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Men and the Making of Modern British Feminism$
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Arianne Chernock

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763110

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763110.001.0001

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Revising the Sexual Contract

Revising the Sexual Contract

(p.82) Chapter Four Revising the Sexual Contract
Men and the Making of Modern British Feminism
Stanford University Press

This chapter demonstrates some men's struggles to produce more equitable property arrangements and marital relations, concentrating especially on the problem of the femme coverte, or legal status of the married woman. The radical men who took up the cause of marriage reform with the goal of curbing male authority were engaged in a delicate operation. The “companionate” model of marriage gained increasing popularity over the course of the eighteenth century. It is noted that the laws regarding women and regulating the domestic site, contra Blackstone, were highly contingent. The proposals for legal reform of marriage were the efforts to awaken the family so as to mirror the contractual arrangement founded between the ruler and the people one hundred years earlier.

Keywords:   equitable property arrangements, marital relations, married woman, marriage, male authority, legal reform

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