This Introduction puts theories of “feminist” and “child-centered” jurisprudence into historical perspective. It sketches the origins and development of feminist jurisprudence, starting with the nineteenth-century common law of the family and the doctrine of the “separate spheres,” proceeding to the critique of those positions developed by the first wave of feminism before and after the Civil War. With the civil rights and women’s rights revivals of the twentieth century, we witnessed the elaboration of theories that came to be described specifically as “feminist jurisprudence.” Overlapping (and sometimes inconsistent) analyses focused feminist critiques specifically on family law issues at the same time that other social and political forces also created pressure for legal change. Interestingly, nineteenth century reformers were also the source of new ideas about childhood itself that were brought to bear on laws relating to abuse and neglect or the treatment of juveniles in the criminal justice system. It was not until the late twentieth century, however, that the modern development of what has been called “child-centered jurisprudence” began to take shape. While tensions between the two types of analyses remain, recently pioneer thinkers associated more or less with one of the two developments seem to be finding a pathway of convergence that emphasizes the need to go beyond the resources of the private family in order to create a sound basis for woman- and child-centered policies.