Georgia constitution abolishes primogeniture and entail

Georgia constitution abolishes primogeniture and entail

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On February 5, 1777, Georgia formally adopts a new state constitution and becomes the first U.S. state to abolish the inheritance practices of primogeniture and entail.

Primogeniture ensured that the eldest son in a family inherited the largest portion of his father’s property upon the father’s death. The practice of entail, guaranteeing that a landed estate remain in the hands of only one male heir, was frequently practiced in conjunction with primogeniture. (Virginia abolished entail in 1776, but permitted primogeniture to persist until 1785.)

Georgians restructured inheritance laws in Article LI of the state’s constitution by abolishing entail in all forms and proclaiming that any person who died without a will would have his or her estate divided equally among their children; the widow shall have a child’s share, or her dower at her option.

The British colonies in North America, and particularly the southern colonies, were known as a haven for younger sons of the British gentry. Most famously, Benjamin Franklin announced in his autobiography that he was the youngest Son of the youngest Son for 5 Generations back. Moving to the colonies was an attractive option for younger sons like Franklin because there younger sons could take their monetary inheritance and build up their own estates, whereas primogeniture and entail prevented them from inheriting similar estates in the mother country.

Fee tail

In English common law, fee tail or entail is a form of trust established by deed or settlement which restricts the sale or inheritance of an estate in real property and prevents the property from being sold, devised by will, or otherwise alienated by the tenant-in-possession, and instead causes it to pass automatically by operation of law to an heir determined by the settlement deed. The term fee tail is from Medieval Latin feodum talliatum, which means "cut(-short) fee" and is in contrast to "fee simple" where no such restriction exists and where the possessor has an absolute title (although subject to the allodial title of the monarch) in the property which he can bequeath or otherwise dispose of as he wishes. Equivalent legal concepts exist or formerly existed in many other European countries and elsewhere.

Ústava Gruzie ruší prvorozenství a je s ním spojena

V tento den v roce 1777 Gruzie formálně přijala novou státní ústavu a stala se prvním americkým státem, který zrušil dědické praktiky prvorozenství a s tím spojené.

Primogeniture zajistil, že nejstarší syn v rodině zdědil po otcově smrti největší část majetku svého otce. Praxe s sebou nesoucích záruku, že pozemkový statek zůstane v rukou jediného dědice po muži, byla často praktikována ve spojení s prvorozením. (Virginie zrušila znamenat v 1776, ale dovolil primogeniture přetrvávat dokud ne 1785.)

Gruzínci restrukturalizovali dědické zákony v článku LI ústavy státu tím, že zrušili s sebou všechny formy a prohlásili, že osoba kdo zemřel bez vůle, bude mít jeho nebo její majetek rozdělený rovnoměrně mezi jejich děti vdova bude mít podíl dítěte nebo její věže podle své volby.

Britské kolonie v Severní Americe a zejména jižní kolonie byly známé jako útočiště pro mladší syny britského šlechtice. Nejslavněji Benjamin Franklin ve své autobiografii oznámil, že byl nejmladším synem nejmladšího syna po 5 generací zpět. Přechod do kolonií byl pro mladší syny, jako je Franklin, atraktivní možností, protože tam mohli mladší synové převzít své peněžní dědictví a vybudovat si vlastní statky, zatímco prvorozenství a znamenat jim zabránilo zdědit podobné majetky v mateřské zemi.

HIST7 Chapter 5 Quiz Notes

Cherokee allegiance to King George III in 1775
Attacked settlers of western North Carolina (but fought off successfully)

In 1780, Pennsylvania passed the first laws providing for the gradual freeing of slaves

"How can we reconcile the exercise of slavery with our professions of freedom?"

Attack on slavery went beyond words, such as Quaker established organized antislavery society.
Other places soon followed these leaders, ending slavery either by judicial act or by adopting gradual emancipation laws for slaves who reached a stipulated age.
Sharp decline even in the South?

Also decline of indentured servitude

Lawbreakers - less brutal punishments replaced with imprisonment

Primogeniture ensured that the eldest son in a family inherited the largest portion of his father's property upon the father's death. The practice of entail, guaranteeing that a landed estate remain in the hands of only one male heir, was frequently practiced in conjunction with primogeniture. (Virginia abolished entail in 1776, but permitted primogeniture to persist until 1785.)

In June 1775, he prepared to dislodge the rebels from Dorchester Heights where they gathered in force.

AMERICAN RESPONSE: countered by fortifying Breed's Hill in Charlestown, across the harbor from Boston.

Use of Hessian mercenaries,
King's rejection of Olive Branch Petition
December 1775 proclamation declaring colonies in open rebellion
Closing off all commerce with Americans

all made it clear that reconciliation was impossible

Critical event: Lord Dunmore's arming of slaves (move that violated Southern strongest racial taboos)

Each passing day made it easier to consider independence from Britain as their goal

Struggle through dense forests of New York, using up their supplies and getting farther and farther from their Canadian base. Near Lake George, Burgoyne's troops encountered stiff resistance from the troops of Horatio Gates. Burgoyne tried to retreat northward, but the move to escape was futile.

