A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony

Paperback | July 29, 1999

byJohn Demos

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The year 2000 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of A Little Commonwealth by Bancroft Prize-winning scholar John Demos. This groundbreaking study examines the family in the context of the colony founded by the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower. Basing his work on physicalartifacts, wills, estate inventories, and a variety of legal and official enactments, Demos portrays the family as a structure of roles and relationships, emphasizing those of husband and wife, parent and child, and master and servant. The book's most startling insights come from a reconsiderationof commonly-held views of American Puritans and of the ways in which they dealt with one another. Demos concludes that Puritan "repression" was not as strongly directed against sexuality as against the expression of hostile and aggressive impulses, and he shows how this pattern reflected prevalentmodes of family life and child-rearing. The result is an in-depth study of the ordinary life of a colonial community, located in the broader environment of seventeenth-century America. Demos has provided a new foreword and a list of further reading for this second edition, which will offer a new generation of readers access to this classic study.

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The year 2000 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of A Little Commonwealth by Bancroft Prize-winning scholar John Demos. This groundbreaking study examines the family in the context of the colony founded by the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower. Basing his work on physicalartifacts, wills, estate inventories, and a...

John Demos is Samuel Knight Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of Entertaining Satan, winner of the Bancroft Prize, and The Unredeemed Capture

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 5.31 × 7.91 × 0.51 inPublished:July 29, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195128907

ISBN - 13:9780195128901

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"One of the finest pieces of local history that I have read in years....Because Demos writes clear, terse, flowing prose, his book will be a delight to the general reader as well as the scholar....[His] portrait of family life is captivating."--Saturday Review