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Encyclopedia

(Redirected to Legitimacy (law) article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

At common law, legitimacy is the status of a child who is born to parents who are legally married to one another, or who is born shortly after the parents' marriage ends through divorce. The opposite of legitimacy is the status of being illegitimate – born to a woman and a man who are not married to one another.

In both canon and civil law, the offspring of putative marriages are legitimate.

Legitimacy was formerly of great consequence, in that only legitimate children could inherit their fathers' estates. In the United States, in the early 1970s, a series of Supreme Court decisions abolished most, if not all, of the common-law disabilities of bastardy, as being violations of the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In April 2009, the National Center for Health Statistics announced that nearly 40 percent of babies born in the United States in 2007 were delivered by unwed mothers. The 1.7 million out-of-wedlock births, out of 4.3 million total births, represented a more than 25 percent jump from five years earlier.[1] Europe shows a similar rapid increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births. In several countries, including Bulgaria, France, Scotland and Wales (but not the whole UK), Slovenia, and all of Scandinavia except for Denmark, more than half of births in 2007 were extramarital. In other countries, such as Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, and parts of England, more than half of first births were.

Contents

History

In many societies, law has denied illegitimate persons the same rights of inheritance as legitimate persons, and in some societies, even the same civil rights. In the United Kingdom and the United States, as late as the 1960s and in certain social layers even up to today, illegitimacy has carried social stigma. In previous centuries unwed mothers were forced by social pressure to give their children up for adoption. In other cases illegitimate children have been reared by grandparents or married relatives as the "sisters," "brothers" or "cousins" of the unwed mothers.

In social and sometimes legal terms, the individual child so born was termed a "bastard." In most national jurisdictions, the status of a child as a legitimate or illegitimate heir could be changed – in either direction – under the civil law (as with the Princes in the Tower). Likewise under canon law, in most religious jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, a child's birth could be retroactively "legitimated" if the parents married – usually within a specified time, such as a year.

In such cultures, fathers of illegitimate children often did not incur comparable censure or legal responsibility, due to social attitudes about sex, the nature of sexual reproduction, and the difficulty of determining paternity with certainty. In the ancient Latin phrase, "Mater semper certa est" ("The mother is always certain"), while the father is not.

Thus illegitimacy has affected not only the illegitimate individuals themselves. The stress that such circumstances of birth once regularly visited upon families, is illustrated in the case of Albert Einstein and his wife-to-be, Mileva Marić, who – when she became pregnant with the first of their three children, Lieserl – felt compelled to maintain separate domiciles in different cities.

By the final third of the 20th century, in the United States, all the states had adopted uniform laws that codified the responsibility of both parents to provide support and care for a child, regardless of the parents' marital status, and gave illegitimate as well as adopted persons the same rights to inherit their parents' property as anyone else. In the early 1970s, a series of Supreme Court decisions abolished most, if not all, of the common-law disabilities of bastardy, as being violations of the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[2] Generally speaking, in the United States, "illegitimacy" has been supplanted by the concept, "born out of wedlock."

A contribution to the decline of the concept of illegitimacy had been made by increased ease of obtaining divorce. Prior to this, the mother and father of many a child had been unable to marry each other because one or the other was already legally bound, by civil or canon law, in a non-viable earlier marriage that did not admit of divorce. Their only recourse, often, had been to wait for the death of the earlier spouse(s).

The late-20th century decline, in Western culture, of the concept of illegitimacy came too late to relieve the contemporaneous stigma once suffered by such creative individuals, born before the 20th century, as Leone Battista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus of Rotterdam, d'Alembert, Alexander Hamilton, James Smithson, Ivan Pnin, Vasily Zhukovsky, Howard Staunton, Alexander Herzen, Jenny Lind, Helena Modjeska, Henry Morton Stanley, Sarah Bernhardt, Ramsay MacDonald, Edward Gordon Craig, Guillaume Apollinaire, T. E. Lawrence and Stefan Banach. Pnin, in an 1802 petition to Tsar Alexander I, famously deplored the status of illegitimate children in the Russian Empire. History shows many examples of prominent persons of illegitimate birth who have been driven to excel in their fields of endeavor by a desire to overcome the social stigma and disadvantage that attached to illegitimacy in their time.[citation needed]

