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STUDIES IN SOCIAL DISCONTINUITY

Under The Consulting Editorship of:


CHARLES TILLY EDWARD SHORTER
University of Michigan University of Toronto

William A. Christian, Jr. Person and God in a Spanish Valley


Joel Samaha. Law and Order in Historical Perspective: The
Case of Elizabethan Essex
John W. Cole and Eric R. Wolf. The Hidden Frontier: Ecology
and Ethnicity in an Alpine Yalley

Immanuel Wallerstein. The Modern World-System: Capitalist


Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy
in the Sixteenth Century
John R. Gillis. Youth and History: Tradition and Change in
European Age Relations 1970-Present

In preparation

D. E. H. Russell. Rebellion, Revolution, and Armed Force: A


Comparative Study of Fifteen Countries with Special Em-
phasis on Cuba and South Africa
Kristian Hvidt. Flight to America: The Social Background of
300,000 Danish Emigrants
Youth and History
Tradition and Change in European Age Relations
1770-Present

JOHN R. GILLIS
Livingston C o l l e g e
Rutgers, T h e State University
N e w Brunswick, N e w Jersey

A C A D E M I C PRESS N e w York and L o n d o n

A s u b s i d i a r y of H a r c o u r t B r a c e J o v a n o v i c h , P u b l i s h e r s
Appreciation is expressed for permission to reprint selections
from Chapter VII of Bohemian us. Bourgeois: French Society
and the French Man of Letters in the Nineteenth Century, by
Cesar Grana, © 1964 by Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, New
York.

COPYRIGHT © 1974, BY ACADEMIC PRESS, INC.


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United Kingdom Edition published by


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Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Gillis, John R
Youth and history.

(Studies in social discontinuity)


Bibliography: p.
1. Youth-History. I. Title. II. Series.
HQ796.G514 301.43' 15'09 73-18995
ISBN 0-12-785262-X

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


In Memory of Randall Gillis
Preface

This b o o k is d e d i c a t e d to the proposition that y o u t h makes


its o w n history, a history linked w i t h a n d y e t analytically separable
from that of the family, the s c h o o l , a n d other adult institutions w i t h
w h i c h it is usually associated. For m o r e than 80 years n o w , e v e r since
the child study m o v e m e n t began in E u r o p e a n d A m e r i c a , y o u t h has
b e e n the object of investigation by psychologists, sociologists, a n d ,
most recently, historians. Y e t , up to n o w , research has dealt less w i t h
youth's o w n response to c h a n g e a n d m o r e w i t h the e d u c a t i o n a l ,
p e n a l , a n d w e l f a r e institutions that are s u p p o s e d to b e t h e agents of
its transformation.1 Y o u t h ' s o w n role in creating the social a n d c u l ­
tural forms that w e associate w i t h the part of t h e life c y c l e that spans
c h i l d h o o d a n d a d u l t h o o d remains o b s c u r e ; a n d so, t o o , d o t h e " t r a ­
ditions of y o u t h , " D a v i d M a t z a ' s term for the patterns of b e h a v i o r
a n d styles of thought that have characterized the age group o v e r long
periods of time a n d w h i c h demonstrate the historicity of y o u t h a n d
its v a l u e systems. " T r a d i t i o n " is a particularly useful term precisely
because it suggests that any explanation of youthful b e h a v i o r at a
given point in t i m e must take into account not only social a n d e c o ­
n o m i c structures but the previous historical experience of t h e age
group, as an i n d e p e n d e n t variable w i t h a d y n a m i c of its o w n . ^
T h e v e r y fact that m a n y of the traditions of y o u t h that w e treat as
c o n t e m p o r a r y — s t u d e n t radicalism, b o h e m i a n i s m , gang behavior, d e ­
l i n q u e n c y — c a n b e traced back at least 200 years provides incentive

1 F o r a r e v i e w of f o u r r e c e n t b o o k s o n t h e h i s t o r y of A m e r i c a n y o u t h t h a t f a l l i n t o
this category, s e e Gillis, " Y o u t h a n d History."
2 Matza, "Subterranean Traditions."

/X
÷ Preface

to the historian interested in questions of continuity as w e l l as c h a n g e .


But it is also the opportunity to p r o b e the causes of various forms a n d
values a n d to try to account for their rise a n d fall in terms of certain
key d e m o g r a p h i c a n d e c o n o m i c variables that provides motivation
for this kind of study. T o identify the origins of the m o d e r n traditions
of y o u t h requires that the history of the age group b e related to that
of broader societal structures a n d values. These shape t h e situations
to w h i c h y o u n g p e o p l e respond as they assess their passage to adult­
h o o d ; a n d as these c h a n g e , so too d o the traditions that y o u t h creates
and sustains in its o w n interests. Parental expectations, e c o n o m i c o p ­
portunities, conditions of education a n d leisure—all these affect t h e
w a y y o u t h plots its social, e c o n o m i c , a n d cultural strategies. A s t h e
history of the past t w o centuries a m p l y demonstrates, d e m o g r a p h i c
and e c o n o m i c conditions have b e e n primary factors in shaping t h e
historical phases through w h i c h the traditions of y o u t h have passed
since the eighteenth century. A s mortality a n d fertility rates h a v e
c h a n g e d , a n d the conditions of industrialization a n d urbanization
have altered, y o u n g persons h a v e b e e n confronted w i t h a series of
different situations affecting the duration a n d character of that s e g ­
m e n t of the life cycle w h i c h bridges c h i l d h o o d a n d a d u l t h o o d . B e ­
cause the same factors have simultaneously affected the perceptions
and reactions of adults, w e are dealing h e r e w i t h a history that o p e r ­
ates o n t w o distinct levels, h o w e v e r . O n o n e h a n d , there are those
expectations of youthful behavior that are established by adults in t h e
h o m e , the s c h o o l , a n d the w o r k p l a c e . O n the other, there are t h e
y o u t h groups themselves, sustained by their o w n i n d e p e n d e n t tradi­
tions, acting from habits a n d values that are sometimes closely aligned
w i t h adult interests, at other times in opposition to t h e m .
If the history of youth is to b e written, it must focus o n that inter­
face w h e r e the expectations of the y o u n g a n d those of their elders
interact in a d y n a m i c manner. T h e task is further c o m p l i c a t e d , h o w ­
ever, by the fact that at any point in t i m e the d e m o g r a p h i c a n d e c o ­
n o m i c experiences of differently situated class a n d status groups are
also so v a r i e d . Differences in the life cycles both b e t w e e n a n d w i t h i n
major social classes have contributed substantially to the d y n a m i c s of
European age relations since the eighteenth century. C h a p t e r s 2 a n d 3
explore the e m e r g e n c e of separate working-class a n d middle-class
traditions of y o u t h ; C h a p t e r 4 traces the conflict b e t w e e n these tradi­
tions, as it w a s institutionalized in the a c a d e m i c a n d extracurricular
cultures of the early twentieth century.
Social history cannot b e separated from institutional history, but
the latter must not b e a l l o w e d to obscure the existence of those
a u t o n o m o u s traditions of y o u t h that are associated w i t h class, e t h n i c -
Preface ÷/

ity, a n d locality. A purely functional a p p r o a c h should also b e a v o i d e d ,


for it, t o o , ignores the age group's sense of c o n n e c t e d n e s s w i t h its
o w n past a n d thus vastly underestimates the historical sources of
moral a n d social authority that, quite apart from adult sanctions,
shape youthful behavior. Restoring y o u t h to its o w n history is a c o m ­
plicated task, not only because w e must deal w i t h different levels of
historical reality—the personal, the g r o u p , t h e societal—but because
e a c h of the major phases in t h e history of y o u t h since 1770 has p r o ­
d u c e d a u n i q u e layer of tradition w h i c h continues to affect t h e pres-
ent.3 T h e historian must o p e r a t e m u c h like an archeologist as h e at­
tempts to discover the different strata of behavior a n d c o n n e c t e a c h
to its historical orgins; a n d h e must also use t h e tools of the d e m o g r a ­
pher a n d sociologist in explaining h o w changing social conditions
have caused these traditions to shift o v e r t i m e . Y e t , n o n e of these
m e t h o d s is c o m p l e t e in a n d of itself if the feelings a n d perceptions
of those i n v o l v e d , the y o u n g t h e m s e l v e s , are not given a primary
place in the historical investigation. For, h o w e v e r important the his­
torical context may b e , it is the consciousness of the y o u n g , d e ­
t e r m i n e d in part by the past experiences of their age g r o u p , that has
d e t e r m i n e d the direction of c h a n g e .
Clearly, any history of a largely a n o n y m o u s group like y o u t h r e ­
quires m e t h o d s different from those ordinarily e m p l o y e d . Because it
w a s important to capture the v o i c e s a n d faces of the y o u n g , as w e l l
as those of the adults w h o claim to speak in their n a m e , I have c h o s e n
to w o r k o n t w o levels, the national a n d the local, in o r d e r to research
t h e w h o l e spectrum of society. T w o university t o w n s w i t h similar
characteristics, O x f o r d a n d G φ t t i n g e n , w e r e the locations of intensive
research during the year 1969-1970. This w a s c o m b i n e d w i t h w o r k
o n a national scale in both England a n d G e r m a n y , for the purpose
of isolating those general trends that span cultural boundaries. T h e
findings presented in this v o l u m e reflect m o r e intensive use of E n g ­
lish materials, if only because the kinds of d e m o g r a p h i c a n d e c o ­
n o m i c materials I w i s h e d to use are m o r e a b u n d a n t there than in
G e r m a n y . T h e history of G e r m a n y o u t h , particularly the m i d d l e class,
differs in important w a y s from that of its English counterpart, but,
o n the w h o l e , similarities in the t i m i n g a n d s e q u e n c e of y o u t h groups
a n d cultures in the t w o countries support t h e notion that t h e history
of y o u t h in Europe has e v e r y w h e r e m o v e d along the broad lines laid
d o w n by e c o n o m i c and d e m o g r a p h i c modernization.

3 A m o d e l f o r t h e p s y c h o h i s t o r y of y o u t h , a d i m e n s i o n w h i c h is e x c l u d e d in t h i s
s t u d y , is d i s c u s s e d i n K e n i s t o n , " P s y c h o l o g i c a l D e v e l o p m e n t . "
÷// Preface

" M o d e r n i z a t i o n , " as it is used h e r e , is not to b e e q u a t e d w i t h


" p r o g r e s s . " I use it only as a c o n v e n i e n t c o v e r i n g term for t h e g e n ­
eral direction of c h a n g e that has b e e n occurring since the m i d d l e of
the eighteenth century, of w h i c h the history of y o u t h is an integral
part. T h e major turning points of youth's history h a v e c o i n c i d e d w i t h
the important e c o n o m i c a n d d e m o g r a p h i c transformations of t h e past
200 years, transformations that have strongly affected e v e r y major
social institution, including the family. I have attempted here to use
the fruits of the d e m o g r a p h e r s ' labors, s u p p l e m e n t e d by m y o w n
social research, to establish the conditions u n d e r w h i c h children h a v e
c o m e into the w o r l d , h o w these children have b e e n treated o n c e
part of a family, a n d h o w they have c o p e d w i t h those social a n d
e c o n o m i c situations i m p o s e d o n t h e m by birth into a particular class
or status group. T h e conditions confronting the y o u n g h a v e v a r i e d
e n o r m o u s l y in a c c o r d a n c e w i t h such things as family size a n d class
situation. T h e m o r e closely their history is i n t e r w o v e n w i t h both e c o ­
n o m i c a n d d e m o g r a p h i c factors, the m o r e c o n c r e t e and u n d e r s t a n d ­
able it b e c o m e s .
I have also attempted here to explore the w a y s the traditions of
youth have interacted w i t h the political history of the past t w o c e n ­
turies. Abstracted too m u c h from this m o r e c o n v e n t i o n a l t y p e of nar­
rative, social history is always in danger of losing its significance a n d
interest. It has not b e e n my intention to o p e n up yet another s p e c i a l ­
ized field of inquiry, but rather to demonstrate the integral nature of
the historical process. Readers will have to j u d g e the success of this
effort by the d e g r e e to w h i c h this v o l u m e ' s treated matter contributes
to their understanding of their o w n fields. M y h o p e is that social sci­
entists w i l l find insight into the origins a n d evolution of an age group
about w h o s e c o n t e m p o r a r y structures a n d functions they are rela­
tively w e l l - i n f o r m e d , but w h o s e historical d y n a m i c s they h a v e almost
entirely neglected.^ A s for m y fellow historians, I offer the a p p r o a c h
used here as a possible starting point for further investigation of other
age groups, including the m i d d l e - a g e d a n d the elderly, w h o s e past is,
at this point, at least as obscure as that of the y o u n g e r age groups.
A n d , as this study is c o n c e r n e d mainly w i t h the traditions of m a s c u ­
line y o u t h , there is obviously w o r k to b e d o n e o n the traditions of
their f e m i n i n e counterparts.

4 M o s t of t h e l i t e r a t u r e in t h e s o c i a l s c i e n c e s r e m a i n s e s s e n t i a l l y a h i s t o r i c a l in its
a p p r o a c h , v a l u a b l e f o r its s t r u c t u r a l - f u n c t i o n a l analysis of the young at various
p o i n t s in t i m e b u t i g n o r i n g a l m o s t e n t i r e l y t h e d y n a m i c s of c o n t i n u i t y a n d c h a n g e .
F o r e x a m p l e , E i s e n s t a d t , Generation to Generation; Parsons; Kingsley Davis; a n d
G o t t l i e b et aL
Acknowledgments

T h e research for this w o r k , c o m p l e t e d in O x f o r d a n d C φ t -


tingen during the a c a d e m i c year 1969-1970, w a s m a d e possible by
the Rollins Bicentennial Preceptorship Fund of Princeton University.
I a m particularly thankful to the Fellows of St. A n t o n y ' s C o l l e g e
a n d their D e a n , T h e o d o r e Z e l d i n , for making the months in O x f o r d
such e n j o y a b l e o n e s . Their hospitality w a s matched by that of the
officials of the B o d l e i a n Library and the City of O x f o r d Library. S p e ­
cial permission to use unpublished records w a s generously granted
by the Clerk to the City Justices, the Education D e p a r t m e n t , a n d the
T o w n Clerk, K e e p e r of the Oxford City M u n i m e n t s . Nuffield C o l l e g e
o p e n e d the G . D. H . C o l e Papers to m e , a n d I w a s h e l p e d greatly by
the generosity of individuals in charge of the archives of various pri­
vate organizations, including M r . G e o r g e Springall and M r . W . R.
W i l l i s of the Scouts, M r . D e l N e v o of the Y . M . C . A . , a n d Dr. W i l l i s
B u n d , D e a n of Balliol C o l l e g e . M r . T h o m a s D u n n a l l o w e d m e to use
the log books of St. Barnabas S c h o o l , w h i l e M r . F. S . G r e e n graciously
shared his m e m o r i e s of a career in O x f o r d youth w o r k , providing m e
w i t h unpublished material in his possession.
T h e officials of the Gφttingen Stadtarchiv w e r e no less helpful than
their O x f o r d counterparts; a n d Dr. Hans W o l f , Director of the Wan­
dervogel archive at B u r g Ludwigstein, w a s most energetic in his a s ­
sistance. Frau L u e b b e c k e of Reckershausen m a d e our stay in the valley
of the Leine a delightful as w e l l as profitable experience.
I regret I cannot mention all those w h o h a v e listened at o n e t i m e
or another to my rambling c o m m e n t a r i e s o n social history. H o w e v e r ,
I w o u l d like to express my special thanks to Charles Tilly, J o s e p h Kett,
E d w a r d Shorter, J a m e s M c L a c h l a n , D o r o t h y Ross, J o h n E. Talbott,

xiii
xiv Acknowledgments

Peter Stearns, and Richard A n d r e w s . I a m indebted to those m e m b e r s


of the Institute for A d v a n c e d Study, Princeton University, Rutgers U n i ­
versity, a n d the Davis S e m i n a r w h o h a v e discussed parts of this w o r k
in seminars o v e r the past three years. T h o s e w h o participated in t h e
C o n f e r e n c e o n the History of Y o u t h , held at Princeton in A p r i l , 1 9 7 1 ,
also p r o v i d e d constructive criticisms, as did the m e m b e r s of t h e S o ­
cial History C r o u p at Rutgers. Last but not least in this bill of grati­
tudes are the students of Livingston C o l l e g e , w h o r e s p o n d e d w i t h
tolerance and insight as this b o o k unfolded in lecture a n d seminar.
It is m y h o p e that they find something of themselves in these pages.
"Ages of Man," ca. 1733, a print representing the life cycle as it was perceived in the early eighteenth century.
Copyright by The Warburg Institute, University of London. Reproduced by permission of The Warburg Institute.
1
Like a Family and a Fraternity:
Youth in Preindustrial Europe

