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Women in the 19th Century: Crash Course US History #16

This is one of the few books that compares life in the two regions. Pinion family members were prosecuted 26 times over two generations, for offenses ranging from profanity to gossip, theft, absence from church and infanticide. Especially egregious, in the colonists' eyes, was Pinion's inability to control his wife. One of Pinion's daughters was charged because she tried to leave her own husband.

Founding Mothers & Fathers

When he ordered her to return home, according to court transcripts, she, "contrary to the duty of a wife," refused to do so, thus "casting contempt upon Authority whoe had enjoined her returne to him. With intriguing parallels to contemporary discussions on sexual identity, Norton describes the case of Thomasine Hall, who as a young adult in London cut her hair and joined the army.


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In , Hall traveled to Virginia as "Thomas;" the colonists quickly grew curious about their new neighbor, who had a penchant for switching gender identities. They would examine Hall while he slept, undress him on the street and issue court-ordered examinations. Few American scholars are more equipped than Norton, a member of Cornell's faculty since , to make sense of these complex legal cases, made even more inaccessible by their period spelling and punctuation and their reliance on a calendar that is now obsolete.

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Norton, a former student of political theory and intellectual history at the University of Michigan and of colonial social history at Harvard, is one of the nation's leading scholars of American women's history. Looking to the colonists' experience is instructive, Norton believes, because it "raises a lot of questions about what happens when the state gets seriously involved in the internal affairs of families. It gives us a model from the past to contemplate in the political climate of the s.

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See our disclaimer. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary documents, Mary Beth Norton tells the story of the Pinion clan, whose two-generation record of theft, adultery, and infanticide may have made them our first dysfunctional family. She reopens the case of Mistress Ann Hibbens, whose church excommunicated her for arguing that God had told husbands to listen to their wives. And here is the enigma of Thomas, or Thomasine Hall, who lived comfortably as both a man and a woman in 17th century Virginia.

Founding Mothers & Fathers by Mary Beth Norton | Penguin Random House Canada

Norton destroys our nostalgic image of a 'golden age' of family life and re-creates a more complex past whose assumptions and anxieties are still with us. Customer Reviews. Write a review. See any care plans, options and policies that may be associated with this product. Email address. Please enter a valid email address.

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Founding Mothers & Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society

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