Award Date

5-1-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

First Committee Member

David Tanenhaus

Second Committee Member

Colin Loader

Third Committee Member

Michael Green

Fourth Committee Member

Sheila Bock

Number of Pages

217

Abstract

A specialized facet of American common law developed throughout the nineteenth century; that being mortuary law or the law of the corpse. This jurisprudence transferred limited property rights to dead bodies, which was a radical departure from the treatment of the dead under the English common law tradition that the United States had adopted after the American Revolution.

The dead fit into a unique category in law. Legally they do not exist and therefore have no voice. It thus falls to the state to speak for them in the form of statutes and judicial decisions, which represents a continuation of common law doctrines. In addition, this study contributes to a fuller understanding of the contradictory laissez-faire image of Progressive Era courts by examining the judicial interpretations of the police power, individual’s property rights, and due process claims through the lens of cemetery regulation and removal.

Keywords

Burial; Burial laws; Cadaver Law; Cemeteries; Cemeteries – Law and legislation; Common law; Grave; History

Disciplines

Common Law | Law | United States History

Language

English


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