Property and Marriage : The Law and the Practice in Early Nineteenth-Century Montreal

Authors

  • Bettina Bradbury
  • Peter Gossage
  • Evelyn Kolish
  • Alan Stewart

Abstract

Between the 1820s and 1840s, the use of marriage contracts in Montreal changed. Firstly, over this period, marriage contracts were increasingly the tool of a propertied minority of the population. Secondly, a rapidly growing proportion of those signing a contract chose to keep the property of each spouse separate rather than creating a community of property. This choice was not limited to anglophones and was most pronounced when the husband was a merchant or "bourgeois". Thirdly, more and more of the wives of wealthier Montrealers appear to have had the power to administer their own personal goods. How this worked out in practice, however, has to be determined. Entre les années 1820 et 1840, trois transformations ont marqué l’utilisation des contrats de mariage à Montréal. D’abord, la signature d’un contrat devint progressivement le lot d’une minorité de possédants. Ensuite, une proportion toujours plus large choisit la séparation plutôt que la communauté de biens, surtout chez les couples dont le mari était un marchand ou un bourgeois, et cela, non seulement parmi les anglophones. Enfin, il semble que dans les familles très aisées, un nombre grandissant de femmes aient assumé la gestion de leurs biens quoiqu’on ne sache pas grand-chose sur l’exercice de ce droit.

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Published

04.07.2013

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Articles