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The term chattel is derived from the root word cattle.

In some jurisdictions chattel refers to items of property that are movable as distinguished from real property. In others, it refers to tangible and intangible personal property. In that sense it can refer to a right or an interest in real estate less than a fee interest such as a leasehold. A chattel mortgage is an obsolete form of loan secured by personal property.

The most interesting and disturbing aspect of chattel law is the notion of women as chattel that has woven itself into legal codes throughout history. In various times, places and cultures such as Merry Old England, the Hebrew Bible, The Code of Hammurabi and the Middle East, a bride price was/is an amount of money or property paid by the groom to the parents of his bride, she thus becoming his possession like a horse, a wagon or household utensils. Its origins were before recorded history and it established the wife as property, or, chattel. That practice established the world-wide dominion over women by men. Most European noblewomen were joined to their husbands in chattel marriages. In the patriarchal society of Old New York, women were treated as chattel and only valued as objects. For many men a wife still remains his chattel, in theory.

Historically, under common law, damages could be awarded to a husband on the loss of his wife due to the actions of another because his wife was considered chattel. In certain Middle Eastern societies, women (and women in some Orthodox Jewish cultures) are still considered chattel having no legal existence outside their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. A husband owns his wife and any children of the marriage. In some areas, that chattel status is modified to only include sexual and reproductive rights that are owned by husbands.

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โˆ™ 2010-06-23 13:57:03
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Q: What is the historical meaning of chattel and chattel law?
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