By the standards of today's biologically exacting vocabulary,


the language of age in preindustrial Europe is hopelessly vague. Even
as late as the eighteenth century, the French and German words
garc;on and Knabe referred to boys as young as 6 and as old as 30 or
40. In part, such confusions stemmed from the fact that such terms
also denoted status or function, garc;on meaning "servant" as well as
"boy." Even today, "lad" and "boy" still carry traces of this original
double meaning; and among Irish peasants it is still common to call
unmarried, propertyless men "boys," regardless of their age, because
this denotes their low status in a community where marriage and
inheritance mark one of the most important social boundaries. The
same holds for the American South, where the low status of blacks
is regularly reinforced by reference to them as "boys" or "girls,"
whatever their real ages may be. l
Philippe Aries has argued from this linguistic evidence that pre-
industrial Europe made no distinction between childhood and other
preadult phases of life. There was, he says, "an ambiguity between
childhood and adolescence on the one hand and the category known
as youth on the other. People had no idea of what we call adoles-
cence, and the idea was a long time in taking shape." 2 Noting that
the Latin terms puer (child) and adolescens were used interchange-
ably until the eighteenth century, and arguing that youth was wholly

1 Aries, pp. 25-29; Arensberg and Kimball, p. 55.


2 Aries, p. 29.

1
Youth a n d History

identified w i t h w h a t w e w o u l d n o w call " y o u n g a d u l t h o o d / ' h e c o n ­


cludes that Europeans recognized no intermediate stage that w o u l d
resemble our current notion of a d o l e s c e n c e . " N o b o d y w o u l d h a v e
thought of seeing the e n d of c h i l d h o o d in puberty. T h e idea of c h i l d ­
h o o d w a s b o u n d up w i t h the idea of d e p e n d e n c e : the w o r d s ' s o n s /
' v a r l e t s / and ' b o y s ' w e r e also in the vocabulary of feudal subordina­
tion. O n e w o u l d leave c h i l d h o o d only by leaving the state of d e ­
p e n d e n c e , or at least the l o w e r degrees of d e p e n d e n c e . " ^
But it w a s precisely in these degrees of d e p e n d e n c e that preindus-
trial society recognized a n d institutionalized a stage of life that w a s
different from both c h i l d h o o d a n d a d u l t h o o d . W h a t they c o m m o n l y
called " y o u t h " w a s a v e r y long transition p e r i o d , lasting f r o m the
point that the very y o u n g child first b e c a m e s o m e w h a t i n d e p e n d e n t
of its family, usually about seven or eight, to t h e point of c o m p l e t e i n ­
d e p e n d e n c e at marriage, ordinarily in the m i d - or late twenties. I m ­
precise as y o u t h ' s boundaries w e r e , there being no universally rec­
ognized age-grading as in today's society, its sociology w a s relatively
clear. B e g i n n i n g at w h a t seems to us to b e a v e r y y o u n g a g e , children
began to separate from their families a n d to go to live in other h o u s e ­
holds. B y 14, a great majority w o u l d be living in a state of s e m i d e -
p e n d e n c e , either as servants in h o u s e h o l d s , apprentices living in their
masters' h o m e s , or students boarding a w a y from their families. It w a s
precisely this d e t a c h m e n t f r o m family that gave preindustrial y o u t h
its peculiar structure a n d m e a n i n g , as d e p i c t e d in t h e idealized life
plan presented in Figure 1 .

Childhood Youth Parenthood Death or


Retirement

Figure 1 P h a s e s of life i n p r e i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y .

H e r e is a stage of life v e r y different f r o m anything w e k n o w as


" y o u t h " or " a d o l e s c e n c e " today. N o t only w a s it m o r e d r a w n out a n d
differently related to both c h i l d h o o d a n d a d u l t h o o d , but t h e tradi-

A r i e s , p. 2 6 .
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial Europe 3

tions that e v o l v e d from the long a n d often difficult transition f r o m


c h i l d h o o d to a d u l t h o o d w e r e necessarily at v a r i a n c e w i t h m o d e r n
y o u t h cultures. Y o u t h , as it w a s e x p e r i e n c e d both by those passing
through that stage of life a n d by adults, must therefore b e understood
o n its o w n terms a n d in the context of the u n i q u e d e m o g r a p h i c a n d
e c o n o m i c conditions that prevailed before the mid-eighteenth c e n ­
tury.

I
E v i d e n c e of y o u t h as a separate stage of life w i t h its o w n history
a n d traditions c o m e s to us f r o m a variety of sources, s o m e literary
and iconographic, others e c o n o m i c a n d d e m o g r a p h i c . Folk traditions
inform us of popular ideas c o n c e r n i n g age-grading w h i c h are not
readily accessible through the written r e c o r d ; a n d e v e n in the festive
and leisure activities w e find e v i d e n c e of age divisions. H o l i d a y s , such
as N e w Year a n d Easter, saw boys a n d girls at play a n d in p e r f o r m a n c e
of games a n d dances reserved to their age group. In E n g l a n d , village
sport pitted y o u n g bachelors against older married m e n , thus under­
lining both age a n d status differences. Certain festival occasions w e r e
regarded as the property of t h e y o u n g , such as Oxford's N o v e m b e r
5th, G u y Fawkes Night, w h e n t h e c e r e m o n i a l burning of the G u y w a s
usually f o l l o w e d by a violent t o w n - v e r s u s - g o w n row in w h i c h y o u t h
w a s a l l o w e d to exhaust its energies. In most of the traditional calendar
processions, both sacred a n d p r o f a n e , age cohorts w e r e also clearly
distinguishable. D a n c i n g , singing, a n d m u m m i n g on holidays p r o v i d e
e v i d e n c e of age groups of w h i c h Aries w a s not u n a w a r e but w h i c h
he t e n d e d to present as survivals of an earlier pagan society, customs
that had lost m e a n i n g a n d function by the seventeenth a n d eight­
eenth centuries.^ From the w o r k of Natalie D a v i s a n d others, w e n o w
k n o w , h o w e v e r , that the organized role of y o u n g m e n a n d w o m e n
in festive occasions w a s only o n e manifestation of an institutionalized
system of youth groups that existed in m a n y parts of preindustrial

* A r i e s , p p . 7 6 - 9 9 ; H o l e , English Sports, p p . 97, 116, 1 2 2 .


4 Youth a n d History

Europe. Furthermore, these groups bear striking r e s e m b l a n c e to, a n d


w e r e s o m e t i m e s c o m p l e m e n t e d by, the activities of various craft a n d
corporate cohorts. Students, j o u r n e y m e n in m a n y of the major trades,
and novices in the army, clergy, a n d bureaucracy all had their o w n
organizations and traditions w h i c h distinguished t h e m from children
o n o n e h a n d a n d married adults o n the other.
T h e definition a n d c o m p o s i t i o n of village a n d corporate y o u t h
groups varied w i d e l y a n d there w a s n o uniform age of entry, e v e n in
schools a n d universities. This m e a n t that universal age distinctions,
such as those i m p o s e d in our society by schooling, w e r e lacking in
preindustrial E u r o p e . Nevertheless, that society recognized certain
ideal ages of entry a n d exit from t h e s e m i d e p e n d e n c e of y o u t h , in
G e r m a n y , for e x a m p l e , church confirmation—usually occurring about
the fourteenth y e a r — w a s considered a kind of rite of passage into
y o u t h , a t i m e for beginning j o u r n e y m a n ' s status in urban society or
j o i n i n g the village y o u t h group, c o m m o n l y called the Brüderschaft^
A t the other e n d of y o u t h , t h e expectation that y o u n g m e n w o u l d
enter into marriage a n d inheritance in their late twenties reflected
another established ideal. P r e m a t u r e entry into the marriage market
w a s b o u n d to p r o v o k e public c e n s u r e , w h i l e remaining unmarried
past a certain age m a d e " o l d m a i d s " of girls a n d c o n f i r m e d bachelors
of boys.^
It is important to note that w e are d e a l i n g here w i t h popular n o ­
tions that w e r e prescriptive rather than descriptive. Life itself w a s
c o m m o n l y thought of as having a certain symmetry, a cycle from
birth to death in w h i c h the p r i m e of life w a s r e a c h e d in the first years
of marriage. For t h e fifteenth-century Florentine, a m a n ' s p r i m e , his
gioventute, ranged from his late twenties to the age 35. B u t that w a s
a society in w h i c h m e n married later than t h e preindustrial n o r m ;
ordinarily, for males it w a s in the late twenties a n d for females the
m i d - t w e n t i e s that the peak of the life c y c l e w a s r e a c h e d through
marriage.'^ C h i l d h o o d and y o u t h w e r e c o m m o n l y v i e w e d as s u b o r d i ­
nate stages of life, leading up to, but hardly challenging, the s u ­
premacy of the y o u n g marrieds.® It c o u l d hardly h a v e b e e n otherwise
in a society w h e r e half the children born d i d not survive to t h e age
of 20. T h e popular c o n c e p t i o n w a s that of t h e survivors, w h o v i e w e d

W i k m a n , p p . 2 0 - 2 2 ; H o r n s t e i n , p p . 118ff.
«Hajnal, pp. 101-146.
' H e r l i h y , p. 1 3 3 9 ; G i l b e r t , p p . 7 - 3 2 .
« S e e illustration o p p o s i t e page 1 .
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial Europe 5

w i t h relief their passage through those dangerous early phases a n d


looked u p o n old age as another time of d e p e n d e n c e a n d trouble.
A s w e shall s e e , the hierarchy of a g e s — w i t h c h i l d h o o d , y o u t h , a n d
old age placed in various stages of d e p e n d e n c e on y o u n g a d u l t h o o d
— w a s , in fact, a fairly accurate blueprint of preindustrial society's
e c o n o m i c , social, a n d political age structure, as that structure w a s
v i e w e d by those w i t h the social a n d e c o n o m i c p o w e r . T h e y p r e ­
scribed d e p e n d e n c e to c h i l d h o o d , s e m i d e p e n d e n c e to y o u t h , a n d
retiring senility to old age because, to a large extent, this w a s t h e
only w a y the transmission of culture, property, a n d skill from g e n e r a ­
tion to generation c o u l d b e g u a r a n t e e d .

II
T h e m o d e r n reader is inevitably struck not only by the extraordi­
nary duration of the period defined as " y o u t h , " but by the lack of
clear distinctions b e t w e e n y o u n g e r a n d older m e m b e r s of that age
group. W e are so used to contrasting the d e p e n d e n c e of the t e e n
years (adolescence) w i t h the relative i n d e p e n d e n c e of the early t w e n ­
ties (youth) that w e are surprised by the lack of differentiation. W e
associate a d o l e s c e n c e w i t h certain tasks of personal g r o w t h , i n c l u d ­
ing sexual maturation a n d personality f o r m a t i o n , w h i l e conferring o n
the later ages the c h o i c e of o c c u p a t i o n , courtship, political c o m m i t ­
ment, and other social responsibilities. Preindustrial E u r o p e did not
break d o w n the life c y c l e in this w a y , h o w e v e r . Personal, social, a n d
e c o n o m i c tasks of d e v e l o p m e n t w e r e concurrently rather than s e ­
quentially organized, a fact w h i c h accounts for the lack of distinction
b e t w e e n a d o l e s c e n c e a n d y o u t h in the society's c o n c e p t i o n of the
normal life cycle.
Prevailing e c o n o m i c , d e m o g r a p h i c , a n d biological conditions a c ­
count for these differences. T h e r e w a s no universal schooling to post­
p o n e entry into the w o r l d of w o r k , a n d because social mobility w a s
m o r e limited, c h o i c e of occupation w a s less of a p r o b l e m . M a n y a
lad f o l l o w e d his father's p l o w from the age of 7 or 8 w i t h o u t
thought to alternatives; but e v e n those for w h o m s o m e c h o i c e w a s
o p e n began their training early, apprenticeships beginning at age 14
6 Youth a n d History

or e v e n before. In the less tightly-structured unskilled occupations a


boy or girl might m o v e in a n d out of j o b s , but here again there w a s
no pattern that w o u l d mark a break b e t w e e n early a n d later y o u t h .
T h e sons of the aristocracy e n t e r e d the university at an average age
of 15 in seventeenth-century E n g l a n d , s p e n d i n g a variable a m o u n t of
time t h e r e , m a n y not e v e n bothering to graduate. A p p a r e n t l y , t h e
less w e l l - t o - d o w h o w e r e able to enter the university f o l l o w e d a very
different pattern, arriving, o n t h e average, w h e n m o r e than a y e a r
older. T h e y often had to w o r k until their m i d - t e e n s , only then hav­
ing e n o u g h m o n e y to c o n t i n u e their education at Latin school or
university.^ In any case, education w a s c o m m o n l y taken by all strata
in bits a n d pieces, constantly being interrupted by seasonal w o r k a n d
other m o r e important d e m a n d s o n the children's time.^^
Neither w o r k nor education w e r e as sharply a g e - g r a d e d as w e have
c o m e to expect; a n d this accounts, in part, for t h e lack of distinctions
w i t h i n the long age-span of preindustrial y o u t h . T h e onset of p h y s i ­
cal a n d sexual maturity also might b e expected to h a v e marked a
break, but it did not, primarily because children w e r e a c c u s t o m e d to
assuming adult sex roles very early a n d t h e attainment of puberty
w a s not signified by c h a n g e in dress or by other external manifesta­
tions of maturity. For the m o d e r n teenager, considerable anxiety of­
ten results from physical changes w h i c h conflict w i t h a self-image
inherited from the largely asexual w o r l d of m o d e r n c h i l d h o o d . A
changing b o d y shape a n d t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of secondary sex char­
acteristics rather suddenly m a k e obsolete both children's clothing
and the special roles prescribed for preadolescents in our society.
But prior to the nineteenth century, children w e r e dressed as minia­
ture adults, c o m p l e t e w i t h all the external manifestations of m a s c u ­
linity a n d femininity. Exposed to the social aspect of adult sexuality
earlier than m o d e r n c h i l d r e n , they had m u c h less difficulty in c o p i n g
w i t h their o w n biological changes.^^
Equally important in explaining the a b s e n c e of crisis at the onset
of puberty is t h e fact that it a n d its associated physical growth o c ­
curred later a n d m o r e gradually in preindustrial populations. As re­
cently as the m i d - n i n e t e e n t h century, physical changes that w e asso-

" s t o n e , " S i z e a n d C o m p o s i t i o n , " p. 5 3 ; A r i e s , p. 2 2 5 .


