This word is applied to men, women and children, who are called natural persons. In law, man and person are not exactly-synonymous terms. Any human being is a man, whether he be a member of society or not, whatever may be the rank he holds, or whatever may be his age, sex, &c. A person is a man considered according to the rank he holds in society, with all the rights to which the place he holds entitles him, and the duties which it imposes. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 137.
2. It is also used to denote a corporation which is an artificial person
. 1 Bl. Com. 123; 4 Bing. 669; C. 33 Eng. C. L R. 488; Wooddes. Lect. 116; Bac. Us. 57; 1 Mod. 164.
3. But when the word "Persons" is spoken of in legislative acts, natural persons will be intended, unless something appear in the context to show that it applies to artificial persons. 1 Scam. R. 178.
4. Natural persons are divided into males, or men; and females or women. Men are capable of all kinds of engagements and functions, unless by reasons applying to particular individuals. Women cannot be appointed to any public office, nor perform any civil functions, except those which the law specially declares them capable of exercising. Civ. Code of Louis. art. 25.
5. They are also sometimes divided into free persons and slaves. Freemen are those who have preserved their natural liberty
, that is to say, who have the right of doing what is not forbidden by the law. A slave is one who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs. Slaves are sometimes ranked not with persons but things. But sometimes they are considered as persons for example, a negro
is in contemplation of law a person, so as to be capable of committing a riot in conjunction with white men. 1 Bay, 358. Vide Man.
6. Persons are also divided into citizens, (q. v.) and aliens, (q. v.) when viewed with regard to their political rights
. When they are considered in relation to their civil rights
, they are living or civilly dead; vide Civil Death
; outlaws; and infamous persons.
7. Persons are divided into legitimates and bastards, when examined as to their rights by birth.
8. When viewed in their domestic relations, they are divided into parents and children; husbands and wives; guardians
and wards; and masters and servants son, as it is understood in law, see 1 Toull. n. 168; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 1890, note.