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Children and Youth in a New Nation$
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James Marten

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814757420

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814757420.001.0001

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Children of the Public

Children of the Public

Poor and Orphaned Minors in the Southwest Borderlands

(p.173) 9 Children of the Public
Children and Youth in a New Nation

Nancy Zey

NYU Press

This chapter shows the transition from colonial to republican attitudes about orphans by focusing on dependent children in Natchez, Mississippi, where traditional and rather ad hoc responses eventually gave way to a more structured—more “American”—way of dealing with them. Child welfare was changing around the United States, as was the notion of who should govern public children—the improvised practices from the frontier had given way to a more streamlined and codified treatment of minors, which held pauper apprenticeship as the primary method of relief. However, child welfare in Natchez did not remain static. Of the three racial groups in and around Natchez, black children generated the least public concern, and their situation grew only more precarious.

Keywords:   orphans, dependent children, Natchez, Mississippi, child welfare, public children, treatment of minors, pauper apprenticeship

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