practices of parish priests. As was customary throughout the century in the Province, indígenas and other rural peoples petitioned the central government through the Governor's office to complain against the abuses of local officials, landlords and clergy. The petitions, coming from throughout the province, outlined a disturbing pattern of "arbitrary" fining and imprisonment by the local clergy. 35 In response the Governor reprimanded the Church in part for its failure to protect the Indian class, noting that church fines fell particularly heavily on a that "class" who lived hand-to-mouth. But his central objection was that the imposition of fines and imprisonment had been done extralegally, without the approval of the central government. The Governor was further offended by what he perceived as a "disrespectful tone" towards his authority in his dealings with the Bishop's representative over the accusations.36
The Minister of Interior fully supported the Governor's position--delivering a civil but firm reprimand to the Administrador Apolistico of the Diocese. Like the Governor, the Ministry was concerned less with Church abuse against indígenas than the fact that the clergy was trying to expand the "limits of its jurisdiction." In its extralegal practice of the state functions of enforcement, the Church had overstepped its authority. Nowhere in the concordato, the minister pointed out, was the church empowered to act unilaterally without the co-operation of civil authority. The Bishop was instructed in the future to limit Church authority to "spiritual cases" as stipulated in the Sacred canons. To underscore the President's intolerance of church intrusions into secular authority, the Minister warned he would intervene with the "necessary means" to impede any future transgressions.37
Garcia Moreno adopted other strategies to keep expanding church authority under control. Of these, perhaps most effective, was clergy reform and a strict intolerance for immoral behavior of clergy. Of course, attacks on morality of the clergy had long been a staple of state strategies in their power struggles with the Church, but under Garcia Moreno a concerted commitment to creating a moral and politically neutral clergy. Both regular and secular clergy came under attack for their sexual wantonness, gambling connections and other illicit behavior.38 Municipal and local civil officials were encouraged to identify immoral clergy and report it to central government. Despite the fact that concordato was supposed to allow the Church to reform itself, the State asserted its authority in this area. When the Church was not willing to address the issue autonomously, the Executive quickly intervened, forcefully pressuring high ecclesiastical officials for action. Here, the rhetoric of "harmony" between civil and ecclesiastic authority was turned on its head--effectively used by the central government to accelerate the Church's internal reform.39
State intervention in ensuring a moral and loyal clergy is also apparent in its continuous intervention in the naming of church officials. The renegotiated concordat of 1865, restored the right of secular authority to appoint virtually all church positions, a prerogative the State meticulously asserted.40 In 1871, for example, Ibarra's Bishop and the Executive engaged in a test of wills over the procedure for transferring a priest from one parish to another.41 It is necessary, the Interior Minister explained, that the central government have knowledge of the "virtues and merits" of prospective clergy.42 Moreover, in defending its "legitimate rights," the garcianista regime asserted its right to oversee national clergy reform and to mediate in internal Church affairs. Thus, while it would be unwise to simply generalize from a single serrano region as to the nature of state-church relations under Garcia Moreno, the experience in the Dioceses of Ibarra is suggestive of the central government's ability to secularize Church authority.43
To be sure, the central government's dependency on the Catholicism for both its national identity and its state infrastructure was to in the long run, ensure the legitimacy and real power of the Ecuadorian clergy. Yet, in the short term, as Garcia Moreno ruled as the ultimate civil authority, he was generally successful in secularizing Church authority and subordinating the Church to his larger state-building aims. As King argues: "Religion, though esteemed by Garcia Moreno, was a means to secular end, and when there was significant conflict between secular and religious purposes...[the former] prevailed".44 Indeed, despite his piety and a tactical alliance with the Church, Garcia Moreno strove to be, above all, a nation builder.
II. Nationalizing the Municipio
During the 1860s, a commonalty in purpose enabled the church-state alliance to pressure local government to invest (figuratively and literally) in new national priorities such as religious instruction, school building and the trans-Andean road project.45 Yet, the decentralized Constitution of 1861 gave local government an unprecedented jurisdiction and autonomy that effectively stymied any national co-ordination of education, moralization or road-building projects.46 As such, the central government was obliged to tolerate "the prevalence of local standards at the discretion of local rulers," leaving its imagined development unrealized.47 It would only be after 1869, with the constitutional centralization of political power, that municipios became significantly debilitated vis-a-vis the national government.