At Saratoga he was surrounded and on October 17, 1777 "Gentlemen Johnnie" surrounded his remaining 6000 men.

General Cornwallis marched North from his base in North Carolina, hoping to crush American forces in Virginia.
Soon collided with French Lafayette
when Wayne came to aid, British retreated, hopinh to establish a base by the coast where the Royal Navy could protect and supply them.
French fleet was too strong for British, British tried to escape and eventually surrendered.

Each state would have one vote
New Congress would have fairly broad powers, but not power to tax (instead it might ask the states for contribution proportional to their population)

Dickinson scheme immediately came unbder attack - delegates from large states complaind that small states would be overrepresented, southern states with large slave populations getting financial contributions based on their population was unfair (slaves were property, not citizens)

Plan proposed congress the power to set westward limits to the states, to grant lands to private parties in regions beyond those limits and to create new states in the west. SOME HATED THIS IDEA

Georgia constitution abolishes primogeniture and entail - Feb 05, 1777 -

TSgt Joe C.

On this day in 1777, Georgia formally adopts a new state constitution and becomes the first U.S. state to abolish the inheritance practices of primogeniture and entail.

Primogeniture ensured that the eldest son in a family inherited the largest portion of his father’s property upon the father’s death. The practice of entail, guaranteeing that a landed estate remain in the hands of only one male heir, was frequently practiced in conjunction with primogeniture. (Virginia abolished entail in 1776, but permitted primogeniture to persist until 1785.)

Georgians restructured inheritance laws in Article LI of the state’s constitution by abolishing entail in all forms and proclaiming that any person who died without a will would have his or her estate divided equally among their children the widow shall have a child’s share, or her dower at her option.

The British colonies in North America, and particularly the southern colonies, were known as a haven for younger sons of the British gentry. Most famously, Benjamin Franklin announced in his autobiography that he was the youngest Son of the youngest Son for 5 Generations back. Moving to the colonies was an attractive option for younger sons like Franklin because there younger sons could take their monetary inheritance and build up their own estates, whereas primogeniture and entail prevented them from inheriting similar estates in the mother country.

På denne dag i 1777 vedtager Georgien formelt en ny statsforfatning og bliver den første amerikanske stat, der afskaffer arven fra primogeniture og indebærer.

Primogeniture sørgede for, at den ældste søn i en familie arvet den største del af sin fars ejendom efter farens død. Praksisen med at indebære, at garantere, at et fast ejendom forbliver i hænderne på kun en mandlig arving, blev ofte udøvet i forbindelse med primogeniture. (Virginia afskaffet medførte i 1776, men tilladte primogeniture at fortsætte indtil 1785.)

Georgiere omstrukturerede arvelovene i artikel LI i statens forfatning ved afskaffelse indebærer i alle former og erklærer, at enhver person der døde uden en vilje ville have hans eller hende ejendom fordelt ligeligt mellem deres børn enken skal have et barns andel eller hendes dower efter hendes valg.

De britiske kolonier i Nordamerika, og især de sydlige kolonier, var kendt som et tilflugtssted for yngre sønner af den britiske herre. Mest berømt bebudede Benjamin Franklin i sin selvbiografi, at han var den yngste søn af den yngste søn i 5 generationer tilbage. At flytte til kolonierne var en attraktiv mulighed for yngre sønner som Franklin, fordi de yngre sønner kunne tage deres monetære arv og opbygge deres egne godser, mens primogeniture og medfølgende forhindrede dem i at arve lignende godser i moderlandet.

Worcester v. Georgia

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Worcester v. Georgia, legal case in which the U.S. Supreme Court on March 3, 1832, held (5–1) that the states did not have the right to impose regulations on Native American land. Although Pres. Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the ruling, the decision helped form the basis for most subsequent law in the United States regarding Native Americans.

Worcester v. Georgia involved a group of white Christian missionaries, including Samuel A. Worcester, who were living in Cherokee territory in Georgia. In addition to their missionary work, the men were advising the Cherokee about resisting Georgia’s attempts to impose state laws on the Cherokee Nation, a self-governing nation whose independence and right to its land had been guaranteed in treaties with the United States government. In an effort to stop the missionaries, the state in 1830 passed an act that forbade “white persons” from living on Cherokee lands unless they obtained a license from the governor of Georgia and swore an oath of loyalty to the state. Worcester and the other missionaries had been invited by the Cherokee and were serving as missionaries under the authority of the U.S. federal government. They did not, however, have a license from Georgia, nor did they swear a loyalty oath to that state. Georgia state authorities arrested Worcester and several other missionaries. After they were convicted at trial in 1831 and sentenced to four years of hard labour in prison, Worcester appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Worcester argued that Georgia had no right to extend its laws to Cherokee territory. He contended that the act under which he had been convicted violated the U.S. Constitution, which gives to the U.S. Congress the authority to regulate commerce with Native Americans. The Constitution also bars the states from passing laws that alter the obligations of contracts—in this case, treaties. Several treaties between the Cherokee and the U.S. government recognized the independence and sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation. Furthermore, Worcester argued that the Georgia laws violated an 1802 act of Congress that regulated trade and relations between the United States and the Indian tribes.

