The Law of the Father? Patriarchy in the Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism

By Mary Murray | Go to book overview

Chapter 7

Women as property

A number of feminist writers have expressed the view that women in England have, historically, been treated as property; and they are backed up by some historians. To what extent is this contention valid? What is the evidence that has been used to support it?

We can start our examination with the laws relating to adultery-a crime with a strong connotation of property, the woman's body being illicitly given to a man other than its 'owner', her husband.

It is certainly the case that punishment of women guilty of adultery could be extreme. In the reign of Cnut, they stood to lose both nose and ears. 1 Alfred decreed: 'If anyone lies with the wife of a man whose wergild is 1200 shillings, he shall pay 120 shillings compensation to the husband; to a husband whose wergild is 600 shillings he shall pay 40 shillings compensation'. 2

Feminist historian Nazife Basher considers that the prominence of rape in English statute law from Anglo-Saxon times until the sixteenth century 'was due to the law's concern with the protection of male property rather than to its concern with the welfare of women'. 3 What is the evidence to support this statement?

During the Anglo-Saxon period, King Aethelbert decreed:

if a man lies with a maiden belonging to the King he shall pay 50 shillings compensation. If she is a grindling slave he shall pay 25 shillings compensation… If a man lies with a commoner's serving maid, he shall pay 6 shillings compensation… with a slave of the second class [he shall pay] 50 sceattas… if with one of the third class 30 sceattas…. 4

Klink argues that such crimes were clearly regarded as having

-111-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Law of the Father? Patriarchy in the Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Debate 6
  • Chapter 2 - A Way Forward 29
  • Chapter 3 - Marxism and the Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism 42
  • Chapter 4 - Property and Patriarchy 57
  • Chapter 5 - From 'the Law of the Father' to 'Capitalist Fraternity'? 77
  • Chapter 6 - Sisters, Daughters and Subordinate Wives 99
  • Chapter 7 - Women as Property 111
  • Conclusion 123
  • Notes 129
  • Index 153
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 160

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.