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A Little Commonwealth : Family Life in Plymouth Colony - John Demos

A Little Commonwealth

Family Life in Plymouth Colony

Paperback Published: 1st September 1999
ISBN: 9780195128901
Number Of Pages: 240

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The year 2000 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of A Little Commonwealth by Bancroft Prize-winning scholar John Demos. This groundbreaking study examines the family in the context of the colony founded by the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower. Basing his work on physical artifacts, wills, estate inventories, and a variety of legal and official enactments, Demos portrays the family as a structure of roles and relationships, emphasizing those of husband and wife, parent and child, and master and servant. The book's most startling insights come from a reconsideration of commonly-held views of American Puritans and of the ways in which they dealt with one another. Demos concludes that Puritan "repression" was not as strongly directed against sexuality as against the expression of hostile and aggressive impulses, and he shows how this pattern reflected prevalent modes of family life and child-rearing. The result is an in-depth study of the ordinary life of a colonial community, located in the broader environment of seventeenth-century America.
Demos has provided a new foreword and a list of further reading for this second edition, which will offer a new generation of readers access to this classic study.

"[A Little Commonwealth makes] our forebears come alive, not as cute, little democratic wind-up toys useful for indoctrinating children and Fourth of July speeches, but as irascible, intolerant, undemocratic, but real and fascinating human beings."--Commonweal "Demos writes with great charm, his easy, relaxed style having much muscle underneath."--National Review "One of the finest pieces of local history that I have read in years....Because Demos writes clear, terse, flowing prose, his book will be a delight to the general reader as well as the scholar....[His] portrait of family life is captivating."--Saturday Review

Foreword: To the Second Editionp. vii
Bibliography: To the Second Editionp. xiii
Foreword: To the First Editionp. xv
Introduction an Historical Survey of Plymouth Colonyp. 1
The Physical Settingp. 19
Housingp. 24
Furnishingsp. 36
Clothingp. 52
The Structure of the Householdp. 59
Membershipp. 62
Husbands and Wivesp. 82
Parents and Childrenp. 100
Masters and Servantsp. 107
Themes of Individual Developmentp. 127
Infancy and Childhoodp. 131
Coming of Agep. 145
Later Yearsp. 171
Conclusion: The Family in Comparative Perspectivep. 179
Appendix: Demographic Tablesp. 191
Indexp. 195
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195128901
ISBN-10: 0195128907
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 1st September 1999
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 13.5  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.21
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: Revised