The Supreme Court agreed with Worcester, ruling 5 to 1 on March 3, 1832, that all the Georgia laws regarding the Cherokee Nation were unconstitutional and thus void. Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Marshall held that “the Indian nations had always been considered as distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights as the undisputed possessors of the soil.” Even though Native Americans were now under the protection of the United States, he wrote that “protection does not imply the destruction of the protected.” Marshall concluded:

The Cherokee Nation, then, is a distinct community occupying its own territory…in which the laws of Georgia can have no force, and which the citizens of Georgia have no right to enter but with the assent of the Cherokees themselves, or in conformity with treaties and with the acts of Congress. The whole intercourse between the United States and this Nation, is, by our Constitution and laws, vested in the Government of the United States.

Georgia, however, ignored the decision, keeping Worcester and the other missionaries in prison. Eventually, they were granted a pardon and were released in 1833. Pres. Andrew Jackson declined to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision, thus allowing states to enact further legislation damaging to the tribes. The U.S. government began forcing the Cherokee off their land in 1838. In what became known as the Trail of Tears, some 15,000 Cherokee were driven from their land and were marched westward on a grueling journey that caused the deaths of some 4,000 of their people.

Worcester v. Georgia was a landmark case of the Supreme Court. Although it did not prevent the Cherokee from being removed from their land, the decision was often used to craft subsequent Indian law in the United States. The Worcester decision created an important precedent through which American Indians could, like states, reserve some areas of political autonomy.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Jeff Wallenfeldt, Manager, Geography and History.

Ústava Gruzínska ruší prvovýrobu a je s ňou spojená

V tento deň v roku 1777 Gruzínsko formálne prijíma novú ústavu štátu a stáva sa prvým štátom USA, ktorý zrušil dedičské praktiky prvorodenstva a s tým spojené.

Primogeniture zaistil, že najstarší syn v rodine zdedil po otcovej smrti najväčšiu časť majetku svojho otca. Praktika, ktorá so sebou priniesla záruku, že pozemkový statok zostane v rukách iba jedného mužského dediča, sa často praktizovala v spojení s prvohorami. (Virgínia zrušená znamenala v roku 1776, ale umožnilo jej prvorodenstvo pretrvávať až do roku 1785.)

Gruzínci reštrukturalizovali dedičské zákony v článku LI ústavy štátu zrušením, ktoré so sebou prináša všetky formy, a vyhlásením, že človek ktorý zomrel bez vôle, bude mať jeho alebo jej majetok rozdelený rovnomerne medzi ich deti vdova musí mať podiel dieťaťa alebo podľa svojho vankúša.

Britské kolónie v Severnej Amerike a najmä južné kolónie boli známe ako útočisko pre mladších synov britského šľachty. Najslávnejšie je, že Benjamin Franklin vo svojej autobiografii oznámil, že bol najmladším Synom najmladšieho Syna po 5 generácií. Presťahovanie sa do kolónií bolo pre mladých synov, ako je Franklin, atraktívnou možnosťou, pretože mladší synovia si mohli vziať peňažné dedičstvo a vybudovať si svoj vlastný statok, zatiaľ čo prvorodenstvo a spôsobenie im bránili dediť podobné majetky v materskej krajine.


The common definition given is also known as male-line primogeniture, the classical form popular in European jurisdictions among others until into the 20th century. In the absence of male-line offspring, variations were expounded to entitle a daughter or a brother or, in the absence of either, to another collateral relative, in a specified order (e.g. male-preference primogeniture, Salic primogeniture, semi-Salic primogeniture). Variations have tempered the traditional, sole-beneficiary, right (such as French appanage) or, in the West since World War II, eliminate the preference for males over females (absolute male-preference primogeniture). Most monarchies in Western Europe have eliminated this, in succession: Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

English primogeniture endures mainly in titles of nobility: any first-placed direct male-line descendant (e.g. eldest son's son's son) inherits the title before siblings and similar, this being termed "by right of substitution" for the deceased heir secondly where children were only daughters they would enjoy the fettered use (life use) of an equal amount of the underlying real asset and the substantive free use (such as one-half inheritance) would accrue to their most senior-line male descendant or contingent on her marriage (moieties) thirdly, where the late estate holder had no descendants his oldest brother would succeed, and his descendants would likewise enjoy the rule of substitution where he had died. The effect of English primogeniture was to keep estates undivided wherever possible and to disinherit real property from female relations unless only daughters survived in which case the estate thus normally results in division. The principle has applied in history to inheritance of land as well as inherited titles and offices, most notably monarchies, continuing until modified or abolished.

