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Revolutionary ConceptionsWomen, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820$
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Susan E. Klepp

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833223

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838716_Klepp

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Increase and Multiply

Increase and Multiply

Embarrassed Men and Public Order

(p.215) 6 Increase and Multiply
Revolutionary Conceptions

Susan E. Klepp

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter looks at the law and law enforcement, and asks how women were able to begin to seize control over reproduction in a still-patriarchal age. The British Empire and its constituent governments did have an interest in enhancing procreation, in enforcing the marriage bond, and in preventing fornication, sodomy, adultery, abortion, and infanticide. The growth and security of the Empire depended on having a large population. Social order depended on the family. It was primarily the family that provided policing, education, social welfare, and many other crucial social and economic functions. Most production was based in the family whether on farms or in artisanal households. The family depended upon a strong male householder who would enforce law and religious proscription while keeping dependents to their tasks.

Keywords:   law enforcement, reproduction, British Empire, procreation, marriage bond, social order, family

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