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Children and Youth during the Civil War Era$
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James Marten

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814796078

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814796078.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 29 May 2022

“Waked Up to Feel”

“Waked Up to Feel”

Defining Childhood, Debating Slavery in Antebellum America

(p.13) 1 “Waked Up to Feel”
Children and Youth during the Civil War Era

Rebecca de Schweinitz

NYU Press

This chapter examines the ways in which both abolitionists and slaveholders used ideas about childhood in their efforts to challenge and preserve slavery. The prominence of ideas about childhood in the arguments used for and against slavery indicates that America's transition to modern domestic ideals helped to delegitimize the practice of human bondage. At the same time, slave debates themselves reveal America's transition to modern notions of childhood; indeed, they capture tensions between older, instrumental notions of childhood and newer emotional notions of childhood vying for cultural and political authority in nineteenth-century America. The remainder of the chapter discusses abolitionist literature and Southerners' defenses of slavery.

Keywords:   abolitionists, slavery, American Civil War, children, youth, childhood, slaveholders

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