A r i e s , C h a p t e r 4. F o r p r e i n d u s t r i a l A m e r i c a , s e e K e t t .
" H u n t , p p . 1 8 0 - 1 8 6 . O n A m e r i c a n c h i l d r e a r i n g in t h e s a m e p e r i o d , s e e D e m o s ,
C h a p t e r 9.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial Europe 7

ciate w i t h early t e e n - a g e w e r e occurring 3 or 4 years later. In N o r w a y


in 1850 the average age of m e n a r c h e w a s a little over 17 years, as
c o m p a r e d to 13^ today.^^ Data for those centuries prior to t h e n i n e ­
teenth is less reliable, but there seems little d o u b t that the ages of
both puberty and m e n a r c h e w e r e at least as high as 16 for the mass
of the rural population, perhaps a bit l o w e r in t o w n s . U n d o u b t e d l y ,
the children of the rich matured earlier than the children of t h e poor,
nutrition being a prime factor in the maturation process; but differ­
ences b e t w e e n groups only further r e d u c e d the importance of p u b ­
erty as an institutionalized social turning point.^^
Equally important is the fact that physical g r o w t h associated w i t h
puberty occurred at a m u c h m o r e gradual rate. A c c o r d i n g to o n e
mid-sixteenth-century e n c y c l o p e d i a , full physical p o w e r s w e r e not
attained until the late twenties, sometimes e v e n the early thirties.
A d d i t i o n a l , m o r e reliable, e v i d e n c e from medical records indicates
that the mid-twenties w a s the m o r e likely n o r m ; but, in any case,
the slower g r o w t h rate w o u l d help account for w h y earlier genera­
tions of Europeans placed so little emphasis o n the uniqueness of
the adolescent (teen) years as o p p o s e d to the longer stage of life they
called " y o u t h . "
Puberty rites are ordinarily socially defined a n y w a y . If w e look at
the position of the t e e n - a g e d in the preindustrial social and e c o n o m i c
order it b e c o m e s apparent w h y , regardless of the obvious biological
differences, the definition of " a d o l e s c e n c e " w a s b o u n d to b e differ­
ent from that of today. In our t i m e , the adolescent is distinguished
from older y o u t h primarily by the fact that he or she is coresident
w i t h his or her o w n family. W h e n a y o u n g person leaves h o m e , he
or she ceases to be looked u p o n as an adolescent and enters into the
category of " y o u t h . " Preindustrial society m a d e no such distinction,
precisely because children w e r e sent out to live in other households
as early as 7 or 8 years. T h e r e they lived and w o r k e d as servants to
the receiving family, sometimes taking up m o r e formal a p p r e n t i c e ­
ships in other households at 13 or 14, but in o n e w a y or another liv­
ing outside their o w n families for most of their y o u t h . A n Italian visi-

Tanner, pp. 928-930; Laslett, " A g e of M e n a r c h e " ; M u c h o w , Jugend und Zeit­


geist, p p . 8 3 - 8 5 ; H a j n a l , p. 128.
T a n n e r , p. 9 2 9 ; H u n t , p. 1 8 1 , f o o t n o t e 10.
A r i e s , p. 2 1 .
T a n n e r , p. 928.
δ Youth a n d History

tor to sixteenth-century England described t h e practices there as f o l ­


lows:^®

T h e w a n t of a f f e c t i o n in t h e English is s t r o n g l y manifested towards


t h e i r c h i l d r e n ; f o r a f t e r h a v i n g k e p t t h e m a t h o m e till t h e y a r r i v e a t
t h e a g e of 7 t o 9 a t t h e u t m o s t , t h e y p u t t h e m o u t , b o t h m a l e s a n d
f e m a l e s , t o h a r d s e r v i c e in t h e h o u s e s of o t h e r p e o p l e , b i n d i n g t h e m
generally for another 7 to 9 years. A n d these are called apprentices,
a n d d u r i n g t h a t t i m e t h e y p e r f o r m all t h e m o s t m e n i a l o f f i c e s ; a n d
f e w a r e b o r n w h o a r e e x e m p t e d f r o m this fate, for every o n e , h o w ­
e v e r r i c h h e m a y b e , s e n d s a w a y h i s c h i l d r e n i n t o t h e h o u s e s of o t h e r s ,
w h i l s t h e , in r e t u r n , r e c e i v e s t h o s e of s t r a n g e r s i n t o h i s o w n .

That this practice d e r i v e d from a w a n t of affection is, as w e shall


see, d e b a t a b l e ; a n d t h e Italian visitor w a s w r o n g in thinking it c o n ­
fined only to England. Informal a n d formal apprenticeship of c h i l ­
dren prevailed in all countries until the eighteenth century, giving to
the terms gargon a n d " b o y " t h e d o u b l e m e a n i n g of age a n d function
that they retained w e l l into the nineteenth.^^ Since all ranks of s o ­
ciety had it, there w a s nothing d e m e a n i n g in this role. T h e y o u n g
strangers a n d the natural children of the family w e r e treated m u c h
alike, both subject in the same m a n n e r to t h e authority of the h e a d
of the h o u s e h o l d . A s it w a s set d o w n in o n e late sixteenth-century
treatise o n h o u s e h o l d g o v e r n m e n t : " T h e h o u s e h o l d e r is called Pater
familias, that is, father of a familie, because h e should h a v e fatherly
care o v e r his servants, as if they w e r e his c h i l d r e n . " In turn, t h e duty
of the little servant t o w a r d his master a n d mistress w a s " t o l o v e t h e m
a n d be affectionated towards t h e m , as a dutifull child is t o w a r d s his
father."
Leaving h o m e at an early a g e , both boys and girls m o v e d from a
state of d e p e n d e n c e to o n e of s e m i d e p e n d e n c e that w o u l d charac­
terize their existence until the age of marriage. Thus, the ages of 7
or 8 took o n a significance for preindustrial parents that they d o not
h a v e for us. This w a s d e e m e d a great turning point in the d e v e l o p ­
m e n t of the child. R e a d y for s e m i d e p e n d e n c e , they w e r e dressed as
miniature adults and permitted to use the manners a n d language of

Relation or rather a True Account of the Island of England . . . about the


year 1500, b y a n I t a l i a n , q u o t e d in M a c F a r l a n e , p. 2 0 6 ; a l s o T r a n t e r , p p . 2 7 6 - 2 7 7 .
" Aries, pp. 26-27.
J o h n D o d a n d R o b e r t C l e a v e r , Godly Forme of Household Government, quoted
in S c h o c h e t , p. 4 1 5 ; f o r G e r m a n y , s e e B r u n n e r , p p . 3 7 - 4 4 .
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Youth in Preindustrial Europe 9

adult society. T h e future Louis X i i i w a s p r o v i d e d w i t h adult garb as


early as his fifth birthday, being t o l d at that t i m e : " M o n s i e u r , n o w
y o u r b o n n e t is r e m o v e d , y o u are no longer a c h i l d ; y o u begin to
become a man."
This stage of b e c o m i n g w a s , h o w e v e r , an extraordinarily long,
d r a w n - o u t process. T h e y o u n g w e r e to remain in a subordinate posi­
tion until they attained, through marriage or inheritance, the status
of heads of households. T h e y w e r e constantly r e m i n d e d of their s e m i -
d e p e n d e n c e by their inferior e c o n o m i c , social, a n d legal status in a
society in w h i c h full rights w e r e reserved mainly to the heads of
families a n d other " m a s t e r s " of t h e craft a n d corporate hierarchies.
Even the children of the rich a n d t h e p o w e r f u l w e r e m a d e to feel their
inferiority; a n d until the m i d - e i g h t e e n t h century, O x f o r d students
w e r e still subject to corporal p u n i s h m e n t , t h e s y m b o l of t h e s u b o r d i ­
nation they shared w i t h servants a n d apprentices of l o w e r station in
life.2ö M o v i n g , at age 14, from t h e informal apprenticeship to m o r e
formal indentures in the trades or professions signified, as did entry
into the university, a further step b e y o n d the d e p e n d e n c e of c h i l d ­
h o o d , but then only in d e g r e e . Until marriage, the role of both males
and females c o n t i n u e d to b e characterized by s e m i d e p e n d e n c e , a
t i m e spent a w a y from h o m e a n d family, mainly in t h e c o m p a n y of
strangers.

III
H o w are w e to understand a system of age relations so v e r y differ­
ent from our o w n ? T h e Italian suggested a lack of tenderness o n the
part of parents. T h o m a s H o b b e s did h i m o n e better by ascribing
selfishness as a m o t i v e . Boys w e r e sent to O x f o r d , h e said, " b y their
parents to save themselves the trouble of g o v e r n i n g t h e m at h o m e ,
during that t i m e w h e r e i n children are least g o v e r n a b l e . " N o t sur­
prisingly, the parents themselves put f o r w a r d another r e a s o n : T h e y

' H u n t , p. 180.
' Aries, pp. 252-266.
^ Q u o t e d in S t o n e , " S i z e a n d C o m p o s i t i o n , " p. 18.
10 Youth a n d History

w a n t e d to a v o i d spoiling their children by sending t h e m away.22 T h e


fact is that various motives w e r e probably i n v o l v e d , but b e h i n d t h e m
all w e r e the d e m o g r a p h i c conditions of the a g e , the facts of life
w h i c h , in c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h the e c o n o m i c structure of preindustrial
society, d e t e r m i n e d the definition of y o u t h .
For all but a very thin strata of the privileged elites existence w a s ,
as T h o m a s H o b b e s described it, " n a s t y , brutish, short." H i g h m o r ­
tality in the first years of life dictated at birth a life expectancy that
in the 1690s w a s 32 years in England and 27.5 years in Breslau, G e r ­
many, ranging slightly higher or l o w e r according to local c i r c u m ­
stances, a n d plunging still further at times d u e to w a r , f a m i n e , or
natural disaster. This w a s to be the case for the mass of the p o p u l a ­
tion until w e l l into the nineteenth century; for, e v e n a m o n g the E n g ­
lish aristocracy, life expectancy did not rise significantly until the
early eighteenth century, w h e n it c l i m b e d (violent deaths excepted)
from 34.7 to 45.8 years for males, and 33.7 to 48.2 years for females.^^
T h e most v u l n e r a b l e ages w e r e the y o u n g e s t ; a n d , as Frangois
Lebrun has s h o w n for the French village of Challain during the last
third of the seventeenth century, 1 8 % of the children d i e d in their
first m o n t h , 3 5 % in their first year, a n d 5 3 % before they reached the
age of 20.2^ O n l y in a f e w places in preindustrial Europe did m o r e
than half of the children born live to the age of majority. C o n f r o n t e d
w i t h the fact that only o n e of t w o children born w o u l d survive, par­
ents w e r e faced w i t h a situation v e r y different from that of m o d e r n
families. If they w e r e just to r e p r o d u c e t h e m s e l v e s , their fertility had
to be considerably higher than that of the present day. W o m e n c o u l d
expect to e n d u r e considerably m o r e child bearing a n d raising, for
w h i l e c o m p l e t e d families w e r e not necessarily larger, m o r e children
w e r e born simply to m e e t the n e e d s dictated by a high mortality
situation.
T h e English historical d e m o g r a p h e r E. A . W r i g l e y has estimated that,
given a life expectancy of 30 years, there must b e at least four c h i l ­
dren born to each family in order that there b e at least a 6 0 % c h a n c e
that one male heir w i l l survive the father. Because societal norms
dictated that a son should inherit u p o n the death or retirement of
the father, family strategy required high fertility a m o n g both the rural

^ D e m o s , p. 74.
^ Laslett, World W e Have Lost, p p . 1 0 3 - 1 0 5 ; H o l l i n g s w o r t h , p p . 6 6 - 7 0 ; C h a m b e r s ,
C h a p t e r 4.
^ C h a r l e s T i l l y , p. 119.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Youth in Preindustrial Europe 11

a n d urban p r o p e r t y - o w n i n g p o p u l a t i o n . Fertility patterns might vary


at both e n d s of the social s p e c t r u m — a m o n g t h e privileged groups
w h o s e death rates w e r e not so appallingly high, a n d a m o n g the l a n d ­
less or the v e r y poor, w h e r e considerations of inheritance w e r e ir­
relevant; but, for w h a t w a s still t h e majority of t h e p o p u l a t i o n in
1700, high mortality dictated high fertility, rising e v e n higher after
times of adversity w h e n disease, w a r , or f a m i n e r e d u c e d life expect­
ancy b e l o w the n o r m a l .
C h i l d r e n w e r e to preindustrial society w h a t pensions a n d disability
insurance are to our o w n . T h e y represented a kind of investment
w h i c h , w h i l e it did not a l w a y s pay off, w a s necessary if parents w e r e
to have p e a c e of m i n d a b o u t their old age a n d the perpetuation of
their property. A succession of f e m a l e children or t h e accidental
death of an elder son c o u l d destroy t h e best of family strategies, but
the fertile c o u p l e w h o p r o d u c e d four or m o r e children had at least
a reasonable c h a n c e of fulfilling their h o p e s for t h e m s e l v e s and for
their offspring.25
W h a t this meant in terms of t h e a g e distribution w a s an a b u n d a n c e
of c h i l d r e n , w i t h the m e d i a n age of t h e population v a r y i n g from a
relatively high 28 years in late s e v e n t e e n t h - c e n t u r y England to figures
as l o w as 21 years, d e p e n d i n g o n conditions. It has b e e n estimated
that, in t h e English village of S t o k e - o n - T r e n t in 1 7 0 1 , 4 9 % of t h e
population w e r e u n d e r 20 years of a g e . In S w e d e n in 1750 the ratio
of those persons a g e d 15-29 years to e v e r y 100 persons a g e d 30
years and o v e r w a s 6 3 % . In France in 1776 t h e ratio w a s 6 5 % ; a n d
as late as 1840 it w a s approximately 7 7 % in England.^« This a b u n ­
d a n c e of children a n d y o u n g p e o p l e is all t h e m o r e striking w h e n
c o m p a r e d to our o w n times. T o d a y , t h e p e r c e n t a g e of children under
20 in places like S t o k e - o n - T r e n t has d r o p p e d precipitously and is only
2 9 % of t h e total p o p u l a t i o n . In England as a w h o l e , age groups up
to age 29 c o m p o s e only 4 3 % of t h e p o p u l a t i o n , as c o m p a r e d w i t h
about 6 3 % in t h e late s e v e n t e e n t h century.^^
" W e must imagine our ancestors, t h e r e f o r e , in the perpetual pres­
e n c e of their y o u n g offspring," Peter Laslett has o b s e r v e d , noting, as
have other historians, h o w little apparent notice adults gave to c h i l ­
d r e n , despite their o v e r w h e l m i n g n u m b e r s . This w a s d u e , in part, to
the high mortality d u r i n g the y o u n g years a n d to the fact that parents

