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In 1836, after eleven years of marriage, George Norton locked his wife Caroline out of their house, prevented her from seeing her children and sued for divorce. He lost the suit but was allowed to keep the children and his wife's earnings from her writings. Caroline Norton wrote English Laws for Women after struggling unsuccessfully for eighteen years against this decision. It is a passionate plea for justice, filled with the horrifying details of Norton's own predicament and her scornful, accurate assessment of English statutes and the courts treatment of women.