Review: Volume 17 - 19th Century History

Review: Volume 17 - 19th Century History

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This is the first full length study of Joseph Cowen, (1829-1900) a newspaper magnate, radical activist and Liberal MP who represented Newcastle from 1874 to 1886. During his political career he drew upon a coalition of support from working class associations, the Irish community and regional interest groups. At home and abroad he championed the cause of the underdog and enjoyed close friendships with Mazzini and Garibaldi, Kossuth of Hungary and the Irish Nationalists. This study breaks new ground by bringing together ethnic and urban studies, and considers the role of the press in building a radical power base.

Penge is an unpretentious, unremarkable, resolutely unfashionable railway suburb, adrift in the low-rise sprawl of south-east London. It is an ordinary little place. But its ordinariness is precisely the point of this book, because the histories of ordinary little places like Penge are packed with interest, drama, and insights into the world in which we live. This is not an exercise in 'local history' as that term is often understood. It is not a miscellany of recollections of bygone days, nor is it a chronicle of colourful local characters, events or anecdotes. It is, instead, a study of the transformation of the local landscape during the key period from the late C18th to the late C19th when Penge was transformed from a semi-rural hamlet into a thoroughly urban railway suburb. Its focus is upon the changing uses to which land was put and the changing ways in which land was exploited as this transformation took place. It argues that this process, the urbanisation of Penge, can only be understood as part and parcel of London's emergence as the first capitalist world-city. This book considers the emergence of this little suburb as part of a wider process of capitalist urban development. It is divided into two parts. Part I sets out a broad theoretical and historical framework, Part II tells local story in detail.

Review: Volume 17 - 19th Century History - History

A rare set of international circumstances gave the United States the luxury to concentrate on domestic expansion during the middle of the 19th century, because the country faced no serious external threats until the Civil War (1861-1865).

The United States was free to practice a liberal form of nationalism, one that stressed a vague good will toward other nations rather than the pursuit of an active foreign policy. “Wherever the standard of freedom has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” wrote John Quincy Adams in 1821. The republic would influence the world by offering an example rather than by exercising force. That sentiment would govern American foreign policy for nearly 100 years, until the outbreak of World War I.

For example, in response to the liberal revolutions of 1848 in Europe, President Millard Fillmore insisted that the United States must grant to others what it wanted for itself: the right to establish “that form of government which it may deem most conducive to the happiness and prosperity of its own citizens.” It became an imperative for the United States not to interfere in the government or internal policy of other nations. Although Americans might “sympathize with the unfortunate or the oppressed everywhere in their fight for freedom, our principles forbid us from taking any part in such foreign contests,” Fillmore explained.

Solomon Northup, Author of 'Twelve Years a Slave'

Solomon Northup was a free Black man living in upstate New York who was kidnapped and enslaved in 1841. He endured more than a decade of degrading treatment on a Louisiana plantation before he could communicate with the outside world. His story formed the basis of a moving memoir and an Academy Award winning film.

History of the discovery and clinical introduction of chlorpromazine

Background: The historical process of discovery and clinical introduction of chlorpromazine, one of the greatest advances of 20th century medicine and history of psychiatry, is analyzed.

Methods: In this review, we have studied the original works of pioneers in the discovery and clinical use of chlorpromazine, as well as the contributions of prestigious researchers (historians, pharmacologists, psychiatrists, etc.) about this topic.

Results: The discovery of phenothiazines, the first family of antipsychotic agents has its origin in the development of German dye industry, at the end of the 19th century (Graebe, Liebermann, Bernthsen). Up to 1940 they were employed as antiseptics, antihelminthics and antimalarials (Ehrlich, Schulemann, Gilman). Finally, in the context of research on antihistaminic substances in France after World War II (Bovet, Halpern, Ducrot) the chlorpromazine was synthesized at Rhône-Poulenc Laboratories (Charpentier, Courvoisier, Koetschet) in December 1950. Its introduction in anaesthesiology, in the antishock area (lytic cocktails) and "artificial hibernation" techniques, is reviewed (Laborit), and its further psychiatric clinical introduction in 1952, with initial discrepancies between the Parisian Val-de-Grâce (Laborit, Hamon, Paraire) and Sainte-Anne (Delay, Deniker) hospital groups. The first North-American publications on chlorpromazine took place in 1954 (Lehmann, Winkelman, Bower). The introduction of chlorpromazine in the USA (SKF) was more difficult due to their strong psychoanalytic tradition. The consolidation of the neuroleptic therapy took place in 1955, thanks to a series of scientific events, which confirmed the antipsychotic efficacy of the chlorpromazine.

