Youth, a life stage situated between childhood and adulthood, was an important social category in America through the late nineteenth century. Eventually replaced by the concept of adolescence—a more truncated life stage ending by the end of one's teens—youth in early American society had less to do with one's age than with whether one had taken on manly responsibilities such as marriage and an occupation. Americans understood male youth as preparatory to manhood, and the full assumption of independence marked the end of one's youth. However, the degree of dependency experienced in youth—and, therefore, the precise relation between youth and manhood—was historically and regionally variable.

For males in the American colonies, youth was generally a period of exaggerated and prolonged dependency. In colonial subsistence farm communities, ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles