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Worlds of Childhood - Week 7.docx

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HUMA 1970
Krys Verrall

Chapter 3 – Sons and Daughters of Liberty By: Steven Mintz • Not all those that participated in the American Revolution were grown-ups; children and teenagers were a part of it too • The American Revolution had far-reaching effects on children’s lives • War disrupted many families, greatly increasing the number of widows, single-parent households, and orphans • The Revolution also ended indentured servitude, weakened apprenticeships, and contributed to more egalitarian relations within households • In the immediate post-revolutionary period, childhood became the object of political discourse • Primary responsibility for instilling republican in children rested with mothers, who needed more education to meet this high responsibility o Needed to expand system of schooling • The American Revolution was both the product of and catalyst for far-reaching shifts in ideas, values, and behaviour o Significant shift involved a growing rejection of patriarchal rule • Patriots and Loyalists constantly drew upon the parent-child analogy o Patriots  Patriots used the language of nurture and maturation and called upon the colonies to break free from dependence and subordination  Patriots used John Locke and Francis Hutcheson ideas and argued that parliamentary authority (like a parent’s powers over children) and that the colonists had a right to independence when they achieved maturity or if the parents abused their power o Loyalists  Loyalists said that the colonists, like children, owed gratitude and loyalty to the mother country and risked severe chastisement if they revolted  Loyalists argued force alone could restore respect for British authority • Parents might use corporal punishment to correct a rebellious child • Defenders of royal authority (Thomas Hobbes or Robert Filmer) compared the relationship between a king and his subjects to that between a patriarchal father and his children • Filmer argued that monarchical authority received divine sanction from the Fifth Commandment o Children honour their father o English monarchy derived its right to rule • John Locke (who wanted to impose limits on royal power) rejected Filmer’s analogy o Two Treatises on Government  Argued that government was a human institution that citizens had the right to modify o Theory of Natural Rights  Laws of nature endow individuals with certain inalienable rights  King’s power was limited by natural law; his powers were given to him as a trust for the good of the people  Legitimate government rests on the consent of the governed; if the ruler breaks his trust his powers should be taken away o Stressed that childhood was a temporary stage of human development  Primary purpose of parenthood was not to impose obedience, but rather to nurture children’s powers of reason in order to prepare them to become self-governing adults  Children’s socialization could not be left to nature, but required close adult supervision • Francis Hutcheson o Children had rights that needed to be respected o They were not parents’ property • New ideas about children o Naming patterns  17 century • Emphasized continuity of a lineage • Named older children after themselves (parents) or grandparents • Younger children were given the name of recently deceased th siblings  18 century • Names were becoming increasingly individualized • Children were given middle names showing the parents’ appreciation for their individuality o Wealthy parents bought toys and books for their children  Help educate their offspring o Rituals of subordination that symbolized paternal authority and familial hierarchy gradually
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