Juvenile Delinquency

The term juvenile delinquency encompasses much more than a legal definition about violations of law by youthful offenders. Its meaning becomes clear only when one analyzes how society has attempted to define and combat delinquency. Americans first employed the term in the eighteenth century, and since then, although mostly used in a universal way, it has focused on the male delinquent. Authorities have considered the unruly boy and the wayward young man especially dangerous for society. Throughout most of American history, ideas about the roles of young men have been closely connected with notions about the nation's future. The young male delinquent therefore figured as an eminent threat.

One can find examples of delinquent juvenile behavior as early as the colonial period. Both male and female ...

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