Beyond Sumptuary: Constitutionalism, Clothes, and Bodies in Anglo-American Law, 1215-1789

British Journal of American Legal Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, Fall 2013

36 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2013

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Current scholarship is peppered with casual references to “sumptuary laws” whenever regulations of clothing or bodies are at issue. Too often, these references are incorrect, or at best incomplete. This Article is a careful consideration of the various regulations of attire and bodily markings from the Magna Carta in 1215 to the adoption of the United States Constitution in 1789. This Article situates bodily regulation within Anglo-American constitutionalism, including nascent constitutional Tudor-era struggles between the monarch and Parliament, the status of colonial laws, the American Revolution, pre-constitutional slavery, and the formation of the Constitution, including a proposed “Sumptuary Clause.”

Keywords: Constitutional Law, Legal History, Sumptuary, Clothing

Suggested Citation

Robson, Ruthann, Beyond Sumptuary: Constitutionalism, Clothes, and Bodies in Anglo-American Law, 1215-1789 (2013). British Journal of American Legal Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, Fall 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2369909

Ruthann Robson (Contact Author)

CUNY School of Law ( email )

2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States

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