The Constitution eliminated all municipal corporations except those functioning only at the cantonal level. In an unprecedented act, the remaining municipios were directly linked to the central government through a presidentially appointed jefe politico, who assumed the presidency of the local councils.48 Citing the inability of local government to achieve "progress," the Executive assumed the previously decentralized administration of the key state functions of policing, education and public works.
While stripping away important powers from local government, however, the central state still saw an important role for municipal councils to play.49 Indeed, the consejos cantonales remained after 1869 with their attributions and jurisdiction largely intact, and still oversaw large numbers of employees, including judges, police agents and Indian curagas who possessed exclusive local knowledge. 50 Thus, Garcia Moreno did not so much weaken the institution of the municipio as he sought to nationalize them. The newly subordinated councils continued to function, with its legislative capacity and chain of command used to implement a national cultural agenda. The nationalization of municipios after 1869 is illustrated most clearly with regards to state initiatives to end Sabbath-day commerce and moralize rural feast day celebrations. Both issues were considered integral to the re-establishment of Catholic worship and public morality throughout the Republic; both were shot through with tension between central and local government, pitting state-church objectives against regional economic interests and cultural customs.
Commerce versus Worship: The Sunday Markets Debate Revisited
Between 1858 and 1872, Sunday markets vanished across the Ecuadorian highlands.51 By Garcia Moreno's death virtually every major feria (weekly market) had been switched from the Sabbath to another day--typically Saturday.52 As Bromley and Bromley have demonstrated in their study Ecuador's central sierra, the reasons for the decline of the Sunday market were complex, involving a mix of religious, political and economic considerations. Overall, the wave of market day changes appears to reflect a wider convergence during this period of a resurgence of religiosity, the re-establishment of landlord privilege, and in some areas improved transportation networks.53 Yet, given that the changes were made through municipal legislation, the dismantling of the Sunday market system during the 1860s and early 1870s is a revealing context as to the rising influence of national objectives on local politics. This is neatly demonstrated through a comparison of market day changes occurring before and after the 1869 threshold.
Since early colonial times, the question of mixing commerce and worship on the same day had been problematic for the Catholic Church. According to religious doctrine, labor and commerce on Sunday were sacrilegious, distracting from the peoples' dedication to worship.54 Yet, in the early republican era, such dogmatic church views were seldom influential with local municipal councilmen, who held the jurisdiction over the scheduling and regulating of markets. An incident two years before the arrival of Garcia Moreno is revealing of the weakness of ecclesiastic authority in local politics, and of the subordination of religious interests in discourses of progress. In November 1858, Quito's Archbishop demanded that the Municipio of Ambato move its feria from Sunday to Saturday. He pointed out that the non-essential work and economic speculation associated the Sabbath-day market were against "good customs," morality and divine precepts, and reminded the municipio of its constitutional duty to protect the Catholic religion.55 The Municipal Council, however, refused to comply with the Church's demand, opposing any change of the market day. The dispute passed onto the central government for resolution, who sided with the Ambato Council, and the Sunday remained unchanged.
The municipio's opposition to changing the market day was multifaceted, and merits some elaboration. Its principal objection was the enormous economic harm the change would bring, not only for commerce, but for agriculture and industry as well. Holding the feria on Saturday, it warned, would spell the loss of another productive day [dia util] for the canton's farmers and artisans, an estimated annual decline of 156,000 pesos in production. The Council also warned that ending Sunday trading would slash the canton's tax income (peso de romana), and, as such reduce its ability to invest in local improvements such as education. The Council's response also directly addressed the Archbishop's assertion that the market violated Church interests, claiming instead that Sunday ferias actually favored religious practices and moralization of customs. The holy-day market improved overall Mass and doctrina attendance, they argued, as it attracted parishioners from outlying areas who would otherwise not attend. Indeed, they feigned puzzlement at the Archbishop's concern over the "innocent action of buying and selling," and brazenly suggested his moralizing efforts be better directed at getting local clergy "to lead by example," and teach the people that after the market, their time should be employed in religious worship.56 Finally, the councilmen objected to the Church's "imperative tone," and his attempt to "legislate in purely temporal affairs." While, they reiterated their utmost respect for the Church's spiritual authority, they felt obliged to object to "advances against the privileges [regalias]" of civil authority. Similarly, while advocating the need for unanimity between temporal and spiritual interests, they were not willing to subordinate their right to define and promote progress outside of Church intervention. In short, they asserted their local political right to determine how civil-ecclesiastic harmony got defined.
