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Author Pitts, Yvonne.
Title Family, law, and inheritance in America : a social and legal history of nineteenth-century Kentucky / Yvonne Pitts, Purdue University.
Imprint Cambridge [England] : Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Author Pitts, Yvonne.
Series Cambridge historical studies in American law and society
Cambridge historical studies in American law and society.
Subject Inheritance and succession -- Kentucky -- 19th century.
Wills -- Kentucky -- 19th century.
Description 1 online resource
Summary "Yvonne Pitts explores inheritance practices by focusing on nineteenth-century testamentary capacity trials in Kentucky in which disinherited family members challenged relatives' wills. These disappointed heirs claimed that their departed relative lacked the capacity required to write a valid will. These inheritance disputes criss-crossed a variety of legal and cultural terrains, including ordinary people's understandings of what constituted insanity and justice, medical experts' attempts to infuse law with science, and the independence claims of women. Pitts uncovers the contradictions in the body of law that explicitly protected free will while simultaneously reinforcing the primacy of blood in mediating claims to inherited property. By anchoring the study in local communities and the texts of elite jurists, Pitts demonstrates that 'capacity' was a term laden with legal meaning and competing communal values about family, race relations and rationality. These concepts evolved as Kentucky transitioned from a conflicted border state with slaves to a developing free-labor, industrializing economy"-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents 1. 'Parental justice': inheritance and obligation in families -- 2. 'My black family': manumissions and freedom in inheritance disputes -- 3. Arbiters of sanity: medical experts and jurists -- 4. Physical impairments and degenerate minds: the body as evidence -- 5. A special power: women's testamentary capacity.
Note Print version record.
ISBN 1139564994 (electronic bk.)
9781139564991 (electronic bk.)
9781107250444 (electronic bk.)
1107250447 (electronic bk.)
9781107035508 (hardback)
1107035503 (hardback)
OCLC # 843079235
Additional Format Print version: 9781107035508 1107035503 (DLC) 2012044901

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