History of Marriage Law Essay

History of Marriage Law Essay

Length: 2684 words (7.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

History of Marriage Law

While abortion law is a lot more straightforward and the patterns are obvious, marriage law in the United States is a bit more complicated.

-English common law, and early American law, before the 1820's treated marriages like business mergers. The fathers paid dowries and often arranged marriages for their daughters. In the early 1800's fathers could contract their daughters to marriage as early as age 12 and there was no consent on her part. Boys had to be 14 before they could enter into a marriage contract.

-The age at which a woman could enter into marriage in the mid-nineteenth century varied widely from state to state, and therefore a timeline of laws is very difficult to accomplish.

-Throughout the 19th century and the early 20th century the age at which women could legally marry rose slowly to anywhere from 16-18 years of age by the mid 20th century.

-States differed widely on what rights women had in a marriage. Until 1873 women had absolutely no claim to custody of their children unless proof of abuse of the children was offered and corroborated.

-This is about the time that women began to get property rights as well in some states. The responsibilities that came with these rights, however, were huge and not all states were universal in their protection of a woman's property. If a woman did own anything, she had the legal obligation to use it to support completely any illegitimate children, all of her children from her marriage, her husband, her grandchildren, and her parents. So if any of these people asked her to support them she could not legally refuse.

-Coming into World War I women could not divorce a husband for adultery, even though he could divorce his wife for the ...

... middle of paper ...

...d so much about the decision, about the issue, and about the legality that reproductive choice makes even more sense to me now than it did originally. I recommend that anyone very interested in the issue of choice read the decision and look into the Griswold case and the issue of Right to Privacy.


"About.com Women's History: Comstock Law." Available online at www.about.com.

"About.com Women's History: Man and Wife" available online at www.about.com

Blackmun, Supreme Court Justice. Majority Decision in the Case of Roe v. Wade.
Delivered January 22, 1973.

"Brief History of the Emergence of the Crime of Rape" available online at

"History of Marriage" available online at www.2-in-2-1

Schwartz, Bernard. A History of the Supreme Court. 1993.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Gay And Lesbianism History : A New Law Essay

- A new law was passed in California that required all public schools to teach Gay and Lesbianism history. The law comes after several attempts in legalizing and adopting homosexuality from people in the past. Perhaps the most notable advocates would be Harvey Milk, who was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors while living openly as a homosexual. According to the state’s senator, the current curriculum should recognize the role and contributions of the minority groups such as women, Africans, Asians, Natives, Mexicans and European Americans....   [tags: Same-sex marriage, Homosexuality, Law]

Powerful Essays
1666 words (4.8 pages)

English Law’s Approach to Same Sex Marriage Essay

- Introduction The phenomenon of same sex marriages is relatively new but is gaining popularity day by day. The notion has already been welcomed and enacted as law in different jurisdictions. However it lacks proponents within the UK legal system which is reluctant to allow such relationships to be regulated into marriages. There are two topical situations faced by English law which need to be considered: the right of same sex people to marry and the right of the transsexuals to marry a person of the opposite sex post their gender reassignment....   [tags: Law Legal Same Sex Marriage]

Powerful Essays
2722 words (7.8 pages)

The Law And Marriage Customs Of Athens Essay

- This paper will focus on marriage in classical Athens. It will concentrate on the laws and marriage customs of Athens along with key points in Athens culture of marriage and what marriage means to them as a society. It will cover topics like how the marriages are being arranged and who selects the spouse and at what age. How the engagement process is handled and what their ceremonies are like and how involved it is. How the divorce proceedings work. All these topics will be covered using the sources provided, such as Lysias, On the Murder of Eratosthenes, Lysistrata comedy play by Aristophanes, Marriage in Ancient Athens by James C....   [tags: Marriage, Family, Wife, Husband]

Powerful Essays
2077 words (5.9 pages)

Marriage Between Marriage And Marriage Essay

- Marriage Introduction to Marriages Marriage has been a large part of our lives for as long as we can remember. It is all about the new beginnings and new life with your loved ones. A commonly known definition of marriage is, “state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law” (Webster, n.d.). Everyone has their own definition of marriage. For many it is a form of commitment between two individuals who vow to be there for one another no matter what the situations they face, where as to others it may be something as simple as just a ceremony or sexuality....   [tags: Marriage, Same-sex marriage, Arranged marriage]

Powerful Essays
1824 words (5.2 pages)

The Debate Of The Institution Of Marriage Essay

- The Institution of marriage is a traditional state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. Marriage is not a human institution devised in the dim past of human history as a convenient way to sort out social responsibilities. Although, society says marriage is a doomed institution, the bible argues that marriage is a divine institution. Marriage is more of an evolution than an institution, insofar as the forms of marriage vary and always have varied historically and culturally, and the “institution” of marriage most cultural conservatives defend has been the basis for the oppression of women, the unmarr...   [tags: Marriage, Family, Human sexuality, Cohabitation]

Powerful Essays
1110 words (3.2 pages)

History and Application of Common Law Essay

- 1a) Common Law, also widely known as Case Law, derived from the old English common law, is largely based on precedents, where judicial decisions were already previously made in similar cases where it is used as reference bases or sources of law. Also, common law is not codified, which generally means there is no comprehensive compilation of legal rules and not written in statues [The common law and civil law traditions, 2010:1]. It is during the Middle Ages, after the Norman Conquest in 1066, where Common Law is believed to be formed from the changing and centralizing powers of the king, where “the medieval kings began to consolidate power and established new constitutions of royal authoriti...   [tags: Case Law, Judicial Precedent]

Powerful Essays
1456 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on Should Same Sex Marriage Be Legalized?

- In my essay, the main central focus of this paper is homosexuals in having the right to marry. In my introductory paragraph I included my thesis that mentions all of my topics I will be discussing throughout my paper that includes the previous history of the ruling in gay marriage, what the current status is of today on this brand new law, opinions of people for same-sex marriage, the opinions of people against gay marriage, and lastly my conclusion where I talk about bits and pieces of my whole essay to summarize my thoughts and findings based on my research....   [tags: Same-sex marriage, Homosexuality]

Powerful Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on The History of Marriage and Family is Changing

- The History of Marriage and Family is Changing Things have changed a great deal from the Puritanical beliefs integrated long ago that said people must have a license in order to live together. Now, blended families are commonplace and "marriages" between people of the same sex are a reality. The history of marriage and family is actually filled with a variety of thought quite foreign to say, the average American. Marriage was often an agreement of practicality, arranged to provide a linkage between family fortunes....   [tags: Cohabitation Culture Marriage Essays]

Powerful Essays
1517 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about Defining Marriage

- The purpose of this essay is to analyze fastidiously and personalize Warner’s Beyond Gay Marriage article. Three convergent points of Warner’s argument will be broken down, and examined. First, the concept that marriage consecrates some pairs at the cost of others. Second the question of why marriage has become such a prevalent organization in gay politics. Finally, the definition of marriage in public, private, and state terms. Marriage is far beyond what it has been previously defined in history....   [tags: Marriage]

Powerful Essays
1891 words (5.4 pages)

Gay Marriage Essay

- Gay Marriage There seem to be Specific time in history where certain issues define the culture tension in a society. They become representative of large worldview and clearly emphasize the battle between divergent moral and spiritual perspectives. Homosexual marriage in the United States is one of these issues. In the past five years, there have been various threats and debates about the possibility of legalizing homosexual union. The issue took centre stage in February largely. The U.S Senate quashes a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gays from marrying....   [tags: Same-Sex Marriage Essays]

Powerful Essays
1228 words (3.5 pages)