^ W r i g l e y ' s w o r k c i t e d In C h a r l e s T i l l y , p p . 1 1 9 - 1 2 0 .
^ Laslett, World We Have Lost, p. 1 0 3 ; C h a m b e r s , p p . 67ff; H e r b e r t M o l l e r , p. 2 5 2 .
" Marsh, pp. 22-26.
72 Youth a n d History

c o u l d n e v e r b e sure w h i c h of their children w o u l d survive to m a t u ­


rity. In such a situation, their attitude w a s b o u n d to b e different from
that of t h e m o d e r n parent, not because they w e r e m o r e hard hearted
but because, as Rousseau suggested, they c o u l d harm rather than
help children by p a y i n g t h e m t h e w r o n g kind of h e e d . W h a t w a s t h e
point, h e asked, of a training " w h i c h sacrifices t h e present to an u n ­
certain future . . . a n d begins by m a k i n g the child m i s e r a b l e , in
order to prepare h i m for s o m e far-off happiness w h i c h h e m a y n e v e r
enjoy?" Parents w e r e a d v i s e d to p r e p a r e t h e y o u n g for t h e possi­
bility of d e a t h , that of their o w n a n d of those a r o u n d t h e m . C o n d u c t
books p r e p a r e d adults for t h e death of infants, w h o s e passing d i d
not p r o v o k e the same kind of grief as o l d e r c h i l d r e n , conditions d i c ­
tating that they spare t h e m s e l v e s a n d their offspring extreme d i s a p ­
p o i n t m e n t by restraining expectations for the individual b o y or girl
e v e n into t e e n age.^^
Attention naturally f o c u s e d o n t h e males of t h e family, for it w a s
through t h e m that w e a l t h and n a m e w e r e to b e p e r p e t u a t e d . C u s ­
toms of inheritance differed from strata to strata, a n d w e r e not t h e
same in all parts of E u r o p e , h o w e v e r . In E n g l a n d , for e x a m p l e , t h e
nobility, w e a l t h y gentry, and bourgeoisie had c o m e to prefer p r i m o ­
geniture, w h i l e the peasantry a n d artisanate a p p e a r to h a v e d i v i d e d
their property more readily, s o m e t i m e s e v e n giving portions to
daughters. In parts of France a n d w e s t e r n G e r m a n y partible inherit­
ance w a s e v e n m o r e w i d e s p r e a d , t h o u g h there too t h e eldest son
often gained the largest share.^^ Attention given to o n e child did not
necessarily w o r k to t h e d e t r i m e n t of t h e other c h i l d r e n , for it w a s
generally understood that t h e w e l l - b e i n g of all d e p e n d e d to s o m e
d e g r e e o n t h e s m o o t h succession in case of t h e death or retirement
of the parents. For e x a m p l e , t h e loss of family property c o u l d result
in the forfeiture of the settlement rights of all t h e surviving c h i l d r e n ,
a b l o w that c o u l d m e a n a reduction to v a g a b o n d a g e in an age before
universal citizenship and t h e w e l f a r e rights attached to it. Thus it w a s
not u n c o m m o n for daughters a n d e v e n y o u n g e r sons to sacrifice for
the g o o d of all by disclaiming inheritance entirely, c h o o s i n g , in w h a t
D a v i d H u n t has called " a n important gesture of family loyalty," a life
of celibacy.21

^ M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, p. 64.


^ « H u n t , p. 1 8 5 .
« n h í r s k , p. 3 6 1 ; B l u m .
H u n t , p. 58.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial Europe 73

Even w h e r e property w a s partible there w e r e strong pressures in


the seventeenth a n d eighteenth centuries not to distribute the inherit-
ance so thinly as to destroy the property a n d t h e r e b y e n d a n g e r the
entire family.^2 /^^ ¡p situation of primogeniture, y o u n g e r c h i l d r e n ,
particularly daughters but also y o u n g e r sons, w e r e v i e w e d as e x p e n d -
a b l e ; p r o d u c e d by the pressure of high mortality o n fertility, they
w e r e a form of surplus w h o s e utility w a s greatly d i m i n i s h e d o n c e t h e
eldest son inherited t h e property u p o n t h e retirement or d e a t h of t h e
father. Family strategy thus dictated a superfluity that, in turn, gave
to y o u t h its peculiar character. W e l l - t o - d o families c o u l d , a n d often
d i d , p r o v i d e for surplus sons a n d daughters, s o m e t i m e s k e e p i n g t h e m
at h o m e , supplying t h e m w i t h suitable d o w r i e s , or setting t h e m up
in other trades or professions w i t h o u t d i v i d i n g or unduly diminishing
family property. T h e y o u n g e r sons of t h e English aristocracy a n d
gentry w e r e customarily established in respectable positions, always
available to inherit title or lands if the eldest son should m e e t an
untimely e n d . T h e workability of such a system d e p e n d e d , of c o u r s e ,
o n the acceptance by the y o u n g e r sons a n d daughters of a certain
measure of d o w n w a r d mobility, a sacrifice s w e e t e n e d by the fact that
their fathers c o u l d often afford to set t h e m up w e l l in career a n d
marriage. Y e t , throughout the sixteenth a n d early seventeenth c e n -
turies, c o n d e m n a t i o n to an inferior status by accident of the order of
birth often rankled the y o u n g e r sons. O n e such. Sergeant Y e l v e r t o n ,
b e m o a n e d the plight of those w h o must u p h o l d the h o n o r of family
n a m e on insufficient m e a n s : " M y estate is nothing c o r r e s p o n d e n t for
the m a i n t e n a n c e of this dignity, for m y father d y i n g left m e a y o u n g e r
brother a n d nothing unto m e but m y bare annuity, then g r o w i n g to
man's estate a n d s o m e practise of law, I took a w i f e by w h o m I have
had m a n y c h i l d r e n , the k e e p i n g of all being a great i m p o v e r i s h i n g
of my estate a n d the daily living of us all nothing but m y daily i n -
dustry." 33
In France and G e r m a n y the situation of y o u n g e r sons w a s e v e n
m o r e precarious, if only because caste lines w e r e stronger there and
the children of titled fathers w e r e not permitted to enter m a n y trades
and professions. T h e y w o u l d seek to maintain their respectability by
entering into clerical celibacy or by seeking careers in the a r m y a n d
civil service, but the opportunities fluctuated in a capricious m a n n e r .

Habakkuk, pp. 24-28.


^ Q u o t e d in T h i r s k , p. 3 6 3 .
14 Youth a n d History

causing m u c h distress a m o n g t h e superfluous sons of t h e aristocracy.^^


Daughters, too, w e r e in a precarious position, though in countries
w h e r e Catholicism prevailed t h e c o n v e n t w a s an h o n o r a b l e alterna­
tive. W e k n o w that the percentage of both males a n d f e m a l e s w h o
never married w a s relatively high in preindustrial E u r o p e a n society,
averaging about 1 0 % . S p i n s t e r h o o d seems to h a v e b e e n particularly
prevalent a m o n g the very poor, for w h o m marriage a n d remarriage
w e r e very difficult. In seventeenth-century English villages the per­
centage of w o m e n aged 25-44 w h o w e r e either w i d o w s or spinsters
w a s almost a third.^^
T h e fate of superfluous children w a s , in fact, m u c h w o r s e a m o n g
the poor. T h e Sergeant Yelvertons had to c o n t e n d w i t h loss of status,
but their connections usually protected t h e m against pauperization.
T h e vast majority of the population lived m u c h closer to the m i n i ­
m u m levels of subsistence; a n d e v e n the landed peasantry a n d urban
artisanate w e r e not i m m u n e to the pauperization that w a s the p e r i ­
o d i c c o n s e q u e n c e of f a m i n e , w a r , e p i d e m i c , a n d natural disaster. O f
the mass of the p o p u l a t i o n , w e are reasonably w e l l - i n f o r m e d only
about the peasantry a n d the artisanate; a n d it is f r o m their historical
record that w e must attempt to construct a picture of t h e life-cycle
of the preindustrial poor.

IV
W e k n o w that peasant sons rarely inherited their father's property
until their late twenties, at t h e t i m e their parent either d i e d or v o l ­
untarily retired a n d settled t h e f a r m , in t h e latter case, o n the oldest
male in return for assurance of support for t h e rest of his life. Final
settlement w o u l d normally include t h e establishment of d o w r i e s for
daughters, a n d annuities or smaller land grants for y o u n g e r sons.
Inheritance of the land or t h e business a l l o w e d the eldest son to
marry a n d i m m e d i a t e l y begin his o w n family, thus r e n e w i n g t h e c y -

^ G o o d w i n , p p . 91 f, 104ff.
' S t o n e , " S o c i a l M o b i l i t y , " p. 4 1 .
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial E u r o p e 75

c l e — w h i c h , approximately 30 years later, w o u l d terminate in his


death or r e t i r e m e n t — a n d the passing o n of the family property to a
n e w generation. Life expectations of the fathers established t h e mar­
riage age of the sons at 27 or 28, their w i v e s b e i n g 3 or 4 years
y o u n g e r . Brides w e r e often pregnant u p o n marriage a n d the first child
w a s expected to arrive soon after t h e c e r e m o n y , f o l l o w e d by others
at regular intervals. T h e w i f e ' s career as child-bearer w o u l d c o n t i n u e
for an average of 10 to 15 years, during w h i c h t i m e she w o u l d p r o ­
d u c e an average of 4 to 5 babies, o n l y half of w h i c h w e r e likely to
survive until the age of 20.'^^
T h e husband's burden w a s equally arduous, particularly w h e n , as
w a s the case in most peasant a n d artisanal holdings, the property w a s
just barely e n o u g h to sustain t w o adults a n d a small n u m b e r of c h i l ­
d r e n . T h e size of h o u s e h o l d w a s proportional to w e a l t h in preindus­
trial society, the poor b e i n g able to support themselves only w i t h
great difficulty. If the property had b e e n inherited by retirement, the
surviving old folks w e r e an a d d e d b u r d e n to the y o u n g married c o u ­
ple. In s o m e cases the old m a n c o u l d w o r k for his s o n , a n d his w i f e
help w i t h the household chores, but in most cases their deaths w e r e
a relief to an already o v e r b u r d e n e d y o u n g family.*^^ It w a s in the first
years of marriage, w h e n the children w e r e still t o o y o u n g to c o n ­
tribute to the family e c o n o m y through their o w n labor, that things
w e r e most difficult. It w a s c o m m o n for peasants to hire servants to
help w o r k the land or to d o h o u s e h o l d duties during the t i m e their
o w n children w e r e still v e r y y o u n g , but this w a s b u r d e n s o m e a n d
usually did not last b e y o n d the first 10 years of the family life cycle.^**
T h e n u m b e r of live-in servants required by particular families d e ­
p e n d e d o n both the size of the holding a n d t h e age of the h o u s e ­
hold's o w n offspring. T h e m o r e w e l l - t o - d o peasants w e r e a b l e to hire
m o r e servants than their poorer n e i g h b o r s ; a n d it w a s the case in most
parts of E u r o p e that the w e a l t h i e r a h o u s e h o l d , the larger it w a s in
terms of n u m b e r s , d u e to the n u m b e r of servants w h o c o u l d be

' ® T h e n u m b e r of c h i l d r e n p e r c o m p l e t e d m a r r i a g e v a r i e d c o n s i d e r a b l y a c c o r d i n g
to e c o n o m i c a n d d e m o g r a p h i c conditions. Following a plague or f a m i n e , t h e n u m ­
b e r of c h i l d r e n m i g h t b e l a r g e r in o r d e r t o r e p l a c e losses. T h e s e f i g u r e s , t h e r e f o r e ,
r e p r e s e n t n u m b e r s of c h i l d r e n in " n o r m a l " t i m e s , at t h e m i n i m u m l e v e l s of m o r t a l ­
ity. F o r a d i s c u s s i o n of t h e c o m p l i c a t e d q u e s t i o n of c o m p l e t e d f a m i l y s i z e , s e e C h a m ­
bers, pp. 67-73.
Berkner, pp. 398-401.
^ B e r k n e r , p. 414.
76 Y o u t h a n d History

brought under its roof. M o s t of these servants w e r e t e e n - a g e d b o y s


a n d girls recruited by the w e a l t h i e r households from t h e poorer, a
practice w h i c h thus served the function of providing relief to those
families w h o f o u n d t h e m s e l v e s o v e r b u r d e n e d by surplus c h i l d r e n .
Paid in terms of r o o m a n d b o a r d , a n d subordinate to t h e authority
of the h e a d of the h o u s e h o l d in w h i c h they w e r e e m p l o y e d , these
youths w e r e effectively p r o v i d e d for, both e c o n o m i c a l l y a n d s o -
cially.39

For the p o o r t h e first years of marriage w e r e t h e most difficult.


Parents eager to have the help of their children a n d to dispense w i t h
paid servants naturally e m p h a s i z e d precocity. A s soon as a child w a s
physically ready, h e or she w a s put to w o r k . Little tasks might e v e n
b e delegated to toddlers, but normally t h e child began to w o r k at
6 or 7, an age set by custom a n d physical d e v e l o p m e n t . B y the tenth
anniversary of marriage, the h o u s e h o l d w a s b e c o m i n g m o r e self-suffi­
cient a n d , unless t h e h o l d i n g w a s large, live-in help w a s n o longer
necessary. T h e h o u s e h o l d size, therefore, r e m a i n e d relatively stable,
the children substituting their labor for that of the departing servants,
as indicated in Figure 2.

15 30

Years of Family's Existence

Figure 2 L a b o r n e e d s of p e a s a n t f a m i l i e s i n p r e i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y [ f r o m Berkner,
p. 4 1 5 ] .

S o m e t i m e after the tenth anniversary, t h e labor of the o l d e r children


began to b e c o m e , like that of live-in servants, r e d u n d a n t a n d a
b u r d e n . H i g h fertility m e a n t that at s o m e point the family w a s quite
likely to be confronted w i t h m o r e labor than its limited property
c o u l d absorb. Y o u n g e r children w e r e , in effect, forcing out t h e older,
w h o w e r e n o w in a position to seek their fortunes e l s e w h e r e a n d
thus p r o v i d e relief to their parents a n d siblings. In late sixteenth-
century Ealing, an English village, it appears that boys ordinarily left

M a c F a r l a n e , p p . 2 0 6 - 2 0 9 ; T r a n t e r , p p . 275ff.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial Europe 77

h o m e b e t w e e n the ages of 8 a n d 15, w h i l e girls w e r e m o v i n g out


b e t w e e n the ages of 9 a n d 14. A l a n M a c F a r l a n e has estimated that
b e t w e e n puberty (by w h i c h h e m e a n s 14) a n d marriage, two-thirds
of the males a n d three-fourths of the females w e r e living a w a y from
their parents, mainly as servants in other households. Poorer families
a b s o r b e d f e w e r servants, a n d so it w a s t h e w e l l - t o - d o w h o benefitted
from this supply of c h e a p surplus labor. " T h e institution of servant-
h o o d might, therefore, b e regarded as a disguised m e a n s w h e r e b y
w e a l t h and labour f l o w e d from the p o o r e r to the richer."
This w a s also the t i m e of life w h e n y o u n g m e n w e r e sent off to
schools, apprenticeships, or novitiates in the c h u r c h . A s o n e might
expect, the departure from the family varied s o m e w h a t , a c c o r d -
ing to w e a l t h . L a w r e n c e S t o n e has b e e n a b l e to s h o w that sons of
the aristocracy entered Oxford at a little o v e r 15 in the s e v e n t e e n t h
century, almost a year a n d a half earlier than did c o m m o n e r students.
It appears that the latter w e r e n e e d e d by their parents for a longer
period of time because they w e r e c h e a p e r than hired labor.^^ T h e s i m i -
larities a m o n g various social strata s e e m to o u t w e i g h differences,
h o w e v e r , a n d it w o u l d s e e m that from 7 or 8 o n w a r d s most children
w e r e a c c u s t o m e d to a considerable a m o u n t of mobility, beginning
first w i t h short m o v e s to neighboring households a n d t h e n , in t e e n -
age, undertaking m o r e elaborate forms of migration, often to t o w n s
w h e r e apprenticeships a n d other opportunities w e r e to b e f o u n d .
W r o t e Sir J o h n G i b s o n in 1655 of his o w n wanderings:^^

Crake it had my infancye,


Vor/ce did my youth bringe up,
Cambridge had my ¡ollitie
When I her brestes did sucfce.
London brought me into thraule
And wed me to a wife
Welborne my careful! time had all
loyn'd with a troubled life.