The 1858 Ambato-Archbishop dispute is useful in establishing a tentative baseline for studying the subsequent changes under Garcia Moreno in both Church-State relations and central/local government relations. First, the central government's support of the Ambato Council over the highest church authority is indicative of the its "soft" interpretation of civil authority's constitutional obligation to protect and ensure respect for the Catholic religion. In his decision, the Minister of the Interior reiterated the municipio's argument that the trading during Sunday markets was "innocent work," and as such did not violate the precepts of religion.57 Moreover, while not explicitly repeating the Council's admonition of the Church's attempt to extend its authority, he made clear to the Archbishop the line between spiritual and temporal jurisdictions. Second, the dispute is symbolic of the central government's willingness to tolerate local "custom" and its weakness to centrally implement policy decisions. By fully backing the municipio's autonomy over market-regulation, the central state in tacitly supported the right of local government to pursue its own projects of progress.
The subordination of religious interests to municipal ones was a trend that continued during the first seven years of the Garcia Moreno era. After 1861, as the Bromley's suggest, arguments for the sanctity of the Sabbath were increasingly used as justifications for ending Sunday markets. When the market days were changed, however, they were changed by municipal initiative, in pursuit of locally defined interest and progress. Religious justifications of the defense of worship were entirely absent or secondary to the promotion of economic progress and prosperity, through increasing commerce and industry. When religious reasons were cited, the were rhetorical and abstract.
In 1868, the Municipal Council of Ibarra, for example, banned Sunday commerce, moving the city's market to Saturday.58 Starting in the Accord's justificatory preamble, the Council made clear its priorities and its understanding of its role within local society. First and foremost, the councilmen cited their "responsibility to promote industry," that is, to foster economic progress and prosperity within its domain. Second, they acknowledged the "great harm" Sabbath-day markets had on "agriculture and landlords"; indeed, the switch to Saturday was apparently motivated by the complaints of large landowners that the Sunday market meant that widespread Monday-absences of Indian farmhands. The final justification for ending the Sunday market, almost an afterthought, was a vague reference to the Council's desire to address the conflict between commerce and religious dogma. The Ibarra ordinance in its economic-driven rationale, is largely representative of the pre-1869 market-day changes elsewhere in the region.59 That is, despite the Concordat and the central government's increasing intimacy with Church, market-day changes up to 1869 remained overwhelmingly motivated by local interests, and made within the co-ordinates of local understandings of progress.
In December 1869, President Garcia Moreno issued legislation that prohibited all Sunday commerce. The decree prompted an immediate wave of market-day switches by municipios, and saw for the first time the overt expression of the central state interests in municipal politics. One such ordinance from the Canton of Otavalo in the northern sierra is revealing of the ability of the central government to influence and centralize the decision-making process of local politics. Like earlier ordinances, the Otavalo Accord of January 1870 drew on both economic and religious criteria to justify its ban of the Sunday feria. However, it contained an inverted hierarchy and language that clearly privileged spiritual over temporal concerns. First and foremost, the Council cited its obligation to promote "public morality," emphasizing its specific responsibility to "exterminate the serious evils that stream against good customs." Second, the ordinance was framed as a defense of the "sanctity" of the Sabbath, particularly directed at ensuring that the day was exclusively dedicated to religious worship. It identified and addressed the "scandalous" absences of Mass and doctrina among Indian sellers from outlying areas who came to sell their wares in Otavalo.60 In this sense, religious rationale was evoked, not simply an abstract defense of the sanctity of the Sabbath, but part of a concrete endeavor to reinvigorate Catholic worship. Finally, in what reads as an apology to "landlords, merchants and tradesmen," the Council cited its overarching responsibility to "balance" spiritual and temporal "obligations"; that is, to prevent that the pursuit of "public wealth" harm "religion [and] morality."61 Thus while framing the market-day switch as an effort to harmonize spiritual and temporal obligations, the change likely meant commercial and agricultural sacrifices to the national cause of religious worship.
