Determination of the Dates of Passage of the Married Women's Property Acts and Earnings Acts
Posted: 17 May 2009
Date Written: May 15, 2009
The purpose of this document is to analyze and record the dates of passage of state-level acts in the United States that granted married women the right to own and control property separate from their husbands, and the date of passage of acts granting married women the right to own their market earnings. The first of those rights was granted through what has been termed the married women's property acts (MWPAs), while the second was granted through earnings acts (EAs). These acts were passed in most states between 1848 and 1920, and have been credited with weakening the common law doctrine of coverture. The document carefully examines, and quotes, state-by-state, the laws granting married women those two types of property rights. It provides an explanation for each date chosen.
Keywords: Women's property rights, coverture, earnings acts
JEL Classification: J12, K, K11, K36
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation