Added: July 1, 2017 – Last updated: July 1, 2017


Author: Abby Chandler

Title: Law and Sexual Misconduct in New England, 1650-1750

Subtitle: Steering Toward England

Place: Farnham

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing

Year: 2015

Pages: ix + 188pp.

ISBN-13: 9781472461926 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781315591513 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781472461940 (EPUB) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 17th Century, 18th Century | American History: U.S. History | Prosecution: Laws


Link: Google Books (Limited Preview)


Author: Abigail B. Chandler, History Department, University of Massachusetts at Lowell


  Preface (p. vii)
  Note on Transcriptions (p. xi)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  1 Founding Law in Massachusetts Bay, Maine and Rhode Island (p. 21)
  2 Evolving Law in England and its Influence on New England (p. 43)
  3 "Exposing our children, to be bred ignorantly like Indians": Frontier Peripheries and Cross-Cultural Sexual Contact (p. 67)
  4 "He Shall Be Liable to the Charge of Maintenance": Morals, Economics, and Illegitimate Children in New England Communities (p. 91)
  5 "The Court doe Own him her Aturney": Justices, Attorneys, and the New England Court Room (p. 113)
  6 "The said Margaret Prays Process against Him": Public and Private Lives in New England Court Rooms (p. 137)
  Conclusion (p. 159)
  Appendix A (p. 165)
  Appendix B (p. 169)
  Appendix C (p. 171)
  Appendix D (p. 173)
  References (p. 175)
  Index (p. 189)

Description: »Having arriving in the Province of Maine in 1641 with a brief to create both government and law for the fledgling colony, Thomas Gorges later recorded his policy as having ’steared as neere as we could to the course of Ingland’. Over the course of the next century the various colonial administrations all consciously measured their laws against that of England, whether their intention was imitation of or conscious opposition to, established English legal system. In order to trace the shifting and contested relationships between colonial laws and English laws, this book focuses on the prosecution of sexual misconduct. All crimes can threaten orderly society but no other crime posed quite the same long term implications as illicit sex resulting in the birth of illegitimate children who became their own social challenges. Sexual misconduct was, consequently, a major concern for early modern leaders, making it a particularly fruitful subject for studying the complex relationship between laws in England and laws in the English colonies. Political and ecclesiastical leaders create laws to coerce people to behave in a certain fashion and to convey wider messages about the societies they govern. When those same laws are broken, lawbreakers must be tried and punished by a means intended to serve as a warning to other would-be lawbreakers. In this book the two-part analysis of changing sexual misconduct laws and the resulting trial depositions highlights the ways in which ordinary New England colonists across New England both interacted with and responded to the growing Anglicization of their legal systems and makes the argument that these men and women saw themselves as taking part in a much larger process.« (Source: Routledge)

Interview: Covart, Liz, et al. »Abby Chandler, Law, Order and Sexual Misconduct in Colonial New England.« Ben Franklin's World No. 069 (2016). – Bibliographic Entry: Info


Bailey, Richard A. »Puritanical Passions? Trying Sexual Misconduct in Early New England.« The William and Mary Quarterly 74(2) (April 2017): 339-343. – Full Text: JSTOR (Free Access)

Rogers, Alan. The New England Quarterly 90(2) (June 2017): 265-267. – Full Text: The MIT Press (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States / Colonial history of the United States, History of New England | Law: Sex and the law