The Otavalo Council's apparent concession to church-state objectives of Catholic worship and Indian moralization appears to be part of larger trend. Elsewhere in the central-north sierra, the Presidential decree had an immediate impact, impelling recalcitrant municipalities to ban Sunday trading regardless of its economic consequences. As in the Otavalo case, the shift in language from ordinances only a year or two earlier is stark. When the Municipal Council of Latacunga rescheduled the Sunday market in San Miguel, for example, their sole rationale was a recognition that Sunday and other holidays "must be dedicated exclusively to the service to God." Passed just days after the presidential decree, the municipio's deference to the new State-Church order was palpable, citing their obligation to obey not only "divine precept" but "the laws of the Republic" as well.62
Putting the "Holy" Back in Holidays
Local economic interests similarly came into conflict with nation-wide attempts to extirpate idolatries and paganism from rural feast day celebrations. As with market-day changes, there is considerable evidence that the central government effectively retooled municipios to foster national moralizing objectives, even when these were contrary to local interests. That is, to directly influence the legislation and language of local government, transforming these corporations into disseminators of the moralizing project of the central state.
More than Sunday markets, rural saints- and feast days were a complex issue for the Church and its allies in central government. On the one hand, the celebrations that accompanied the holidays were typically full of pagan and immoral acts that clearly undermined the sanctity of the religious ritual. Outside of Quito, major celebrations were associated around religious feast day of Saint John-- typically week long affairs, with festivities beginning on the eve of the fiesta. After the celebration of the holiday Mass, and processions, participants returned to their villages were they celebrated the feasts with several days of paseos--large gatherings for eating, drinking. masquerading and ceremonial dancing. Typically a few days of bullfighting in the town plaza were added to the program, with he remainder of the week devoted to "private revelry."63 Reflecting on the nature of fiestas prior to Garcia Moreno's second administration, Archbishop Checa y Barba recalled,
...religious functions in rural pueblos...were a strange mix
between worship and profane diversions.... [F]easts, processions and other
acts of worship, were nothing more than accessories [to]...the danzas,
masquerades, bullfights and other inventions [designed] to satisfy sensuality.
The results of this custom were baneful. A pueblo where a fiesta
or procession took place was profoundly shaken; and beyond the fruitless
and ruinous expenditures made, such functions inevitably produced drunkenness,
fist fights...and other kinds of immorality.64
On the other hand, the cycle of holidays both provided revenues to the Church and were central to reaffirming the primacy and power of religion in Ecuadorian society. Rural clergy earned a significant portion of their income from fees charged for the four main feast days, and often encouraged or obliged indígenas to name priostes and celebrate additional holidays.65 Religious celebrations were also an important legitimizing ritual the State-Church alliance, symbolically demonstrating the harmony between secular and ecclesiastic authority in provinces distant from Quito. Thus, the Catholic State's regulation provincial fiestas after 1861 was a tricky proposition, seeking to purge them of pagan customs and maximize their Catholic ritual.
State-church strategy was of three parts, and initiated both in central-government legislation and Church Council decrees (1863, 1869 and 1871). First, was the limitation of the number of feast days, eliminating those holidays deemed strictly excuses for revelry and drunkenness.66 Complimentary efforts were made to ensure that celebrations strictly adhered to the religious calendar, and to limit or eliminate parts of celebrations. 67 Second, was an effort to elevate religious fiestas to celebrations of national importance, a symbol of the harmony between the temporal and spiritual authority in Ecuador. To this end, Garcia Moreno sought to link civil authority to ecclesiastic authority and ensure the morality of public servants. This was epitomized by legislation that obligated all local state agents to attend masses during fiestas, not simply as citizens, but as representatives of the state.68
Third, was an attempt to minimize and moralize behaviour during the Mass, processions and especially during the extra-ecclesiastical activities accompanying fiestas. For authorities, both civil and ecclesiastical, the paseos were universally recognized as being filled with sin and profanity. At best the danzas (ritual dancing) were considered as excuse for gambling, drunkenness and other licentious behavior. At worst however, the danzantes were examples of pagan and sacrilegious customs that were just a sampling of widespread sacrilegious and barbaric customs in Indian society. While parish priests recognized that both the cult of saint-worship and the religious celebration of these are not illicit or sinful in themselves, the sin and profanity with which they were celebrated by the Indians was considered offensive to Religion, morality and good customs.69
Even more troublesome was the intrusion of pagan Indian behaviour within the church during solemn processions or the celebration of the Mass. If the paseos could be studiously overlooked by church officials, Indian sacrilege within the church was more difficult for authorities to ignore.70 As well, such open displays of revelry and idolatry clearly distracted from state attempts to assert its presence through the Catholic Church. While fiestas were perhaps seen by earlier governments as tolerable events, that both allowed Indians to let off steam in a ritual and restricted period (as well as being beneficial for local government, clergy and landlords), under Garcia Moreno they were intolerable. Moreover, these scandalous spectacles were painful, perennial reminders of the state's failure to completely Christianize and incorporate the sierra Indian.
