Richard H. Chused examines more than 1300 petitions for divorce in Maryland filed during the first half of the nineteenth century. By weaving together information on the legislative handling of these petitions, the voting patterns of the state legislators, and the judicial treatment of related disputes, Chused shows the connections between politics, regional differences, and the development of American family law. His analysis also provides valuable insights into the social history of the time, a period when traditional Southern family values were at odds with the more modern values brought about by urbanization.
"This concisely written, richly researched study of divorce in Maryland during the first half of the nineteenth century offers the most thorough historical examination of the politics of divorce. . . . This book will be a valuable source of information not only for family and women's historians but for students of legal history and antebellum politics as well."—American Historical Review