(123 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

Primogeniture was the practice of leaving the entirety of any estate to the eldest son, and therefore of excluding other possible heirs. This practice distinguished British legal practice from systems habitually adopted on the European continent, and began with the Norman succession of knight-service, which applied at first to all fiefs owing military service to the king and progressively became extended to all land and all aristocratic titles.

Primogeniture was abolished in England and Wales by Act of Parliament in 1926 and in Scotland in 1964.

Thomas Jefferson's constitution for the State of Virginia (1776) abolished entail because it tended to be oligarchical and anti-democratic, and as Jefferson's constitution provided …

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Editors. "Primogeniture". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 August 2004
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]