At present

Despite the decreasing legal relevance of illegitimacy, an important exception may be found in the nationality laws of many countries, which discriminate against illegitimate children in the application of jus sanguinis, particularly in cases where the child's connection to the country lies only through the father. This is true of the United States,[3] and its constitutionality was upheld by the Supreme Court in Nguyen v. INS.[4]

Another exception is that children born via donor sperm are generally not considered legally entitled to a father unless their mother is married to a man who consents to their conception. Children born from donor sperm are considered to be not related at all to their genetic father, and courts generally regard donor-conceived children to have no legal rights of support from parents except for the support that parents agree to supply.

Legitimacy also continues to be relevant to hereditary titles: only legitimate children are usually admitted to the line of succession. However, some monarchs such as Elizabeth I of England (queen, 1558–1603) have succeeded to the throne despite the controversial status of his or her legitimacy, in that particular case after the marriage of her parents (Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn) was annulled and during the power struggle for the succession which followed the death of her father.

The proportion of children born extramaritally (outside marriage) is rising for all EU countries, the USA, and Australia, to name but a few.[5]

In Europe, besides the low levels of fertility rates and the delay of motherhood, another factor that now characterizes fertility is the growing percentage of live births outside marriage. In the EU-27, this phenomenon has been on the rise in recent years in almost every country and in seven countries, mostly in northern Europe, it already accounts for the majority of live births.[6]

In Europe, the average has risen from one out of four in 1997 to one out of three children born outside wedlock. Nowadays, national figures in Europe range from 5% in Greece and 9% in Cyprus to 58% in Estonia and 64% in Iceland. In Britain the rate increased to 44% (2006) and further to 46 % (2009)[7]; in Ireland the percentage increased to 33.2% (2006).[8] In the USA, the percentage born extramaritally increased to 40%. The percentage of first-born children born outside wedlock is considerably higher (by roughly 10% for the EU), as it often occurs that a marriage takes place after the first baby has arrived.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Ravitz, Jessica (April 8, 2009). "Out-of-wedlock births hit record high". CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/04/08/out.of.wedlock.births/index.html?iref=t2test_livingwed. Retrieved Oct. 19, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Illigitimacy". Justia.com. http://supreme.justia.com/constitution/amendment-14/90-illegitimacy.html. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  3. ^ "Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship By a Child Born Abroad". U.S. Dept. of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. http://travel.state.gov/law/info/info_609.html. Retrieved Oct 19, 2009. 
  4. ^ TUAN ANH NGUYEN et al. v. IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, 533 U.S. 53 (2001).
  5. ^ "Share of births outside marriage and teenage births". OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour, and Social Affairs. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/38/6/40278615.pdf. Retrieved Oct. 19, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Fertility Statistics". European Commission Eurostat: Your key to European Statistics. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Fertility_statistics. Retrieved Jan. 20, 2010. 
  7. ^ Population Trends, UK Office for National Statistics, No. 138: Winter, 2009, http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_population/Pop-trends-winter09.pdf, retrieved 23 February 2010  (provisional figures for first half of 2009)
  8. ^ "Live births outside marriage - Share of all live births (%)". European Commission Eurostat: Your key to European Statistics. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tps00018&plugin=1. Retrieved Oct 19., 2009. 

References

  • Shirley Foster Hartley, Illegitimacy, University of California Press, 1975.
  • Jenny Teichman, Illegitimacy, Cornell University Press, 1982.
  • Alysa Levene, Samantha Williams and Thomas Nutt, eds., Illegitimacy in Britain, 1700-1920, Palgrave and Macmillan, 2005.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

1850-1857.

1858-1866.

