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More about the beliefs of the Harris brothers


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So because of the recent topics discussing the Harris brothers, I went to go check out their site.

In one of their articles about the "myth" of adolescence, they say, "It was only with the coming of the early labor movement with its progressive child labor laws, coupled with new compulsory schooling laws, that a new category, called adolescence, was invented."

So am I to take it from that statement that they are against child labor laws and compulsory schooling? Man, that is just effed up.

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In a way they are correct. But, just in a very tiny way, like if you filled out all C's on your SAT, you'd get SOME right.

Children were children until they got married, and most girls got married off young. Even before compulsory schooling, "children" were sent off to be educated, be it the one room school house of the American frontier or a European boarding school like Eton. Even before that, there were apprenticeships and fostering of children with other families so they could learn skills. Boys would be sent off to be squires at a young age to learn the art of war.

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How can anyone think that people were more moral a long time ago? There was rampant poverty and prejudice was accepted. Here in America we had segregation until the 1960s.

After reading Tom Jones, I looked up Bridewell. Apparently, women who became pregnant out of wedlock were whipped and sent to prison! This mean that a pregnant woman would either try to abort her baby, kill it at birth or leave it as a parish ward.

Yeah, life was great a long time ago.

http://forums.canadiancontent.net/histo ... ve-up.html

The link will take you to an article about skeletons from London. It's very fascinating. According to the article, alcoholism was a common form of death in 18th century London.

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Here is a link to Bridewell

Parallel to adultery was the indiscretion associated with bastardy. Having a child out of wedlock was a punishable offense, with delinquents reprimanded with whippings and stints in houses of correction. Though it took both man and woman to create children, bearing one out of wedlock, the woman exclusively bore the guilt and shame for the transgression. An unmarried, pregnant woman was given three choices of action; she could give birth to the child and subsequently kill it, thereby committing a capital offense, abandon the child at a church or marketplace, or keep it. By choosing the second option, the child became the financial responsibility of the community. Though theoretically both parents were financially obligated to care for the child in the case of her keeping it, the difficulty of providing paternity made it unlikely that the woman would receive any monetary assistance in rearing the child, which meant that “if she was not employed (as was most likely after the public admission of an illegitimate birth), and the bastard child was chargeable to the parish, the mother would be put in a house of correction

http://www.duke.edu/web/rpc/women_and_s ... ltery.html

Imagine how many of these women were pregnant through rape or incest. She would face public shaming, whipping and imprisonment.

People were not better morally than we are now so I don't understand wanting to copy their behaviors.

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The link will take you to an article about skeletons from London. It's very fascinating. According to the article, alcoholism was a common form of death in 18th century London.

Gin was basically the meth epidemic of 18th c. london, and social problems caused by the Gin Craze inspired John Wesley's abhorrence of distilled liquors. Consequently, Methodists in the United States were very invested in the temperance movement throughout the 19th century. (I understand that the United Methodist Church still officially lobbies for national prohibition, and of course they use grape juice rather than wine when celebrating communion.)

http://culturalshifts.com/archives/168 <--Here's a link to an article entitled, "The Gin Craze: Drink, Crime & Women in 18th Century London." It's also very interesting, in a nothing-new-under-the-sun kind of way.

Female gin consumption was problematized and value-loaded as an act of moral significance. This is reflected in the response of magistrates and the disproportionate convictions of women. The perception of reformers and their attempt to regulate women is a complex interplay between the lives and economic realities of women, the influence of the press and the institution of government.

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I don't have good figures on this but from my reading it's my impression that prostitution rates are seriously, very signficantly down from where they were in the 1700s or 1800s. There are 2 driving reasons for this IMO:

* many more options for paid employment of women "outside the home"

* SuperFreakonomics suggests that single men who might otherwise have gone to prostitutes in previous eras are in the present era getting sex from lovers or other unpaid partners and therefore don't see a need to use prostitutes (in fact it might be seen as desperate).

There was a lot more external pressure to appear moral in certain ways in the past, but that just pushed a lot of things underground. Having a death penalty for sodomy made it *look* like there were fewer gays in the past, for example.

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People who say stuff about adolescents not being adolescents in the past know nothing about history. Sure, my grandfather quit school at 16 to go into the coal mines. Every payday, he'd give his entire wages to his dad, and hope that his dad would give him enough back so that he could maybe take a girl to the movies. And if his dad told him to be home by 11:00 pm, he'd be home by 11:00 pm, or there would be hell to pay. He was working a man's job, but he was not, by any standards of the word, living a man's life. He was a boy, and his parents treated him thusly.

Back further in time, even when young people married and had their own kids, they weren't necessarily living on their own as a self-supporting nuclear unit. Young people in a village setting, or an extended family type deal, or a hunter-gatherer band were still under the watchful eyes of their elders.

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Honestly, this is scary because it sounds to me like they are just one step away from trying to force 12 year-old girls into marriage (obviously to a much older man because a 12 year-old boy can't support a family, even in fundieland). I do not like where this is going and it sounds way too much like something Warren Jeffs would say, or some extremists Muslims that I've heard about. Every time I have heard this line of reasoning, it has always been a way to claim that a fertile child isn't actually a child because historically she would have been considered an adult as soon as she started bleeding (although this is historically false because it was pretty rare to get married so young). This line of reasoning just can't end well and in about 10 years I predict they'll be in the news for having an isolated cult where they can abuse children.

