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Man And Wife In America

Author: Hendrik Hartog
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674038394
Size: 57.95 MB
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In nineteenth-century America, the law insisted that marriage was a permanent relationship defined by the husband's authority and the wife's dependence. Yet at the same time the law created the means to escape that relationship. How was this possible? And how did wives and husbands experience marriage within that legal regime? These are the complexities that Hendrik Hartog plumbs in a study of the powers of law and its limits. Exploring a century and a half of marriage through stories of struggle and conflict mined from case records, Hartog shatters the myth of a golden age of stable marriage. He describes the myriad ways the law shaped and defined marital relations and spousal identities, and how individuals manipulated and reshaped the rules of the American states to fit their needs. We witness a compelling cast of characters: wives who attempted to leave abusive husbands, women who manipulated their marital status for personal advantage, accidental and intentional bigamists, men who killed their wives' lovers, couples who insisted on divorce in a legal culture that denied them that right. As we watch and listen to these men and women, enmeshed in law and escaping from marriages, we catch reflected images both of ourselves and our parents, of our desires and our anxieties about marriage. Hartog shows how our own conflicts and confusions about marital roles and identities are rooted in the history of marriage and the legal struggles that defined and transformed it.

Strange Bedfellows

Author: Alison Lefkovitz
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 081225015X
Size: 76.11 MB
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Strange Bedfellows recounts the unlikely ways in which the efforts of feminists and divorced men's activists dovetailed with the activity of lawmakers, judges, welfare activists, immigrant spouses, the LGBTQ community, the Reagan coalition, and other Americans, to redefine family and marriage without relying on traditional gender norms.

Separate Peoples One Land

Author: Cynthia Cumfer
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469606593
Size: 17.84 MB
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Exploring the mental worlds of the major groups interacting in a borderland setting, Cynthia Cumfer offers a broad, multiracial intellectual and cultural history of the Tennessee frontier in the Revolutionary and early national periods, leading up to the era of rapid westward expansion and Cherokee removal. Attentive to the complexities of race, gender, class, and spirituality, Cumfer offers a rare glimpse into the cultural logic of Native American, African American, and Euro-American men and women as contact with one another powerfully transformed their ideas about themselves and the territory they came to share. The Tennessee frontier shaped both Cherokee and white assumptions about diplomacy and nationhood. After contact, both groups moved away from local and personal notions about polity to embrace nationhood. Excluded from the nationalization process, slaves revived and modified African and American premises about patronage and community, while free blacks fashioned an African American doctrine of freedom that was both communal and individual. Paying particular attention to the influence of older European concepts of civilization, Cumfer shows how Tennesseans, along with other Americans and Europeans, modified European assumptions to contribute to a discourse about civilization, one both dynamic and destructive, which has profoundly shaped world history.

Staging Family

Author: Nan Mullenneaux
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 1496210891
Size: 21.85 MB
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Breaking every prescription of ideal femininity, American actresses of the mid-nineteenth century appeared in public alongside men, financially supported nuclear and extended families, challenged domestic common law, and traveled the globe in the transnational theater market. While these women expanded professional, artistic, and geographic frontiers, they expanded domestic frontiers as well: publicly, actresses used the traditional rhetoric of domesticity to mask their very nontraditional personal lives, instigating historically significant domestic innovations to circumvent the gender constraints of the mid-nineteenth century, reinventing themselves and their families in the process. Nan Mullenneaux focuses on the personal and professional lives of more than sixty women who, despite their diverse backgrounds, each made complex conscious and unconscious compromises to create profit and power. Mullenneaux identifies patterns of macro and micro negotiation and reinvention and maps them onto the waves of legal, economic, and social change to identify broader historical links that complicate notions of the influence of gendered power and the definition of feminism; the role of the body/embodiment in race, class, and gender issues; the relevance of family history to the achievements of influential Americans; and national versus inter- and transnational cultural trends. While Staging Family expands our understanding of how nineteenth-century actresses both negotiated power and then hid that power, it also informs contemporary questions of how women juggle professional and personal responsibilities--achieving success in spite of gender constraints and societal expectations.

Families In Crisis In The Old South

Author: Loren Schweninger
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0807837504
Size: 48.21 MB
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In the antebellum South, divorce was an explosive issue. As one lawmaker put it, divorce was to be viewed as a form of "madness," and as another asserted, divorce reduced communities to the "lowest ebb of degeneracy." How was it that in this climate, the number of divorces rose steadily during the antebellum era? In Families in Crisis in the Old South, Loren Schweninger uses previously unexplored records to argue that the difficulties these divorcing families faced reveal much about the reality of life in a slave-holding society as well as the myriad difficulties confronted by white southern families who chose not to divorce. Basing his argument on almost 800 divorce cases from the southern United States, Schweninger explores the impact of divorce and separation on white families and on the enslaved and provides insights on issues including domestic violence, interracial adultery, alcoholism, insanity, and property relations. He examines how divorce and separation laws changed, how married women's property rights expanded, how definitions of inhuman treatment of wives evolved, and how these divorces challenged conventional mores.

