Time magazine recently reported on the history of divorce in the United States. While it may be assumed that divorce is a modern concept that did not become popular until the 1960s and 1970s, the first uptick in the American divorce was approximately 200 years beforehand.
Steven Mintz, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, identifies the American revolution as the beginning of the increase in the divorce rate in America. The concept of the revolution and breaking the union of countries was a precursor of the increase of divorce in the 1820s and 1830s as people began to realize that independence from spouses could be analogous to the separation between England and America.
However, the laws were very different then. Moreover, couples had to prove to the court that there was adultery or physical cruelty in order to get divorced. To get around these restrictions, many people relied on the “omnibus clauses” in divorce law which allowed judges to grant divorces in other cases at their discretion.