A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2000 - History - 201 pages
6 Reviews
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.
  

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Review: A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony

User Review  - Tori - Goodreads

This book had tons of information on Plymouth Colony. There were lots of guesses/conjectures but that is necessary when there are not many artifacts surviving. Even though I am interested in Plymouth ... Read full review

Review: A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony

User Review  - Meniek - Goodreads

A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony, telling the structure of households in which there is an article about the relationship of husband and wife and parent relationships with children. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

AN HISTORICAL SURVEY OF PLYMOUTH COLONY
1
THE PHYSICAL SETTING
19
HOUSING
24
FURNISHINGS
36
CLOTHING
52
THE STRUCTURE OF THE HOUSEHOLD
59
MEMBERSHIP
62
HUSBANDS AND WIVES
82
WIDER KIN CONNECTIONS
118
THEMES OF INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT
127
INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD
131
COMING OF AGE
145
LATER YEARS
171
THE FAMILY IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE
179
DEMOGRAPHIC TABLES
191
INDEX
195

PARENTS AND CHILDREN
100
MASTERS AND SERVANTS
107

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Page xxvii - Or rather it is as a school wherein the first principles and grounds of government and subjection are learned: whereby men are fitted to greater matters in Church or Commonwealth.

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About the author (2000)


John Demos is Samuel Knight Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of Entertaining Satan, winner of the Bancroft Prize, and The Unredeemed Capture

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