Inside the Castle: Law and the Family in 20th Century America

Inside the Castle: Law and the Family in 20th Century America

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Inside the Castle is a comprehensive social history of twentieth-century family law in the United States. Joanna Grossman and Lawrence Friedman show how vast, oceanic changes in society have reshaped and reconstituted the American family. Women and children have gained rights and powers, and novel forms of family life have emerged. The family has more or less dissolved into a collection of independent individuals with their own wants, desires, and goals. Modern family law, as always, reflects the brute social and cultural facts of family life.

The story of family law in the twentieth century is complex. This was the century that said goodbye to common-law marriage and breach-of-promise lawsuits. This was the century, too, of the sexual revolution and women's liberation, of gay rights and cohabitation. Marriage lost its powerful monopoly over legitimate sexual behavior. Couples who lived together without marriage now had certain rights. Gay marriage became legal in a handful of jurisdictions. By the end of the century, no state still prohibited same-sex behavior. Children in many states could legally have two mothers or two fathers. No-fault divorce became cheap and easy. And illegitimacy lost most of its social and legal stigma. These changes were not smooth or linear--all met with resistance and provoked a certain amount of backlash. Families took many forms, some of them new and different, and though buffeted by the winds of change, the family persisted as a central institution in society. Inside the Castle tells the story of that institution, exploring the ways in which law tried to penetrate and control this most mysterious realm of personal life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400839773
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 07/18/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 456
File size: 625 KB

About the Author

Joanna L. Grossman is professor of law at Hofstra University and the coeditor of Gender Equality. Lawrence M. Friedman is the Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford University. His books include A History of American Law.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1

Part One: Tying the Knot: Marriage and Promises to Marry
Chapter One: Marriage and the State 27
Chapter Two: Marriage, Law, and Society: A Tangled Web 51
Chapter Three: Common-Law Marriage 78
Chapter Four: The End of Heart Balm 90

Part Two: Anything Goes: love and romance in a Permissive Age
Chapter Five: The Rise of Sexual Freedom 109
Chapter Six: Cohabitation 121
Chapter Seven: Same-Sex Relationships 142

Part Three: When the Music Stops: Dissolving a Marriage and the Aftermath
Chapter Eight: Untying the Knot: Divorce and Annulment 159
Chapter Nine: Dollars and Sense: The Economic Consequences of Divorce 192
Chapter Ten: Collateral Damage: The Children of Divorce 215

Part Four: The Old and the New Generation
Chapter Eleven: The Extended Family: Elder Law and the Law of Inheritance 235
Chapter Twelve: Parents and Children: Rights and Duties 262
Chapter Thirteen: Whom Do We Belong To? Parentage and the Law 286
Chapter Fourteen: Chosen People: Adoption and the Law 305

Conclusion: Into the Void 330
Notes 333
Index 423

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From the Publisher

"This is a bold, ambitious, and remarkably comprehensive book. Moving beyond the legal community and providing a window into the actual functioning of America's diverse families, this book shows that family law isn't so much generated by judges and legislators, but by ordinary and extraordinary individuals."—Steven Mintz, Columbia University

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