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hist 17.pdf

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Department
History
Course
HIST 101
Professor
Willeen Keough
Semester
Fall

Description
Women and the Law, 19th C - Lower status in formal law - "Unity of person" or coverture -- english common law -- married woman's legal identity subsumed by husband's - Could not -- hold property -- enter into contracts -- sue or be sued. *married women had the least status. Basic rights not given to them* *single women could own property, but there was a lot of pressure for women to marry. - no legal control over own bodies - husband could -- not be charged with rape -- sue for loss of wife's sexual/domestic services -- control wife's wages -- beat wife "moderately" - abused women not to "desert" marriage *if the wife left the husband and went to live with her parents, then the husband could sue the parents for the lost of sexual services. *man and wife seen as one legally. You can't rape yourself, you can't attack yourself. -- judges would usually encourage woman to return, for the sake of the marriage. If the woman refused, she would lose all support and the children Divource - Difficult and costly - double standard -- Husband had to wife's prove adultery to divource her. -- Wife had to prove husband's adultery plus other grounds (adultery not enough) * no irreconcilable differences. - Act of Parliament required, no divource courts - Custody of children usually to husband. Quebec Civil Code - community of property - wife's consent needed to sell property - Husband to support wife and children - separated women controlled their own property * wife could take husband to court if it could be proven that the husband didn't care for the children and the wife * mostly for women who brought property into the marriage - but deserted working class wives had no property - Infanticide: death sentence - concealment: death sentence, changed to imprisonment - severe penalties rarely enforced: many women desperate, many Working Class, faced disgrace, unemployment. * ultimately brought in lower sentences for concealment, 2 years imprisonment Abortion - Banned in 19th C - Penalties: -- before "quickening": imprisonment -- after "quickening: death - Criminal: abortionist, not mother except in NS and NB: both charged. Rape - Penalty: death - Prison more lik
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