Other forms of inheritance in monarchies have existed or continue. The Holy Roman Emperor was selected for enthronement by a small number of powerful prince electors from among Europe's Christian males of inherited nobility. Currently, succession to the Saudi Arabian throne uses a form of lateral agnatic seniority, as did the Kievan Rus' (see Rota system), the early Kingdom of Scotland (see Tanistry), the Mongol Empire (see lateral succession) or the later Ottoman Empire (see succession practices).

Research shows that authoritarian regimes that rely on primogeniture for succession were more stable than forms of authoritarian rule with alternative succession arrangements. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] Scholars have linked primogeniture to a decline in regicide, as clear rules of succession reduce the number of people who could replace a ruler and disincentivize the killing of the ruler. [8]

Absolute primogeniture Edit

Absolute, equal, or lineal primogeniture is a form of primogeniture in which sex is irrelevant for inheritance the oldest surviving child without regard to sex inherits the throne.

History Edit

No monarchy implemented this form of primogeniture before 1980, [9] when Sweden amended its Act of Succession to adopt it in royal succession. This displaced King Carl XVI Gustaf's infant son, Prince Carl Philip, in favor of his elder daughter, Princess Victoria. Several monarchies have since followed suit: the Netherlands in 1983, Norway in 1990, Belgium in 1991, Denmark in 2009, Luxembourg in 2011. In 2011, the governments of the 16 Commonwealth realms which have a common monarch announced the Perth Agreement, a plan to legislate changes to absolute primogeniture. [10] This came into effect with the necessary legislation on 26 March 2015. Other monarchies have considered changing to absolute primogeniture:

  • With the birth of Infanta Leonor of Spain on 31 October 2005 to the then heir apparent Felipe, Prince of Asturias, and Princess Letizia, the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero reaffirmed the intention of the government to institute, by amendment of the Spanish constitution, absolute primogeniture. Zapatero's proposal was supported by the leader of the main opposition party, the conservative Partido Popular, making its passage probable. However, Zapatero's administration ended before an amendment was drafted, and the succeeding government has not pursued it. The Prince counseled reformers that there was plenty of time before any constitutional amendment would need to be enacted because the expectation was to leave him next in line to succeed his father despite his elder sisters' continued status as dynasts equal primogeniture was expected to apply first to his children. Felipe succeeded to the throne as Felipe VI upon his father's abdication in 2014, by which time he had two daughters. Felipe VI has no son that would, absent the constitutional amendment, displace Leonor as heir apparent.
  • In July 2006, the Nepalese government proposed adopting absolute primogeniture, [11] but the monarchy was abolished in 2008 before the change could be effected.
  • In Japan, it has been debated whether or not to adopt absolute primogeniture, as Princess Aiko is the only child of Emperor Naruhito. However, the birth in 2006 of Prince Hisahito, a son of Prince Akishino (the younger brother of Naruhito, and next in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne) has suspended the debate.

Monaco, the Netherlands, and Norway also deviated from traditional primogeniture in the late 20th or early 21st century by restricting succession to the crown to relatives within a specified degree of kinship to the most recent monarch.

Agnatic primogeniture Edit

Under agnatic primogeniture, or patrilineal primogeniture, the degree of kinship (of males and females) is determined by tracing shared descent from the nearest common ancestor through male ancestors. [12] Those who share agnatic kinship (through solely male ancestors) are termed agnates those whose shared lineage includes a female ancestor are cognates.

There were different types of succession based on agnatic primogeniture, all sharing the principle that inheritance is according to seniority of birth among siblings (compare to ultimogeniture) and seniority of lineage among the agnatic kin, firstly, among the sons of a monarch or head of family, with sons and their male-line issue inheriting before brothers and their issue. Females and matrilineal males are excluded from succession.

Male-preference primogeniture Edit

Male-preference primogeniture accords succession to the throne to a female member of a dynasty if and only if she has no living brothers and no deceased brothers who left surviving legitimate descendants. A dynast's sons and their lines of descent all come before that dynast's daughters and their lines. Older sons and their lines come before younger sons and their lines. Older daughters and their lines come before younger daughters and their lines.

It was practised in the succession to the once-separate thrones of England and Scotland (until their union under James VI and I) and then the United Kingdom until 2015, when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 changed it to absolute primogeniture. This rule change was simultaneously adopted by all Commonwealth realms that have the British monarch as their head of state.

Male-preference primogeniture is currently practised in succession to the thrones of Monaco and Spain (before 1700 and since 1830).

With respect to hereditary titles, it is usually the rule for Scotland and baronies by writ in the United Kingdom, but baronies by writ go into abeyance when the last male titleholder dies leaving more than one surviving sister or more than one descendant in the legitimate female line of the original titleholder.

Matrilineal primogeniture Edit

Matrilineal primogeniture, or female-preference uterine primogeniture, is a form of succession practised in some societies in which the eldest female child inherits the throne, to the total exclusion of males. The order of succession to the position of the Rain Queen is an example in an African culture of matrilineal primogeniture: not only is dynastic descent reckoned through the female line, but only females are eligible to inherit. [13]

The Khasi Community of Meghalaya, India is an example of matrilineal, ultimogeniture inheritance where the youngest daughter inherits all or the largest chunk of the ancestral estate. Elder sisters may also inherit shares of the family estate, but their shares are much lesser when compared to the share of the youngest sister. The sons may inherit a relatively small portion, or in most cases, they do not inherit any immovable property at all.