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of course there were no "teenagers" in the past ...or as Shakespeare put it in 1611:

I would there were no age between sixteen and

three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the

rest; for there is nothing in the between but

getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry,

stealing, fighting

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Guest Anonymous
Here is a link to Bridewell

http://www.duke.edu/web/rpc/women_and_s ... ltery.html

Imagine how many of these women were pregnant through rape or incest. She would face public shaming, whipping and imprisonment.

People were not better morally than we are now so I don't understand wanting to copy their behaviors.

Such penalties also fell disproportionately on poor and working-class women. If a woman was middle or upper-class, her family could either lure the father into marriage with a hefty dowry, or send the girl away, to some area where she wasn't known. She would have the child, then give it up for adoption while her family would tell anyone who asked that she was visiting friends/relatives or taking the Grand Tour.

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Gin was basically the meth epidemic of 18th c. london, and social problems caused by the Gin Craze inspired John Wesley's abhorrence of distilled liquors. Consequently, Methodists in the United States were very invested in the temperance movement throughout the 19th century. (I understand that the United Methodist Church still officially lobbies for national prohibition, and of course they use grape juice rather than wine when celebrating communion.)

http://culturalshifts.com/archives/168 <--Here's a link to an article entitled, "The Gin Craze: Drink, Crime & Women in 18th Century London." It's also very interesting, in a nothing-new-under-the-sun kind of way.

And also the medical description of the 'gin babies' -- first ever documentation of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Historical studies suggest it was a (relatively) huge percentage of the population.

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And also the medical description of the 'gin babies' -- first ever documentation of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Historical studies suggest it was a (relatively) huge percentage of the population.

I'm weird because I love learning little facts like this.

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You're not weird at all, debrand. They are fascinating. I don't know how we manage to make history seem boring to so many people.

I am reading Sarah Vowell this week and I want to plaster this quote all over everywhere: "The more history I learn, the more the world fills up with stories."

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Is it weird that I never knew any of this (re: the Gin Craze & gin babies)? Also, that I now feel a smidge guilty for my love of gin?

But I'm with you debrand - so cool to learn totally new stuff like this :)

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You're not weird at all, debrand. They are fascinating. I don't know how we manage to make history seem boring to so many people.

I am reading Sarah Vowell this week and I want to plaster this quote all over everywhere: "The more history I learn, the more the world fills up with stories."

OT, but since I started that thread, I feel like I can do that a little bit:

Yes, history is awesome (I am a history major) and it makes me sad that so many people find it boring. People have always been selfish and power hungry and crazy and it makes for such good stories.

Also, which Sarah Vowell book are you reading? I love SV.

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it's a collection - Partly Cloudy Patriot.

I can't believe she was at the first Bush Inauguration and I never read her essay about it before. A bunch of my friends went, to protest.

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If you read through the Harris Brother's site, they do distort history quite a bit. I suppose that everyone does a little, history can be a complex subject especially when you are talking about the actual culture and beliefs of the people instead of the historical dates and big events.

The problem is that the Harris brothers take some examples of people who did very well during those time periods and try to conclude that everyone in those societies were able to do as well. They ignore the vast numbers of poor to reach their conclusion.

Yes, some kids do very well when given adult responsibilities, but not everyone does. The history that they try to use has many examples of people who failed, but those people are normally forgotten and we don't know their names. They aren't the ones that we read about in history or biographical books. That doesn't mean that there weren't prostitutes or people hungy for food. The Harris brothers can naively overlook them

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Guest Anonymous

I'm weird because I love learning little facts like this.

Another one who recognized the effect of gin on children was the English caricaturist John Hogarth. His broadside "The Whore's Progress" shows the title character dying squalidly while her scrawny, undersized child sits at her deathbed. While some people recognized that the children of alcoholics were smaller, weaker and less intelligent than many other children, it was usually attributed to the parents spending food and milk money on gin instead of nourishing their children. The idea that these children were being affected prenatally wasn't accepted for a while longer.

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it's a collection - Partly Cloudy Patriot.

I can't believe she was at the first Bush Inauguration and I never read her essay about it before. A bunch of my friends went, to protest.

I love that book. Not quite as much as I love Assassination Vacation, but the Partly Cloudy Patriot is great. I love the chapter about going to the Bush inauguration. Particularly, the part where she talks about what a nerd Gore is.

Anyway, I'm going to stop digressing now.

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Another one who recognized the effect of gin on children was the English caricaturist John Hogarth. His broadside "The Whore's Progress" shows the title character dying squalidly while her scrawny, undersized child sits at her deathbed. While some people recognized that the children of alcoholics were smaller, weaker and less intelligent than many other children, it was usually attributed to the parents spending food and milk money on gin instead of nourishing their children. The idea that these children were being affected prenatally wasn't accepted for a while longer.

Congenital syphilis, on the other hand, was well known and pretty much endemic among prostitutes and their clients. Both reasons could have badly affected their children.

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