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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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(p.1) Introduction
Children and Youth in a New Nation

James Marten

NYU Press

This introductory chapter briefly charts the origins and history of the American child as a concept, and how this has been formulated during the years between 1840 and the American Revolution. Colonial Americans had certainly worried about their children, although they employed defensive, even fearful approaches to childhood and youth. All that changed after the Revolution to a more optimistic campaign to integrate young Americans into the republican experiment. Moreover, the development of what we would recognize as “modern” ideas about children and youth began during the period immediately following the American Revolution. As the forms and assumptions of the new nation sprang to life and evolved, certain ideas about childhood emerged.

Keywords:   American Revolution, childhood, youth, colonial Americans, republican experiment, modern ideas about children, American child

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