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Adopting America: Childhood, Kinship, and National Identity in Literature$
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Carol J. Singley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199779390

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199779390.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 11 May 2021

Abandoned and Adopted in a New World

Abandoned and Adopted in a New World

(p.16) 1 Abandoned and Adopted in a New World
Adopting America: Childhood, Kinship, and National Identity in Literature

Carol J. Singley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The early Puritans ambivalently left England, the mother country, portraying themselves as abandoned orphans. Sustained by the belief that they were chosen people, they also emulated salvation—adoption by God—by taking in others’ children. The writings of Cotton Mather and Samuel Sewall demonstrate the fluidity of Puritan households and a commitment to helping children through informal and temporary forms of adoption. At the same time, however, a need for certainty and control, a fear of outsiders, and a patriarchal emphasis on genealogical continuity made early Americans suspicious of adoptive kinship.

Keywords:   puritan, John Winthrop, Cotton Mather, Samuel Sewall, diary, Old World, New World, Bible

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