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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: 20 May 2022

Orphans and Indians

Orphans and Indians

Pennsylvania’s Soldiers’ Orphan Schools and the Landscape of Postwar Childhood

(p.188) 12 Orphans and Indians
Children and Youth during the Civil War Era

Judith Geisberg

NYU Press

This chapter tells the story of the end of Pennsylvania's Soldiers' Orphan Schools—the first and the most ambitious attempt to care for Civil War orphans—placing the closures within the context of contemporary debates about the assimilation of immigrants and Indians and growing fears of labor radicalism. Some participants in the debate complained that the orphans were as mistreated as the Indians; others feared they were potentially as dangerous as labor radicals. The Civil War had raised questions about class and race: What would distinguish American class relations from those of Europe, for example, and what sort of citizenship would be extended to people of color? When the schools closed twenty years later, they represented an outdated ideal of class relations among reformers and legislators who equated the problems of poverty with race. Schools could no more save the children of poor white men than they could solve the problem of racial diversity—but they might aggravate both problems.

Keywords:   children, youth, Pennsylvania, Solders' Orphan Schools, Civil War orphans, immigrants, Indians, labor radicalism

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