In South India, the throne of the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore was inherited only by the sons of the Queen of Attingal. [ citation needed ]

The preference for males existing in most systems of primogeniture (and in other mechanisms of hereditary succession) comes mostly from the perceived nature of the tasks and role of the monarch: a monarch/prince (the latter means in Latin, chieftain) most usually was, first and foremost, a military leader, as in the millennia-old Book of Numbers. [14]

Social norms pointing to kings further flow from making clear, first-generation survivors, so to avoid civil war. Lacking advanced healthcare and resource-conscious family planning, mothers faced high risk in enduring such regular childbirth. Also in pre-20th century medicine about 10% of women could not have children. Added to this, on any necessary remarriage from death in childbirth, the king would have socially entrenched powers over his new spouse: financial and any rivalry of a new queen consort by her personal and companions' physical strength was within the chivalric norm far-fetched so far as it might present a challenge to her ruling husband, if proving relatively able. Times of turbulence were more likely when a queen regnant/female main heir allowed to inherit was married to or remarried to a similar-status foreign leader, as was conventional for high-status women for their family security and diplomacy. Such a situation was a major source of civil wars one example is the Spanish Armada. Henry VIII of England did not wait until death and remarried twice on the basis of lack of producing a male heir, on the second occasion beheading his queen "for witchcraft". A small minority of monarchs in many countries have openly made their heir an illegitimate child stories abound of others as newborns brought to the expectant queen consort such as to James II of England "in a bedpan". Under any of these considerations: sons, some of whose lives were in times of war likely to be lost in battle, could be expected to produce more heirs. Eldest daughters could find themselves under a situation of duress on remarriage, and the concept of the trophy bride if the husband were slain is one resonant in many cultures especially before the 20th century.

In Japan, the Imperial chronologies include eight reigning empresses from ancient times up through the Edo period however, their successors were most often selected from amongst the males of the paternal Imperial bloodline, which is why some conservative scholars argue that the women's reigns were temporary and that male-only succession tradition must be maintained. [15] Japanese empresses such as Empress Genshō (680–748), who succeeded her mother the Empress Gemmei (661–721) on the throne (but only because she was a Princess of the Imperial family, daughter of Prince Kusakabe), remain the sole exceptions to this conventional argument.

Arguments in favour Edit

Primogeniture by definition prevents the subdivision of estates. This lessens family pressures to sell property, such as if two (or more) children inherit a house and cannot afford to buy out the other(s).

In much of Europe younger sons of the nobility had no prospect of inheriting by death any property, and commonly sought careers in the Church, in military service (see purchase of commissions in the British Army), or in government. Some wills made bequests to a monastic order for an already suitably educated, disinherited son.

Many of the Spanish Conquistadors were younger sons who had to make their fortune in war. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, many younger sons of English aristocrats specifically chose to leave England for Virginia in the Colonies. Many of the early Virginians who were plantation owners were younger sons of landed gentry who had left Britain and Ireland fortuneless due to primogeniture. These were key ancestors of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

Arguments against Edit

The fact that the eldest son "scooped the pool" often led to ill-feeling amongst daughters and younger sons. Through marriage, estates inherited by primogeniture were combined and some nobles achieved wealth and power sufficient to pose a threat even to the crown itself. Finally, nobles tended to complain about and resist rules of primogeniture.

In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville observes that abolition of primogeniture and entail as to property results in faster division of land. [16] However primogeniture's forcing landless people to seek wealth outside the family estate to maintain their standard of living accelerated the death of the landed aristocracy and, in his view, thus, quickened the shift to democracy. [16]

Salic law Edit

An agnatic primogeniture system that excludes any female from inheritance of a monarch's principal possessions is generally known in western Europe as an application of the "Salic law" (see Terra salica). This is something of a misnomer although Salic law excludes female lines, it also mandates partible inheritance, rather than primogeniture. This rule developed among successions in France in the later Middle Ages. In 1316, Joan, the only surviving child of Louis X of France, was debarred from the throne in favor of her uncle, Philip, Count of Poitiers. After this it was declared that women could not inherit the French throne. Then in 1328, after the death of Charles IV, Philip, Count of Valois (Charles IV's paternal cousin), became king, notwithstanding the claims of Edward III of England. By proximity of blood, Edward was closest related as eldest son of the sister of Charles, Isabella. The assemblies of the French barons and prelates and the University of Paris resolved that males who derive their right to inheritance through their mother should be excluded. This ruling became a key point of contention in the subsequent Hundred Years War. Over the following century, French jurists adopted a clause from the 6th century Pactus Legis Salicae, which asserted that no female or her descendants could inherit the throne, as a governing rule for the French succession.