Taming Passion For The Public Good

Author: Mark E. Kann
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814764673
Size: 50.85 MB
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“Kann's latest tour de force explores the ambivalence, during the founding of our nation, about whether political freedom should augur sexual freedom. Tracing the roots of patriarchal sexual repression back to revolutionary America, Kann asks highly contemporary questions about the boundaries between public and private life, suggesting, provocatively, that political and sexual freedom should go hand in hand. This is a must-read for those interested in the interwining of politics, public life, and sexuality.”—Ben Agger, University of Texas at Arlington The American Revolution was fought in the name of liberty. In popular imagination, the Revolution stands for the triumph of populism and the death of patriarchal elites. But this is not the case, argues Mark E. Kann. Rather, in the aftermath of the Revolution, America developed a society and system of laws that kept patriarchal authority alive and well—especially when it came to the sex lives of citizens. In Taming Passion for the Public Good, Kann contends that that despite the rhetoric of classical liberalism, the founding generation did not trust ordinary citizens with extensive liberty. Through the policing of sex, elites sought to maintain control of individuals' private lives, ensuring that citizens would be productive, moral, and orderly in the new nation. New American elites applauded traditional marriages in which men were the public face of the family and women managed the home. They frowned on interracial and interclass sexual unions. They saw masturbation as evidence of a lack of self-control over one’s passions, and they considered prostitution the result of aggressive female sexuality. Both were punishable offenses. By seeking to police sex, elites were able to keep alive what Kann calls a “resilient patriarchy.” Under the guise of paternalism, they were able simultaneously to retain social control while espousing liberal principles, with the goal of ultimately molding the country into the new American ideal: a moral and orderly citizenry that voluntarily did what was best for the public good.

Love Of Freedom

Author: Catherine Adams
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199779833
Size: 78.38 MB
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They baked New England's Thanksgiving pies, preached their faith to crowds of worshippers, spied for the patriots during the Revolution, wrote that human bondage was a sin, and demanded reparations for slavery. Black women in colonial and revolutionary New England sought not only legal emancipation from slavery but defined freedom more broadly to include spiritual, familial, and economic dimensions. Hidden behind the banner of achieving freedom was the assumption that freedom meant affirming black manhood The struggle for freedom in New England was different for men than for women. Black men in colonial and revolutionary New England were struggling for freedom from slavery and for the right to patriarchal control of their own families. Women had more complicated desires, seeking protection and support in a male headed household while also wanting personal liberty. Eventually women who were former slaves began to fight for dignity and respect for womanhood and access to schooling for black children.

The Claims Of Kinfolk

Author: Dylan C. Penningroth
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 0807862134
Size: 38.27 MB
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In The Claims of Kinfolk, Dylan Penningroth uncovers an extensive informal economy of property ownership among slaves and sheds new light on African American family and community life from the heyday of plantation slavery to the "freedom generation" of the 1870s. By focusing on relationships among blacks, as well as on the more familiar struggles between the races, Penningroth exposes a dynamic process of community and family definition. He also includes a comparative analysis of slavery and slave property ownership along the Gold Coast in West Africa, revealing significant differences between the African and American contexts. Property ownership was widespread among slaves across the antebellum South, as slaves seized the small opportunities for ownership permitted by their masters. While there was no legal framework to protect or even recognize slaves' property rights, an informal system of acknowledgment recognized by both blacks and whites enabled slaves to mark the boundaries of possession. In turn, property ownership--and the negotiations it entailed--influenced and shaped kinship and community ties. Enriching common notions of slave life, Penningroth reveals how property ownership engendered conflict as well as solidarity within black families and communities. Moreover, he demonstrates that property had less to do with individual legal rights than with constantly negotiated, extralegal social ties.

Parley P Pratt

Author: Terryl L. Givens
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199913307
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After Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt was the most influential figure in early Mormon history and culture. Missionary, pamphleteer, theologian, historian, and martyr, Pratt was perennially stalked by controversy--regarded, he said, "almost as an Angel by thousands and counted an Imposter by tens of thousands." Tracing the life of this colorful figure from his hardscrabble origins in upstate New York to his murder in 1857, Terryl Givens and Matthew Grow explore the crucial role Pratt played in the formation and expansion of early Mormonism. One of countless ministers inspired by the antebellum revival movement known as the Second Great Awakening, Pratt joined the Mormons in 1830 at the age of twenty three and five years later became a member of the newly formed Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which vaulted him to the forefront of church leadership for the rest of his life. Pratt's missionary work--reaching from Canada to England, from Chile to California--won hundreds of followers, but even more important were his voluminous writings. Through books, newspaper articles, pamphlets, poetry, fiction, and autobiography, Pratt spread the Latter-day Saint message, battled the many who reviled it, and delineated its theology in ways that still shape Mormon thought. Drawing on letters, journals, and other rich archival sources, Givens and Grow examine not only Pratt's writings but also his complex personal life. A polygamist who married a dozen times and fathered thirty children, Pratt took immense joy in his family circle even as his devotion to Mormonism led to long absences that put heavy strains on those he loved. It was during one such absence, a mission trip to the East, that the estranged husband of his twelfth wife shot and killed him--a shocking conclusion to a life that never lacked in drama.