Center for Women's History
Women’s history is American history. Bring it into your classroom with our new curriculum!
Major support for Women and the American Story provided by
Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation
Curriculum website and learning experience made possible through a grant from
This program is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.
Lead support for New-York Historical's teacher programs provided by
Unknown artist, Sir William Blackstone, ca. 1755. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, London, Primary Collection, 388.
Resource 1: Coverture
This resource explores the text and context of the ancient legal principle of coverture, imported to the American colonies as a part of English common law, that severely restricted women’s political, financial, and personal rights. A woman, according to the law, was included in (or covered by) her husband’s or father’s legal identity; she did not exist legally apart from him. Coverture affected the lives of all American women. It has been diminished over time, but vestiges of it remain even today.