Being a Child in 1800
Compared to people in the twenty-first century, with all their modern conveniences and technological advances, the life of any early-American seems difficult. However, the lives of children were among the most arduous. Linda Pollock states in her book Forgotten Children that between 1660 and 1800 families -and society in general- became more affectionate, child-oriented, and permissive of uniqueness and unstructured time (67). Although this may be true, many other sources depict the lives of children as taxing and oppressive at best. Children of the time were either forced to abandon education for their family contributions, or had to balance school with a full day's work ("Education"). Even when they were not in school or doing manual labor, their day-to-day lives were uncomfortable and harsh (Kids). Social status, as is expected, was a key factor in determining how hard a child's life would be (Murray 9). Although many children at the time had it easier than others they were all asked at an early age to take on adult responsibilities. The lives of all children in 1800 were mundane and difficult due to family and societal expectations for labor, schooling, and maturity.
Gender, social status, and the region in which a child lived determined how much schooling a child would receive and where and how they would get it. Children of the upper class were either taught in private schools or by a tutor. They were taught reading, writing, prayers, and simple math ("Education") . They were taught using repetition from the Bible, a religion-based reading supplement called a primer, and/or a paddle-shaped (also religious) horn book ("Schooling"). The upper-class boys were taught more advanced academic subjects, and may have been sent to boarding school in England or another state. The girls were taught to assume the duties of a wife and mother and obtained basic knowledge so they could read the Bible and record expenses ("Education"). While the...
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