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One direct approach was to introduce primogeniture, the rule that everything went to the eldest born; but few (aside from Brandenburg in the late 15th c.) were successful, at least early enough.
A person's state could be changed; in particular, the Emperor had the power of raising one's state (Standeserhöhung).
In this essay I try to clarify a set of related concepts: unequal marriage, mismarriage, morganatic marriage.
They represent an important aspect of dynastic and succession laws in German dynasties.
In these as in other matters, the Emperor had powers, albeit limited, to intervene or regulate family affairs of these families, but for the most part these dynasties developped their own rules, more or less experimentally.
It was acknowledged that these families could operate, at least as far as family and inheritance was concerned, outside of the normal laws, although the degree of autonomy they enjoyed was a matter of dispute.
The families derived these rules partly in common, partly independently of each other.