The power and force of a name are often underestimated in today's society. For centuries, social and political struggles have often been reflected in struggles over names and the naming process. Names have often been used as a means of insuring allegiance and fealty, as when King John required conquered Welsh insurgents to adopt names identifying them as King John's subjects. In the early 1900's, the resentment against immigrants resulted in strong pleas to prevent them from adopting more common names which disguised their immigrant ancestry. Today, the issue of a married woman's legal name reflects a continuing struggle over the status of married women in society and in the family structure. As married women who had adopted their husbands' surnames petition courts to reinstate their pre-marriage names, courts have wrestled with the issues of reinstatement.
William C. Matthews Jr.,
Married Women and the Name Game,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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