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Reconstructing The Household

Author: Peter W. Bardaglio
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0807860212
Size: 31.52 MB
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In Reconstructing the Household, Peter Bardaglio examines the connections between race, gender, sexuality, and the law in the nineteenth-century South. He focuses on miscegenation, rape, incest, child custody, and adoption laws to show how southerners struggled with the conflicts and stresses that surfaced within their own households and in the larger society during the Civil War era. Based on literary as well as legal sources, Bardaglio's analysis reveals how legal contests involving African Americans, women, children, and the poor led to a rethinking of families, sexuality, and the social order. Before the Civil War, a distinctive variation of republicanism, based primarily on hierarchy and dependence, characterized southern domestic relations. This organic ideal of the household and its power structure differed significantly from domestic law in the North, which tended to emphasize individual rights and contractual obligations. The defeat of the Confederacy, emancipation, and economic change transformed family law and the governance of sexuality in the South and allowed an unprecedented intrusion of the state into private life. But Bardaglio argues that despite these profound social changes, a preoccupation with traditional notions of gender and race continued to shape southern legal attitudes.

American Marriage

Author: Priscilla Yamin
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812206649
Size: 55.79 MB
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As states across the country battle internally over same-sex marriage in the courts, in legislatures, and at the ballot box, activists and scholars grapple with its implications for the status of gays and lesbians and for the institution of marriage itself. Yet, the struggle over same-sex marriage is only the most recent political and public debate over marriage in the United States. What is at stake for those who want to restrict marriage and for those who seek to extend it? Why has the issue become such a national debate? These questions can be answered only by viewing marriage as a political institution as well as a religious and cultural one. In its political dimension, marriage circumscribes both the meaning and the concrete terms of citizenship. Marriage represents communal duty, moral education, and social and civic status. Yet, at the same time, it represents individual choice, contract, liberty, and independence from the state. According to Priscilla Yamin, these opposing but interrelated sets of characteristics generate a tension between a politics of obligations on the one hand and a politics of rights on the other. To analyze this interplay, American Marriage examines the status of ex-slaves at the close of the Civil War, immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century, civil rights and women's rights in the 1960s, and welfare recipients and gays and lesbians in the contemporary period. Yamin argues that at moments when extant political and social hierarchies become unstable, political actors turn to marriage either to stave off or to promote political and social changes. Some marriages are pushed as obligatory and necessary for the good of society, while others are contested or presented as dangerous and harmful. Thus political struggles over race, gender, economic inequality, and sexuality have been articulated at key moments through the language of marital obligations and rights. Seen this way, marriage is not outside the political realm but interlocked with it in mutual evolution.

The Cambridge History Of Law In America

Author: Michael Grossberg
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521803063
Size: 75.33 MB
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This volume covers American law in the nineteenth century and describes the development of modern legal systems.

Family Law And Inheritance In America

Author: Yvonne Pitts
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107245141
Size: 23.45 MB
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Yvonne Pitts explores inheritance practices by focusing on nineteenth-century testamentary capacity trials in Kentucky in which disinherited family members challenged relatives' wills. These disappointed heirs claimed that their departed relative lacked the capacity required to write a valid will. These inheritance disputes criss-crossed a variety of legal and cultural terrains, including ordinary people's understandings of what constituted insanity and justice, medical experts' attempts to infuse law with science, and the independence claims of women. Pitts uncovers the contradictions in the body of law that explicitly protected free will while simultaneously reinforcing the primacy of blood in mediating claims to inherited property. By anchoring the study in local communities and the texts of elite jurists, Pitts demonstrates that 'capacity' was a term laden with legal meaning and competing communal values about family, race relations and rationality. These concepts evolved as Kentucky transitioned from a conflicted border state with slaves to a developing free-labor, industrializing economy.

In Joy And In Sorrow

Author: Carol Bleser
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019934423X
Size: 22.29 MB
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In Joy and in Sorrow brings together some of the finest historians of the South in a sweeping exploration of the meaning of the family in this troubled region. In their vast canvas of the Victorian South, the authors explore the private lives of Senators, wealthy planters, and the belles of high society, along with the humblest slaves and sharecroppers, both white and black. Stretching from the height of the antebellum South's pride and power through the chaos of the Civil War and Reconstruction to the end of the century, these essays uncover hidden worlds of the Southern family, worlds of love and duty--and of incest, miscegenation, and insanity. Featuring an introduction by C. Vann Woodward, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Mary Chesnut's Civil War, and a foreword by Anne Firor Scott, author of The Southern Lady, this work presents an outstanding array of historians: Eugene Genovese, Catherine Clinton, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Carol Bleser, Drew Faust, James Roark, Michael Johnson, Brenda Stevenson, Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Jacqueline Jones, Peter Bardaglio, and more. They probe the many facets of Southern domestic life, from the impact of the Civil War on a prominent Southern marriage to the struggles of postwar sharecropper families. One author turns the pages of nineteenth century cookbooks, exploring what they tell us about home life, housekeeping, and entertaining without slaves after the Civil War. Other essays portray the relationship between a Victorian father and his devoted son, as well as the private writings of a long-suffering Southern wife. In Joy and in Sorrow offers a fascinating look into the tangled reality of Southern life before, during, and after the Civil War. With this collection of essays, editor Carol Bleser provides a powerful new way of understanding this most self-consciously distinct region. In Joy and in Sorrow will appeal to everyone interested in marriage and the family, the problems of gender and slavery, as well as in the history of the South, old and new.