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By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) Paperback – April 11, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0807858325 ISBN-10: 0807858323

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Product Details

  • Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (April 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807858323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807858325
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,238,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The author of this volume has written two books, magnificently intertwined. . . . There is no doubt that Brewer's book will take a privileged place in all future accounts of childhood and political thought in the Atlantic world.--Historian

Brewer's book, By Birth or Consent . . . seeks to explore the political and legal foundation of the idea of informed consent that emerged during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. . . . The cultural implications spawned by . . . legal and philosophical developments are presented here with a certain flair and enthusiasm. Moreover, the use of court cases, county records, and other original sources helps to root [the] story about children and the law in fact.--Times Literary Supplement

Through an exploration of the fundamental shift in legal assumptions about childhood, adulthood, and individual responsibility, Brewer offers new perspective on the roiling, centuries-long fight over the meaning of consent, as articulated by Locke and others, and its place in political power and the social order.--Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

By Birth or Consent is an intellectual feast; it is deeply learned and provocative.--William and Mary Quarterly

By Birth or Consent contains an illuminating account of the way that changing attitudes toward children's legal rights have influenced perceptions of authority and equality. . . . Brewer's book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the currents of thought that have shaped English and American law.--Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

Brewer's By Birth of Consent is an important legal history with ramifications for fields as disparate as family history and the history of political philosophy. . . . Crucial to our full understanding of the history of American democracy.--The North Carolina Historical Review

[A] highly original and powerfully argued book. . . . Brewer shows that questions about the nature of childhood and the powers and obligations of parents were central to the great debates among early modern religious, political, and legal thinkers over religious and political authority. Her approach yields important new insights into the origins of modern ideas about children and families, as well as the sources of modern Anglo-American political and legal thought and the limits inherent in its promise of political equality for all.--The Journal of American History

Provide[s] enormous detail regarding the role that age played in society in both Britain and the American colonies. Her focus on the role of both religion and the philosophy of government is persuasive. The book is a valuable addition to the literature for both historians and those interested in family law, and in particular those interested in the role of children in society.--The American Journal of Legal History

[A] thought-provoking study of a neglected and yet immensely important topic.--Canadian Journal of History

Review

Holly Brewer's important and prizewinning book transcends subdisciplinary specializations. Its portrayal of the construction of a new understanding of childhood in Revolutionary America is one that speaks to core problems in American legal history, in the history of political thought, in early modern history (American and European), and in family history. The writing is clear and vigorous, and the argument is accessible. It strikes me as being an ideal work to be assigned in advanced undergraduate courses. It offers student a model of the educated historical imagination. I have myself assigned it with great success in an undergraduate seminar in family history and in a graduate seminar in legal history. I plan to assign it in my undergraduate lecture course in American legal history the next time I teach the course.--Hendrik Hartog, Princeton University

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This book is extremely detailed and a help to historians or genealogists. It is not a fast read; there's a lot of material here which is most helpful.
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By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
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