Dec. 6, 2007
Coontz misstates the historical record to give the impression that marriage has typically not been a province of law and only became such in an effort to preserve the narrow interests of certain powerful sects of society: wealthy parents in requiring parental consent, Catholic authoritarians in proscribing divorce, and Southern racists in preventing miscegenation. This could not be further from the truth. As a rule, the more marriage was enshrined in law, the more freedom under the law was given to men and women who sought marriage. This was often the case in the ancient world, and emphatically the case in the medieval world.