Ghibbeline

15

19

Spicole-Egypt

14

17

Guelph

56

67

Litkovry

123

125

New Hurton

147

133

</p>

Cloisterville

57

63

Pants

79

77

Doucemania

79

84

Sfalbard

157

179

Jewopolis

298

375

Jaodorra

48

49

Croboy Band

78

115

Mount Shevelshire

114

135

Candelania City

11

14

Gorius

168

204

Wommatakkkia

279

246

Uiua

37

32

Yegi

10

12

Moisc manoichth

11

17

Brandion

55

39

Gaidel-land

04

05

Minkford

23

Zerbicus

17

Westminster

45

44

ILLEGITIMACY (from " illegitimate," Lat. illegitimus, not in accordance with law, hence born out of lawful wedlock), the state of being of illegitimate birth. The law dealing with [[Table I]]. - Illegitimate Births per woo Births (excluding still-horn). the legitimation of children born out of wedlock will be found under Legitimacy And Legitimation. How far the prevalence of illegitimacy in any community can be taken as a guide to the morality of that community is a much disputed question. The phenomenon itself varies so much in different localities, even in localities where the same factors seem to prevail, that affirmative conclusions are for the most part impossible to draw. In the United Kingdom, where the figures differ considerably for the three countries - England, Scotland, Ireland - the reasons that might be assigned for the differences are negatived if applied on the same lines, as they might well be, to certain other countries. Then again, racial, climatic and social differences must be allowed for, and the influence of legislation is to be taken into account. The fact that in some countries marriage is forbidden until a man has completed his military service, in another, that consent of parents is requisite, in another, that " once a bastard always a bastard " is the rule, while in yet another that the merest of subsequent formalities will legitimize the offspring, must account in some degree for variations in figures.

Table I. gives the number of illegitimate births per woo births in various countries of the world for quinquennial periods. It is to be noted that still-born births are excluded, as in the United Kingdom (contrary to the practice prevailing in most European countries) registration of such births is not compulsory. The United States is omitted, as there is no national system of registration of births.

Year.

Illegitimate

g

Births.

Proportion

moo oo of

population.

Illegitimate

Births in

1000 Births.

1860

43,693

2.2

64

1865

46,585

2.2

62

18 7 0

44,737

2'0

56

18 75

40,$13

1.7

48

1880

42,542

1.6

48

1885

42,793

1 6

48

1890

38,412

1.3

44

18 95

38,836

1 3

42

1900

36,814

I.1

40

1905

37,315

I.1

40

1907

36,189

I'0

39

Rate per moo.

Compared with

rate in 1876-1880,

taken as mo.

1876-1880

14.4

100.0

1881-1885

13'5

93.8

1886-1890

II.8

81.9

1891-1895

IO I

70.1

1896-1900

9.2

63.9

1901-1905

8'4

58'3

1906

8.1

56.3

1907

7.8

54'2

This method of measuring illegitimacy by ascertaining the proportion of illegitimate births in every thousand births is a fairly accurate one, but there is another valuable one which is often applied, that of comparing the number of illegitimate births with each thousand unmarried females at the childbearing age - the " corrected " rate as opposed to the " crude," TABLE III. - England and Wales. The corrected rate bears out the result shown in Table III. as follows: [[Table Iv]]. - England and Wales. Illegitimate Birth-rate calculated on the Unmarried and Widowed Female Population, aged 15-45 years. Table V. gives the illegitimate births to boo births in England and Wales for the ten years1897-1906and for in the figures in Table where we find a higher rate of illegitimacy in Sweden and Denmark than in Spain or Italy. Religion, however, must be taken into account as having a strong influence in preventing unchastity, though it cannot be concluded that any particular creed is more powerful in this direction than another; for example, the figures for Austria and Ireland are very different. It cannot be said, either, that figures bear out the statement that where there is a high rate of illegitimacy there is little prostitution. It is more probable that in a country where the standard of living is low, and early marriages are the rule, the illegitimate birth-rate will be low. As regards England and Wales, the illegitimate birth-rate has been steadily declining for many years, not only in actual numbers, but also in proportion to the population.