W e l l into t h e eighteenth century the custom of " c l a i m i n g k i n " w a s


a w a y families relieved themselves of the b u r d e n of surplus c h i l d r e n .
Friedrich K l ö d e n ' s parents asked his uncle to take the boy in a n d

M a c F a r l a n e , p. 209.
" stone, "Size and Composition," pp. 55-56.
" Q u o t e d in M a c F a r l a n e , p. 2 1 0 ; o n m i g r a t i o n , s e e C h a m b e r s , C h a p t e r 2 .
18 Youth and History

train him in the goldsmithing trade. T h e claim o n kin w a s a c c e p t e d


very grudgingly a n d y o u n g Friedrich b e c a m e the o b j e c t of a b u s e in
his relative's household.^^ W h e r e a large t o w n w a s near, it w a s c o m ­
m o n for o l d e r children to b e sent t h e r e , s o m e t i m e s to prearranged
positions, but often o n their o w n to " s e e k their f o r t u n e s . " Circulation
of y o u n g p e o p l e b e t w e e n L o n d o n a n d its surrounding areas seems to
have b e e n relatively constant in the s e v e n t e e n t h century, w i t h y o u n g
boys a n d girls in their late teens a n d early t w e n t i e s g o i n g to the city,
s o m e returning to their h o m e villages later in life to claim inheritances
or to marry.^^ In Austria it w a s c o m m o n for servant girls to return to
their h o m e t o w n s to marry a n d settle d o w n , although t h e r e , as in
other parts of E u r o p e , m a n y y o u t h s w e r e sent off n e v e r to return to
villages w h e r e opportunities for inheritance a n d marriage w e r e m o r e
limited.^^

V
Peasant society w a s obviously by no m e a n s as free of generational
discontinuity as m y t h o l o g y w o u l d h a v e us b e l i e v e . E. A . W r i g l e y esti­
mates that one-sixth of t h e English p o p u l a t i o n in t h e s e v e n t e e n t h
century h a d lived in L o n d o n at o n e t i m e o r a n o t h e r d u r i n g their
lives.^e Historical e v i d e n c e w i l l not permit us to k n o w w h a t part of
the youthful migration w a s c y c l e d back to t h e h o m e villages, but in
a society in w h i c h surplus children w e r e a p e r m a n e n t feature, t h e r e
must h a v e b e e n a sizeable portion w h o n e v e r r e t u r n e d . Fluctuations
in population c o u l d easily disrupt t h e delicate b a l a n c e in any case.
In times of p o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h , w h e n there w e r e larger n u m b e r s of
children than usual, e v e n m o r e y o u n g e r sons a n d daughters w e r e cut
loose to pursue uncertain futures in t o w n s or rural frontier areas. W e
k n o w that this h a p p e n e d in t h e p e r i o d 1550-1630, w h e n t h e English

^ ' v o n K l ö d e n , v o l . 1 , p p . 215ff.
s t o n e , " S o c i a l M o b i l i t y , " p p . 3 0 - 3 2 ; W r i g l e y , " S i m p l e M o d e l , " p p . 47ff.
" B e r k n e r , p. 4 1 1 .
W r i g l e y , " S i m p l e M o d e l , " p. 4 9 .
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Youth in Preindustrial Europe 79

population d o u b l e d and surplus persons p o u r e d into w a s t e areas such


as fens a n d highlands, as w e l l as into the expanding t o w n s . ^ ' C o n ­
temporaries b e l i e v e d that they detected g r o w i n g generational t e n ­
sions, and there w e r e m o v e s to tighten the authority of the heads of
households, w o r k s h o p s , a n d schools against the " d e f e c t i o n s a n d re­
volts in children of l e w d behavior, w h i c h have contemptuously pro-
p h a n e d all o b e d i e n c e to p a r e n t s . "
W i t h its limited resources, preindustrial English society c o u l d not
sustain this population g r o w t h . T h e inevitable result w a s the disaster
of famine a n d the reduction of fertility by a variety of m e a n s , i n c l u d ­
ing the delay of marriage, the practice of coitus interruptus, a n d re­
sort to abortion and infanticide. B y the early seventeenth century,
fertility w a s falling a m o n g the English aristocracy. T h e average age of
marriage for males born in the cohort 1480-1679 w a s 24.3 y e a r s ; the
average age for the cohort born 1680-1729 w a s 28.6.^» W h i l e all the
children of the aristocracy w e r e marrying later, and m o r e than before
w e r e not marrying at all, it w a s the youngest sons w h o bore the great­
est burden of self-limitation. Hollingsworth's study of the English
peerage shows that by the mid-eighteenth century almost 2 0 % of
younger sons r e m a i n e d unmarried throughout their lives, a propor­
tion almost t w i c e that of earlier periods.^®
It can be s h o w n that the y o u n g e r , surplus children w e r e also the
ones to suffer most, socially a n d e c o n o m i c a l l y , in times of population
g r o w t h . T h e reaction of the English aristocracy to the d e m o g r a p h i c
crisis of the early seventeenth century w a s to enforce stricter settle­
ments on inheritance. T h e r e is e v i d e n c e that fathers w e r e seeing to
it that the oldest son got the best education a n d patronage, leaving
the y o u n g e r w i t h lesser prospects than e v e r before. T h e best marriages
w e r e also m o n o p o l i z e d by the eldest, w h i l e many y o u n g e r sons a n d
daughters w e r e forced to marry beneath themselves.^^ Fortunately for
the English aristocracy, the trade a n d merchant families of L o n d o n
w e l c o m e d association w i t h the d o w n w a r d l y m o b i l e nobility; and this,
together w i t h e x p a n d e d opportunities in the military a n d civil service
fields, m a d e their situation considerably better than that of the C o n -

stone, "Social Mobility," pp. 20-21, 3 1 .


* ^ J o h n B u d d e n , as q u o t e d in S c h o c h e t , p. 4 1 9 ; S t o n e , " S o c i a l M o b i l i t y , " p p . 46ff;
a l s o H i l l , p p . 1 5 1 - 1 5 3 , 296.
" H o l l i n g s w o r t h , p. 1 1 .
Hollingsworth, pp. 20-22.
'^'Stone, "Social M o b i l i t y , " pp. 37-38; Stone, " M a r r i a g e , " pp. 187-88.
20 Youth a n d History

tinental nobility, for w h o m d o w n w a r d mobility w a s m o r e p r o b l e m ­


atical.
Yet, this retrenchment did not set in before the English u p p e r
classes w e r e w r a c k e d by generational tensions, w h i c h contributed to
the turmoil of the English Civil W a r . Parents had tried to relieve t h e m ­
selves of surplus children by sending sons off to t h e schools a n d
universities to seek an e d u c a t i o n . S o o n the professions w e r e o v e r ­
c r o w d e d w i t h w h a t c o n t e m p o r a r i e s called an " E g y p t i a n plague of
caterpillars," and y o u n g e r sons began to turn to rebellion. S o m e w e r e
naturally attracted to the n e w ideas of egalitarianism w h i c h w e r e cir­
culating in the seventeenth century, a n d t w o , W i l l i a m W a l w y n a n d
J o h n Lilburne, w e r e leaders of the Leveller M o v e m e n t . ^ ^ O t h e r s f o u n d
relief in the N e w W o r l d , w h e r e there w a s , it w a s said, " w o r t h y e m ­
p l o y m e n t for m a n y y o u n g e r brothers a n d brave g e n t l e m e n n o w
ruined for w a n t thereof."
W e are best informed about the redundant children of the u p p e r
classes, but it appears that conditions w e r e no better, a n d probably
w o r s e , a m o n g the l o w e r orders. T h e population b o o m of the late
sixteenth a n d early s e v e n t e e n t h centuries brought a flood of settle­
m e n t a n d apprenticeship laws in E n g l a n d , all designed to p r o v i d e for
the masterless child a n d protect society against the threat of these
"sturdy beggars." Legislation in 1547 e m p o w e r e d the authorities to
indenture a beggar " m a n c h i l d " until the age of 24 a n d a " w o m a n
c h i l d " until the age of 20, although the severity of this act caused it
to be w i t h d r a w n 2 years later. T h e apprenticeship statutes of 1601 d i d ,
h o w e v e r , require that o r p h a n e d children apprenticed by the parish
be b o u n d until the age of 24. V a g a b o n d a g e of y o u t h o v e r 14 c o n ­
tinued to b e punished as a c r i m e ; a n d in certain cases children c o u l d
be taken from parents w h o w e r e f o u n d to b e in perpetual idleness.^^
Parish authorities w e r e further charged w i t h apprenticing begging
children b e t w e e n the ages of 5 a n d 14, so that " t h e y m a y get their
livings w h e n they shall c o m e of a g e . "
Similar tightening of discipline can b e f o u n d in school a n d univer­
sity statutes of the same p e r i o d . H o b b e s w a s not the only o n e w h o
b e l i e v e d that parents w e r e relying o n schoolmasters a n d other such

^^Thirsk, p p . 3 6 7 - 3 7 1 ; H i l l , p p . 117-^118.
^ F r o m a c o l o n i z a t i o n s c h e m e of 1 5 7 2 , q u o t e d in T h i r s k , p. 368.
Pinchbeck and Hewitt, pp. 96-98; on German apprenticeships, see Walker,
C h a p t e r 3.
Pinchbeck and Hewitt, pp. 94-95.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Youth in Preindustrial Europe 27

disciplinary agents to deal w i t h t h e p r o b l e m of superfluous children.


J o h n Brinsley w r o t e in 1627 that boys of 6 w e r e being sent a w a y to
school because "if any b e g i n n e so early, they are rather sent to the
schoole to k e e p e t h e m from troubling the house at h o m e , a n d from
danger, and s h r e w d turnes, than for any great h o p e a n d desire that
their friends have that they should learne any thing in effect." The
English boarding (public) schools carried into t h e eighteenth century
a reputation for being d u m p i n g places for restless, redundant y o u t h :
" T o a public s c h o o l , as a general infirmary for mental disease, all
desperate subjects are sent, as a last r e s o u r c e . " A n d since the care
of marginal y o u t h w a s entrusted, in England a n d o n the C o n t i n e n t ,
almost entirely to bachelors a n d spinsters, t h e school therefore served
the d o u b l e function of relieving parents of their surplus children and
providing for the e m p l o y m e n t of older, involuntary celibates.^®

VI
G i v e n the superfluity of y o u t h a n d the fact that such large n u m ­
bers w e r e living a w a y from their families, it is remarkable that e v e n
in ordinary times there w a s not m o r e generational conflict. T h e o b e ­
d i e n c e of y o u t h w a s d u e , in part, to the society's strict e n f o r c e m e n t
of the Fifth C o m m a n d m e n t , w h i c h w a s interpreted to include not
only natural parents but all such masters to w h o m y o u t h w a s e n ­
trusted. Robert R a m defined the " f a t h e r s " in 1655 a s : " 1 . O u r naturall
Parentes, Fathers a n d M o t h e r s in the flesh. 2. O u r Civil Parents, M a g ­
istrates, G o v e r n o u r s , a n d all authority. 3. O u r spiritual Parents, P a s ­
tors, Ministers, a n d T e a c h e r s . " H e might also have included the
e c o n o m i c fathers, guild masters a n d the like.

^ B r i n s l e y ' s Ludas Literarius: or, the Grammar Schoole, q u o t e d in M a c F a r l a n e , p.


207.
^'Observation made b y M . a n d R. L. E d g e w o r t h in Practical Education (1789),
q u o t e d in M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, p. 48.
^ S t o n e , " L i t e r a c y a n d E d u c a t i o n , " p. 9 5 .
" T h e Countrymens Catechisme: or, A Heipe for Householders ( 1 6 5 5 ) , q u o t e d in
S c h o c h e t , p. 4 3 1 .
22 Youth a n d History

Patriarchal g o v e r n m e n t in its m a n y forms w a s a necessary agent in


maintaining the long period of s e m i d e p e n d e n c y that constituted
" y o u t h " in the preindustrial life c y c l e . Masters a n d heads of h o u s e ­
holds had a vested interest in k e e p i n g f r o m their charges t h e full
rights of a d u l t h o o d ; for, as long as their life style r e m a i n e d simple
and austere, the cost of k e e p i n g resident servants a n d apprentices
w a s relatively c h e a p . Youths dressed in the m a n n e r of adults, but
w e r e forbidden luxury clothing. In 1603 three L o n d o n apprentices
w e r e sent to jail for refusing to cut their hair a n d r e n o u n c e the sar­
torial splendor that w a s causing distress a m o n g both their o w n m a s ­
ters and the local authorities.^'" Masters w e r e also to see to it that
y o u t h did not drink, g a m b l e , or seek the c o m p a n y of the opposite
sex; and there w e r e c u r f e w laws k e e p i n g apprentices a n d servants
off the streets after dark. But perhaps the most effective preventative
of the youthful appropriation of adult roles w a s the fact of living in.
T h e r e w e r e , as in G e r m a n y , laws that f o r b a d e youths to marry before
they had c o m p l e t e d their apprenticeships, but the v e r y fact that
y o u n g p e o p l e w e r e d e p e n d e n t o n the housholds in w h i c h they lived
and w e r e rarely paid for their services in m o n e y w a g e s p r e v e n t e d
t h e m from setting up their o w n families a n d thus from putting pres­
sures o n already limited resources.
Patriarchalism w a s certainly important in shaping the character of
preindustrial y o u t h , but its effects are hard to separate from another
institution m u c h m o r e closely associated w i t h t h e tradition of y o u t h
itself, n a m e l y fraternity. A s a major organizing principle of the s e v e n ­
teenth a n d eighteenth centuries, the c o n c e p t of b r o t h e r h o o d — a n d ,
to a lesser extent, s i s t e r h o o d — g a v e form a n d m e a n i n g to most of the
institutions, apart f r o m the h o u s e h o l d , w i t h w h i c h y o u t h c a m e into
contact. Horizontal b o n d i n g of y o u n g single persons w a s a feature
not only of the schools a n d universities, but also of m a n y of the
professions, the army, the bureaucracy, a n d the clergy as w e l l . T h e
clergy w a s the only o n e in w h i c h celibacy w a s an essential aspect
of the b r o t h e r h o o d ; but, as a r e q u i r e m e n t of apprenticeship a n d as
a kind of extended rite of passage, it w a s a feature of all trades a n d
professions. In the crafts, j o u r n e y m e n ' s associations u p h e l d the ideal
of c o n t i n e n c e and the delay of marriage, relying o n an elaborate
imagery and ritual of " b r o t h e r h o o d " to solidify the social a n d moral
bonds w i t h i n their group. Entry into t h e French compagnonnages

