The Pilgrims and Puritans did not arrive on the shores of New England alone. Nor did African men and women, brought to the Americas as slaves. Though it would be hard to tell from the historical record, European colonists and African slaves had children, as did the indigenous families whom they encountered, and those children's life experiences enrich and complicate our understanding of colonial America. Through essays, primary documents, and contemporary illustrations, Children in Colonial America examines the unique aspects of childhood in the American colonies between the late sixteenth and late eighteenth centuries. The twelve original essays observe a diverse cross-section of children—from indigenous peoples of the east coast and Mexico to Dutch-born children of the Plymouth colony and African-born offspring of slaves in the Caribbean—and explore themes including parenting and childrearing practices, children's health and education, sibling relations, child abuse, mental health, gender, play, and rites of passage. Taken together, the essays and documents in Children in Colonial America shed light on the ways in which the process of colonization shaped childhood, and in turn how the experience of children affected life in colonial America.
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