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EARLY AMERICA SEX, MARRIAGE, CHILDREN, GAYS, LESBIANS, BOYS AS GIRLS, ABORTION, BREECHING, FAMILY AND OTHER MYTHS. PART 13

Research and edited, Jim Allison


PREMARITAL SEX AND BASTARDY

Premarital sex seems to have been tolerated as long as it was, indeed, premarital, but couples who delivered before term after marriage were still punished, did penance and made public confession for their premarital lusts. Late in the period a marked rise occurred in premarital conception rates, and this has been seen as a rebellion by the young to acquire say in spousal selection on the basis of affection. Surveys of premarital sex have compared marriage dates and birth dates. In England, during the colonial period, between 10 percent and 30 percent of children were born within eight months of marriage. In the early Chesapeake the rate was about 30 percent, but then dropped over time. In early New England it was about 10 percent, but rose to near 33 percent in the late period.

Bastardy was problematic in many colonies. Because bastards (WHORESONS) became a social burden, most colonies proscribed bastardy with severe penalties. As a result, the rate was kept down to under about 3 percent, with some segments, such as Quaker congregations, not recording a single case until 1780, and others running under one per one thousand live births. Opposing this, however, was the economic value derived from impregnating slaves in the Chesapeake region, where rates ran as high as twenty-six per one thousand despite similar statutory penalties.

Punishments for bastardy included whipping (ten to forty lashes) and fines as high as five pounds. Men, owning property, were often fined, while women, without property to pay a fine, could only accept whipping. Mothers of bastards occasionally engaged in infanticide to avoid both costs and stigma. Because these women usually claimed stillbirth, hiding a stillborn bastard was a capital offense, and by the later period real stillbirths required witnesses so as to prevent conviction for murder. Preachers sermonized at the executions of such convicts on the theme of the ultimate destructiveness of illicit sex. Prosecutions, however, were uncommon. SOURCE: The Writer's Guide, Everyday Life in Colonial America From 1607 - 1783. Dale Taylor. Weiter's Digest Books (1997) p 126

 


 

Pre-marital Sex in America Discussion/March 1998

https://networks.h-net.org/node/24029/pages/31429/pre-marital-sex-america-discussionmarch-1998

 


 

Sexual Revolution in Early America This is the first comprehensive history of sexuality in early America. ... of unchurched" marriage," engaging in premarital sex to determine compatibility,

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/288/10/1294

Full Text Sexual Revolution in Early America Nye JAMA.2002; 288: 1294-1295.

[You have to register. You may have to purchase the article or get it from your local library via interlibrary loan]

 


 

[From UseNet Newsgroups discussion between myself and anothner From: Buckeye-elo Date: Tues, Feb 11 2003 10:13 am Groups: misc.kids, misc.education, alt.atheism, alt.politics.liberalism, alt.politics.republicans, alt.politics.usa.constitution, alt.politics.usa.republican

"Larry [delete]" wrote: >:|And there you have the problem with this country since the 60s--the rise of >:|casual sex. That's the whole thing--if you don't think you'd want the person >:|of your desire to raise your child, you SHOULDN'T be having sex with them. >:|Period.

Me: Sex has been going on since human beings have been on this planet. You can go to most libraries and find a vast storehouse of historical information duplicating ancient writings, talking about ancient drawings and paintings etc regarding sex, but within a framework of a marriage and not within such frameworks.

So called "casual" sex didn't begin with the 60s. White men having sex with blk slave women was pretty casual for the white men is one example. The roaring 20s was pretty uninhibited. I have another book here: The Century of Sex, Playboy's History of the Sexual Revolution, 1900-1999 by James R. Petersen. It documents that history throughout the 20th Century and the data does not agree with your claim above.

 


 

I also have a book here titled: Sexual Revolution in Early America, by Richard Godbeer.

Here are a few words from the flyleaf: Sexual Revolution in Early America, Richard Godbeer, The John Hopkins University press, (2002)

In 1695, John Miller, a clergyman traveling through New York, found it appalling that so many couples lived together without ever being married and that no one viewed "ante-nuptial fornication" as anything scandalous or sinful. Charles Woodmason, an Anglican minister in South Carolina in 1766, described the region as a "stage of debauchery" in which polygamy was "very common," "concubinage general," and "bastardy no disrepute." These depictions of colonial North America's sexual culture sharply contradict the stereotype of puritanical abstinence that persists in the popular imagination.

In Sexual Revolution in Early America, Richard Godbeer overturns conventional wisdom about the sexual values and customs of colonial Americans. His account spans two centuries and most of British North America, from New England to the Caribbean, exploring the social, political, and legal dynamics that shaped a diverse sexual culture. Drawing on diaries, letters, and other private papers, as well as legal records and official documents, Godbeer's absorbing narrative uncovers a persistent struggle between moral authorities and both popular customs and individual urges.

Godbeer begins with a discussion of the complex attitude that the Puritans had toward sexuality. Although believing that sex could be morally corrupting, they also considered it to be such an essential element of a healthy marriage that they excommunicated those who denied "conjugal fellowship" to their spouses. He next examines the ways in which race and class affected the debate about sexual mores -anxieties about Anglo-Indian sexual relations, the sense of sexual entitlement that planters held over their African slaves, and white worries about the debasement that might follow intimacies with "savages." In the end he finds a fundamental shift during the eighteenth century away from a sexual culture rooted in an organic conception of society and toward a more individualistic definition of sexual desire and fulfillment, which in turn prompted debate about the relationship between freedom and responsibility. Today's moral critics, in their attempts to convince Americans of the social and spiritual consequences of unregulated sexual behavior, often harken back to a more innocent age. As this groundbreaking work makes clear, America's sexual culture has always been vibrant and contentious.

CONTINUE ON TO EARLY AMERICA SEX, MARRIAGE, CHILDREN, GAYS, LESBIANS, BOYS AS GIRLS, ABORTION, BREECHING, FAMILY AND OTHER MYTHS. PART 14

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