Bowing to Necessities: A History of Manners in America, 1620-1860

Paperback | April 15, 2002

byC. Dallett Hemphill

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Anglo-Americans wrestled with some profound cultural contradictions as they shifted from the hierarchical and patriarchal society of the seventeenth-century frontier to the modern and fluid class democracy of the mid-nineteenth century. How could traditional inequality be maintained in thesocially leveling environment of the early colonial wilderness? And how could nineteenth-century Americans pretend to be equal in an increasingly unequal society?Bowing to Necessities argues that manners provided ritual solutions to these central cultural problems by allowing Americans to act out--and thus reinforce--power relations just as these relations underwent challenges. Analyzing the many sermons, child-rearing guides, advice books, and etiquettemanuals that taught Americans how to behave, this book connects these instructions to individual practices and personal concerns found in contemporary diaries and letters. It also illuminates crucial connections between evolving class, age, and gender relations. A social and cultural history with aunique and fascinating perspective, Hemphill's wide-ranging study offers readers a panorama of America's social customs from colonial times to the Civil War.

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Anglo-Americans wrestled with some profound cultural contradictions as they shifted from the hierarchical and patriarchal society of the seventeenth-century frontier to the modern and fluid class democracy of the mid-nineteenth century. How could traditional inequality be maintained in thesocially leveling environment of the early colo...

C. Dallett Hemphill is Professor of History at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania.

other books by C. Dallett Hemphill

Siblings: Brothers and Sisters in American History
Siblings: Brothers and Sisters in American History

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 5.98 × 0.79 inPublished:April 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195154088

ISBN - 13:9780195154085

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I. Hierarchy: Manners in a Vertical Social Order, 1620-1740Ch. 1. Manners for GentlemenCh. 2. Manners Over MinorsCh. 3. Manners Maketh MenPart II. Revolution: An Opening of Possibilities, 1740-1820Ch. 4. Middle Class RidingCh. 5. Youth RisingCh. 6. Women RisingPart III. Resolution: Manners for Democrats, 1820-1860Ch. 7. Manners for the Middle ClassCh. 8. Manners for AdultsCh. 9. Ladies First?ConclusionTable: Conduct Works: Author/Audience StatisticsNotesBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"[Hemphill] has written a beautifully lucid, engaging, and thorough study that will be valuable to all social and cultural historians of the first long "half" of American history and to our students."--William and Mary Quarterly