The Transitional Period Between Childhood And Adulthood Essay

The Transitional Period Between Childhood And Adulthood Essay

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Throughout history the transitional period between childhood and adulthood has caused centuries of civilizations anxiety. The period that has now been defined as adolescence, middle adulthood, and/or youth has been at a constantly evolving.
Beginning in the 16th century, and perhaps earlier the perception of a transitional period for children to develop into adulthood was dictated by a facet of milestones. Historians have uncovered that the liminality of adolescence was a social, economic and legal problem that arose far before the 19th century. However, the focus of this paper will highlight the relationship between both the “perceived” threat and threat of adolescence throughout the Georgian and Victorian era (1700-1900’s). In addition, decipher the ideal youth that predominately only the upper and middle classes could obtain. Thus, there was a perceived threat of the working class youth and belief that those who belonged to the working class were more susceptible to crime and delinquency. Also, beginning in the late 17th century there was opposing ideological opposition between two very well known philosophers, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Locke philosophized that children were born and encompassed a blank slate and through experiences and knowledge a child will grow and develop. Contrasting Locke’s philosophy, Rousseau argued that childhood was a period of utmost innocence and in order to protect children, they should be sheltered within the domestic sphere, instructed in morality and free to develop at one’s own individual pace. These philosophers conflicting ideologies drove different classes to adopt different philosophers childrearing practices. Predominately, both the working and middle classes adopted Locke’s ph...


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...onstrates the Victorian emphasis on sin. For example, this story states, “Poor boy! What have you done? Why are these chains put on your hands and feet? And why do you kneel so sad before the judge? Oh! It is Dick Long, that bad lad. He is young is years, but old in sin. When quiet a child, he would pick and steal. He went from bad to worse.” This exurb compliments the upper classes perception of children’s innocence, by justifying Dick Long’s to be “old” with son, thus suggesting he is no longer a child and therefore should be tried and convicted as an adult. In closing it is irrefutable that this artifact illustrates a bias of upper class ideals. Through the lens of a historian this story identifies the social and legal attitudes that are embedded within to teach a child right from wrong without enabling them any real opportunity to grow and experience reality.



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