This article explores the complex law of illegitimacy in the nineteenth century and its relationship to questions of national belonging and subject-hood, thorough the use of a specific legal case study -that of Shedden v Patrick, a dispute over legitimacy and property which opened in 1804 and lasted until 1869. William Shedden was born in America of a Scottish father, who had married his mother, but after his birth. His claim that he should inherit the Shedden family estate in Scotland, as both his father's l…
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