Ten

years

1897-

1906.

1907.

Ten

years

1897-

1906.

1907.

Ten

years

1897-

1 906.

1907.

Ten

years

1897-

1906.

1907.

Bedford .

49

53

Hertford. .

40

42

Oxford. .

53

56

N. Riding .

53

45

Berks.. .

47

48

Huntingdon .

49

46

Rutland. .

46

70

W. „

43

41

Bucks.. .

40

44

Kent. .

40

41

Shropshire .

64

61

Cambridge .

48

53

Lancashire .

38

37

Somerset. .

37

35

Anglesey. .

81

75

Chester. .

41

39

Leicester-

Stafford .

40

38

Brecon. .

44

40

Cornwall. .

50

48

shire. .

40

39

Suffolk. .

56

62

Cardigan .

64

6,

Cumberland .

61

58

Lincolnshire .

55

54

Surrey. .

38

37

Carmarthen .

37

41

Derby.. .

41

41

London .

37

38

Sussex .

52

52

Carnarvon .

60

72

Devon. .

39

39

Middlesex .

30

28

Warwick. .

32

30

Denbigh .

49

47

Dorset. .

40

37

Monmouth .

29

27

Westmor-

Flint. .

42

42

Durham .

34

37

Norfolk. .

62

65

land. .

61

62

Glamorgan

26

26

Essex. .

28

27

Northampton

41

42

Wilts. .

41

42

Merioneth .

71

77

Gloucester .

36

36

Northumber-

Worcester .

37

38

Montgomery .

76

73

Hants.. .

40

36

land.. .

39

38

Yorks-

Pembroke .

52

47

Hereford. .

66

66

Nottingham .

50

49

E. Riding .

52

49

Radnor. .

66

67

Registration

Regi

Counties.

Illegitimate Births to woo Unmarried and Widowed Females,

aged 15-45 years.

Decrease per cent

in each County

between the period

1870-1872

and 1907.

Three-year Periods.

Years.

1870-1872.

1880-1882.

1890-1892.

1900-1902.

1903-1905.

1906.

1907.

England and Wales

17.0

14.1

Io 5

8.5

8.3

8.1

7.8

54'1

London.. .

10.3

9.8

8.1

6.9

6.9

6.8

6.4

37'9

Bedford. .. .

21 I

,8 o

II.2

8.4

8 o

8.2

8.7

58.8

Berks.. .

16.8

13.4

10.3

8.7

8.6

8.1

8.4

50.0

Bucks. .. .

19.0

16.5

12.6

9.1

8.9

7'3

8.8

53'7

Cambridge.. .

19'3

15'6

12.4

9.6

Io I

9.7

10.4

46.1

Chester. .. .

17.5

14.2

10.3

7.7

7.3

7.2

6.9

60 6

Cornwall.. .

16.5

14.8

II.2

8.6

8 I

7.5

7'5

54'5

Cumberland .

29.2

23.9

18.6

12.3

12.3

12.3

II 0

62.3

Derby. .. .

22.5

17.7

12.8

Io o

10 0

10.0

9.4

58.2

Devon.. .

14 o

10.6

8.1

6.7

6.5

6.7

6 I

56.4

Dorset. .. .

14.2

13.1

9.6

7.2

7.2

8.1

6.4

54'9

Durham. .

24 o

18.0

13.8

II.,

II I

Io 8

11.6

5P7

Essex. .. .

16.2

12.7

9 I

7.3

7.1

6.7

6.4

60 5

Gloucester.. .

12.9

11.6

8.2

6.3

6.1

6.8

5.8

55-o

Hants. .. .

13.6

II.8

8.5

7.3

7 I

6.9

6.4

52'9

Hereford .

21.4

19.0

13.4

II.2

11.5

10.3

II. 0

48.6

Hertford.. .

18.4

15.3

10.4

7.0

7.2

6.6

7'5

59.2

Huntingdon. .

19.8

14.0

12.9

10.9

9'7

9.7

9.7

51.0

Kent. ... .

