January 22, 2014

Sumptuary Laws From Magna Carta to the Constitution

Ruthann Robson, CUNY School of Law has published Beyond Sumptuary: Constitutionalism, Clothes, and Bodies in Anglo-American Law, 1215-1789, in volume 2 of the British Journal of American Legal Studies (Fall 2013). Here is the abstract.

Current scholarship is peppered with casual references to “sumptuary laws” whenever regulations of clothing or bodies are at issue. Too often, these references are incorrect, or at best incomplete. This Article is a careful consideration of the various regulations of attire and bodily markings from the Magna Carta in 1215 to the adoption of the United States Constitution in 1789. This Article situates bodily regulation within Anglo-American constitutionalism, including nascent constitutional Tudor-era struggles between the monarch and Parliament, the status of colonial laws, the American Revolution, pre-constitutional slavery, and the formation of the Constitution, including a proposed “Sumptuary Clause.”
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

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