Partus sequitur ventrem


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Partus sequitur ventrem. The offspring follow the condition of the mother. This is the law in the case of slaves and animals; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 167, 502; but with regard to freemen, children follow the condition of the father.

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17) A "condemnation of blackness" (to borrow Khalil Gibran Muhammed's apt phrase) taken, now, as so much "common sense" and traceable back to slavery's law of partus sequitur ventrem that established that the children of a slavewoman inherited the mother's condition.
The rule derives from the ancient Roman principle: partus sequitur ventrem.
The progeny of animals are the property of the mother's owner under the maxim partus sequitur ventrem ("the birth comes from the womb").