Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Michelle Tusan

Number of Pages



This thesis is about the developments in aristocratic divorce in Georgian England. I specify aristocratic, because at this time they were the only individuals who had the financial means to obtain a divorce by Act of Parliament. Officially, no divorce law existed in England until 1857. I have analyzed three divorce cases for adultery from the 1770's and researched how aspects of gender and class impacted the development of the process of divorce. I look at issues of power, shame, and the distinctions between the public and private spheres for men and women. I also investigate the impact of the title, "cuckold" and what it meant for men who were thus labeled in Georgian society. Lastly, I look at the role of the duel and how it served to reestablish a sense of control for cuckolded husbands who were increasingly turning to the law for recourse through the filing of suits for Criminal Conversation; Lawrence Stone and Amanda Vickery both argue that this period was one which experienced an increase in egalitarianism. The sources which I analyzed did not support this position. My findings reflect a conservative, traditional Georgian society.


Aristocratic; Divorce; England; Georgian; Perspective; Revisionist

Controlled Subject

Aristocracy (Social class); Great Britain; History; 1700-1799; Divorce--Law and legislation; Divorce; Adultery

File Format


File Size

2293.76 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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