"Nurseries of good and wise men" : early Republican children's literature and the construction of the American citizen
Nall, Stacy Olivia.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Eighteenth-century schoolbooks did more than express early Republican ideals; they also embodied the many tensions and paradoxes that America dealt with as it formed an identity distinct from Britain. Like a child, America sought to form an identity separate from its Father, and it strived to define itself through a process rife with contradictions about class, race, and gender. The complexities of American identity revealed in early Republican schoolbooks are informed by eighteenth-century transitions in literature, religion, and social strata. In part because of these rapid changes in what Americans read, what they believed, and who they could hope to become, the focus of children's schoolbooks was no longer as confined to the child's filial and religious duty. Now the nation, particularly its paternalistic leaders, wielded authority over the child as well. The authoritarian culture of Calvinism far from vanished--it only morphed into an ideology more nationalistic in scope.
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