^ P i n c h b e c k a n d H e w i t t , p. 2 3 3 ; f o r s i m i l a r s u m p t u a r y l e g i s l a t i o n i n G e r m a n y , s e e
Dorwart, pp. 45-50.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial E u r o p e 23

and the G e r m a n Cesellenverbände i n v o l v e d elaborate initiation in


w h i c h t h e candidate w a s formally divested of his original identity as
m e m b e r of a particular family; subjected to s y m b o l i c baptism in t h e
presence of a " g o d f a t h e r " w h o w a s c h o s e n from a m o n g his n e w
brothers; a n d given a n i c k n a m e w h i c h w a s to b e kept secret f r o m
all outsiders.^i T h e objectives of both student a n d artisan c e r e m o n i e s
w e r e moral as w e l l as professional, impressing o n the initiate his o b ­
ligations to t h e ethical c o d e of the craft a n d t h e " h o n o r " of its m e m ­
bership. Injunctions against violation of t h e rules w e r e c o u c h e d in
Biblical language, a n d t h e image of t h e f a m i l y — t h e masters as fa­
thers, the j o u r n e y m e n as g o o d sons or, as they w e r e s o m e t i m e s called
in France, " g o o d c o u s i n s " — w a s frequently i n v o k e d . Expressing this
interlocking system of fraternal a n d paternal authority, t h e j o u r n e y ­
men printers of sixteenth-century Lyon p r o c l a i m e d : " M a s t e r s a n d
J o u r n e y m e n are and ought to b e o n e b o d y together, like a family
and a fraternity."
Fraternal institutions p r o v i d e d o n e of t h e strongest controls o v e r
the y o u n g , particularly for those youths w h o w e r e migrant f r o m their
families a n d localities. T h e j o u r n e y m e n ' s tradition of w a n d e r i n g a p ­
prenticeship, k n o w n as t h e Wanderjahr in G e r m a n y , " t r a m p i n g " in
England, and associated w i t h t h e tour de France, w a s a highly insti­
tutionalized arrangement by w h i c h m e m b e r s of t h e trades w e r e c a r e d
for a n d protected w h i l e o n t h e r o a d . W a n d e r i n g across the face of
E u r o p e , m o v i n g from o n e house of call to another in search of e m ­
p l o y m e n t or, w h e r e that w a s not available, assistance, w a s t h e w a y
y o u n g skilled w o r k e r s traditionally sustained t h e m s e l v e s before r e ­
turning to their h o m e t o w n s , attaining their masterships, a n d marry­
ing. T h e houses of call, w h i c h French artisans liked to call " M o t h e r s , "
w e r e in fact a substitute family. T h e y c o u l d also serve as places of
organization a n d agitation against abusive masters, f r o m w h i c h strikes
and boycotts c o u l d b e carried f o r t h . ^ Y e t , perhaps a primary func­
tion of t h e Wanderjahr w a s to take y o u n g m e n out of t h e marriage
market during those years w h e n such a step w o u l d h a v e had disas­
trous results for the entire c o m m u n i t y , a n d thus p r o l o n g t h e state
of s e m i d e p e n d e n c e until a place for t h e m o p e n e d up in t h e normal
course of t h e generational c y c l e .

• ^ O n t h e initiation c e r e m o n i e s of j o u r n e y m e n ' s societies, see Stadelmann a n d


Fischer, p p . 6 7 - 7 6 ; C o o r n a e r t , p p . 1 5 2 - 1 7 1 .
^ N a t a l i e D a v i s , " T r a d e U n i o n , " p. 5 3 .
Coornaert, pp. 225-230.
24 Youth a n d History

T h e celibate tradition of schools a n d universities served m u c h t h e


same purpose for another class of y o u n g p e o p l e . T h e r e t o o a c o m ­
bination of paternal a n d fraternal g o v e r n m e n t served to institution­
alize a n d regularize the p r o l o n g e d period of y o u t h . Masters i m p o s e d
the s a m e moral a n d social restrictions o n their pupils, w h e t h e r t h e y
w e r e 12 or 25. O x f o r d University rules w h i c h cloistered y o u n g m e n
as if they w e r e c h i l d r e n , subjecting all offenders to the birch w i t h o u t
regard to a g e , reflected t h e pervasive patriarchalism of t h e s e v e n ­
teenth a n d eighteenth centuries.^^ A t the same t i m e , h o w e v e r , a great
deal of f r e e d o m w a s a l l o w e d t h e students to organize t h e m s e l v e s a n d
create fraternal forms of self-government. O l d e r youths t o o k charge
of the y o u n g e r , a n d up to t h e early nineteenth century m a n y of E n g ­
land's most prestigious boarding schools w e r e r u l e d , in large m e a s ­
ure, by their students. Pupils had their o w n rites of initiation for n e w ­
c o m e r s , w h i c h reinforced the solidarity of the group against t h e
m a s t e r s . I n G e r m a n y , the parallels b e t w e e n student a n d craft prac­
tices w e r e e v e n m o r e e v i d e n t . T h e r e the n o v i c e student, called t h e
adolescens, w a s subjected to a p r o l o n g e d hazing, lasting up to a year.
N o t until he passed severe social a n d moral tests w a s h e admitted to
the c o m p a n y of his peers as an " h o n o r a b l e f e l l o w " (ehrlicher
Bursch).^^
T h e r e too tension existed b e t w e e n the pupils a n d their masters;
but, o n the w h o l e , the most e n l i g h t e n e d educators of the d a y , i n ­
cluding Philip M e l a n c h t h o n , l o o k e d favorably u p o n the tradition of
student self-discipline, despite its excesses.^^ T h e fraternal spirit c o m ­
p l e m e n t e d the goals of Latin e d u c a t i o n in any case. T h e s e w e r e , as
W a l t e r O n g has suggested, as m u c h social as they w e r e intellectual;
for education in a difficult a n d increasingly alien language w a s not
functional in an e c o n o m i c sense but did serve as a kind of p r o l o n g e d
rite of passage for boys entering elite status, reinforcing t h e b o u n d ­
aries b e t w e e n t h e m a n d the c o m m o n p e o p l e . N o t i n g the parallels
b e t w e e n the sex-segregated schools of the Early M o d e r n period a n d
the cohorts of novices in primitive society w h o are cloistered f r o m
w o m e n d u r i n g their initiation p e r i o d , O n g notes that " p e o p l e s of
simple culture h a v e , almost universally, a systematic c e r e m o n i a l i n ­
duction of adolescent youths into full participation in tribal, as o p -

·* P a n t i n , p p . 5 - 8 .
•«Mack, pp. 31-34, 38-42.
««Waas, pp. 15-18.
«^ W a a s , p. 1 9 ; A r i e s , p p . 2 4 1 - 2 5 2 .
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial Europe 25

posed to family a n d clan, life." In this case, h o w e v e r , it w a s t h e


prolongation as w e l l as the separation functions of the rite of passage
that w e r e important. Latin education served to isolate boys from t h e
w o r l d , particularly from the w o r l d of w o m e n , for w h o m classical lan­
guages w e r e still a mystery in the sixteenth a n d s e v e n t e e n t h c e n ­
turies. Humanists like Sir T h o m a s Elyot w e r e quite explicit about the
necessity of this separation: " A f t e r that a childe is c o m e to seven
years of a g e , I h o l d e it expedient that h e b e taken from the c o m p a n y
of w o m e n , savynge that h e m a y h a v e , o n e y e r e , or t w o at the most,
an auncient a n d sad m a t r o n e attending o n h y m in his c h a m b e r . "
T h e vernacular, like the w o m e n w h o spoke it, w a s v i e w e d as a d a n ­
ger; Latin, as an instrument of segregation, c a m e to b e l o o k e d u p o n
as t o u g h e n i n g the moral fibre. A s the t o n g u e of an exclusive a l l - m a l e
society, it served the same purposes as the secret signs a n d lingo of
the crafts in prolonging y o u t h .
Universities also had their fraternal organizations, ranging from the
elaborate G e r m a n regional brotherhoods (Landsmannschaften) to the
m o r e informal groups w h i c h h e l p e d organize student life in the O x ­
ford colleges. T o a greater or lesser d e g r e e , they all p r o v i d e d social
welfare a n d moral support, e v e n , as in the case of s o m e G e r m a n
fraternities, offering funeral benefits to their m e m b e r s . T h e convivial
customs of student fraternities found their parallel in other p r e p r o -
fessional institutions, such as the English Inns of C o u r t , the P a r l e m e n t
of Paris, or w h e r e v e r e d u c a t e d bachelors g a t h e r e d . T h e fraternities of
y o u n g clerks and lawyers w e r e most visible at festival a n d holiday
times, w h e n corporate groups participated in civil pageantry, playing
pranks, m o c k i n g the foibles of their elders, a n d generally turning the
patriarchal social order upside d o w n for a brief m o m e n t of fraternal
revel. T h e tradition of youthful m o c k e r y w a s b o r r o w e d from the
M e d i e v a l Feast of Fools, a Christmas custom in w h i c h novices a n d
choir boys inverted the religious order and h o n o r e d a " b o y b i s h o p "
elected from their ranks, parodying a n d m o c k i n g their regular s u p e ­
riors. B y the sixteenth century, o n c e the Feast had b e e n expelled
from the French c h u r c h , its functions w e r e absorbed by secular fool
societies (société joyeuse), the most famous of w h i c h w a s the P a r i ­
sian Enfants-sans-souci, c o m p o s e d , as the n a m e implies, of the y o u n g
bachelors of the city. Closely associated w i t h it w a s the K i n g d o m of
B a s o c h e , m a d e up of clerks of the P a r l e m e n t of Paris. Similar customs

' O n g , pp. 115-116.


' O n g , p. 1 2 2 .
26 Youth a n d History

w e r e o b s e r v e d in t h e Oxford a n d C a m b r i d g e colleges a n d at the L o n ­


d o n Inns of C o u r t ; a n d carnival societies w e r e also c o m m o n in G e r ­
m a n y , w h e r e bachelor m e m b e r s of the professions e l e c t e d their
Prince of Fools a n d p a r a d e d his insults o n selected occasions.^"
O n the surface, these fraternities w o u l d s e e m to threaten patri­
archy, but their toleration by adults hints at their real functions, w h i c h
w e r e profoundly moral a n d conservative. T h e elders u n d o u b t e d l y
relished the release that the festival revels represented, but they also
appreciated the n e e d for conviviality a n d control for y o u n g persons
a w a y from h o m e . T h e a c a d e m i c calendar p r e v e n t e d C a m b r i d g e stu­
dents from returning h o m e o n holidays, a n d it w a s for this reason
that the masters there o p p o s e d t h e abolition of the Christmas version
of the Feast of Fools, w h e n this w a s p r o p o s e d in the m i d - s e v e n t e e n t h
century. A s o n e of t h e d o n s put it, in the conviviality of those f e w
days " t h e y m o r e discover the disposition of Scholars t h e n than in
the t w e l v e months b e f o r e . " O n l y w h e n t h e urban fool societies
began to d a b b l e in political a n d religious controversy did they c o m e
in for official disfavor; a n d e v e n then m a n y m a n a g e d to linger o n
into the eighteenth century.^^ ^ t C a m b r i d g e t h e Christmas revel
lasted until 1 8 8 1 , by w h i c h t i m e most students no longer stayed in
college o v e r the holidays, d u e to the accessibility of i m p r o v e d trans­
portation."^^

VII
Craft, student, a n d professional fraternities met t h e needs of youths
w h o w e r e o n their o w n in t h e cities or traveling in search of scholar­
ship or training. T h e y w e r e , h o w e v e r , minority institutions in a s o ­
ciety in w h i c h m o r e than 8 5 % of the population lived o n t h e land.
The patriarchal h o u s e h o l d m e t t h e requirements of t h e majority of
y o u t h , a n d t h e dutiful father of the h o u s e s a w to it that those e n -

^°Welsford, pp. 204-212.


Q u o t e d i n W e l s f o r d , p. 218.
^^Welsford, pp. 194-195.
" Porter, pp. 283-285.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial E u r o p e 27

trusted to his care o b s e r v e d the rituals of family life—sitting d o w n


to the c o m m o n m e a l , observing the round of prayers and c h u r c h -
going, retiring and rising at hours prescribed by the seasons and the
e c o n o m y . But h o w e v e r carefully he might try to oversee his charges,
there w e r e still times w h e n they c o u l d escape the paternal e y e . In
preindustrial society, slack seasons w e r e c o m m o n e n o u g h a n d in
s u m m e r , w h e n the chores w e r e d o n e , w a r m evenings p r o v i d e d o p ­
portunity for unregulated free t i m e . In a d d i t i o n , there w e r e those
occasions w h e n y o u n g p e o p l e w e r e m o v i n g b e t w e e n h o u s e h o l d s ,
times that w e r e regulated to s o m e d e g r e e by the seasonal " h i r i n g "
fairs w h i c h had a special m e a n i n g in the calendar of the y o u n g .
In England, the spring and fall dates marking the b e g i n n i n g and
end of the g r o w i n g season, w h e n masters bargained w i t h their serv­
ants and laborers, w e r e popularly associated w i t h customs a n d festi­
vals of the y o u n g . M a y D a y , w h i c h c o i n c i d e d w i t h o n e of the most
important hiring fairs—called " P a c k Rag D a y " — h a d b e e n tradition­
ally associated w i t h d a n c i n g , games, and general revelry."^^ Its signifi­
cance d e r i v e d not only f r o m the fact that great numbers of youths
c a m e together in the market t o w n s , but also from the fact that it w a s
o n e of those brief but intense m o m e n t s of release from the disci­
pline of labor and of d e p e n d e n c e on the patriarchal h o u s e h o l d . In
Lincolnshire, another major revel occurred in m i d s u m m e r w h e n , as
Philip Stubbs described it in the late sixteenth century,^^

all t h e w i l d h e a d s of t h e p a r i s h , c o n v e n t i n g t o g e t h e r , choose them a


grand captain (of all m i s c h i e f ) w h o m they ennoble with t h e title of
" m y L o r d of M i s r u l e , " a n d h i m t h e y c r o w n w i t h g r e a t s o l e m n i t y , and
a d o p t for the king. This K i n g a n o i n t e d c h o o s e t h forth twenty, forty,
threescore or a hundred lusty g u t s , l i k e t o h i m s e l f , t o w a i t u p o n his
lordly majesty a n d to guard his n o b l e p e r s o n . . . . T h e n m a r c h t h e s e
heathen company towards the church and churchyard, their pipers
piping, their d r u m m e r s thundering, their stumps d a n c i n g , their bells
jingling, their handkerchiefs s w i n g i n g a b o u t their heads like madmen,
their hobbyhorses and other monsters skirmishing amongst the
rout. . . . T h e y h a v e also certain papers, wherein is p a i n t e d some
b a b b l e r y o r o t h e r of i m a g e r y w o r k , a n d t h e s e t h e y c a l l " m y L o r d of
Misrule's b a d g e s . " T h e s e they give to e v e r y o n e that will give money
for them to maintain them in their heathenry, devilry, whoredom,
drunkenness, pride or w h a t not. A n d w h o will not b e buxom to them
and give them m o n e y for these their devilish cognizances, they are
m o c k e d a n d f l o u t e d at n o t a little.

