Marriage and the law in the eighteenth century: Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753

  title={Marriage and the law in the eighteenth century: Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753},
  author={David Lemmings},
  journal={The Historical Journal},
  pages={339 - 360}
  • David Lemmings
  • Published 1 June 1996
  • History, Economics
  • The Historical Journal
ABSTRACT This article is an analysis of the hysterical debates in the house of commons over the 1753 Marriage Act, placed in the context of the failure of existing marriage law to prevent clandestine marriage and bigamy, and the crucial importance of the marriage market for the male propertied elite. It shows that the proponents of the act appealed strongly to the patriarchal and material instincts of the majority in the Commons, while its principal opponents, who claimed to stand for affective… 

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