Conclusions: The discovery of the antipsychotic properties of chlorpromazine in the 1950s was a fundamental event for the practice of psychiatry and for the genesis of the so-called "psychopharmacological revolution."

Your teacher always tells you: wikis are not reliable sources. Very true if you are completing academic research or need 100% verified information. However, WikiNotes American History is perfect to use to review APUSH outlines and topics. They have an extensive collection outlining each chapter. WikiNotes APUSH outlines cover 5 different US History textbooks, so you are sure to find outlines for whatever book you are currently using in your APUSH class.

Wadsworth’s uses The American’ Pageant, 13th edition for their online APUSH outlines. This site utilizes a drop-down box feature which allows you to navigate the site by chapter. After selecting a specific chapter, choose from one of the 6 options to review historical themes and information. Chapter themes and summaries are found under “Prepare for Class”, but there are also valuable study tools listed under “Improve your Grade” and “Ace the Test”. Check them all out for a complete study experience!

There are so many excellent options for APUSH review! Find more APUSH resources at Magoosh, including study tips, test themes and what to expect on the APUSH exam.

[The comparison of the two Ottoman books of anatomy (17-19th centuries) with regard to the circulatory system]

17th and 19th centuries were particularly important for the development of te Ottoman medicine. Westernization which had already started in the 17th century continued along the 19th and the early 20th centuries. Turkish physicians began to contact with their European colleagues and in this period Latin medical terminology began to appear in the Ottoman medical literature. Sirvanli Semseddin Itaki's work of the 17th century, the Teşrihü'l Ebdan ve Tercüman-i Kibale-i Feylesufan, is the first illustrated Turkish manuscript of anatomy. The illustrations are qualified as developed examples, compared with the medical literature and knowledge of the period. In the 19th century, Sanizade Mehmet Ataullah Efendi (1771-1826) wrote a modern book of anatomy for the Ottoman medical doctors. Miyarü'l Etibba was one of the earliest printed medical books in Turkish. The second volume of Sanizade's Hamse, Miratü'l Ebdan fi Tesrih-i-Azai'l Insan is the first printed Ottoman book on anatomy. In Usulü't-Tabia, the third volume of Hamse, the circulatory system is discussed. In this article, we studied the circulatory system described in Semseddin Itaki's Teşrih-ül Ebdan ve Tercüman-i-Kibale-i Feylesufan and in Sanizade's Usulü't-Tabia and compared them.

Industrial Revolution

The Georgian period ended and Queen Victoria ascended the throne. Years before her coronation, the Thirteen Colonies, later the United States of America, declared themselves independent from British rule in 1776 and became a formidable economic rival.

Cotton, a hard-wearing fabric made from raw materials imported from the United States, grew in popularity. The increasing demand for the fabric inspired English inventors to find ways to speed up the labour- and time-intensive process of cleaning and spinning raw cotton into cotton thread. We’ve outlined these developments in a previous article: the spinning jenny and the power loom. These machines demanded more space than a single household could ever provide. “Manufactories” (later, “factories”) were built to house the contraptions and the workers who would oversee them. Innovations in steam technology also marked the shift from the old power sources of waterwheels, windmills, and horsepower to coal-powered steam engines. The steam engines also provided power to the factories and brought innovations to transportation.

Factories rose in Yorkshire, and weavers became full-time employees. Factory work, despite the conditions, attracted workers to Yorkshire from all over England, and by the 19th century the West Riding textile industry was the most prosperous in Europe (p. 157). Sheffield pivoted from cutlery to steel production, and it supplied 90 percent of Britain’s steel (p. 159). The railways and the new steam train were initially opened to carry coal, but in 1825 Yorkshire Leeds and Selby, York and North Midland railway maps. Photo source.

Coal mining became an attractive investment, and the coalfield in Yorkshire stretched from Halifax to Doncaster (p. 162).

