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Private acts in public places : a social history of divorce in the formative era of American family law

Author: Richard H Chused
Publisher: Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In Private Acts in Public Places, Richard H. Chused examines more than thirteen hundred petitions for divorce in Maryland filed during the first half of the nineteenth century. By weaving together information on the legislative handling of these petitions, the voting patterns of state legislators, and the judicial treatment of related disputes, Chused shows the connections between politics, regional differences, and  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Chused, Richard H., 1943-
Private acts in public places.
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, ©1994
(OCoLC)607842786
Online version:
Chused, Richard H., 1943-
Private acts in public places.
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, ©1994
(OCoLC)624408198
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Richard H Chused
ISBN: 081223202X 9780812232028
OCLC Number: 29913819
Description: viii, 234 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: 1. Introduction --
2. Miscreant Women and Male Divorce: Family Discord Before 1805. Regional Differences and the Impact of Chancery Courts. The Impact of Race on Early Legislative Divorce. The "Marriage" of Electoral and Divorce Reform. Pre-1805 Legislative Divorces --
3. Political Reform and Family Law at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century. Legislative Divorce Reform: Cruelty and Male Adultery Grounds for Private Acts. Rumbles of Discontent: Legislative Controversy and Social Discord. Emergence of Children as a Family Law Consideration --
4. Religious and Political Maneuvering: The Disappearance of A Vinculo Divorce, 1816-1825. The Rise of Partial Divorce. Partial Divorce and the Economic Interests of Marriage. Child Custody --
5. The State of Divorce Law in 1825: The Import of Sarah and Charles Warfield's Saga --
6. The Revival of A Vinculo Divorce and a Child Custody Twist, 1826-1836. The Politics of Divorce. The Contours of Divorce. The Contours of Marital Property Rules. Children and Divorce. 7. The Arrival of Judicial Divorce, 1837-1841. The Politics of General Divorce Legislation. History of Early General Divorce Bills. Links Between Divorce Reform and Married Women's Property Acts. Conclusion: "Liberalism" and Legislative Reform --
8. The Demise of Legislative Divorce. The Hiatus in Adoption of Private Bills. Concurrent Jurisdiction: Family Law Complexities After Renewal of the Private Bill Process. Alimony After Married Women's Property Reforms --
9. Epilogue: The Long-Term Impact of the Legislative Divorce Process --
App. 2: Process Proposals, General Bill Proposals, and Statutes --
App. 3: The Warfield v. Warfield and Thomas v. Thomas Pamphlets.
Responsibility: Richard H. Chused.

Abstract:

In Private Acts in Public Places, Richard H. Chused examines more than thirteen hundred petitions for divorce in Maryland filed during the first half of the nineteenth century. By weaving together information on the legislative handling of these petitions, the voting patterns of state legislators, and the judicial treatment of related disputes, Chused shows the connections between politics, regional differences, and the development of American family law. His analysis also provides valuable insights into the social history of the time, a period when traditional Southern family standards were at odds with the more modern values brought about by urbanization. Liberalization of divorce rules was sometimes frustrated by the religious beliefs of individual lawmakers and by legislative malapportionment. Conservative opposition was often strengthened by the politicians' reluctance to take bold public stands on divorce even as they quietly acceded to the pleas of individual constituents for relief from marital predicaments. Private Acts in Public Places describes how the structure of government and the nature of political institutions alter the contours of private life. It will be of interest to students and scholars of social, legal, and political history, family law, and women's studies.

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"This concisely written, richly researched study of divorce in Maryland during the first half of the nineteenth century offers the most thorough historical examination of the politics of divorce... Read more...

 
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