Men didn’t believe women could manage their personal affairs. Once a woman’s husband passed away, she was considered unable to manage her own life and was assigned a guardian to oversee her various affairs by a council or court system. This acting guardian was also assigned to her children and would oversee the affairs of the children until they turned legal age. Since the woman lost control of her children, it was the guardian who made decisions based upon what he thought was best for her children. The father of her deceased husband often had more to say about the children’s future than the mother. The only time the mother had full control of her children were if the children were illegitimate (Weisner 231).
Guardianship was also another way for cities to control the inheritance of the widow. As Merry Weisner stated in her essa...
... middle of paper ...
...erty was left to male heirs. Man was considered the head of the household and the master of women. It was the belief that by strengthening the power of the husband, you strengthen the power of the family (Scchneider 235). It is clear equal rights for men and women did not appear until well after the sixteenth and seventh centuries in early modern Europe. Women were under the control of men.
Schneider, Zoe. “Women Before the Bench: Female Litigants in Early Modern Normandy.”
Early Modern Europe: Issues and Interpretations. Eds. James B. Collins and Karen L.
Taylor. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. 2006. 241-257.
Weisner, Merry. “Political, Economic, and Legal Structures.” Early Modern Europe: Issues
and Interpretations. Eds. James B. Collins and Karen L. Taylor. Malden, MA:
Blackwell Publishing. 2006. 222-240.
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