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Revolutionary ConceptionsWomen, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820$
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Susan E. Klepp

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833223

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838716_Klepp

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Introduction First to Fall Fertility, American Women, and Revolution

Introduction First to Fall Fertility, American Women, and Revolution

(p.1) Introduction First to Fall Fertility, American Women, and Revolution
Revolutionary Conceptions

Susan E. Klepp

University of North Carolina Press

This book begins with a fictitious story, with its stock comic character of the simple, honest, but rustic and faintly ludicrous Pennsylvania Dutchman. Yet Lydick's character was meant to recall the old days, when fruitfulness was a civic virtue, not laughably uncouth, and when a man's standing as husband and father was measured by the number and rank of his sons as well as by the deference of his subordinates. It was a time, too, when a woman's first task in marriage was to follow biblical commandments to “increase and multiply”—as well as to be silent. By 1822, when this tale was published, Lydick's fecund and patriarchal sentiments, once so potent, were designed to evoke a wistful smile or hearty chuckle at old days and old ways.

Keywords:   Pennsylvania Dutchman, Lydick, civic virtue, biblical commandments, patriarchal sentiments

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