In the lands of Napoleon Bonaparte's conquests, Salic law was adopted, including the French Empire, the Kingdom of Westphalia, the Kingdom of Holland and, under Napoleonic influence, the House of Bernadotte's Sweden. Other states adopted Salic primogeniture as well, including Belgium, Denmark (in 1853) and all of the eastern European monarchies except Greece, i.e. Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia. During this era, Spain (in the Carlist conflicts) fought a civil war which pitted the Salic and female-line heirs of the ruling dynasty against one another for possession of the crown.

A variation of Salic primogeniture allowed the sons of female dynasts to inherit, but not women themselves, an example being the Francoist succession to the throne of Spain that was applied in 1947–1978.

British and French titles of nobility Edit

Many descend by Salic, male primogeniture so have a greater average rate of extinction. Many others if the title is otherwise to be extinct pass to the closest elder sister or a line of descendants to the last holder, as abeyant holders, such being parents or ancestors to whichever direct male descendant is first born to 'settle the abeyance'. Some senior agnatic cadets are granted from the outset courtesy or subsidiary titles. Notable English exceptions are the Duchy of Lancaster, which is merged with the British Crown which has included women in inheritance since the 16th century, and the Dukedom of Marlborough, which has done so since its establishment in 1702.

Semi-Salic law Edit

Another variation on agnatic primogeniture is the so-called semi-Salic law, or "agnatic-cognatic primogeniture", which allows women to succeed only at the extinction of all the male descendants in the male line. [17] Such were the cases of Bourbon Spain until 1833 and the dominions of Austria-Hungary, as well as most realms within the former Holy Roman Empire, i.e. most German monarchies. This was also the law of Russia under the Pauline Laws of 1797 and of Luxembourg until equal primogeniture was introduced on 20 June 2011.

There are various versions of semi-Salic law also, although in all forms women do not succeed by application of the same kind of primogeniture as was in effect among males in the family. Rather, the female who is nearest in kinship to the last male monarch of the family inherits, even if another female agnate of the dynasty is senior by primogeniture. Among sisters (and the lines of descendants issuing from them), the elder are preferred to the younger. In reckoning consanguinity or proximity of blood the dynasty's house law defines who among female relatives is "nearest" to the last male.

Quasi-Salic law Edit

During High Medieval period there arose a trend where the extinction of agnatic lineage forced the consideration of women's claim, however the desire for a male heir saw the women themselves excluded from the succession in favor of their sons so that women could transmit claims but not inherit themselves, such system was called "Quasi-Salic". [18] In 1316, to illegitimize Joan II of Navarre's claim on France, Philip V of France declared "women do not succeed to the throne of France". In 1328, Philip's successor, Charles IV of France too died sonless, Charles' sister, Isabella of France, claimed the throne not for herself, by through her to her son, Edward, however Philip VI of France took the throne and added another rule to illegitimate Edward, that being "one cannot transmit a right that she doesn't possess".

In Christian Europe, the Catholic Church originally had a monopoly on the authority to sanction marriage. Its teachings forbid polygamy and state divorce is an impossibility per se. Consequently, in Europe, given morbidity and infertility succession could not be assured solely by direct male descendants or even direct male or female progeny. In Islamic and Asian cultures, religious officials and customs either sanctioned polygyny, use of consorts, or both, or they had no authority of marriage monarchs could consequently ensure sufficient numbers of male offspring to assure succession. In such cultures, female heads of state were rare.

Biblical Edit

The earliest account of primogeniture to be known widely in modern times is that of Isaac's sons Esau, who was born first, [19] and Jacob, who was born second. [20] Esau was entitled to the "birthright" (bekhorah בְּכוֹרָה), but he sold the right to Jacob for a mess of pottage, i. e. a small amount of food. [21] Although the veracity of this account is not corroborated by other sources, its telling in this passage demonstrates that primogeniture was sufficiently common in the Middle East for the passage to seem plausible to the people living there prior to the Roman Empire.

In the Bible a woman's right and obligation to inherit property in the absence of a male heir in the family was established by the Daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 27.

Roman law Edit

During the Roman Empire, Roman law governed much of Europe, and the laws pertaining to inheritance made no distinction between the oldest or youngest, male or female, if the decedent died intestate. [22] Although admission to the two highest ordines (orders), i. e. the senators and equestrians, potentially brought lifelong privileges that the next generation could inherit, the principle of inherited rank in general was little used. [23] Rather, Roman aristocracy was based on competition, and a Roman family could not maintain its position in the ordines merely by hereditary succession or title to land. [24] Although the eldest son typically carried his father's name in some form, he was expected to construct his own career based on competence as an administrator or general and on remaining in favor with the emperor and his council at court. [25] Other than meeting requirements for personal wealth, the qualifications for belonging to the senatorial or equestrian orders varied from generation to generation, and in the later Empire, the dignitas ("esteem") that attended on senatorial or equestrian rank was refined further with additional titles, such as vir illustris, that were not inherited. [26]

Most Roman emperors indicated their choice of successor, usually a close family member or adopted heir, and the presumption that the eldest or even a natural son would inherit was not enshrined. The death of an emperor led to a critical period of uncertainty and crisis. In theory, the Senate was entitled to choose the new emperor, but did so mindful of acclamation by the army or the Praetorian Guard. [27] Thus, neither an emperor nor his heir had an inherent "right" to rule, and did so through military power and the Senate's symbolic consent.