14.7

12.1

9.3

7.5

7'6

7'5

7'2

51.0

Lancashire. .

16.2

13.6

10.2

7'9

7'8

7'5

7.2

55.6

Leicestershire. .

19.9

16.1

11.4

8.6

7.9

7.5

7.3

63'3

Lincolnshire .

22.3

18.5

14.2

12.2

12.1

12.7

11 9

46.6

Middlesex.. .

9'4

9.4

6.5

5.9

6 o

6 I

5'7

39'4

Monmouth. .

18.6

15'9

11.3

10'2

9.1

9.6

9.3

50.0

Norfolk. .. .

27.3

22.6

16.7

13.4

13.4

12.5

12.8

53 I

Northampton

18.7

15'9

11.7

9.1

8.8

9.0

7.7

58.8

Northumberland

21 I

17.9

12.4

10.2

10.0

10.4

9.3

55'9

Nottingham .

24.5

21'7

15'4

12.7

12.6

12.0

11 9

51 4

Oxford. .. .

19.0

15.4

10.4

9-o

9.1

9.3

9.2

51.6

Rutland. .

18.i

12.7

7.9

7.2

6.8

9.o

I I. 4

37.0

Salop.. .

28.2

21.8

16.6

12.8

13.4

13.0

11.8

58.2

Somerset .

13.3

11.3

7'4

6.o

6 o

5.4

5.5

58'6

Stafford. .

24.6

19.4

14.5

I I. 2

11.4

10.9

10.1

58'9

Suffolk. .

22.0

17.8

14.0

12.0

II 7

12.4

12.5

43.2

Surrey. .. .

9-5

8.5

6.6

5'9

5.7

5.9

5.7

40.0

Sussex. .. .

13.7

11.5

8.7

7.2

7.0

6.5

6.4

53.3

Warwick.. .

14.9

13'2

9'7

7'6

7-5

6.6

6.8

54'4

Westmorland. .

21-9

17.9

13.1

8.6

9 I

8.5

7.8

64.4

Wilts.. .

17.1

14.7

10.3

9.2

8.7

8.6

9.3

45.6

Worcester .

16.3

13.7

9.2

7.2

6.8

6.6

6.6

59.5

Yorks-

E. Riding .

23 o

18.2

14.3

12.2

II.7

12.2

Io 6

53.9

N. Riding

27.7

20.2

15.4

12 I

11.6

II.9

10.2

63.2

W. Riding .

20.4

16.1

II.4

9.4

9.2

8.8

8 i

60.3

Anglesey. .

19.7

16.7

15.7

16.1

14.9

13'3

12.9

34'5

Brecon. .. .

19.9

18 o

12.5

10 I

9.2

9.2

8.3

58.3

Cardigan.. .

16 o

14.8

II -8

8.9

7'8

6.3

7.3

54'4

Carmarthen. .

18.2

13.9

9'4

7.7

8.2

7'7

8.9

51. I

Carnarvon.. .

18.3

13.9

12-7

10.3

9.6

9'4

10.5

42'6

Denbigh. .

21 I

17.6

13.4

12.3

II 6

13.5

10.3

51.2

Flint

18.7

18.4

13.1

9.7

II.2

11.9

11.0

41 2

Glamorgan.. .

17.7

13.5

10.3

8.5

9'1

8.9

8.4

52.5

Merioneth.. .

24.4

19'5

16.4

13.5

13.4

13'2

12.7

48.0

Montgomery. .

29.5

24'3

16.7

13 I

13'4

12-6

11.7

60.3

Pembroke .

21.6

15.9

12.4

8.9

10.2

10.7

8.4

61.1

Radnor. .. .

41.8

33.2

20.1

14.4

13.4

8.3

II-3

73-o

Belfast. .

31

Liverpool .

54

Birmingham

35

Manchester

. 28

Bradford .

40

Middlesboro'

25

Bristol. .

31

Newcastle .

. 36

Cork. .

18

Nottingha m

. 60

Dublin. .

