The American Experience in Education

By John Barnard; David Burner | Go to book overview

2
GROWING UP IN RURAL NEW ENGLAND, 1800-1840

Joseph F. Kett

Whatever their particular concern, historians always confront the question of continuity or change. Does the past consist of unbroken trends that last throughout the superficial changes of successive eras, or are there watersheds of abrupt change that clearly distinguish one historical period from another? What combination of continuity and change is found at a particular time and place? Joseph F. Kett contends that growing up in early nineteenth-century New England was very different from growing up today. In premodern American society, there were neither uniform conceptions of normal boyhood nor common conditions of life for boys of different regions and classes.

A work on the history of French children and youth is Philippe Aries, Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life, trans. Robert Baldick ( New York: Vintage Books, 1965). Writings on American attitudes toward children and youth include Oscar and Mary F. Handlin, Facing Life: Youth and the Family in American History ( Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1971), and Bernard Wishy , The Child and the Republic: The Dawn of Modern American Child Nurture ( Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968).

A concern with the adolescent has been a distinctive feature of twentieth-century social thought. Psychologists and others have written books on the teen years as frequently as nineteenth-century theologians

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