Reemergence in medieval and modern times Edit

The law of primogeniture in Europe has its origins in Medieval Europe which due to the feudal system necessitated that the estates of land-owning feudal lords be kept as large and united as possible to maintain social stability as well as the wealth, power and social standing of their families. [22]

Adam Smith, in his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, explains the origin of primogeniture in Europe in the following way:

[W]hen land was considered as the means, not of subsistence merely, but of power and protection, it was thought better that it should descend undivided to one. In those disorderly times, every great landlord was a sort of petty prince. His tenants were his subjects. He was their judge, and in some respects their legislator in peace and their leader in war. He made war according to his own discretion, frequently against his neighbours, and sometimes against his sovereign. The security of a landed estate, therefore, the protection which its owner could afford to those who dwelt on it, depended upon its greatness. To divide it was to ruin it, and to expose every part of it to be oppressed and swallowed up by the incursions of its neighbours. The law of primogeniture, therefore, came to take place, not immediately indeed, but in process of time, in the succession of landed estates, for the same reason that it has generally taken place in that of monarchies, though not always at their first institution. [28]

Historical examples Edit

A case of agnatic primogeniture is exemplified in the French royal milieu, where the Salic Law (attributed to the Salian Franks) forbade any inheritance of a crown through the female line. This rule was adopted to solve the dispute over the legitimate successor of John I of France, the short-lived son of deceased Louis X of France in favour of Philip V of France (brother of Louis and uncle of John) over Joan II of Navarre (daughter of Louis and sister of John), the Estates-General of 1317 [fr] ruling that "Women do not succeed the kingdom of France". In 1328 it was further elaborated to solve the dispute over the legitimate successor of Philip V's brother, Charles IV of France, in favour of Philip VI of France (the son of Charles’ uncle Charles of Valois) over Edward III of England (the son of Charles’ sister Isabella). While Edward had a stronger claim by proximity of blood, the court ruled "Women cannot transmit a right which they do not possess", reinforcing agnatic primogeniture. This dispute was among the factors behind the Hundred Years' War, which broke out in 1337.

Conflict between the Salic law and the male-preferred system was also the genesis of Carlism in Spain and Miguelism in Portugal.

The crowns of Hanover and Great Britain, which had been in personal union since 1714, were separated in 1837 upon the death of King William IV: his niece Victoria inherited the British crown under male-preference primogeniture but, because of semi-Salic law, was not the heir to that of Hanover, which passed to William's eldest surviving brother, Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover.

The divergence in the late 19th century of the thrones of Luxembourg and the Netherlands, both subject to semi-Salic law, resulted from the fact that the Luxembourg line of succession went back more generations than did the Dutch line. The Luxembourg succession was set by the Nassau House Treaty of 1783, which declared each prince of the House of Nassau to be a potential heir to the territories of every branch of the dynasty. Insofar as the succession is concerned, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the successor state to the Principality of (Orange-)Nassau-Dietz, which was given in exchange to William VI of Nassau, Prince of Orange, in 1813. Succession to the new Kingdom of the Netherlands was recognised by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as belonging exclusively to the descendants of Prince William VI, who became King William I of the Netherlands. In 1890, William I's agnatic line of male descendants died out, leaving the Netherlands to his female descendant Queen Wilhelmina, whereas Luxembourg still had an agnatic heir from a distant branch of the dynasty left to succeed ex-Duke Adolf of Nassau, who became reigning Grand Duke, thus ending the personal union of the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Since the Middle Ages, the semi-Salic principle was prevalent for the inheritance of feudal land in the Holy Roman Empire: inheritance was allowed through females when the male line expired. Females themselves did not inherit, but their male issue could. For example, a grandfather without sons was succeeded by his grandson, the son of his daughter, although the daughter still lived. Likewise, an uncle without sons of his own was succeeded by his nephew, a son of his sister, even if the sister still lived.

Common in feudal Europe outside of Germany was land inheritance based on male-preference primogeniture: A lord was succeeded by his eldest son but, failing sons, either by daughters or sons of daughters. [ citation needed ] In most medieval Western European feudal fiefs, females (such as daughters and sisters) were allowed to succeed, brothers failing. But usually the husband of the heiress became the real lord, ruling in right of his wife (jure uxoris), though on her death the title would not remain with him but pass to her heir.

In more complex medieval cases, the sometimes conflicting principles of proximity of blood and primogeniture competed, and outcomes were at times unpredictable. Proximity meant that an heir closer in degree of kinship to the lord in question was given precedence although that heir was not necessarily the heir by primogeniture.