Machine manufacturing and the mass production of goods led to an increased supply and a decline in cost, allowing more people to buy more items that enhanced their quality of life. “Common” people–or those who did not belong to the aristocracy–were able to save money and build personal wealth. However, the age of machines also put more emphasis on efficiency and profit than on the safety of human beings. Child labour was rampant. The mass migration of people from the pretty village of the countryside to the Yorkshire town areas resulted in overcrowded housing, pollution, and unsanitary, disease-ridden living conditions inthe 19th century Luddites smashing a loom. Photo source.

A Miners’ Association was formed in 1843 to demand better wages and better working conditions. The strikes halted work in the coalfields of West Riding. Coalfield owners evicted strikers from their rented properties, but the struggle did not stop until Parliament Acts were passed that improved working conditions.

Indeed, during this period, wages in Yorkshire were higher compared to London or other counties in the south, even for farm labourers (p. 169). West Riding opposed the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, in which poor but able-bodied citizens were not given financial assistance but forced to work in workhouses “where the regime was deliberately harsh and often cruel“. While other counties followed Parliament, Yorkshire objectors refused, saying the county had no existing workhouses, and to build them just to follow the Act would be expensive and pointless (p. 169).

The Yorkshire Unions also formed the roots of the Labour Party, which was founded in 1900 (p. 177). The Liberal government with Labour supporters passed revolutionary Acts including “old-age pensions and unemployment insurance” and the Parliament Act of 1911, which “removed the law-making veto of the House of Lords” (p. 178).

Dora Thewlis, a 16-year-old weaver from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was an active member of the local branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union, which supported the Suffragette cause (p. 186). A photo of her arrest made it to the front page of the national newspaper, Daily Mirror, and became an iconic image of the women’s fight for suffrage in England.

The 1907 arrest of Dora Thewlis. Photo source.

Thewlis moved to Australia before she could witness the passage of women’s suffrage in England. The women’s right to vote was granted to women over 30 in 1918, and women over 21 in 1928.

The great age of monarchy, 1648–1789

By the 17th century there was already a tradition and awareness of Europe: a reality stronger than that of an area bounded by sea, mountains, grassy plains, steppes, or deserts where Europe clearly ended and Asia began—“that geographical expression” which in the 19th century Otto von Bismarck was to see as counting for little against the interests of nations. In the two centuries before the French Revolution and the triumph of nationalism as a divisive force, Europe exhibited a greater degree of unity than appeared on the mosaic of its political surface. With appreciation of the separate interests that Bismarck would identify as “real” went diplomatic, legal, and religious concerns which involved states in common action and contributed to the notion of a single Europe. King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden saw one aspect when he wrote: “All the wars that are afoot in Europe have become as one.”

A European identity took shape in the work of Hugo Grotius, whose De Jure Belli et Pacis (1625 On the Law of War and Peace) was a plea for the spirit of law in international relations. It gained substance in the work of the great congresses (starting with those of Münster and Osnabrück before the Peace of Westphalia in 1648) that met not only to determine rights and frontiers, taking into account the verdict of battle and resources of states, but also to settle larger questions of justice and religion. By 1700 statesmen had begun to speak of Europe as an interest to be defended against the ambitions of particular states. Europe represented an audience for those who wrote about the great issues of faith, morals, politics, and, increasingly, science: Descartes did not write only for Frenchmen, nor Leibniz for Germans. The use of Latin as the language of diplomacy and scholarship and the ubiquity, alongside local systems and customs, of Roman law were two manifestations of the unity of Christendom.

As a spiritual inheritance and dynamic idea greater than the sum of the policies of which it was composed, “Christendom” best represents Europe as envisaged by those who thought and wrote about it. The existence of vigorous Jewish communities—at times persecuted, as in Poland in 1648, but in places such as Amsterdam secure, prosperous, and creative—only serves to emphasize the essential fact: Europe and Christendom were interchangeable terms. The 16th century had experienced schism, and the development of separate confessions had shredded “the seamless robe,” but it had done so without destroying the idea of catholicism to which the Roman church gave institutional form. The word catholic survived in the creeds of Protestant churches, such as that of England. Calvin had thought in catholic, not sectarian, terms when he mourned for the Body of Christ, “bleeding, its members severed.” Deeper than quarrels about articles of belief or modes of worship lay the mentality conditioned by centuries of war against pagan and infidel, as by the Reconquista in Spain, which had produced a strong idea of a distinctive European character. The Renaissance, long-evolving and coloured by local conditions, had promoted attitudes still traceable to the common inheritance. The Hellenic spirit of inquiry, the Roman sense of order, and the purposive force of Judaism had contributed to a cultural synthesis and within it an article of faith whose potential was to be realized in the intellectual revolution of the 17th century—namely, that man was an agent in a historical process which he could aspire both to understand and to influence.

