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From the Publisher"First, I assign the book in my graduate reading seminar because I regard it as one of the two or three most significant works in Early American History to appear in the past decade. My goal in that seminar is to acquaint beginning graduate students in American History with the important works in the field, and for that reason alone I'd assign it. Moreover, its breadth of historical reach is such that although my seminar attracts students studying gender history, Early Modern British history, legal history, American history, and intellectual history, it has something for everyone. It affords me an exemplary work to discuss with dissertation writers, especially, in demonstrating how one combines apparently unrelated historical phenomena into a seamless account of a profound revolution that touched all aspects of social relations.
Students respond uniformly in the most positive way. The book causes lightbulbs to go on on their minds.
My experiences with undergraduates using the book are similar. Our students—who are very good, indeed—respond to the material with a sense of having discovered something about human relationships that they never had thought of."
— David Konig, Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies, Director, Legal Studies Program, Washington University in St. Louis
"Brewer's focus on the changing legal status of children in England and British North America offers students a fascinating prism through which to understand the origins of the American political tradition. By Birth or Consent changes the way students think about the meaning of representative government, political authority, and the role of the individual in the era prior to the American Revolution."
— Rosemarie Zagarri, Professor of History, George Mason University
"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
"[A] thought-provoking study of a neglected and yet immensely important topic."
— Canadian Journal of History
A powerful and persuasive argument that challenges our understanding of American revolutionary ideology.
—Michael Grossberg, Indiana University
Strikingly original book . . . with a clarity of style and a sustained intellectual vitality.
—J. R. Pole, St. Catherine's College, Oxford
This remarkable book breaks much new ground.
—Mary Beth Norton, Cornell University