Dating customs in the 16th century
In western law, the age of consent is the age at which an individual is treated as capable of consenting to sexual activity.Consequently, any one who has sex with an underage individual, regardless of the circumstances, is guilty of a crime.The French Napoleonic code provided the legal context in 1791 when it established an age of consent of 11 years.The age of consent, which applied to boys as well as girls, was increased to 13 years in 1863.
Historians have argued that increasing the age of consent also gave the law a more pronounced regulatory dimension.
In 1875, England raised the age to 13 years; an act of sexual intercourse with a girl younger than 13 was a felony. S., each state determined its own criminal law and age of consent ranged from 10 to 12 years of age. Although scientists and physicians had established that menstruation and puberty occurred on average around age 14 in Europe at this time, different individuals experienced it at different ages -- a fluid situation at odds with the arbitrary line drawn by whatever age was incorporated into law.
At the end of 19th century, moral reformers drew the age of consent into campaigns against prostitution. Stead's series of articles entitled, "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon," published in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1885, was the most sensational and influential of these exposés.
An age of consent statute first appeared in secular law in 1275 in England as part of the rape law.
The statute, Westminster 1, made it a misdemeanor to "ravish" a "maiden within age," whether with or without her consent.
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Jurist Sir Matthew Hale argued that the age of consent applied to 10- and 11-year-old girls, but most of England's North American colonies adopted the younger age.