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Obedient Sons: The Discourse of Youth and Generations in American Culture, 1630-1860

Glenn Wallach

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ISBN 10: 1558498001 / ISBN 13: 9781558498006
Published by University of Massachusetts Press, 2011
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Obedient Sons: The Discourse of Youth and ...

Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press

Publication Date: 2011

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Good

About this title

Synopsis:

This work examines how the discourses surrounding "youth" and "generations" in America, from the colonial era to the eve of the Civil War, emphasized continuity rather than conflict. This invested the young with a special responsibility for building a new society that preserved traditional values.

From the Back Cover:

As Glenn Wallach shows in this imaginative and revealing study, the meaning of the concepts of "youth" and "generations" has not always been the same. During the early colonial period, the Puritans established a distinctive way of talking about generations that emphasized continuity rather than conflict. Later echoed during the Great Awakening and the American Revolution, this language was at once conservative in motivation and activist in vision, investing the country's young men with a special responsibility for building a new society that preserved traditional values. In the first half of the nineteenth century, figurative as well as literal sons of the founding fathers expressed this sense of generational obligation in young men's voluntary associations and organizations promoting American art and literature, culminating in the "Young America" phenomenon of the 1840s and 1850s. By revealing the shifting meaning of language over time, including its gendered implications, Obedient Sons challenges historians to rethink many long-standing assumptions about the way Americans have understood their relationship to the past and the future.|

Lost Generation. Beat Generation. Generation Gap. Generation X. In contemporary American popular culture, such terms have been commonplace -- a shorthand way of defining the spirit of an era by distinguishing the younger generation from its elders.

Yet as Glenn Wallach shows in this imaginative and revealing study, the meaning of the concepts of "youth" and "generations" has not always been the same. During the early colonial period, the Puritans established a distinctive way of talking about generations that emphasized continuity rather than conflict. Later echoed during the Great Awakening and the American Revolution, this language was at once conservative in motivation and activist in vision, investing the country's young men with a special responsibility for building a new society that preserved traditional values.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, figurative as well as literal sons of the founding fathers expressed this sense of generational obligation in young men's voluntary associations and organizations promoting American art and literature, culminating in the "Young America" phenomenon of the 1840s and 1050s.

By revealing the shifting meaning of language over time, included its gendered implications, Obedient Sons challenges historians to rethink many long-standing assumptions about the way Americans have understood their relationship to the past and future.

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