  • The Burgundian succession in 1361 was resolved in favor of King John II, son of a younger daughter, on basis of blood proximity, being a nearer cousin of the dead duke than Charles II of Navarre, grandson of the elder daughter and son of Jeanne. John was only one generation of consanguinity removed from the late duke instead of two for Charles.
  • In dispute over the Scottish succession, 1290–92, the Bruce family pleaded tanistry and proximity of blood, whereas Balliol argued his claim based on primogeniture. The arbiter, Edward I of England, decided in favor of primogeniture. But later, the Independence Wars reverted the situation in favor of the Bruce, due to political exigency.
  • The Earldom of Gloucester (in the beginning of 14th century) went to full sisters of the dead earl, not to his half-sisters, though they were elder, having been born of the father's first marriage, while the earl himself was from second marriage. Full siblings were considered higher in proximity than half-siblings.

However, primogeniture increasingly won legal cases over proximity in later centuries.

Later, when lands were strictly divided among noble families and tended to remain fixed, agnatic primogeniture (practically the same as Salic Law) became usual: succession going to the eldest son of the monarch if the monarch had no sons, the throne would pass to the nearest male relative in the male line.

Some countries, however, accepted female rulers early on, so that if the monarch had no sons, the throne would pass to the eldest daughter. For example, in 1632 Christina, Queen of Sweden, succeeded to the throne after the death of her father, King Gustav II Adolf.

In England all land passed (to any widow strictly for life) then by primogeniture. Until the Statute of Wills was passed in 1540, a will could control only personal property. Real estate (land) passed to the eldest male descendant by operation of law. The statute gave power to landowners to "devise" land by the use of a new device, part of any will, including heading "testament". The default setting of such primogeniture applying absent express written words in England was not changed until the Administration of Estates Act in 1925. In law, primogeniture is the rule of inheritance whereby land descends to the oldest son. Under the feudal system of medieval Europe, primogeniture generally governed the inheritance of land held in military tenure (see knight). The effect of this rule was to keep the father's land for the support of the son who rendered the required military service. When feudalism declined and the payment of a tax was substituted for military service, the need for primogeniture disappeared. In England the 1540 Act permitted the oldest son to be entirely cut off from inheriting, and in the 17th century military tenure was abolished primogeniture is, nevertheless, a fading custom of the gentry and farm owners in England and Wales.

An ancient and alternative way in which women succeeded to power, especially without displacing the direct male line descendants of the first monarchs, was consortium or coregency between husband and wife or other relatives. The most notable are the Egyptian cases of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, and the monarchs of the Ptolemaic Dynasty.

United States and Canada Edit

In British North America, the colonies followed English primogeniture laws. Carole Shammas argues that issues of primogeniture, dower, curtesy, strict family settlements in equity, collateral kin, and unilateral division of real and personal property were fully developed in the colonial courts. The Americans differed little from English policies regarding the status of widow, widower, and lineal descendants. [29] The primogeniture laws were repealed at the time of the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson took the lead in repealing the law in Virginia, where nearly three-fourths of Tidewater land and perhaps a majority of western lands were entailed. [30] Canada had the same law but repealed it in 1851. [31]

When Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met at Placentia Bay in August 1941, Roosevelt said he could not understand the British aristocracy's concept of primogeniture, and he intended to divide his estate equally between his five children Churchill explained that an equal distribution was nicknamed the Spanish Curse by the British upper classes: "We give everything to the eldest and the others strive to duplicate it and found empires. While the oldest, having it all, marries for beauty. Which accounts, Mr President, for my good looks". But as Churchill's father was a younger son, there may have been more modesty than mock-vanity than Roosevelt realised. [32]

Spain Edit

In 2006, King Juan Carlos I of Spain decreed a reform of the succession to noble titles from male-preference primogeniture to absolute primogeniture. [33] [34]

  • Absolute preference is given to the direct descending line over the collateral and ascending line, and, within the same line, the closest degree takes precedence over the more remote and, within the same degree, the elder over the younger, combined with the principles of firstborn and representation.
  • Men and women have an equal right of succession to grandeeship and to titles of nobility in Spain, and no person may be given preference in the normal order of succession for reasons of gender.

United Kingdom Edit

A bill to reform hereditary peerage inheritance law was tabled in 2013 for absolute primogeniture. The Equality (Titles) Bill was socially dubbed the "Downton law/bill" in reference to the British television drama Downton Abbey, in which the Earl's eldest daughter cannot inherit her Father's estate as entrusted, unless all of the adult beneficiaries amend the trust. [35] A Lords' Committee was chosen for Committee Stage, which rejected it. [36]


arensberg, c. m., and kimball, s. t. (1968). family andcommunity in ireland, 2nd edition. cambridge, ma: harvard university press.

goldman, i. (1970). ancient polynesian society. chicago: university of chicago press.

goody, j. (1983). the development of the family andmarriage in europe. cambridge, uk: cambridge university press.

kolenda, p. (1968). "region, caste, and family structure: a comparative study of the indian 'joint' family." in structure and change in indian society, ed. m. yinger and s. cohn. chicago: aldine.

Watch the video: ΤΑ ΚΑΚΩΣ ΚΕΙΜΕΝΑ ΤΗΣ ΠΑΙΔΕΙΑΣ (June 2022).


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