Comprehensive Child Marriage Research Library

Review of American Child Bride. A History of Minors and Marriage in the United States

Author(s):

Object Type:

Gudefin, Geraldine

Book Review

Year & Month/Season:

2018

February

Publication/Publisher:

Cambridge University Press

Peer Reviewed

false

PDF Available?

false

Public Link:

ISSN (If Available)

0738-2480

If Journal Article:

ISBN (If Book):

Page Start

N/A

Page End

N/A

Volume

36

Issue

1

DOI

10.1017/S073824801700061X

N/A

Students Against Child Marriage's Object Summary:

This review identifies the central thesis of Syrett’s book to be that child marriage was not considered an issue in the US until society began to conceptualize age differently and to understand childhood as its own phenomena separate from adulthood. Syrett points out that this societal notion spread across the country at different rates, which accounts today for the differences in child marriage rates between the North and the South or urban and rural areas. The book proceeds chronologically and extensively documents the prevalence of child marriage through US history as well as the social attitudes that furthered or critiqued. Syrett points to three different periods of child marriage reforms: the 1850s, the 1870s and 80s, and the 1920s. The first and second reform eras where concerned with protecting the institution of marriage (the first seeking to prevent sex outside of marriage and the second to decrease divorce rates), and it wasn’t until the 1920s when advocates began trying to limit child marriage as a form of child protection. Gudefin writes that Syrett presents a compelling argument combining narratives and analysis that the history of marriage and the history of childhood are inextricably linked. That being said, it could have included more nuance when it comes to how child marriage intersects with both religion and race.

Article Abstract (If Available):

N/A

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