A Judgment for Solomon: The d’Hauteville Case and Legal - download pdf or read online

By Michael Grossberg

A Judgment for Solomon tells the tale of the d'Hauteville case, a arguable baby custody conflict fought in 1840. It makes use of the tale of 1 couple's sour struggle over their son to discover a few timebound and undying beneficial properties of yankee felony tradition. This eagerly trial sparked a countrywide debate over the felony rights and tasks of moms and dads, husbands and other halves. The d'Hauteville case explains why well known trials develop into "precedents of criminal experience"-- mediums for debates approximately hugely contested social matters. It additionally demonstrates the facility of person men and women to give a contribution to criminal switch through turning to the legislation to struggle for what they wish.

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And no promise was more important than a pledge to marry. Breaking such a pledge was the most serious transgression a woman could commit. 14 Promise keeping constituted a central virtue in a society more and more committed to contractualism and to self-regulated behavior. Indeed, for nineteenth-century Americans of all classes promise keeping was a critical duty demanded by a new set of manners. Like other compulsory social rules, it had to be adhered to with a law-like fidelity evident in Edmund Burke's frequently cited dictum: "Manners are of more importance than laws.

Maternal duties not spousal relations became the theme of her bargaining. "My child will, henceforth, be the greatest source of happiness that remains to me," Ellen asserted. "I have borne him in sorrow and trouble, and have never left him from the hour of his birth. You know nothing of him - your heart or your affections never warmed towards him. My determination is a decided one; nothing shall induce me to alter it . . nothing shall induce me to live with any one, where every tie of affection has been severed by conduct such as yours.

On September 27, 1838, just seven days after she made that plea, Ellen gave birth to a son. Contrary to Gonzalve's explicit instructions, she named him Frederick Sears Grand d'Hauteville, after her brother, and a month later had the Reverend John Stone, Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, baptize the infant. Across the ocean in Switzerland, the day after the baptism Gonzalve plaintively wrote: "Your silence, my dear friend, convinces me that you have not written to me again before your confinement.

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