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American Child BrideA History of Minors and Marriage in the United States$
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Nicholas L. Syrett

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469629537

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469629537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022



(p.1) Introduction
American Child Bride

Nicholas L. Syrett

University of North Carolina Press

The introduction argues that the marriage of minors has always been relatively common in the United States, though explanations for its prevalence vary over time. In earlier eras children married because childhood was not strictly demarcated from adulthood; in later eras, Americans’ discomfort with adolescent sexuality has allowed many to countenance youthful marriage. While there are real instances of exploitation to be found in minors’ marriages, paradoxically many youth also found marriage one of the few ways to achieve adulthood prematurely, emancipating themselves from their parents and legally protecting sex with older spouses. The introduction also explains terminology, methods, and sources.

Keywords:   Marriage of minors, Adulthood, Childhood, Adolescent sexuality, Emancipation from parents, Exploitation

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