28

Portsmouth

33

Edinburgh

69

Salford .

. 28

Glasgow .

63

Sunderland

. 30

Leeds .

54

Total

Births.

Legitimate.

Illegitimate.

Births per

1000 of pop.

Percentage of

I To al Birt to

132,005

122,699

9306

27'93

7'05

Percentage

Percentage

of

of

Illegitimate

Illegitimate

Illegitimate Illegitimate

Births.

to Total

Births. to Total

Births.

Births.

1860

9,736

9.22

1895 9204 7.28

1865

11,262

9.96

1900 8534 6.49

1870

II,108

9.63

1901 8359 6.32

1875

10,786

8.73

1902 8300 6.28

1880

10,589

8.50

1903 8295 6.21

1885

io,680

8.47

1904 9010 6.79

1890

9,241

7.60

1905 9082 6.91

1906 9306 7.05

Illegitimate

Births.

Illegitimate Births

per woo of Un-

married Women and

Widows between

15 and 45.

No

Per woo

of Pop.

Districts:

Principal Town .

4318

7.14

Large Town.. .

1029

5.58

Small Town.. .

1724

6.23

Mainland-rural. .

20 99

9'08

Insular-rural.. .

136

5.88

Shetland. .. .

31

5.30

7.0

Orkney. ... .

29

5.99

7.7

Caithness. .. .

84

9'9 6

19'4

Sutherland. .

28

6.81

Io I

Ross and Cromarty

74

4.40

6.9

Inverness .

145

8.02

11.5

Nairn.. .

18

10.29

13.2

Elgin (or Moray). .

169

15.66

26.3

Banff. ... .

202

12.93

25-4

Aberdeen. .. .

1083

12.38

242

Kincardine. .

93

8.15

17.0

Forfar. ... .

6 7 6

9'43

14'2

Perth.. .

215

7.93

Io 8

Fife. .. .. .

308

4.56

9.7

Kinross. .. .

20

9.95

22'2

Clackmannan .

53

6'69

10.9

Stirling

235

4'9 1

13'2

Dumbarton. .. .

163

4.1 4

9.7

Argyll

148

10.07

12.7

Bute

30

8.36

9.2

Renfrew

410

4.46

8.5

Ayr

499

6.2 3

14.3

Lanark

2872

6.28

15.9

Linlithgow

99

3'88

15.4

Edinburgh. .. .

930

7'23

11.0

Haddington. .

66

5.92

II-8

Berwick

60

9.63

12.7

Peebles

21

6.18

7.9

Selkirk

46

9.13

I I .5

Roxburgh. .. .

83

8'67

9.8

Dumfries .

218

12.51

19.9

Kirkcudbright.. .

92

10.71

15.7

Wigtoun

106

12.79

22.5

Scotland.. .

9306

7.05

1 4 I

[[Table V]].-England and Wales. Illegitimate Births to moo Births. [[Table V]]I.-Annual Illegitimate Birth-rates in each Registration County of England and Wales, 1870-1907. [[Table V]]II.-Rate of Illegitimacy per woo Births. [[Table V]]III.-Scotland 1906. [[Table Ix]].-Scotland 1906. the year 1907. Table VI. gives the " corrected " rate for certain three-year periods. In connexion with these tables the following extract from the Registrar-General's Report for 1907 Fp. xxx.) is important.

1903.

1904.

1905.

1906.

1907.

Ireland.. .

2.6

2.5

2.6

2.6

2.5

Leinster.. .

2.6

2.6

2.7

2.7

2.7

Munster. .

2.3

2.2

2.3

2.2

2. I

Ulster. .

3.3

3'4

3.5

3'5

3.3

Connaught. .

0.5

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.6

County.

Y

of

Illegitimate

Births.

Per cent of

Total Births.

Leinster-

Carlow.. .. ... .

27

3'56

Dublin. .. .

34

1.15

Dublin Co. Borough.. .

314

3'29

Kildare. .. .. .

22

1.46

Kilkenny. .. ... .