By 1600 the outcome of that process was the complex system of rights and values comprised in feudalism, chivalry, the crusading ideal, scholasticism, and humanism. Even to name them is to indicate the rich diversity of the European idea, whether inspiring adventures of sword and spirit or imposing restraints upon individuals inclined to change. The forces making for change were formidable. The Protestant and Roman Catholic Reformations brought passionate debate of an unsettling kind. Discoveries and settlement overseas extended mental as well as geographic horizons, brought new wealth, and posed questions about the rights of indigenous peoples and Christian duty toward them. Printing gave larger scope to authors of religious or political propaganda. The rise of the state brought reactions from those who believed they lost by it or saw others benefit exceedingly from new sources of patronage.

Meanwhile, the stakes were raised by price inflation, reflecting the higher demand attributable to a rise in the population of about 25 percent between 1500 and 1600 and the inflow of silver from the New World the expansion of both reached a peak by 1600. Thereafter, for a century, the population rose only slightly above 100 million and pulled back repeatedly to that figure, which seemed to represent a natural limit. The annual percentage rate of increase in the amount of bullion in circulation in Europe, which had been 3.8 in 1550 and 1 in 1600, was, by 1700, 0.5. The extent to which these facts, with attendant phenomena—notably the leveling out from about 1620, and thereafter the lowering, of demand, prices, and rents before the resumption of growth about 1720—influenced the course of events must remain uncertain. Controversy has centred around the cluster of social, political, and religious conflicts and revolts that coincided with the deepening of the recession toward mid-century. Some historians have seen there not particular crises but a “general crisis.” Most influential in the debate have been the Marxist view that it was a crisis of production and the liberal political view that it was a general reaction to the concentration of power at the centre.

Any single explanation of the general crisis may be doomed to fail. That is not to say that there was no connection between different features of the period. These arose from an economic malaise that induced an introspective mentality, which tended to pessimism and led to repressive policies but which also was expressed more positively in a yearning and search for order. So appear rationalists following René Descartes in adopting mathematical principles in a culture dominated by tradition artists and writers accepting rules such as those imposed by the French Academy (founded 1635) statesmen looking for new principles to validate authority economic theorists (later labeled “mercantilists”) justifying the need to protect and foster native manufactures and fight for an apparently fixed volume of trade the clergy, Catholic and Protestant alike, seeking uniformity and tending to persecution witch-hunters rooting out irregularities in the form of supposed dealings with Satan even gardeners trying to impose order on unruly nature. Whether strands in a single pattern or distinct phenomena that happen to exhibit certain common principles, each has lent itself to a wider perception of the 17th century as classical, baroque, absolutist, or mercantilist.

There is sufficient evidence from tolls, rents, taxes, riots, and famines to justify arguments for something more dire than a downturn in economic activity. There are, however, other factors to be weighed: prolonged wars fought by larger armies, involving more matériel, and having wider political repercussions more efficient states, able to draw more wealth from taxpayers and even, at certain times (such as the years 1647–51), particularly adverse weather, as part of a general deterioration in climatic conditions. There are also continuities that cast doubt on some aspects of the general picture. For example, the drive for conformity can be traced at least to the Council of Trent, whose final sessions were in 1563 but it was visibly losing impetus, despite Louis XIV’s intolerant policy leading to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685), after the Peace of Westphalia. Puritanism, which has been seen as a significant reflection of a contracting economy, was not a prime feature of the second half of the century, though mercantilism was. Then there are exceptions even to economic generalizations: England and, outstandingly, the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Insights and perspectives gain from the search for general causes. But truth requires an untidy picture of Europe in which discrepancies abound, in which men subscribe to a common civilization while cherishing specific rights in which countries evolved along distinctive paths and in which much depended on the idiom of a community, on the ability of ruler or minister, on skills deployed and choices made.

