At common law a married woman could not bind herself by contract.56 Any attempt to do so was absolutely void of legal effect. It was held, however, in England while the doctrine of moral consideration was still accepted that a new promise by the married woman, after the death of her husband, to perform an agreement which she entered into during coverture was binding.57 At the present day it might seem that this question had become unimportant on account of the removal of the disability of married woman to contract, but it is still law in many jurisdictions that married women cannot enter into certain contracts, especially that they cannot bind themselves as sureties for their husbands.58 Therefore, the question of the effect of a new promise after discoverture still arises. In a few jurisdictions it is held that a subsequent promise of the married woman is binding; 59 but the great weight of authority denies validity to such a promise.60 If, however, the original agreement bound the married woman's separate estate in equity, a subsequent promise by her after diseoverture is held enforceable at law by many courts, most if not all of which would hold the later promise ineffectual had the original agreement been void.61 The correctness of this distinction must depend upon the general question, previously discussed,62 of the validity of a preexisting obligation to support a new promise.
52Biederman v. O'Conner, 117 111. 493, 7 N. E. 463, 57 Am. Rep. 876; Lowry v. Drake, 1 Dana, 46; State v. New Orleans, 105 La. 768, 30 So. 97; Robinson v. Berry, 93 Me. 320, 45 Atl. 34; Philpot v. Sandwich Mfg. Co., 18 Neb. 54, 24 N. W. 428; Pecararo v. Pecararo, 84 N. Y. 8. 581; Morrill v. Aden, 19 Vt. 605.
53 Mayer v. McLure, 36 Miss. 389, 72 Am. Deo. 190; Bigelow v. Grannia, 2
Hill, 120; Chandler v. Glover, 32 Pa. 609.
54See infra, Sec.Sec. 249 et seq-
55 See infra, Sec. 253.
56 See infra, Sec. 265.
57Lee v. Muggeridge, 5 Taunt. 36 .
58 See infra, Sec. 269.
59Walker v. Arkansas Nat. Bank, 256 Fed. 1 (C. C. A.); Lafitte v. De-logny, 33 La. Ann. 659; Brownson v.