54

3.29

King's. .. .. .. .

24

2.07

Longford. .. .. .

11

1.23

Louth. .. ... .

27

2.01

Meath.. .. ... .

30

2.27

Queen's. .. .. .

18

1.70

Westmeath. .. ... .

19

1.57

Wexford. .. ... .

89

4.11

Wicklow. .. .. .. .

37

2.91

Munster-

Clare. .

23

1.04

Cork Co. and Co. Borough .

151

1.69

Kerry .

51

1.34

Limerick Co. and Co. Borough .

107

3.14

Tipperary N.R... .

19

1.49

Tipperary S.R.

66

3.32

Waterford Co. and Co. Borough .

68

3.69

Ulster-

Antrim

230

5.08

Armagh. .. .

99

3'49

Belfast Co. Borough.. .

355

3.13

Cavan. .. .. .. .

27

1.54

Donegal. .. .. .. .

54

1.36

Fermanagh. .

41

3.15

Londonderry Co. and Borough

145

4'35

Monaghan. .. ... .

24

1.55

Tyrone.. .. ... .

116

3.80

Connaught-

Galway

32

80

Leitrim. .. .. .. .

Jo

'77

Mayo.. .. ... .

21

.45

Roscommon. .. ... .

9

.50

Sligo

9

52

Leinster

716

2.67

Munster

495

2 II

Ulster

1272

3.32

Connaught. .. .. .

81

.60

2564

It is difficult to explain the variations in the rates of illegitimacy in the several counties. It may be stated generally that the proportion of illegitimate children cannot alone serve as a standard of morality. Broadly speaking, however, the single and widowed women in London, in the counties south of the Thames, and in the south-western counties have comparatively few illegitimate children; on the other hand, the number of illegitimate children is comparatively high in Shropshire, in Herefordshire, in Staffordshire, in Nottinghamshire, in Cumberland, in North Wales, and also in [[Table X]].-Ireland. Proportion per cent of Illegitimate Births. nearly all the counties on the eastern seaboard, viz. Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, the East and North Ridings of Yorkshire, and Durham. In the Registrar-General's Report for the year 1851 it was assumed that there was an indirect connexion between female illiteracy and illegitimacy. This may have been the case in the middle of the last century, but there is no conclusive evidence that such is the case at the present day. The proportions of illegitimacy and the proportions of married women who signed the marriage register [[Table X]]I.-Ireland 1907. by mark are relatively high in Staffordshire, in North Wales, in Durham and in the North Riding of Yorkshire; on the other hand, in Norfolk, in Suffolk and in Lincolnshire there is a comparatively high ` proportion of illegitimacy and a low proportion of illiteracy." This latter conclusion may be carried further by saying that in those European countries where elementary education is most common, the rate of illegitimacy is high, and that it is low in the more illiterate parts, e.g. Ireland and Brittany.

It has been said that one of the contributory causes of illegitimacy is the contamination of great cities; statistics, however, disprove this, there being more illegitimacy in the rural districts. Table VII. gives the rate of illegitimacy in some of the principal towns of the United Kingdom.

London.

1901.

1903.

1905.

1907.

Stepney. ... .

12

9

18

10

Bethnal Green. .. .

13

15

13

I I

Mile End Old Town. .

15

13

16

15

Whitechapel.. .

22

24

19

19

St George's, Hanover Sq. .

40

45

45

45

Kensington.. .

48

44

49

54

Fulham

43

42

45

40

Marylebone. .. .

182

186

198

182

That poverty is a determining factor in causing illegitimacy the following figures, giving the rate of illegitimacy in the poorest parts of London and in certain well-to-do parts, clearly disprove: - Rate of Illegitimacy per woo Births.

Tables VIII. and IX. give the rate of illegitimacy for the various counties of Scotland, and Table X. the rate for Ireland.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. - The Annual Reports of the Registrars-General for England, Scotland and Ireland; statistical returns of foreign countries; A. Leffingwell, Illegitimacy and the Influence of the Seasons upon Conduct (1892). (T. A. I.)


