Amusing instruction: Constructing the modern child in England during the long Eighteenth Century
Lack, Samantha K.
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England experienced drastic changes during the long-eighteenth century, including how the phase of life known of childhood was perceived. Before this time period, children were mostly viewed as miniature adults, but as the 1700s progressed society began to embrace childhood characteristics like inquisitiveness, curiosity, and playfulness with the help of men such as John Locke, John Bettam, and Robert Ainsworth. As a result, a variety of amusing educational products for children was created. This thesis examines the reasons behind this shift in perception as well as the children’s literature and table games that emerged. The children’s literature and table games provide evidence about what society considered valuable to teach children as well as anxieties about how to best raise children for the British Empire.