Complementing the search for order and for valid authority in other fields, and arising out of the assertion of rights and the drive to control, a feature of the 17th century was the clarification of ideas about the physical bounds of the world. In 1600 “Europe” still lacked exact political significance. Where, for example, in the eastern plains before the Ural Mountains or the Black Sea were reached, could any line have meaning? Were Christian peoples—Serbs, Romanians, Greeks, or Bulgarians—living under Turkish rule properly Europeans? The tendency everywhere was to envisage boundaries in terms of estates and lordships. Where the legacy of feudalism was islands of territory either subject to different rulers or simply independent, or where, as in Dalmatia or Podolia (lands vulnerable to Turkish raids), the frontier was represented by disputed, inherently unstable zones, a linear frontier could emerge only out of war and diplomacy. The process can be seen in the wars of France and Sweden. Both countries were seen by their neighbours as aggressive, yet they were concerned as much with a defensible frontier as with the acquisition of new resources. Those objectives inspired the expansionist policies of Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louis XIV and—with the added incentives of fighting the infidel and recovering a patrimony lost since the defeat at Mohács in 1526—the reconquest of Hungary, which led to the Treaty of Carlowitz (1699). The frontier then drawn was sufficiently definite—despite modifications, as after the loss of Belgrade (1739)—to make possible effective government within its perimeter.

Another feature of the period was the drawing into the central diplomatic orbit of countries that had been absorbed hitherto in questions of little consequence. Although Henry of Valois had been elected king of Poland before he inherited the French throne (1574) and James VI of Scotland (later James I of England, 1603–25) had married Anne of Denmark, whose country had a footing in Germany through its duchy of Holstein, it was still usual for western statesmen to treat the Baltic states as belonging to a separate northern system. Trading interests and military adventures that forged links, for example, with the United Provinces—as when Sweden intervened in the German war in 1630—complicated already tangled diplomatic questions.

Travelers who ventured beyond Warsaw, Kraków, and the “black earth” area of Mazovia, thence toward the Pripet Marshes, might not know when they left Polish lands and entered those of the tsar. The line between Orthodox Russia and the rest of Christian Europe had never been so sharp as that which divided Christendom and Islam. Uncertainties engendered by the nature of Russian religion, rule, society, and manners perpetuated former ambivalent attitudes toward Byzantium. Unmapped spaces, where Europe petered out in marshes, steppes, and forests of birch and alder, removed the beleaguered though periodically expanding Muscovite state from the concern of all but neighbouring Sweden and Poland. The establishment of a native dynasty with the accession of Michael Romanov in 1613, the successful outcome of the war against Poland that followed the fateful revolt in 1648 of the Ukraine against Polish overlordship, the acquisition of huge territories including Smolensk and Kiev (Treaty of Andrusovo, 1667), and, above all, the successful drive of Peter I the Great to secure a footing in the Baltic were to transform the picture. By the time of Peter’s death in 1725, Russia was a European state: still with some Asian characteristics, still colonizing rather than assimilating southern and eastern lands up to and beyond the Urals, but interlocked with the diplomatic system of the West. A larger Europe, approximating to the modern idea, began to take shape.

The romantic international

Romanticism is not limited to one country, it was an international vision of the world.

The romantic international started in Germany at the end of the 18th century with “Storm and Stress”. The two most famous poets are Goethe and Schiller and many philosophers such as Fichte, Schlegel, Schelling and Herder.

Romanticism was then adopted in England. Poets are divided in two generations :

  • first generation : William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
  • second generation : George Byron, Percy Shelley, John Keats.

Romanticism reached France at the beginning of the 19th century with François-René de Chateaubriand – Atala (1801), René (1802), Le Génie du Christianisme (1802) – and Germaine de Staël : De l’Allemagne (1813).

Romanticism was a renewal, a revolution is artistic forms in paintings, literature and theatre. In Germany and Russia, romanticism created the national literature. It influenced the whole vision of art.

It was also the origin of contemporary ideas : modern individualism, the vision of nature, the vision of the work of art as an isolated object.

Joseph Mallord William Turner – The Fighting Téméraire (1836)

The history of children’s literature

For many of us, some of our fondest childhood memories are associated with the stories and books we learned from our parents, heard from our teachers, and discovered for ourselves. I, for one, get nostalgic at the mention of my friend’s dog Spot (for those who may not directly seize the link between dogs, Spot, and children’s literature, please refer to this link), and I have a cousin who continues to read A Wrinkle in Time every year of her life, well into her thirties (and much to her husband’s utter dismay). The notion of a no-nonsense stockbroker indulging in Madeline L’Engle the way that her peers may indulge in Cohibas and port may strike someone as absurd, but to me it underscores the indelible charms that children’s books cast over minds, fresh and seasoned alike. We just can’t seem to break the spell of imagination and wonder. But why should we even want to? What accounts for this spell, and are today’s children just as transfixed as my cohorts and I were at their age? What constitutes a successful book for children, and do the same standards remain constant over time? I sought these answers from libraries and from librarians, but along the way I realized I had a lot to learn about the actual history of children’s literature as a unique, qualifiable genre.

