By Robert L. Griswold
Booklet by means of Griswold, Robert L.
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Extra info for Family and Divorce in California 1850-1890: Victorian Illusions and Everyday Realities (American Social History)
When we understand the assumptions behind the divorce procedures, I think it can. Because nineteenth-century divorce was an adversarial procedure, and because community mores frowned on marital dissolution, people spent considerable time explaining why they wanted to get divorced, what they had expected from their spouse, how they felt about their children, and what they perceived their own behavior to have been. In short, the attitudes of the society in general are exposed as we read how couples justified the need for a divorce; moreover, the great variety of witnesses also brought to the surface submerged, private aspects of family life, and in many cases the historian sees a community emerge from the record as one neighbor or relative after another answered questions about a given couple.
0 The rise in population accounted for a percentage of the shiftmore people meant more divorce suitsbut divorce complaints rose considerably faster than the population. Table 7 compares the percentage in population change with the percentage of change in divorce complaints and grants by decade. 28 Table 7. Increase of Population and Divorce Complaints in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties by Decade Decade of Complaint Percent Population Increase Percent Divorce Complaint Increase Percent Divorce Grant Increase 18601870 117 266 18701880 33 211 233 18801890 33 114 101 Throughout these years of growth, the comparative percentage of men and women filing complaints changed only slightly, despite the large increase in the number of complaints being filed.
In the eyes of some, women might even be the only hope for national unity: only they, with their superior morality and sensitivity, could bond together and stand against the disintegrating forces of early nineteenth-century America; only they could provide a moral refuge and sanctuary for husbands who spent their days in the immoral marketplace. Other commentators hoped women's natural morality, delicacy, and refinement would bring Christianity, civilization, and order to the untamed West. There is good evidence that frontier women accepted this heavy responsibility.
Family and Divorce in California 1850-1890: Victorian Illusions and Everyday Realities (American Social History) by Robert L. Griswold