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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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At the same time, slavery's legal framework of partus sequitur ventrem (which literally meant "offspring follows belly") subverted European norms so that a child's status followed that of the mother, not the father.
Chapter 3, "The Hold," presents a critical development for In the Wake as Sharpe traces the ways that Black women specifically are, through their bodies and the legal obtaining of their bodies through partus sequitur ventrem, occupied by the hold of slavery while occupying the hold itself.
(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. In a rare translation, Cobb puts in his own words the ancient justification: "From principles of justice, the offspring, the increase of the womb, belongs to the master of the womb" (69).
The progeny of animals are the property of the mother's owner under the maxim partus sequitur ventrem ("the birth comes from the womb").
Inventing the rules of slavery, in 1662, Virginians decided to adopt the Roman rule partus sequitur ventrem, which says that you are what your mother was.