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Download A Judgment for Solomon: The d'Hauteville Case and Legal by Michael Grossberg PDF

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By Michael Grossberg

A Judgment for Solomon tells the tale of the d'Hauteville case, a debatable baby custody conflict fought in 1840. It makes use of the tale of 1 couple's sour struggle over their son to discover a few timebound and undying positive aspects of yank felony tradition. This eagerly trial sparked a countrywide debate over the criminal rights and tasks of mom and dad, husbands and other halves. The d'Hauteville case explains why well known trials turn into "precedents of felony experience"-- mediums for debates approximately hugely contested social concerns. It additionally demonstrates the power of person men and women to give a contribution to felony switch by means of turning to the legislation to struggle for what they need.

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Extra resources for A Judgment for Solomon: The d'Hauteville Case and Legal Experience in Antebellum America

Sample text

Gonzalve's negotiating difficulties illustrate the gender dynamics visible at this stage of the d'Hauteville case. Romantic love gave women like Ellen "some emotional power over men. "65 Ellen's withdrawal of affection surely cut Gonzalve to the quick and demonstrated her power over this phase of the negotiations. 66 By the spring of 1839, compromise had eluded all of the negotiators. Positions had hardened; neither Gonzalve nor Ellen would budge. With the Atlantic between them, Ellen and her father assumed that the now nearly year-long informal separation would continue indefinitely.

Parker rebuffed him arguing that neither David nor Miriam knew Ellen's hiding place. Sprague threatened to seek a search warrant. 73 In the meantime, Ellen sent a terse, combative message to Gonzalve. Refusing to see him or even show the father his child, once more she defiantly rejected his plea for reconciliation. The embattled wife tried to convince her husband that his long journey had been in vain. 74 Stymied by Ellen and her parents, Gonzalve and his lawyer had to design a new strategy. As they did so, the frustrated husband and father must have begun to appreciate not only the steely determination of his wife but also the power of the man he now challenged.

The setting seemed inappropriate for the tragedy. 30 Instead its grounds became the site for a dark story of multiple meanings, more like those crafted by the brothers Grimm. As they told their stories in court, each d'Hauteville blamed the other for destroying their marriage. Ellen looked back and charged Gonzalve with marital tyranny. She claimed that disappointment over the size of her dowry exposed her husband's latent character flaws. In particular, she recalled noticing a yawning gap between his kind words and his treacherous deeds.

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