How Adults Viewed Children in the 16th, 17th, and 18th Century

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During the 16th, 17th, and 18th century, there were many changes and continuities in how adults viewed children. Some saw them to be evil, others as precious angels. These views affected the way children were able to live their lives. The adult views of children changed the lives of their children through different practices and techniques of nursing, discipline, and clothing in the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. Discipline on children changed as the view of children changed. In the 16th century, children were beaten harshly, some even with pitchforks. (Doc 12) This was because most people in the 16th century followed Calvinistic views that children were born evil. This caused adults to have a negative view on children, thus leading them to feel the need to correct them by beating them in such a harsh manner. In the 17th century, children were treated quite well. Sir George Savile, the first Marquis of Halifax, believed that parents must make their children love them, and deny them as little as possible. (Doc 13) Then, in the 18th century, children were treated in a combination of those two ways. Sir Philip Francis, a parent in 1774, believed that children could pretty much be shaped into anything just by the influence of their parents. He said that they should be disciplined, but in a humane way, such as confinement, neglect, fasting, being kept from play, and more. (Doc 14) Views on nursing were very consistent during the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. In the 17th century, some believed that women ought to nurse their own children, and if they didn’t, they had committed a sin. (Doc 5) This statement was quite unnecessary of Elizabeth Clinton to make, because she was a member of the upper class. She therefore, had more time on her hands to nurse than a woman of the lower class would. That makes this statement irrational of her to make. Lady Duncannon seemed to
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