According to this article, starting from the last half of the 18th century there was a decline in parents' influence over young people's choice of partners, and the idea of romantic love started to be introduced to people's mentality, thanks to a plethora of books and philosophical treatises promoting freedom in marriage.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, parental influence over the choice of a spouse had sharply declined. One indication of a decline in parental control was a sudden upsurge in the mid-eighteenth century the number of brides who were pregnant when they got married. Around this time, young people were more likely to come to each other based on their own compatibility with each other rather than the arrangement of their parents, and this trend continued to the 19th century.

As parental influence over courtship declined, a new romantic ideal of love arose. In the years just before the Revolution, a flood of advice books, philosophical treaties [sic], and works of fiction helped to popularize revolutionary new ideas about courtship and marriage.

In a survey of all magazines published during the 30 years before the Revolution, one issue out of four contained a reference to romantic love as the proper basis of marriage; during the next twenty years the number of references to romantic love tripled.

However, the article gives no source for its claim (for example, there is no source for the magazine references). I can't fact-check it either, because this is the only article I can find that talk about attitude on marriage. Almost all articles I found on the Internet are about marriage customs of the time. Could you help me verify if what the article I link to is accurate?

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    Links rot over time; and questions must stand and be sensible independent of any potential link rot. Consequently, please include judicious choice of quotes from the linked article, so that this question continues to make sense even if the originating link decays. Jun 25, 2021 at 10:44
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    @PieterGeerkens I added another quote to the question. Jun 25, 2021 at 10:58
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    I have seen this referred to as the "Romeo and Juliet Revolution" by Karl Deutsch, if that helps your searching.
    – Mike
    Jun 30, 2021 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


There was no law limiting the freedom to choose a marital partner except that some states did not allow interracial marriage. How anyone allowed family to influence them had nothing to do with freedom. Was anyone legally imprisoned for not obeying they parents?? Churches taught that the Bible required children to obey their parents at all times and for life. Only the foolish beleived that to be true. Honor does not mean obey.

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    Or unless you prefrerred a same sex partner
    – MCW
    Sep 1, 2023 at 18:29
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    There are a lot of assertions here that you haven't backed up with any evidence.
    – Spencer
    Sep 1, 2023 at 18:47
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    The question isn't scoped to "law" - Law is peripheral to the question. The question is about culture and convention and freedom to choose a partner without parental input. 95% of my parent's impact on me had nothing to do with the law.
    – MCW
    Sep 1, 2023 at 18:49

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