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Encyclopedia > Married Women's Property Act 1882

Traditionally, a husband and wife were 'one person in law'. As a result, according to Blackstone, 'the very being or legal existence of [a married] woman [was] suspended during the marriage, or at least [was] incorporated and confolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing'. Sir William Blackstone, (July 10, 1723 – February 14, 1780) was an English jurist and professor who produced the historical treatise on the common law called Commentaries on the Laws of England, first published in four volumes over 1765–1769. ...


This position was changed by the Married Women's Property Act 1882 and subsequent legislation. That Act ensured that married women had the same rights to buy, sell, and own property as unmarried women did.


The Act was a rallying point for many first-wave feminists in the late nineteenth century. The passing of the law meant that women were legally recognized as individuals in their own right for the first time in history.


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