The Church hierarchy had always opposed immoral" Indian customs, but it was only after the achievement of the concordat, and particularly after 1869, that they became a powerful voice in extirpating idolatries.71 In 1869, under the enthusiastic leadership of Archbishop Checa y Barba, the Ecuadorian Church responded boldly, publishing an extensive and comprehensive policy to confront vice. Archbishop acknowledged that past Church and State efforts had put Ecuador on the path to "the betterment of customs, the extirpation of abuses and the splendor and decorum of divine worship." However, he recognized that the antiquity, tenacity and "surprising propagation" of certain sins, now required the Church to pursue "extraordinary and very efficacious remedies...."72 As part of the cure, the Church instructed its ne twork of parish priests to purge religious fiestas of abuses and pagan perversions. The decrees addressed both the need to preserve the sanctity of the Church and to prevent the mixing of Catholic ornaments in pagan celebrations, It also took aim at the paseos, strictly prohibiting danzantes and masquerades that customarily accompanied religious functions. Recognizing that the "customs and habits" of certain Indian districts had prevented the rigorous enforcement of earlier decrees, the Council ordered that parish priests "under no pretext, allow danzantes or other masqueraders to enter the church, nor permit that they incorporate themselves into the religious processions." Local clergy were similarly instructed to prohibit "música de juego" (profane music) during the celebration of the Mass.73
Of course, the Council's dispositions were difficultly implemented by priests, who typically either lacked the will to confront Indian revelry, or preferred to abide by locally negotiated compromises with parishioners. Yet, even assuming perfect compliance among local clergy, the Church could only do so much without the co-operation of local civil authorities. In a report to the Ministry of Government, the Archbishop recognized the inability of Church authority to regulate fiestas on its own:
...I do not have the consolation of announcing to you that such damaging abuses have entirely disappeared; as it is not easy to detach the common people from very old customs; ...they will be extinguished...if the civil authorities do their part, prohibiting the danzas, masquerading and other diversions [that occur] on the occasion of religious functions. The prohibitions emanating from ecclesiastical powers are at times insufficient, and the pueblos do not cease in evading the authority of parish priests.74
Indeed, while local clergy might endeavor to prohibit the offenses that took place within the Church or during processions, they were powerless and without authority to control other Indian behaviour during feast days. Municipios, who controlled both the licensing and policing of paseos and other fiesta activities were frequently called on by parrocos to moralize or outright prohibit these activities. It was here--in the realm of the co-operation of local civil authority--that the central government had a critical role to play. While not challenging the municipios jurisdiction over regulating local feast day celebrations, the State sought to internally influence the municipio's legislative function to eliminate pagan rituals of paseos and bullfights. The attempts to eliminate San Juan paseos in Otavalo is an illustrative example of the capacity of Church-state alliance to strengthen and moralize religious worship at the expense of local interests.
