Legal age: 16, 18, 21?

Would a consensus on a round number like 20 have been too difficult to achieve?? Actually, I don’t recall any State making that age (20) the legal one. And what makes 16, 18 or 21 legal, as opposed to let’s say 17 or 19?

I think the legal age should be 40 - at least.

The “legal” age varies, depending upon the subject matter. Americans now can vote at age 18, but before Nam it was 21. I think, but am not sure, that in most states 21 is the legal age for imbibing in ethanol, or at least purchasing same. However, it is universal that 21 is the age of maturity. Under that age, in most (if not all) jurisdictions) contracts can be avoided. Physiologically, it is also the age of maturity, the age when our bodies quit growing and developing.

There are further legal ages: 25 to be a US Representative, 30 to be a US Senator, and 35 to be the President of the US.

I’m 36, and it’s hard for me to believe that it’s legal for someone my age to be POTUS. I still feel like I’m getting away with something when I buy a six-pack. :D:D

There’s a legal age? Does that make my kids (all of whom are under 16) illegal?

[Yelling to wife]

Honey! Hide the kids! They’re not legal!!

[/yelling to wife]

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Zev Steinhardt

I’m quite surprised. I had always imagined 18 was the minimum age at which you could enter into an enforceable contract - it is in Virginia.

I’d be interested in hearing cited details from other states.

  • Rick

Ditto Illinois. Even younger for necessities.

Here’s one example:

Here in England, you can get married (with your parents consent) have sex, smoke and play the national lottery at 16, drive at 17 then everything else comes at 18 - alcohol, gambling, voting, marriage without your parents consent and, last but not least, porn.

And guess who’s 18th it is tomorrow :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Should we see a direct link between

a. porn

b. someone’s 18th anniversary

c. the series of smilies



Finally, you’ll be able to legally do what you do with your chicken. Congratulations.\bases\codes&nqltout="age+of+majority"&nqlnumber=3&nqllangue=english&nqlfilename=E%3A\INETPUB\WWWROOT\CODE\t15c003.htm&nqllistrange=20&nqlframes=no

That’s quite a long website. SC law. Age 18. I guess I was mistaken. Hey, it’s been a long time since I was anywhere near that age.

Since a consensus hasn’t evolved, yes.


Is there a General Question here?


You can see every number used!..Whoa, Mexico has an age of consent of 12 for straight sex, but 18 for gay sex?

Well, strictly speaking, there was but let’s go at it from this angle: How do legislatures arrive at these numbers? Why different numbers for different States? (And, while we’re at it, I’ll throw in a couple of extras: Who arrived at the magic number (18) first and why?)

General Question enough?

Maybe 18 because that is the age when most people graduate high school and used to begin a new life? That’s probably incorrect, though…:confused:

Yeah, but that’s only for the age of sexual consent.

My Japanese friends tell me that in Japan you are considered an adult when you reach age 20. There is even a traditional coming-of-age ceremony (at least for girls, not sure about boys) that takes place then. They think our system is pretty awkward.

Almost sounds like the elaborate coming-of-age parties for 15 year old women that were common in New Mexico. What were those called – “quincenarias” or something like that. Did the 15th birthday have any legal standing in Hispanic countries?

Yes there is. It’s “Seijin-no-hi” in Japanese. It was established in 1948. It was originally on January 15th, but due to last years “happy Monday law” (changing most national holidays to the second of the month), it was celebrated on January 8th this year. Both girls and boys who are 20 celebrate.

You should be allowed to vote at 21. It is probably the last time in your life you will ever be sure about anything!