Through an analysis of the correspondence of over one hundred couples from the Scottish elites across the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, this book explores how ideas around the nature of emotional intimacy, love, and friendship within marriage adapted to a modernizing economy and society. Patriarchy continued to be the central model for marriage across the period and as a result, women found spaces to hold power within the family, but could not translate it to power beyond the household. Comparing the Scottish experience to that across Europe and North America, Barclay shows that throughout the eighteenth-century, far from being a side-note in European history, Scottish ideas about gender and marriage became culturally dominant.
This book will be vital to those studying and teaching Scottish social history, and those interested in the history of marriage and gender. It will also appeal to feminists interested in the history of patriarchy.