In Otavalo, the paseos during the Saint John's feast day were notorious for their size and colorfulness described in rich ethnographic detail by Hassaurek during a visit in 1863.75 Church officials, however, did not share Hassaurek's appreciation of exotic folklore, and rather depicted these events simply as excuses for drinking, idolatries and sacrilege. Indeed, even as Hassaurek visited in the mid 1860s, Church initiative to ban the San Juan celebrations was gaining force in Otavalo. Emboldened by the concordato and Church Council Decrees of 1863, the clergy moved from their customary call for more vigilant policing of the paseos, to a demand for the outright prohibition of the spectacles. Local clergy argued that these "public diversions" were nothing more than excuses for disorder and immoral behaviour, a position that some local police chiefs shared.76 Yet, across the province annual paseos continued to be sanctioned by municipios. As in other areas of its moralization policy, the central government before 1869 lacked the will or capacity to privilege the defense of worship over the prerogatives of local political elites. In 1866, a high ranking representative of the Bishop requested that the Governor of Imbabura revoke the municipal license for an Indian paseo outside of Ibarra. Yet, the Governor was unwilling to act on behalf of the church to break the "inveterate custom," calling any such intervention an "attack" on local "civil authority." The best he could promise the Church was that the paseos would be more carefully policed so as to avoid the scandals of previous years.77 As such, the reform-minded clergy had little real impact on the Otavalo paseos throughout the 1860s.78
There were good reasons why the Otavalo councilmen were reluctant to intervene in the question of paseos. In relatively prosperous regions such as Otavalo and the southern sierra, feast days could produce enormous municipal revenues. Local government collected taxes on aguardiente and gambling establishments, and received advance payments from Indian priostes for paseo and bullfight licenses.79 Landlords influential in local politics also had good reasons to support the celebration of paseos, as the monies forwarded to indígenas conciertos to meet the costs of the festivals, strengthened the workers' debt bonds to the estate.80
It was only after 1869, with the centralization of the local government, that the municipio finally ceded to Church demands to ban danzantes from the feast day celebrations. As the Saint John's Day approached, the municipal council--now presided over by the presidentially-appointed jefe politico--banned the five major public paseos in the canton. Priests were allowed to celebrate the Mass and processions, but the police chief was charged with impeding all "public reunions whose objective is dancing, ritual dancing and drunkenness." The justification for the prohibition was threefold, and faithfully parroted the language and logic made in Church and central government decrees. First, the Council asserted its obligation to prohibit customs that were contrary to "sound morality and public salubrity." Second, was a more specific critique of paseo público as "a source immorality, depravity and drunkenness" that contributed to the ruin of both the individual and society. The third justification, lacking the rhetorical flourish of the first two, was that agricultural and manufacturing production were being harmed by the lost labor caused by the extended fiesta celebrations.81 The ordinance reveals similar language to the market-day accords passed during the same year, clearly prioritizing religious over temporal interests. The prohibition of the Otavalo paseos serves as another powerful example after 1869 of municipal "self-subordination"--the sacrifice of local fiscal interests to the larger national-moralizing imperatives of the central government.82
It is difficult to measure the impact of the central government's pressuring of local civil authorities to crack down on fiesta immorality. Clearly, ordinance's such as the one in Otavalo had few long-term implications.83 In Otavalo as elsewhere, the local cultural and economic interests tied up in the paseo custom was not easily kept down. By 1875, if not before, the municipal licensing of paseos were back in full swing. Throughout the remainder of the century, rural holidays continued to be demonized as serving "unflaggingly as occasions for dancing, drinking and other disorders."84 Yet, as a short-term measures, such small local victories over immorality constituted an impressive collective achievement for the central government. In 1873, the Archbishop could report with some justification that the Republic was well along the way to detaching the popular classes from "very old customs" and to reasserting worship as the "principal" function of holidays. Thanks to recent state and church efforts, he claimed, the Archdiocese had witnessed "notable improvements" in morality, and had seen pagan abuses of holidays "very much decreased...."85 In sanctifying Sunday markets and popular fiestas--two "very old" contexts of profanities and sacrilege--the Catholic state-in-formation demonstrated an unprecedented capacity to reshape "local standards" and to subordinate "local rulers."
The "propagandist preambles" of municipal legislation for market-day changes and paseo-prohibition are further suggestive of a larger national trend of the infiltration of state interests and discourse into local politics. While religious interests and material interests were not necessarily incompatible objectives, before Garcia Moreno's second administration, economic progress and prosperity were clearly privileged as the defining responsibility of local government. The defense of worship remained, at best, an abstract and corollary issue. After 1869, however, the justifications for municipal councilmen almost universally justified legislation in terms of bringing temporal interests in line with spiritual ones. Indeed, by the time of Garcia Moreno's assassination in 1875, the Church-state alliance had established a common discursive framework that obliged local politicos to frame their politics in terms of its spiritual benefits; to speak about economic progress as a function of and not separate from religious advancement.86 Even if and when these shifts reflected a strategic, disingenuous use of religious discourse to justify the pursu it of material objectives, the net result was the same: religious observance was reinserted as priority in local political discourse.