It may appear self-evident that children’s literature had to be invented, that children did not always read beautifully illustrated books with simple plot structures and flowing prose or poetry. However, before children’s literature could be invented, the actual institution of childhood had to be invented, for just as propriety and aesthetics and almost everything else remain in constant flux over decades and centuries and millennia, so do social statuses and their respective roles. Case in point: before the Renaissance, society viewed children as miniature, functioning adults whose role in day-to-day familial (and even commercial) affairs were no less important than those of mom and dad. As such, separate forms of entertainment for children did not exist. Children merely consumed the same forms of entertainment as their adult “peers,” only in redacted form. Just as the lines between childhood and maturity were blurred, so were the lines between children’s and adults’ literature.

It wasn’t until the advent of the Renaissance – and, notably, of the movable printing press – that it became feasible from economic and mechanical points of view to increase the production of educational materials. With the expansion of trade routes and conduits for knowledge-exchange (facilitated in large part by the Crusades), a new middle class emerged which could temper leisure and cultivate education. Resultantly, educational materials specifically targeting children could be produced more economically in greater volumes, and parents and educators could devote more time to rearing children, cater to their unique needs, and develop childhood as an institution distinct from adulthood (Bingham and Scholt).

The majority of the children’s literature produced at this time, i.e. during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was didactic in nature and included gruesome tidbits from the status quo such as disease, war, and famine. These stories often took the form of dialogues between teachers and pupils and rhymed couplets and stressed morality and manners. However, in a departure from the prevailing norms, in 1658 Johann Amos Comenius published his Orbis Pictus (The World in Pictures), which took the form of woodcuts illustrating several everyday objects. Even if the book’s aims were closer to pedagogy than to recreation, Comenius’s work is nonetheless considered the first picture book for children (Hunt).

Still, children’s literature was quite far from being all fun and games, as it were. At the end of the seventeenth century, with their doctrine of individual salvation, the Puritans held that children had to be preserved from eternal damnation. To them, literature held the paramount role of preparing children for salvation and safeguarding them from hell not surprisingly, then, the majority of Puritan literature portrayed children facing grim life-and-death scenarios wherein they had to rely on a supreme moral compass. It was thus children’s spiritual lives, rather than their physical surroundings or social interactions, which Puritan parents emphasized and Puritan literature reflected the most (Bingham and Scholt).

It was not until the advent of philosophers John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the late seventeenth – mid eighteenth centuries that children’s literature took on a more playful, jovial character. Locke was a firm proponent of the idea of childrens’ clean slate, or tabula rasa, on to which adults could impose their mores, morals, and ethics. Following Locke’s Enlightenment philosophy, literature could be used to influence, educate, and guide the child, but only if said literature was pleasurable and entertaining. Locke exhorted parents to promote reading as a leisurely, fun activity for their children and urged authors to create pleasant, enjoyable children’s books, all in an effort to aid children’s retention and application of important life lessons.

Rousseau, on the other hand, emphasized children’s autonomy in their development. Unlike Locke and his notion of the tabula rasa, Rousseau stressed that children grow at their own pace and perceive the world in their own terms and frames of reference. To him, childhood was the language of the “noble savage,” i.e. the utmost form of simplicity and innocence. According to his romantic worldview, children were to be treated as competent, precocious readers who had unique, independent capacities for appreciating aesthetics as Vanessa Joosen and Katrien Vloeberghs state in their introduction to “Changing Concept of Childhood and Children’s Literature,” the child’s “uncorrupted affinity for beauty” is his/her most salient identifying factor. Successful children’s literature, then, would seek to cater to the child’s world-view in an effort to identify and align, rather than mold and change.

