Boys Historical Clothing Essays: Families

Figure 1.--.

The family has functioned differently over the years. I have not yet drafted the essay, but have begun collecting information on the dynamics of the family and child raising practices over the years.


The 23rd Annual Convention of the International Psychohistorical Association will be held at Fordham University in NYC on June 7-9, 2000. It will feature over 50 speakers and panels. The Distinguished lecture will be given by Richard Rhodes, author of the recent best-seller "Why They Kill," discussing the childhood origins and psychodynamics of human violence, both personal and social. The first day features a study by Swiss psychoanalyst Arno Gruen who will report on his study of a thousand German soldiers on why they gave up their identity when they went to war. Eli Sagan will present his chapter on Robespierre from his book on the French Revolution, Alan Jacobs will speak on the psychodynamics of power, Robert Scharf will discuss the origins of patriarchy and Robert McFarland will examine whether national cycles of violence are a form of manic-depressive disorder. Panels include the usual popular psychohistory of film workshop, a panel on the childhood of Presidents, and a panel on motherhood that features papers on "Authorizing Mothers" and "Civilization Passes Through the Narrow Bottleneck of Motherhood." Other panels include papers on violence, on conspiracy theories, on abuse of children, on the history of the family and on childhood trauma. Everyone is invited to join us and bring their colleagues and students to IPA 2000. Programs can be obtained by emailing your postal address to Henry Lawton, IPA Secretary, at

Child Raising

Some psychohistorians have liked child raising in most historical eras as child abuse evolved from child killing, to child abandonment (early Middle Ages), to physical abuse, to psychological abuse (Victorian era), to expectations upbringing (bourgeois era), to partnership upbringing (since the 1930s). One of the most elegant spokesmen for this thesis is Lloyd deMause, as he elaborates his thories in the classic Foundations of Psychohistory. DeMause contends that Western society has so far been the only major society to achieve partership upbringing and to break the cycle of trauma of violent child abuse, for pretty large portions of the population. Other civilisations, despite their greatness, didn't, and stagnated. Some of the data strain incredulity (the level of abuse that is maintained is the case in Asian countries), but there is certainly food for thought here.


Traditional media

LeRoy Ashby, _Endangered Children: Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse in American History_ (Twayne: 1997) is especially good on this topic and it is a book that is very accessible by undergraduates.

Wilma King, _Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth Century America_ (Indiana University Press, 1995).

Hugh Cunningham, _Children and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500_ (Longman, 1995),

Alice Miller, For Your Own Good. Miller is a Swiss psychiatrist who looked at German Child rearing advice from the 17th century to the present. Her main theme is that the basis of child rearing practices has been the belief in the necessity of breaking a child's will or spirit.

Internet sources

The Institute for Psychohistory

The Political Consequences of Child Abuse

The History of Child Abuse

Childhood and History, Preface,

Psychohistory explained

Christopher Wagner

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Created: March 17, 1999
Last updated: February 3, 2000