american history

american history

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ marriage to Aisha رضي الله عنها

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AGE OF CONSENT IN EUROPEAN & AMERICAN HISTORY What was the ‘Age of Consent’ in European and American history, prior to the 20th century? In this article, I shall bring forth evidences which demonstrate that the ‘Age of consent’ was indeed, very young, even by today’s standards. I will provide academic sources which show that girls were allowed to be married at the age of 10 years old and sometimes times, as young as 7 years old, legally. It was norm just over 100 years ago to see girls being married off at very young ages. In most cultures, the marriage would have been consummated at the onset of puberty. 1. Professor of history Margaret Wade Labarge “It needs to be remembered that many Medieval widows were not old, Important heiresses were often married between the ages of 5 and 10 and might find themselves widowed while still in their teens.” [1] 2. Professor Richard Wortley and Professor Stephen Smallbone, both of whom state that prior to the 1900s girls married very young, “In Medieval and early modern European societies, the age of marriage remained low, with documented cases of brides as young as seven years, although marriages were typically not consummated until the girl reached puberty (Bullough 2004). Shakespeare’s Juliet was just 13, and there is no hint in the play that this was considered to be exceptional. The situation was similar on the other side of the Atlantic; Bullough reports the case in 1689 of a nine-year-old bride in Virginia. At the start of the nineteenth century in England, it was legal to have sex with a 10 year-old girl.” [2] 3. In the book, ‘Sex and Society’, “Until the late 20th century U.S. age of consent laws specifically names males as perpetrators and females as victims. Following English law, in which the age was set at 12 in 1275 and lowered to 10 in 1576, ages of consent in the American colonies were generally set at 10 or 12. The laws protected female virginity, which at the time was considered a valuable commodity until marriage. The theft of a girl’s chastity was seen as a property crime against her father and future husband. If two people were married and had sex, no matter what their age, no crime was committed because a woman was her husband’s property. In practice, too, the consent laws only protected white females, as many non-white females were enslaved or otherwise discriminated against by the legal system.” [3] 4. Richard A. Posner is chief judge of the U.S court of appeals, Seventh Circuit Chicago. Katherine B. Silbaugh is associate Professor at Boston University School of Law, they say that before the 1900s age of consent was ten years old, “The law governing the age of consent has changed dramatically in the United States during this century. Most states codified a statutory age of consent during the nineteenth century, and the usual age was ten years.” [4] 5. The Scottish Law prior to 1900s by Sir John Comyns and Stewart Kyd, “By the law of Scotland, a woman cannot contrabere sponsalia before her age of seven years. 1 Rol. 343. I. 20. But by common law, persons may marry at any age. Co. Lit. 33. A. And upon such marriage the wife shall be endowed, if the attain the age of nine years, of what whatsoever age her husband be; but not before the age of nine years. Co. L. 33. A.” [5] 6. Professor of Sociology Anthony Joseph Paul Cortese says that a 50 year old man being with a girl under 10 (being intimate) Under United States law was legal until the mid 1960s, “In 1962, the American Law Institute recommended that the legal age of consent to sex- that is, the age below which sex is defined as statutory rape- be dropped in every state to age 10 (Katchadourian and Lund 1972: 439). In fact, until the mid 1960s, the legal age of consent in Delaware was 7 (Kling, 1965: 216). So a 50 year old man could legally have sexual intercourse with a 7 year old boy or girl.” [6] 7. Maureen Dabbagh is a writer and author. Born in Michigan, she serves as a Virginia Supreme C...