^* H o b s b a w m a n d Rude, p p . 38-39.
' " S t u b b s ' s The Anatomie of Abuses (1583), as q u o t e d in B a r b e r , p p . 2 7 - 2 8 .
28 Youth a n d History

Stubbs's account is not w i t h o u t its biases, for h e w a s o n e of the


sternest critics of y o u t h a n d an e n e m y of frivolity in any f o r m . W h i l e
M a y d a n c i n g a n d m i d s u m m e r revels may have p r o d u c e d excesses,
the highly ritualized social theater of the Lords of M i s r u l e a n d similar
youthful cohorts had another, strongly m o r a l , side. S u c h m u m m e r y
w a s in fact an expression of a highly organized a n d disciplined y o u t h
culture that existed at the village level across E u r o p e . T h e s e y o u t h
groups took various n a m e s — A b b e y s of M i s r u l e in France, Brüder­
schaften in G e r m a n y a n d parts of S w i t z e r l a n d — b u t they s h o w e d a
remarkable similarity in form and purpose. Theirs w a s the fraternity
of rural y o u t h in the sixteenth a n d s e v e n t e e n t h centuries, performing
functions of social control a n d moral support similar to the student
and corporate brotherhoods of the t o w n s .
W e k n o w little of the historical origins of village y o u t h groups,
though it seems they must h a v e b e e n an integral part of rural life for
centuries. T h e y w e r e strongest in Early M o d e r n Europe in those areas
w h e r e c o m m u n i t i e s w e r e not yet d e e p l y d i v i d e d b e t w e e n rich a n d
poor. T h e r e they i n v o l v e d all the y o u t h of the village from the age
of about 14 until marriage. W h i l e the main groups w e r e primarily
m a l e , f e m a l e cohorts s o m e t i m e s f o r m e d satellite bodies. W h e t h e r
m e m b e r s h i p w a s in any w a y obligatory cannot b e d e t e r m i n e d , but
in those areas w h e r e village unity w a s still p r o n o u n c e d it seems likely
that almost all unmarried y o u t h w e r e involved.^^ In G e r m a n y , entry
usually c o i n c i d e d w i t h confirmation, a n d there a p p e a r to have b e e n
certain initiation p r o c e d u r e s , c o m p l e t e w i t h hazing, for the n o v i c e s .
A strict hierarchy of age prevailed in most cases, the bachelors in
their m i d - t w e n t i e s exercising leadership until marriage forced t h e m
to d r o p out of the group. P e r m a n e n t bachelors w e r e tolerated until
30 or so, a n d then ceased to exercise influence o v e r t h e y o u n g e r
m e m b e r s . Thus, barring a dearth of marriage partners or s o m e dis­
ruption of the normal village flow of inheritance opportunities, t h e
y o u t h groups w e r e constantly changing in composition.^^
As far as can b e d e t e r m i n e d , the solidarity of the group f o u n d no
support in separate e c o n o m i c functions or living arrangements, as is
the case of age cohorts in s o m e African societies. Neither sex lived
separated from the usual h o u s e h o l d units, except w h e r e herding or
similar pastoral occupations d r e w youths a w a y from t h e villages for

W i k m a n , p p . 40ff; H o r n s t e i n , p p . 119ff; a n d N a t a l i e D a v i s , " R e a s o n s of M i s r u l e , "


pp. 51-57.
" W i k m a n , pp. 363-370.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial Europe 29

brief periods of the year. This a p p l i e d mainly to pasture regions,


w h e r e e v e n the girls might sleep apart in s u m m e r ; yet, e v e n t h e r e ,
most of the youth's w o r k i n g day w a s spent in the c o m p a n y of adults,
leaving only the idle h o u r s — e v e n i n g s , holidays, slack seasons—for
peer group activities.
W h i l e the group's e c o n o m i c functions w e r e nil, their civic a n d
moral duties w e r e recognized as b e i n g highly significant. In s o m e
parts of Early M o d e r n E u r o p e , y o u t h groups still served as local m i ­
litia, drilling together a n d participating as a group in the civil c e r e ­
m o n i e s of their communities.^^ But e v e n w h e r e central authorities
had taken o v e r military functions, y o u t h w a s often mobilized by t h e
c h u r c h , w h i c h gave their groups p r o m i n e n c e in religious processions
marking the important days of the Christian year. T h e identification
of y o u t h w i t h Christian symbols of regeneration d e r i v e d f r o m earlier
pagan association of the y o u n g w i t h the p o w e r s of fertility, a notion
still popular a m o n g the peasantry. M i d s u m m e r d a n c i n g a n d courting
that marked pre-Christian s u m m e r revels b e c a m e an established part
of St. J o h n ' s D a y during the M e d i e v a l p e r i o d ; a n d the church's sanc­
tion of games and other youthful activities o n S h r o v e a n d Easter attest
to further links b e t w e e n pagan traditions a n d the Christian notions
of regeneration.^^
T h e importance of their functions w a s reflected in the high d e g r e e
of organization attained by y o u t h groups in t h e S i e b e n g e b i r g e region
of w e s t e r n G e r m a n y a n d the G r a u b ü n d e n area of Switzerland.^^ T h e r e ,
in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, they had their o w n w r i t ­
ten law, w i t h a primitive court system c o m p l e t e w i t h fines a n d other
punishments. These self-regulating bodies a p p e a r to h a v e e v o l v e d
along w i t h militia a n d other civic functions, but their major c o n c e r n
appears to have b e e n moral a n d sexual c o n d u c t rather than purely
civil matters. A l t h o u g h it is difficult to generalize about a p h e n o m e ­
non that took such different forms and w a s k n o w n by various n a m e s
according to geographical region, it w o u l d s e e m that chief a m o n g
the Early M o d e r n y o u t h groups' responsibility w a s t h e regulation of
c o m m u n a l sexuality, particularly the access to marriage.
W e k n o w that G e r m a n Brüderschaften exercised tight control o v e r
the eligible females in their villages, limiting access not only of their

^ H o r n s t e i n , p. 120.
^ S p a m e r , p p . 2 1 5 - 2 2 1 ; P o r t e r , p p . 9 7 - 1 4 6 ; N a t a l i e D a v i s , " R e a s o n s of M i s r u l e , "
pp. 41-49.
H o r n s t e i n , p. 120.
30 Youth a n d History

o w n m e m b e r s but also of intruders f r o m t h e outside a n d of o l d e r


m e n w h o might pose a threat to t h e p o o l of brides. K. R o b e r t W i k -
man's fascinating study of premarital customs in northern E u r o p e
confirms the impressions of generations of folklorists that these v i l ­
lage bands p l a y e d a most important role in regulating courting pat­
terns, e v e n to the point of influencing the c h o i c e of mates. S o c i a l i z ­
ing, w h i c h most often took the form of nighttime visiting, w a s m a n ­
aged largely by the group itself, w h o s e norms permitted the visiting
of girls in their b e d r o o m s but s t o p p e d short of legitimizing sexual
intercourse for any but t h e b e t r o t h e d . T h e rigorous rules of " b u n ­
d l i n g " w e r e designed to prolong chastity to t h e point of betrothal
and to regulate access to the marriage market. Y o u n g e r boys w h o
s h o w e d themselves too precocious in courtship w e r e dealt w i t h s e ­
verely by the older lads; a n d girls w h o w e r e k n o w n to b e p r o m i s ­
cuous w e r e also c o e r c e d , their d o o r w a y s d e c o r a t e d w i t h the o b s c e n e
s y m b o l of the gorse bush.^^
T h e b e h a v i o r of m a l e outsiders a n d w i d o w e r s w a s carefully scruti­
nized. Girls are k n o w n to h a v e b e e n equally jealous of o l d e r w o m e n ,
w i d o w s and spinsters, w h o p o s e d c o m p e t i t i o n for the attentions of
their y o u n g swains.^^ v i l l a g e youths c o u l d b e brutal t o w a r d those
w h o they felt e n d a n g e r e d their o w n chances of marriage, but v i o l e n c e
w a s usually the last resort in a society w h e r e ritual symbols of antag­
onism w e r e still readily available. Y o u t h had at its disposal an ancient
stock of frightening effigies, rough music (profane songs), a n d m o c k ­
ing p a n t o m i m e w i t h w h i c h to deal w i t h its enemies.®^ Ready w i t h tin
pans a n d horns u n d e r t h e lecher's w i n d o w , a n d quick to j o i n the
charivari of the s e c o n d w e d d i n g of an old m a n a n d a y o u n g b r i d e ,
the Brüderschaften a n d the A b b e y s of M i s r u l e w e r e self-interested
enforcers of the moral a n d social equilibrium of village life.
In a typical rural charivari, a recently remarried w i d o w e r might find
himself a w a k e n e d by the c l a m o r of t h e c r o w d , an effigy of his d e a d
w i f e thrust up to his w i n d o w a n d a likeness of himself, p l a c e d back­
w a r d o n an ass, d r a w n through t h e streets for his neighbors to see.®^
Paying of a " c o n t r i b u t i o n " to the Lord of M i s r u l e might quiet his

W l k m a n , pp. 367-372; Spamer, pp. 170-175, 202-204; Myrdal, pp. 42-45.


N a t a l i e D a v i s , " R e a s o n s of M i s r u l e , " p p . 5 3 - 5 4 ; W i k m a n , p p . 3 6 3 - 3 6 5 , 3 7 1 - 3 7 2 .
^ H o l e , English Folklore, p p . 16, 2 4 ; P o r t e r , p p . 1 1 1 - 1 1 2 ; N a t a l i e D a v i s , " R e a s o n s
of M i s r u l e , " p p . 5 3 - 5 4 ; Edv^ard P. T h o m p s o n , " R o u g h M u s i c , " p p . 2 8 5 - 3 1 2 .
^ D e s c r i p t i o n s in E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n , " R o u g h M u s i c , " p p . 2 8 7 - 2 8 8 .
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial Europe 31

youthful tormentors, but by that t i m e the v o i c e s of village c o n s c i e n c e


had m a d e their point. S e c o n d marriages invariably d r e w the greatest
wrath a n d , by contrast, e n d o g a m o u s marriages of y o u n g p e o p l e of
roughly the same age w e r e the occasion of the y o u t h groups' rejoic­
ing. In that case, the functions of charivari w e r e reversed a n d the
c o u p l e w e r e a c c o m p a n i e d by a noisy c r o w d to their w e d d i n g b e d ,
the ritual send-off of its former m e m b e r s by the p e e r group. T h e
marriage feast, a n d the A b b e y ' s participation in it, s y m b o l i z e d the
central purpose of the y o u t h group, w h i c h w a s to p r o v i d e a pro­
longed rite of passage from roughly the onset of puberty to the
point of marriage.^^
O f course, it w a s o v e r the selection of mates that the preindustrial
forms of fraternity w e r e most likely to clash w i t h paternal interests.
Parents w e r e naturally c o n c e r n e d w i t h marriage as a means of i m ­
proving the family's holdings a n d status in the c o m m u n i t y , a n d it w a s
not u n c o m m o n for w e l l - t o - d o peasants to w i t h h o l d their daughters
from peer group activity in order to protect this vital interest. In times
of severe population g r o w t h a n d pauperization, such as the late six­
teenth and early seventeenth centuries, the p o w e r of the y o u t h
groups must have u n d e r g o n e severe c h a l l e n g e . W e k n o w that peer
group structures w e r e w e a k e r in areas of social a n d e c o n o m i c het­
erogeneity, particularly in England w h e r e the division of the rural
population into the landed a n d the landless w a s perhaps the most
a d v a n c e d . W h i l e the customs of Misrule survived in various parts of
Britain, the corporate forms of the A b b e y s themselves did not.^^ Y e t ,
there is no reason to b e l i e v e that e c o n o m i c modernization resulting
in the disruption of c o m m u n a l unity necessarily m e a n t d e c l i n e for
the y o u t h groups. It may be that, in the seventeenth a n d eighteenth
centuries, these groups b e c a m e e v e n m o r e important as w h a t
Robert W i k m a n has called a " k i n d of corrective to paternal d e s p o t ­
ism." T h e survivals of the charivari certainly served a function m u c h
like that of the "rituals of r e b e l l i o n " in s o m e African societies, ex­
pressing the collective morality and c o m m i t m e n t to tradition by
calling attention to lapses of both the y o u n g and old alike.^^

^ O n t h e p a r t i c i p a t i o n of y o u t h g r o u p s in m a r r i a g e c e r e m o n i e s , s e e S p a m e r , p p .
1 7 6 - 1 8 6 ; H o l e , English Folklore, pp. 21-23.
E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n , " R o u g h M u s i c , " p p . 2 9 5 - 2 9 6 .
W i k m a n , p. 359.
^ S e e C l u c k m a n , p p . 39ff.
32 Youth a n d History

VIII
Transplanted traditions of fraternity flourished in t o w n as w e l l as
countryside, a n d as late as t h e early nineteenth century, the signs of
Misrule c o u l d still b e read in Lancashire w e a v i n g c o m m u n i t i e s . S a m
B a m f o r d r e m e m b e r e d that " a gorse bush indicated a w o m a n notori­
ously i m m o d e s t ; a n d a holly bush, o n e l o v e d in secret; a tup's horn
intimated that a m a n or w o m a n w a s faithless to marriage; a branch
of sapling, truth in l o v e ; a n d a sprig of birch, a pretty girl." Yet,
the d e m o g r a p h i c situation of the t o w n s t e n d e d to b e different, w i t h
the p o o l of eligible m e n a n d w o m e n less restricted a n d t h e c o n c e r n s
of y o u t h less c e n t e r e d o n the p r o b l e m s of inheritance a n d control
of access to marriage. M a n y of the y o u n g migrants to the preindus­
trial city had given up h o p e of a landed inheritance a n d thus had
no vested interest in maintaining or regulating the traditional mar­
riage market. T h e y t e n d e d instead to b e m o r e c o n c e r n e d w i t h bread
prices a n d w a g e levels, w i t h t h e result that t h e o l d rural forms of
charivari w e r e turned to n e w e n d s in sixteenth- a n d s e v e n t e e n t h -
century cities.
B o t h Natalie Davis a n d E d w a r d T h o m p s o n h a v e n o t e d a p r o ­
n o u n c e d shift, in urban settings, f r o m charivaris against s e c o n d mar­
riages to protests against nagging w i v e s a n d , in t h e case of early
nineteenth-century E n g l a n d , w i f e beaters.^^ W h a t e v e r changes in t h e
status of the f e m a l e m a y h a v e b e e n i n v o l v e d , this c h a n g e indicates a
d e c l i n e of t h e traditional c o n c e r n w i t h t h e p o o l of eligible mates.
Decreasing anxiety about the marriage market w a s paralleled, h o w ­
ever, by rising discontent w i t h other aspects of life, a n d w i t h increas­
ing f r e q u e n c y the instruments of M i s r u l e w e r e directed against e c o ­
n o m i c a n d e v e n political targets. T h e A b b e y s of M i s r u l e in the larger
sixteenth- a n d seventeenth-century French t o w n s t e n d e d to f o r m
along o c c u p a t i o n a l , n e i g h b o r h o o d , a n d class lines, adapting tradi-

Q u o t e d in E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n , Making of English Working Class, p. 4 0 6 .


