Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation by Nancy F. Cott PDF

By Nancy F. Cott

ISBN-10: 0674008758

ISBN-13: 9780674008755

We typically give some thought to marriage as a personal subject among humans, a private expression of affection and dedication. during this pioneering background, Nancy F. Cott demonstrates that marriage is and consistently has been a public establishment.

From the founding of the us to the current day, imperatives in regards to the necessity of marriage and its right shape were deeply embedded in nationwide coverage, legislations, and political rhetoric. Legislators and judges have anticipated and enforced their most popular version of consensual, lifelong monogamy--a version derived from Christian tenets and the English universal legislations that posits the husband as supplier and the spouse as established. In early confrontations with local american citizens, emancipated slaves, Mormon polygamists, and immigrant spouses, in the course of the invention of the recent Deal, federal source of revenue tax, and welfare courses, the government continually prompted the form of marriages. or even the great social and felony adjustments of the final 3rd of the 20th century haven't unraveled legit reliance on marriage as a "pillar of the state."

through apart from a few forms of marriages and inspiring others, marital guidelines have helped to sculpt the nation's citizenry, in addition to its ethical and social criteria, and feature at once affected nationwide understandings of gender roles and racial distinction. Public Vows is a breathtaking view of marriage's political historical past, revealing the nationwide government's profound position in our so much deepest of decisions. nobody who reads this publication will reflect on marriage within the similar manner back.


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Extra resources for Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation

Example text

The consent of both was also essential. “The agreement of the parties, the essence of every rational contract, is indispensably required,” Wilson said in lectures delivered in 1792. He saw mutual consent as the hallmark of marriage—more basic than cohabitation. Everyone spoke of the marriage contract. Yet as a contract it was unique, for the parties did not set their own terms. The man and woman consented to marry, but public authorities set the terms of the marriage, so that it brought predictable rewards and duties.

85'0973—dc21 00-031898 contents Introduction 1 An Archaeology of American Monogamy 2 Perfecting Community Rules with State Laws 3 Domestic Relations on the National Agenda 4 Toward a Single Standard 5 Monogamy as the Law of Social Life 6 Consent, the American Way 7 The Modern Architecture of Marriage 8 Public Sanctity for a Private Realm 9 Marriage Revised and Revived Notes Acknowledgments Index introduction Marriage is like the sphinx—a conspicuous and recognizable monument on the landscape, full of secrets.

They were Indians, freed slaves, polygamous Mormons (metaphorically nonwhite), and Asians. Prohibiting divergent marriages has been as important in public policy as sustaining the chosen model. By incriminating some marriages and encouraging others, marital regulations have drawn lines among the citizenry and defined what kinds of sexual relations and which families will be legitimate. On the contemporary scene, same-sex couples have made their exclusion conspicuous. By contesting their deprivation, they have thrown a spotlight on marriage as a matter of civil rights and public sanction.

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Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation by Nancy F. Cott

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