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Families in Crisis in the Old South – Divorce, Slavery, and the Law - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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Families in Crisis in the Old South: Divorce, Slavery, and the Law

Loren Schweninger


In the antebellum South, divorce was an explosive issue. As one lawmaker put it, divorce was to be viewed as a form of “madness,” and as another asserted, divorce reduced communities to the “lowest ebb of degeneracy.” How was it that in this climate, the number of divorces rose steadily during the antebellum era? This book uses previously unexplored records to argue that the difficulties these divorcing families faced reveal much about the reality of life in a slave-holding society as well as the myriad difficulties confronted by white southern families who chose not to divorce. Basing his arg ... More

Keywords: antebellum South, divorce, slave-holding society, white southern families, southern United States, domestic violence, interracial adultery, alcoholism, insanity, property relations

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780807835692
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014 DOI:10.5149/9780807837504_schweninger


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Loren Schweninger, author