Modern state formation is generally seen as a process in which customary local clientelisms and supra-national ties are delegitimated and the nation-state becomes the primary focus of individual loyalties. However, as Peter Guardino observes, this was seldom the nature of state-building processes in 19th-century Latin America. Early on in the global era of state formation, states more commonly sought to extend their presence and power by reinforcing and reconstructing old "organizations, corporations, or solidarities."87 Garcia Moreno, like other national leaders in 19th-Century Latin America was not bound by modern theories of state formation. Without ignoring the value in the build new national institutions under direct central authority, he recognized the state-making potential within society's old colonial, corportatist "institutions." Rather than trying to create new liberal republican citizen relationships, he retooled "old solidarities" of Church, cabildo and hacendado as the motor of his Catholic-modernizing project. Garcianismo pragmatically sought to expand and empower these local groups but subject their authority to a national interest. That is, to use local networks of kinship, community, and clients to national ends--extending state power and constructing a homogeneous national identity.
Guardino importantly stresses the limits of state's capacity to subordinate these retooled institutions or loci of identity to central power. Such entities, he points out, remain highly vulnerable to manipulations and by subordinated groups, and can be transformed "into bearers of their own demands and their own interpretation of the hegemonic political culture."88 To be sure, the central government's "subordinated" allies in Ecuador remained imbedded in local and regional power networks, and were hardly dependable advocates of national government. In the Ecuadorian case, this was particularly the case with the institutions of the Church, municipio and hacienda, which to varying degrees were effectively subjugated under the centralized second administration of Garcia Moreno. During the 1860s and 1870s these institutions and their clientelisms were relegitimated as the bearers of national interests and leaders in Ecuador's march to progress. After the decline in the state's "despotic power" after 1875, these entities were released from subordination, and emerged as largely autonomous hierarchies performing state functions but now unregulated by a centrally co-ordinated administration. Such freedom was to pose serious problems for the Garcia Moreno's predecessors in the executive who had to negotiate from a position of weakness with powerful clergy and landlord classes, and a host of autonomous local governments.
Yet, for over half a decade under authoritarian leadership, Garcia Moreno's experiment in state formation was remarkably successful. Municipal power was centralized, subordinating the influence of local elites (both lay and religious, landlords and comerciantes) on politics. It forced local political elites to negotiate with the central government from within a hegemonic discursive framework that put morality and Catholicism at the heart of national development. The Church, for its part, had its interests addressed and its jurisdiction extended, but ultimately remained under the administration of the secular state: it too had to frame its pursuit of religion from within a context of national development. Ultimately, Garcia Moreno greatest success as state-builder was the insertion of the Executive as the sole arbiter between Church and local-civil authority. By routinely regulating the relationships and disputes between clergy and municipio, the central government introduced "territorialized mechanisms for repressing or compromising...struggle," and in the process channeled both smaller-local and wider-transnational social relationships to its national ends.89
1. Garcia Moreno was Constitutional President between 1861 and 1865; and again between 1869 to his assassination in 1875. He was also provisional president during the period of civil war in 1859 and 1860, and interim president briefly in 1869. Between 1865 and 1869, the presidency was won be Jerónimo Carrion and Javier Espinosa, both hand-picked by Garcia Moreno, who headed the military and remained politically influential throughout this interval. Luis Robalino Davila, Origenes de Ecuador de Hoy. Tomo IV: Garcia Moreno, Puebla, Mexico: Editorial José M. Cajica Jr., S.A., 1967, 210-226; 377-402.
2. Garcia Moreno, Message to Congress, 2 April, 1861. As cited in Robalino Davila, Garcia Moreno, 307-308.
3. Garcia Moreno, Mensaje to Congreso, 1869.
4. 4 The phrase "empire of morality" ("imperio de la moralidad") comes from a phrase used in Garcia Moreno's inaugural address in 1861. As cited in Robalino Davila, Garcia Moreno, 307-308.
5. 14 The Great Arch. English State Formation as Cultural Revolution, Oxford and New York: Basil Blackwell, 1985, 70.