One not acquainted with American or Continental legal history might conclude that temperamental incompatibility as a ground for divorce is a novel and radical innovation. In fact, such divorces have been possible from the beginning of our history. Legislatures granted divorces until the last quarter of the nineteenth century. 'We are told that the legislature was appealed to in cases that were too flimsy or too whimsical for the courts."

About a century ago and for more than a generation later at least nine states had "omnibus clauses in their divorce statutes broad enough to include incompatibility of temper." No such statutes with respect to absolute divorce survive today. The Connecticut clause, in effect from 1849 to 1878, was associated with a period in which the Connecticut divorce rate was much higher than the rate in other states.