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By Steven Mintz

"Like Huck's raft, the adventure of yank early life has been either adventurous and terrifying. For greater than 3 centuries, adults have agonized over elevating youngsters whereas young ones have their very own paths to improvement and expression. Now, Steven Mintz offers us the 1st complete background of yankee youth encompassing either the kid's and the adult's tumultuous early years of life.Underscoring range via time and throughout areas, Mintz strains the transformation of kids from the sinful creatures perceived by way of Puritans to the effective employees of nineteenth-century farms and factories, from the cosseted cherubs of the Victorian period to the convinced shoppers of our personal. He explores their position in innovative upheaval, westward enlargement, business development, wartime mobilization, and the fashionable welfare country. Revealing the tough realities of kid's lives via history--the rigors of actual exertions, the phobia of power illnesses, the heartbreak of untimely death--he additionally recognizes the liberty childrens as soon as possessed to find their global in addition to themselves. even if at paintings or play, at domestic or college, the transition from early life to maturity has required generations of american citizens to take on drastically tough demanding situations. at the present time, adults impose ever-increasing calls for at the younger for strength of mind, cognitive improvement, and educational success, whilst the impact of the mass media and customer tradition has grown. With a nod to the prior, Mintz revisits an alternative choice to the goal-driven realities of up to date adolescence. An odyssey of mental self-discovery and development, this e-book indicates a imaginative and prescient of early life that embraces danger and freedom--like the bold experience on Huck's raft. "

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Sample text

Among the early settlers, about 60 percent of the men and 30 percent of the women could sign their own wills. By the end of the colonial period, 90 percent of the males and 50 percent of the females signed their wills. Grammar schools and Latin schools were reserved almost exclusively for boys. 32 The Salem witch scare provides a glimpse into the world of Puritan girlhood. Early in 1692 eight girls, including the nine-year-old daughter and eleven-year-old niece of Salem Village minister Samuel Parris, attempted to gaze into the future, hoping to catch a glimpse of their husbands.

Not only did these recreational activities violate the Puritan taboo against leisure on the Sabbath; they also were seen as relics of Catholicism or paganism that provided the occasion for sinful drinking, swearing, and fornication. The boisterous, drunken, unruly celebration of Christmas in England, during which young men dressed up in women's clothing and animal skins, drew particular ire. Very few of these folk customs made it to New England. To be sure, bands of young people roamed the streets of Boston on Guy Fawkes Day (November 5), firing guns and destroying fences to get wood for bonfires.

Parents encouraged their children to read "as early as May be" through recitation of catechisms and Bible stories. Even young children were taken to Sabbath observances, where sermons might last six hours. 24 The emphasis on early moral instruction led the Puritans to view children's play with ambivalence. Puritan children had swings, rode hobbyhorses, and drew on slates. Girls cut out paper dolls with scissors, recited poetry, and played with dollhouses and cradles. Boys flew kites, sailed toy boats, constructed wigwams and played at being Indians, collected rocks and bird eggs, and made pets of squirrels, dogs, and cats.

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