Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
American Child BrideA History of Minors and Marriage in the United States$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

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: 26 May 2022

Any Maid or Woman Child

Any Maid or Woman Child

A New Nation and Its Marriage Laws

(p.15) One Any Maid or Woman Child
American Child Bride

Nicholas L. Syrett

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explains the English common law and colonial legal antecedents to early national marriage law in the extant states. It argues that the common law marriage ages of twelve (for girls) and fourteen (for boys) are based on presumptions about puberty and intellectual capacity, and that when North American colonial legislatures raised these ages, they did so largely to protect parental interest in their children’s labor and possible fortunes, not as a means to protect youthful people. It also argues that the differential ages of marriage and of majority (in western and midwestern states, where girls’ majority was lowered to eighteen) all had the effect of denying girls the protection of girlhood in the realm of marriage that were being offered to their brothers and to children more generally in legal revisions of the ealry modern period.

Keywords:   English common law, Marriage age, Age of majority, Colonial and early national law, Puberty, Child labor, Intellectual capacity

North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .