|Dowry System in Normandy: a mean of to protect interests of male lineage? A comparison between two regions (Vernon and Pont-l’Evêque, 1750-1830)|
|Sharing economic resources can pose a problem when the interests of the couple conflict with the interests of kin or lineage. When parents give a dowry to daughters, they reduce their own financial situation and the future situation of sons. But Norman custom stipulates the exclusion of endowed daughters from land inheritance to preserve the interests of the male lineage because land was the essential element of patrimony in rural society before the Industrial Revolution.
Studying Norman dowry system, the goal of this paper is to explore the tensions (or outright conflict) between the economic interests of daughters and the economic interests of their families and the male lineage. I purpose to analyse marriage contracts in two Norman regions (The first one, Vernon, is near to Paris; the second, Pont-l’Evêque, is near the sea). Then we can study impacts of economic and geographic context on marriage contracts.
We study these contracts before and after the French Revolution because the new law (Civil Code in 1804) changes the rules of inheritance (daughters can inherit). Then we can understand if the central goal of the dowry system is to protect family patrimony and prevent this patrimony from shrinking, or not.