Enlightenment and romantic philosophy both left indelible impressions in the further development of children’s literature as a unique, burgeoning genre. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, around the period of time wherein Locke was working, experts point to how “changes in philosophical thought as well as the rise and growing refinement of the middle class allowed children to become more sheltered and more innocent.” Childhood’s retreat to a separate sphere of life helped usher in what several consider to be the beginning of two new forms of children literature in the Anglophone world: the novel and, most importantly, the picture book. John Newbery, influenced by John Locke’s ideas on pleasure reading and pictures as pedagogical tools, published Newbery’s Pretty Pocket Book in 1744. What makes this book so outstanding is that, by attempting to teach children the alphabet “by Way of Diversion,” it was the first book openly and unabashedly aiming to amuse its readership. The book’s multi-media format – which includes pictures, rhymes, games, and fables – was certainly novel for its time as well, and its subsequent success proved to Newbery and future publishers that children’s literature could be tempered and marketed as a lucrative means unto itself.

At this point, there existed several different genres of children’s literature: games, fables, alphabet books, nursery rhymes, poetry, and fairy tales. Throughout the nineteenth century, following the trend established by Newbery’s work, children’s literature became increasingly less didactic in nature and more geared towards children’s imagination and empathy with the reader. Advances in printing technology also made it possible to mass-produce beautifully detailed pictures at hitherto unheard of rates, thereby paving the way for the profession of the illustrator and the likes of Randolph Caldecott, a pre-eminent British illustrator for children’s books whose eponymous prize signifies excellence in children’s illustrations. With the influx of immigration to the United States, several talented authors and illustrators from Europe contributed to the growth of children’s literature on the other side of the Atlantic as they settled in new lands, thereby increasing the market and demand for children’s books.

Joosen and Vloeberghs are quick the note the link between ideology and children’s literature, and this flourishing epoch in the history of children’s literature certainly demonstrates how literature enforces social norms and conveys societal world views. For example, in their portrayals of brave, heroic men and boys coupled with quiet, virtuous women and girls, children’s literature helped uphold gender norms which by today’s standards would seem antiquated and patriarchal. Moreover, it bears mentioning how British children’s literature predominantly featured adventure in distant, dangerous lands, whereas American children’s literature often told “rags to riches” stories wherein the hero is able to surmount economic obstacles and ultimately find success and renown. By incorporating such subject matter into their respective canons, British and American literature of this time reinforce socio-political reality and ideals by including motifs taken from ideology and immigration/the so-called “American Dream” respectively.

The twentieth century saw the development of fantasy as a popular genre for children. Childhood became an increasingly protected sphere of life, and as such, elements meant to provoke terror became increasingly dilute in literature for younger audiences. During the age of the Puritans, fear played a critical role in preparing children for the afterlife now, fear lost its educating force as it became absorbed into the genre of fantasy. The first fantasy books for children (such as the Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, and The Little Prince) were originally meant for adults. It was not until the 1950s and 1960s that children’s fantasy began to thrive even then, fear became transformed from a didactic pathway to an aesthetical experience.

Social commentators are keen to posit possible links between the boom of fantasy for children and adults and responses to the Cold War and to the growing drug culture in the United States. Similarly, the civil rights movement in the 1960s forced children’s literature authors to recast depictions of race, gender, and social narratives in their works. Characters became less white-washed and more nuanced, and personnages from parallel cultures began to step into the forefront as authors began to question and re-examine what exactly constituted the American experience. Subject matter also became increasingly grittier as authors strove to incorporate socio-political reality into their works and identify with a new generation of diverse readers. In “Charlotte Huck’s Children’s Literature,” twentieth century children’s literature is summarized as follows:

“Just as adult literature mirrored the disillusionment of depression, wars, and materialism by becoming more sordid, sensationalist, and psychological, children’s literature became more frank and honest, portraying situations like war, drugs, divorce, abortion, sex, and homosexuality. No long were children protected by stories of happy families. Rather, it was felt that children would develop coping behaviors as they read about others who had survived problems similar to theirs.”

Empathy now stands on even ground with pedagogy in children’s literature, and audiences are now invited to participate in literary spaces where their backgrounds and experiences are not only recognized and reflected, but also preserved and validated.

Bingham, Jane and Grayce Scholt. 1980. Fifteen Centuries of Children’s Literature: An Annotated Chronology of British and American Works in Historical Context. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

“The Changing World of Children’s Books and the Development of Multicultural Literature” from “Charlotte Huck’s Children’s Literature.” McGraw Hill. Web. January 15, 2013.

Hunt, Peter, ed. 1995. Children’s Literature: An Illustrated History. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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