Description: This thesis compares the status of upper-class widows in England to Colonial America. The common law traditions in England established dower, which was also used in the American colonies. Dower guaranteed widows the right to one-third of the land and property of her husband. Jointure was instituted in England in 1536 and enabled men to bypass dower and settle a yearly sum on a widow. The creation of jointure was able to proliferate in England due to the cash-centered economy, but jointure never manifested itself in Colonial America because of the land centered economy. These two types of inheritance form the background for the argument that upper-class women in Colonial America had more legal and economical freedoms than their brethren in England.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Jones, Sarah E.