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Fissures in the Rock: New England in the Seventeenth Century / Edition 1

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The ambitious goal of this book is to provide a new portrait of the social life and social structure of 17th-century New England. The resulting synthesis dismantles conventional presentations of a homogenous, Puritan New England in favor of one emphasizing difference, divergence, and even conflict over values and behavior. Richard Archer investigates the political history of power, the intellectual history of religious beliefs, the social history of the family, the economic history of systems of exchange, ethnic history, and environmental history to display the many "fissures" that rent New England society from the very outset.

While he stresses the complexity of New England beliefs, economics, family life, and town and political life, he also makes clear how the larger society — far more complex and complicated than traditionally portrayed — nevertheless coalesced as a functioning social order. Chapters on Indians, religion, social structure, family life, deviant behavior, the economy, and towns demonstrate that diversity and a common culture did in fact coexist.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584650850
  • Publisher: University of New Hampshire Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Series: Revisiting New England
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Archer is Professor of History at Whittier College.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Relations between Colonists and Native Americans 5
3 "All Things Are Turned Upside Down Among Us": Religion, Power, and Order 27
4 The Eminent and the Mean: Social Stratification, Status, and Power 59
5 Life Cycle, Gender, and Family 73
6 Lusty Young Men and Wicked Women 98
7 Economic Behavior and Beliefs 111
8 Scattered Like Swedes: New England Towns 134
9 New England in the Seventeenth Century 152
App. A Wealth and Men's Church Seating: New Haven, 1656, 1662, 1668 159
App. B Officeholding 161
App. C Age, Wealth, and Officeholding 162
App. D Distribution by Decile for General Population 162
App. E Male and Female Names 163
App. F New England Towns and Wealth Distribution, 1640-1680 164
App. G New England Towns and Demography 165
Notes 169
Bibliography 199
Index 221
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