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The Protestant Temperament: Patterns of Child-Rearing, Religious Experience, and the Self in Early Americaby Philip Greven
Bringing together an extraordinary richness of evidence--from letters, diaries, and other intimate family records of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries--Philip Greven explores the strikingly distinctive ways in which Protestant children were reared in America. In tracing the hidden continuities of religious experience, of attitudes toward God, children, the self, sexuality, pleasure, virtue, and achievement, Greven identifies three distinct Protestant temperaments prevailing among Americans at the time: the Evangelical, the Moderate, and the General. The Protestant Temperamentis a powerful reassessment of the role of child-rearing and religion in early American life.
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. These words provided generations of American Christians with the justification for physically disciplining their children, in ways that range from spankings to brutal beatings. This learned and deeply disturbing work of history examines both the religious roots of corporal punishment in America and its consequences -- in the minds of children, in adults, and in our national tendencies toward authoritarian and apocalyptic thinking. Drawing on sources as old as Cotton Mather and as current as today's headlines, Spare the Child is one of those rare works of scholarship that have the power to change our lives.
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