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The state of being born out of lawful wedlock; in Jewish law, the state of being born of any of the marriages prohibited in the Bible and for which the punishment is excision ("karet"; Yeb. 49a; Maimonides, "Yad," Issure Biah, xv. 1). The exception to this rule is the child born of relations with a woman during her period of uncleanliness, in which case, although the punishment for such a transgression is excision, the child is not considered illegitimate (see Bastard; Ḥalalah).

Three kinds of illegitimates ("mamzer") are recognized in Jewish law; namely:

(1)

The real mamzer ("waddai"), who may not intermarry with Israelites; "even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord" (Deut 23:2). He may, however, marry a woman who is of the same status or a proselyte.

(2)

The doubtful mamzer ("safeḳ"); one born of a woman who had been previously married, but whose marriage was later considered doubtful, or of a woman who had been divorced and whose divorce was doubtful (see Divorce). He may marry neither an Israelitish woman nor an illegitimate nor a proselyte, nor even one who is of the same status as himself (Ḳid. 74a).

(3)

A mamzer made so by the decree of the sages ("mi-derabanan"). The offspring of a woman who on hearing that her husband has died marries again, and when the report proves false, goes back to her first husband and lives with him, is declared a mamzer. He may not marry any woman except one of the same status as himself (Yeb. 87b, 89b). But if a woman during her husband's absence has illicit connection with another man, and then lives with her husband, the offspring is not regarded as illegitimate (Mordecai to Yeb. iv. 42).

A child born of an unmarried woman ("penuyah") is considered only a doubtful mamzer, even if the mother admits that she has had relations with a mamzer and the alleged father also admits the fact. If, however, the mother says that she has had intercourse with an Israelite ("kasher"), even though the latter does not admit it, the child is legitimate. He may not, however, marry into the alleged father's family, and he can not claim inheritance in the estate, unless the alleged father admits the paternity. The child of a betrothed woman is legitimate if she claims that the child is by her betrothed husband, and if he does not refute her. In such a case the child is also entitled to a share in the alleged father's estate. If, however, the alleged father denies the paternity, the child is considered a mamzer (Shulḥan 'Aruk, Eben ha-'Ezer, 4, 26, 27).

The children of illegitimates are also considered illegitimates, whether both parents are illegitimates or only one of them is an Israelite. The mother's testimony concerning the illegitimacy of her child is not admitted in evidence, and the father is believed with regard to his child only if that child has not yet any children of his own (Ḳid. 78b). A man's testimony against himself is believed in so far as to disqualify him or his children from marrying an Israelitish woman; but it does not permit him to marry an illegitimate ("mamzeret") until he produces confirmatory testimony. If he has grandchildren, his testimony is admitted in evidence only with regard to himself; he can not place the stigma on his family. See Elijah; Foundling; Messiah.

Bibliography: Maimonides, Yad, Issure Biah, xv. 1-22; Shulḥan 'Aruk, Eben ha-'Ezer, 4, 13-30.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
This article needs to be merged with Illegitimacy (Catholic Encyclopedia).
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Simple English

Illegitimacy is a word that used to be used to describe someone whose parents were not married. Such a person was called illegitimate. The word "illegitimate" literally means “not legal” (against the law).

People’s attitude towards illegitimacy has varied a lot in different parts of the world. In the Western world, especially in countries which were very religious, it was thought to be very bad for parents to have a child if they were not married. It was thought to be a sin. Illegitimate children were often called bastards. In older times, such children were often brought up by other people, sometimes by relatives.

Today people’s attitude has changed a lot, and the laws have changed so that people born to unmarried parents are not discriminated against unfairly. In the United States, people are not described any longer as “illegitimate” but as “born out of wedlock” (“wedlock” means “marriage”). In the United Kingdom the idea of illegitimacy was stopped by law in 1991. Fathers now have a responsibility to their children, even if they were born out-of-wedlock.

Many religions still think that sex outside marriage is a sin, although they no longer say that the child lives in a state of sin.








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