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The General Law Code for the Prussian States, Part II.2: "Of the Mutual Rights and Obligations of Parents and Children" (1794)

When it came to parent-child relations and other subjects, the 1794 General Law Code for the Prussian States was a mixture of description and prescription – description of current practices and prescription of ideal norms. The section of the code reproduced below attests to the uneasy coexistence of two objectives: the legal protection of women’s and children’s interests, on the one hand, and the assertion of men’s primacy within the family, on the other.

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Of the Mutual Rights and Obligations of Parents and Children

[ . . . ]

Second part

Of the rights and obligations of parents and their legitimate children as long as they are subject to their father’s authority.

General rights of legitimate children.

§ 58. Children from a legitimate marriage bear the name of the father.

§ 59. They obtain the rights of his family and his class insofar as the latter are inherited.

[ . . . ]

General obligations of the same.

§ 61. Children owe both parents reverence and obedience.

§ 62. They are primarily subject to their father’s authority, however.

§ 63. They are obliged to support their parents in case of misfortune and poverty according to their powers and means and particularly to care for them in case of sickness.

Rights and obligations of the parents.

1) Regarding childcare.

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