In this first comprehensive study of women's property rights in early America, Marylynn Salmon discusses the effect of formal rules of law on women's lives. By focusing on such areas such as conveyancing, contracts, divorce, separate estates, and widows' provisions, Salmon presents a full picture of women's legal rights from 1750 to 1830. Salmon shows that the law assumes women would remain dependent and subservient after marriage. She documents the legal rights of women prior to the Revolution and traces a gradual but steady extension of the ability of wives to own and control property during the decades following the Revolution. The forces of change in colonial and early national law were various, but Salmon believes ideological considerations were just as important as economic ones. Women did not all fare equally under the law. In this illuminating survey of the jurisdictions of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, Salmon shows regional variations in the law that affected women's autonomous control over property. She demonstrates the importance of understanding the effects of formal law on women' s lives in order to analyze the wider social context of women's experience.
The Reader's Guide to Women's Studies is a searching and analytical description of the most prominent and influential works written in the now universal field of women's studies. Some 200 scholars have contributed to the project which adopts a multi-layered approach allowing for comprehensive treatment of its subject matter. Entries range from very broad themes such as "Health: General Works" to entries on specific individuals or more focused topics such as "Doctors."
Author: Joan Hoff
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 1994-04-01
In this widely acclaimed landmark study, Joan Hoff illustrates how women remain second- class citizens under the current legal system and questions whether the continued pursuit of equality based on a one-size-fits-all vision of traditional individual rights is really what will most improve conditions for women in America as they prepare for the twenty-first century. Concluding that equality based on liberal male ideology is no longer an adequate framework for improving women's legal status, Hoff's highly original and incisive volume calls for a demystification of legal doctrine and a reinterpretation of legal texts (including the Constitution) to create a feminist jurisprudence.
Author: Yvonne Pitts
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2013-05-20
Yvonne Pitts explores nineteenth-century inheritance practices by focusing on testamentary capacity trials in Kentucky in which disinherited family members challenged relatives' wills, claiming the testator lacked the capacity required to write a valid will. By anchoring the study in the history of local communities and the texts of elite jurists, Pitts demonstrates that "capacity" was a term laden with legal meaning and competing communal values.
Author: Thomas D. Morris
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Release Date: 2004-01-21
This volume is the first comprehensive history of the evolving relationship between American slavery and the law from colonial times to the Civil War. As Thomas Morris clearly shows, racial slavery came to the English colonies as an institution without strict legal definitions or guidelines. Specifically, he demonstrates that there was no coherent body of law that dealt solely with slaves. Instead, more general legal rules concerning inheritance, mortgages, and transfers of property coexisted with laws pertaining only to slaves. According to Morris, southern lawmakers and judges struggled to reconcile a social order based on slavery with existing English common law (or, in Louisiana, with continental civil law.) Because much was left to local interpretation, laws varied between and even within states. In addition, legal doctrine often differed from local practice. And, as Morris reveals, in the decades leading up to the Civil War, tensions mounted between the legal culture of racial slavery and the competing demands of capitalism and evangelical Christianity.
Author: William E. Nelson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2008-08-05
Drawing on groundbreaking and overwhelmingly extensive research into local court records, The Common Law in Colonial America proposes a "new beginning" in the study of colonial legal history, as it charts the course of the common law in Early America, to reveal how the models of law that emerged differed drastically from that of the English common law. In this first volume, Nelson explores how the law of the Chesapeake colonies--Virginia and Maryland--differed from the New England colonies--Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, New Haven, Plymouth, and Rhode Island--and looks at the differences between the colonial legal systems within the two regions, from their initial settlement until approximately 1660.
Author: Sally E. Hadden
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2013-02-22
A Companion to American Legal History presents a compilation of the most recent writings from leading scholars on American legal history from the colonial era through the late twentieth century. Presents up-to-date research describing the key debates in American legal history Reflects the current state of American legal history research and points readers in the direction of future research Represents an ideal companion for graduate and law students seeking an introduction to the field, the key questions, and future research ideas
Author: Elizabeth Fox-Genovese
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Release Date: 2000-11-09
Genre: Social Science
Documenting the difficult class relations between women slaveholders and slave women, this study shows how class and race as well as gender shaped women's experiences and determined their identities. Drawing upon massive research in diaries, letters, memoirs, and oral histories, the author argues that the lives of antebellum southern women, enslaved and free, differed fundamentally from those of northern women and that it is not possible to understand antebellum southern women by applying models derived from New England sources.