Women, Real Estate, and Wealth in a Southern US County, 1780-1860
In her 1986 book Women and the Law of Property in Early America, Marylynn Salmon concludes that the legal and economic changes experienced by early national and antebellum (pre-Civil War) United States women - which culminated in the passage of married women's property acts - were evolutionary rather than revolutionary. This paper examines changes in the economic status of women preceding the enactment of these statutes by analyzing new and valuable information: real-estate deeds and probate records in Henrico County, Virginia. Supplementing the diverse, yet limited, international and historical evidence on women's wealth holdings, this exploration of the asset accumulation of elite, free women in the southern US reveals that women's property holdings, personal and real, rose substantially over the 1780-1860 period. Thus, these results are consistent with those of other scholars, such as Marylynn Salmon, who document an increase in early national and antebellum women's economic status.
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Volume (Year): 16 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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