Bastardy's Impact Today
Much of the punishment around these laws was based on race and status. Generally, black women went unpunished because their “mistake” was profitable. Black men were punished by means of physical violence, but only if accused by a white woman. Indentured servants were often caught up in this crime and produced children who were given to someone who could use them as a financial attribute. Finally, white women and men suffered socially and sometimes financially. These are very similar to the demographics we see today and opens the question of when and where racism originated. Many historians within this conversation are discussing how the ideals that are still in place today got started. Many of the same demographics seen above are still the separate groups that are targeted today. The racial impacts of slavery and the laws enacted at the time are still embedded in American culture. Though many years have passed since the abolition of slavery, America still has an issue with race relations. Thus it is important that when these topics are explored, they are not only viewed as one-sided but instead are fully explored. Many of the historians within this conversation have made real connections with the impact that these laws have made on our culture. Though we may as a society be morally past bastardy as a criminal punishment, there is a true legacy that it and other moral laws have created for American society.