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BastardsPolitics, Family, and Law in Early Modern France$
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Matthew Gerber

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199755370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755370.001.0001

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Illegitimacy and the Political History of the Family

Illegitimacy and the Political History of the Family

(p.3) Introduction Illegitimacy and the Political History of the Family

Matthew Gerber

Oxford University Press

In the absence of a unified Civil Code, the rights and legal disabilities of children born out of wedlock were matters of perennial debate and litigation in early modern France. Because of commonplace analogies between fatherhood and kingship, household and realm, these legal conflicts had both a social and a political dimension. Study of these conflicts promises to shed light not only on the history of the family, but also on the process of early modern state formation and the gradual transition from an adjudicatory to a legislative ideal of law.

Keywords:   bastard, natural child, foundling, state building, law, litigation

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