Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Tradewinds Time Capsule: Currituck's Bastard Law

                                                            


The Bastard Law was a legal provision enacted in Currituck County, North Carolina, in the late 1800s. The law was designed to regulate the behaviour of illegitimate children and their parents, and it was seen as a way to protect the moral fabric of the community.

Under the Bastard Law, any child born out of wedlock was considered a "bastard" and was subject to certain legal restrictions. These children were not allowed to inherit property or marry and were often stigmatized and discriminated against by society. The parents of illegitimate children were also punished under the law, as they were required to pay a fine and could potentially face jail time.

The Bastard Law was controversial and sparked much debate in Currituck County and beyond. Many people argued that the law was unjust and discriminated against children who had no control over the circumstances of their birth. Others argued that the law was necessary to promote responsible parenting and to protect the community from the perceived moral dangers of illegitimate children.

The Bastard Law was eventually abolished in the early 1900s, as attitudes towards illegitimate children and their parents began to shift. Today, illegitimate children are no longer stigmatized or discriminated against under the law and have the same rights and privileges as any other child.

Even though the Bastard Law is no longer in effect, it remains a controversial and little-known piece of history in Currituck County. Many people must be aware of the law's existence and impact on the community. It serves as a reminder of how attitudes toward illegitimacy have changed over time.

Overall, the Bastard Law was a misguided and discriminatory legal provision that caused a great deal of harm to illegitimate children and their parents. Its abolition marks an essential step towards greater equality and fairness under the law. It serves as a reminder of the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect, regardless of their circumstances.

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