White Men

Law Describing Responsibilities of Father

Both documents portray how a father can end up with a charge related to bastardy and the punishment he will receive. 

White men faced similar circumstances as they might today when it comes to bastardy. In the case of a man being found as a father, a court would decide the price he had to pay. If he chose not to pay, he would be put in jail until he did pay.[1] Very similar to child support laws today, the man was financially responsible for the child he created. Still, it was very hard to prove that a man had been involved, as modern day paternity tests did not exist. Because of this, any white woman might accuse any white man of being the father of the child, and if he was found guilty the court decided how much he would pay.[2] Like the other demographics mentioned, race also factors in. If a white man were to get a negro women pregnant, he was given the same punishment as a white woman in the same situation.[3] Situations involving men were not seen nearly as frequently or caught nearly as frequently; however, when they did occur, men did not receive the same humiliation as women.

[1] Joseph Tate, Digest of the Law of Virginia, Which Are of a Permanent Character and General Operation (1841). (Richmond: Smith & Palmer, 1841), 40-41.

[2] Code of Virginia: With the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States; and the Declaration of Rights and Constitution of Virginia (1849). (Richmond: William F. Ritchie, 1849), 528-529.

[3] Worthington G. Snethen,  The Black Code of the District of Columbia. (New York: William Harned, 1848), 10.