N a t a l i e D a v i s , " R e a s o n s of M i s r u l e , " p p . 6 5 - 6 6 ; E d w a r d P . T h o m p s o n , "Rough
Music," pp. 296-302.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Youth in Preindustrial Europe 33

tional rituals to n e w forms of protest. In sixteenth-century L y o n , for


e x a m p l e , the guise of a traditional société joyeuse served as c o v e r
for a clandestine organization of j o u r n e y m e n printers. T h e C o m p a n y
of the Griffarins, as they called t h e m s e l v e s , w a s locked in e c o n o m i c
struggle w i t h t h e masters of the trade, a conflict that t o o k o n t h e
character of class rather than generation. T h e Griffarins w e l c o m e d
j o u r n e y m e n of all ages, including married m e n not usually admitted
to an A b b e y of M i s r u l e or a société joyeuse. T h e s e w e r e m e n w i t h ­
out h o p e of inheritance, w h o h a d taken t h e step of a b a n d o n i n g t h e
celibate state w h i l e still j o u r n e y m e n ; it w a s not suprising that for
t h e m the charivari had lost its original meaning.^^
Rituals of rebellion, w h i c h y o u t h had o n c e m o n o p o l i z e d , w e r e los­
ing their age specificity. In L a n g u e d o c , the instruments of M i s r u l e
w e r e taken up by w h o l e peasant villages in their protests against both
the exploitation by larger l a n d o w n e r s a n d the taxation a n d conscrip­
tion by the state. A c c o r d i n g to E m m a n u e l Le Roy Ladurie, the y o u t h
groups of sixteenth-century Cotes d u R h o n e w e r e " c e l l s for insur­
r e c t i o n . " ^2 In E n g l a n d , a familiar figure a m o n g t h e Lords of M i s r u l e ,
called " M o t h e r F o l l y " — a m a n dressed in w o m e n ' s clothing, w i t h
face masked or b l a c k e n e d — p l a y e d a p r o m i n e n t part in rural upris­
ings from the seventeenth through the early nineteenth century.®^^
A n d in their desperate d e f e n s e of t h e just price, eighteenth-century
English c r o w d s often transformed rough music, traditionally expres­
sive of moral indignation against lechers, into instruments of class
conflict. T h e miller's legendary p r o w e s s w i t h y o u n g w o m e n w h o
c a m e to his mill b e c a m e a c o n v e n i e n t m e t a p h o r for a different kind
of exploitation, e c o n o m i c rather than sexual.^^

Then the miller he laid her against the mill hopper


Merry a soul so wantonly
He pulled up her cloaths, and he put in the stopper
For says she ΙΊΙ have my corn ground small and free

Sexual a n d e c o n o m i c abuses have a l w a y s b e e n closely associated


in the popular m i n d ; a n d it may b e that exploitation of luckless girls
by old m e n , e m p l o y e r s , a n d heads of households, w a s increasing by

''^ N a t a l i e D a v i s , " T r a d e U n i o n , " p p . 5 1 - 5 5 .


" N a t a l i e D a v i s , " R e a s o n s of M i s r u l e , " p. 69.
E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n , " R o u g h M u s i c , " p p . 3 0 5 - 3 0 8 .
®* E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n , " M o r a l E c o n o m y , " p. 1 0 3 .
34 Youth a n d History

the early eighteenth century d u e to the desperation of the p o o r a n d


the b r e a k d o w n of t h e o l d moral pressures, including t h e y o u t h
group.^^ In any case, o b s c e n e gestures a n d profane songs that still
carried a trace of their original purpose w e r e finding their w a y into
political, e c o n o m i c , a n d e v e n religious controversy. M u c h to the dis-
pleasure of the church a n d secular authorities, French A b b e y s , such
as t h e D i j o n Mere Folie, the C o r n a r d s of L y o n , a n d t h e Enfants-sans-
souci of G u y e n n e , w e r e active in various types of sedition during the
sixteenth a n d seventeenth centuries. Increasingly, these A b b e y s a n d
others like t h e m c a m e u n d e r official c e n s u r e , resulting ultimately in
their dismemberment.^^
By the t i m e Louis XIII b a n n e d t h e Mere Folie in 1630, m a n y of the
other sociétés ¡oyeuses h a d lost their association w i t h y o u t h as s u c h ,
and had b e c o m e age h e t e r o g e n e o u s . M o s t included married as w e l l
as bachelor m e m b e r s , m a k i n g obsolete their original function of p r o -
longing the celibate c o n d i t i o n . A m o n g t h e literate p o p u l a t i o n , the
cartoon a n d t h e written satire w e r e replacing t h e street theatre of the
old A b b e y s of M i s r u l e as carriers of social a n d political criticism.
O n l y by retreating b e h i n d corporate w a l l s c o u l d the ancient tradi-
tions of y o u t h maintain their authenticity; a n d it w a s in t h e O x f o r d
a n d C a m b r i d g e colleges, as w e l l as at the Inns of C o u r t , that t h e
customs of y o u t h r e m a i n e d most pure. W e can detect s o m e of the
forms of M i s r u l e in the m e r r y m a k i n g of the L o n d o n " r a k e s " of the
eighteenth century, ill-bred y o u n g g e n t l e m e n w h o s e w i l d pranks a n d
violent b e h a v i o r demonstrated n o n e of t h e moral or social purpose
of the A b b e y s of o l d , h o w e v e r . T h e rakes a n d their counterparts o n
the C o n t i n e n t t e n d e d to b e cynical individualists w h o scoffed at the
concepts of t e m p e r a n c e a n d chastity. Their collective b e h a v i o r took
o n a bizarre, anarchical flavor, w i t h gangs of y o u n g g e n t l e m e n , of
w h i c h the " M o h o c k s " w e r e t h e most notorious, r o a m i n g the L o n d o n
streets, attacking bystanders, accosting helpless w o m e n , a n d gener-
ally calling into disrepute the traditions of M i s r u l e . N o longer tied
to calendar o c c a s i o n , a n d r a n d o m rather than ritualistic in character,
the revels of this n e w kind of y o u t h group m a r k e d t h e b e g i n n i n g of
a n e w phase in the social history of y o u t h .

" C a u s e s of i n c r e a s i n g i l l e g i t i m a c y rates a r e d i s c u s s e d by Edward Shorter, pp.


329-345.
N a t a l i e D a v i s , " R e a s o n s of M i s r u l e , " p p . 6 6 - 6 9 .
See W e l s f o r d , pp. 207-218.
• « T . S . G r a v e s ; J o n e s , p p . 2 9 - 3 0 , 140ff, 1 5 5 - 1 5 6 , 1 7 4 , 200, 210.
Like a Family a n d a Fraternity: Y o u t h in Preindustrial Europe 35

IX
In the villages of E u r o p e , h o w e v e r , y o u t h groups preserved their
functions w e l l into the nineteenth century. H e n r y M a y h e w , touring
G e r m a n y in the 1860s, c a m e u p o n functioning m a l e a n d f e m a l e c o ­
horts w h o s e " b u n d l i n g " practices h e , as a g o o d V i c t o r i a n , misinter­
preted as licentiousness.^® Athletic contests that pitted bachelors
against married m e n c o n t i n u e d in English villages w e l l into the n i n e ­
teenth century, as did m a n y of the traditional revels associated w i t h
hiring a n d holidays.^^^ W e c a n n o t b e sure w h e t h e r they w e r e r e g u ­
lated by organized p e e r groups, but w e k n o w that courting habits in
areas like C a m b r i d g e s h i r e r e m a i n e d highly ritualized until v e r y late
in the nineteenth century. T h e r e , pregnant u n w e d girls w e r e still b e ­
ing serenaded w i t h rough music at t h e t i m e of the First W o r l d War.^^^
In the cities first a n d in the countryside later, the u n i q u e c o n d i ­
tions w h i c h had required of y o u t h a long period of self-denial w e r e
disappearing. T h e d e c l i n e of traditional corporate a n d c o m m u n a l
forms of y o u t h c o i n c i d e d w i t h the e m e r g e n c e of capitalism in agri­
culture a n d c o m m e r c e , w i t h t h e g r o w t h of t o w n s , a n d w i t h t h e i n ­
crease of centralized state control. Even before the c o m i n g of m a s ­
sive industrialization a n d urbanization, there w e r e signs that t h e old
forms w o u l d have to either adjust to n e w conditions or disappear.
W i t h the d e c l i n e of the peasant e c o n o m y , the c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n
inheritance a n d marriage w a s dissolving, o p e n i n g up n e w possibili­
ties for the y o u n g . But of e q u a l importance w i t h t h e e c o n o m i c
changes w a s the d e m o g r a p h i c transformation that w a s beginning in
the m i d d l e of the eighteenth century. This w a s to c h a n g e the d e v e l ­
o p m e n t a l cycle of the family a n d , w i t h it, the parameters of c h i l d ­
hood, youth, and adulthood.

^ M a y h e w , German Life, p p . 2 5 , 4 2 6 .
' « * M i n g a y , p. 2 5 0 ; a l s o M a n n i n g , p p . 3 1 2 , 317, 3 1 9 ; H o l e , English Sports, p. 5 6 ;
B r a i l s f o r d , p p . 207ff.
Porter, pp. 8-9.
f. ΐ

f f * H1 f : « g

A b o u r g e o i s c o u p l e s h y f r o m a p a r a d e of P a r i s s t r e e t u r c h i n s d u r i n g t h e Revolu­
t i o n of 1848 in this s e l e c t i o n f r o m H o n o r é - V i c t o r i n Daumier's "Alarms and Alarm­
ists" series, d o n e in 1848. Reproduction of Plate 40, "The Dangerous Children,"
published in H o w a r d P. V i n c e n t , Daumier and His World (Evanston, III.: North­
w e s t e r n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1968).
2
Troubled Youth: The Consequences
of Modernization, 1770-1870

G e n e r a t i o n a l tensions often characterize societies in the


first stages of e c o n o m i c and political m o d e r n i z a t i o n , a n d E u r o p e w a s
no exception.1 Charles Fourier w a s exaggerating only to a d e g r e e
w h e n he described the social a n d e c o n o m i c conditions as causing
"fathers to desire the death of their children and children to desire
the death of their fathers." ^ T h e t h e m e of " s o n s against f a t h e r s " w a s
a familiar o n e in both the life a n d literature of the early nineteenth
century, leading J a m e s Fazy to publish in 1828 his On Gerontocracy,
a w o r k in w h i c h he v o i c e d the frustrations of a p o s t - N a p o l e o n i c g e n ­
eration w h o s e h o p e s a n d career ambitions had b e e n raised by the
d e m o c r a t i c revolution only to be t h w a r t e d by the Restoration. T h e
figures of the y o u n g student a n d ragged street urchin in Delacroix's
famous painting, " L i b e r t y Leading the P e o p l e , " stuck in the minds of
c o n t e m p o r a r i e s , for w h o m anything associated w i t h y o u t h n o w had
radical c o n n o t a t i o n s ; thus the n a m e s of avant-garde artistic a n d i n ­
tellectual m o v e m e n t s such as the Jeunes France and the " Y o u n g G e r ­
m a n s , " as w e l l as the titles of revolutionary nationalist m o v e m e n t s
like Mazzini's " Y o u n g E u r o p e . " ^
T h e traditional association of y o u t h w i t h r e n e w a l a n d regeneration
served any n u m b e r of purposes. " P l a c e the y o u t h at the head of the

^ E i s e n s t a d t , Modernization, p p . 2 6 - 3 1 ; a l s o E i s e n s t a d t , Generation to Generation.


^ F o u r i e r , p. 2 8 2 .
' d e Sauvigny, pp. 238-240.

37
38 Youth a n d History

insurgent masses; d o y o u not k n o w w h a t strength is latent in those


y o u n g bands, w h a t magic influences the voices of the y o u n g h a v e o n
the c r o w d , " w r o t e Mazzini.^ But the magic, o n c e released, w a s not
to b e m o n o p o l i z e d by t h e l e f t — o n c e t h e tables w e r e t u r n e d a n d t h e
revolutionaries w e r e installed in p o w e r , it w a s inevitable that the
traditions of y o u t h should b e appropriated also by the conservatives.
This h a p p e n e d in France soon after the Terror, w h e n t h e jeunesse
dorée paraded their c o n t e m p t for revolutionary discipline in the
cause of counterrevolution.^ Later, in England, after that country's first
electoral reform, a n e w generation of conservatives, led by B e n j a m i n
Disraeli, f o r m e d the Y o u n g England M o v e m e n t ; its tactics including
m a n y of the old devices of M i s r u l e , Karl M a r x w a s led to d e s c r i b e it
as "half lamentation, half l a m p o o n . " «
B e n e a t h these manifestations of unrest lay the p r o f o u n d d e m o ­
graphic, e c o n o m i c , a n d social changes that w e r e transforming agrar­
ian Europe into the w o r l d ' s first industrialized a n d urbanized society.
M o d e r n i z a t i o n affected different groups in different w a y s , a n d in t h e
p e r i o d 1770-1870 t h e traditions of y o u t h w e r e r e d r a w n a l o n g class
lines, w i t h the laboring classes d e v e l o p i n g their o w n distinctive y o u t h
culture organized a r o u n d the urban n e i g h b o r h o o d gang, a n d the
u p p e r a n d m i d d l e classes creating forms exclusively their o w n , i n ­
cluding the m o d e r n student m o v e m e n t a n d b o h e m i a n i s m . This p r o c ­
ess w a s s o m e t i m e s simply a matter of replacing the o l d e r traditions
of y o u t h , but m o r e often it i n v o l v e d adapting their characteristics to
n e w conditions. Tradition d i d not a l w a y s stand in the w a y of c h a n g e ,
but interacted w i t h it in w a y s that m a d e custom itself an important
agent of transformation. T h e layer u p o n layer of y o u t h cultures d e ­
posited during this and later periods w e r e a product of a dialectical
process that must be explored w i t h respect to continuity as w e l l as
to c h a n g e .

* M a z z i n i q u o t e d in H e r b e r t M o l l e r , p. 2 4 1 .
' L e f e b v r e , p p . 4 9 - 5 5 , 80ff.
* Marx a n d Engels.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 39

I
J o h n Stuart M i l l called this the " a g e of transition," w h e n " m a n k i n d
have o u t g r o w n old institutions a n d o l d doctrines a n d have not yet
acquired n e w o n e s . " ^ " T r a n s i t i o n " applies not only to e c o n o m i c a n d
political structures, but to the family a n d the individual life c y c l e ,
both of w h i c h u n d e r w e n t f u n d a m e n t a l transformation in the p e r i o d
1770-1870. A major factor w a s the steep rise in population that began
in the m i d d l e of the eighteenth century. T h e population of E u r o p e
rose from approximately 125 million in 1750 to 208 million a century
later, increasing to almost 300 million in 1900. D u r i n g t h e late eight­
eenth and for a greater part of the nineteenth century, each succes­
sive generation w a s larger than its predecessor, a n d y o u n g e r age
groups increased e v e n b e y o n d their high preindustrial proportions,
the ratio of the age group 15-29 to the age group 30 a n d o v e r r e a c h ­
ing almost 6 5 % in the late eighteenth century, a n d o v e r 7 0 % in
England by the 1840s.«
A l t h o u g h the causes of the eighteenth-century population explo­
sion still remain to be explained by historical d e m o g r a p h e r s , it is
clear that this growth took place initially under the same conditions
of high mortality and high fertility that had b e e n characteristic of
preindustrial society. C h i l d mortality did not begin to fall significantly
until the late nineteenth century. Sharp fluctuations in death rates,
caused by f a m i n e , e p i d e m i c , a n d uncertain f o o d supply, t e n d e d to
disappear by the m i d d l e of that century, but conditions in the n e w
industrial cities w e r e not such as to l o w e r the death rate a m o n g c h i l ­
dren and in m a n y places this actually increased. S o it w a s in G l a s g o w ,
for instance, w h e r e the death rate of children under 10 rose from 1
in 75 in 1821 to 1 in 48, 20 years later.» In Prussia, a country w h e r e
industrialization a n d urbanization occurred mainly in the s e c o n d half
of the century, the infant mortality rate for 1000 live-born males rose

' M i l l , p. 3.
« H e r b e r t M o l l e r , p. 250.
* M o r l e y , p. 7.
40 Youth a n d History

from 213 in t h e early 1860s to 222 at t h e turn of t h e century, only


then d r o p p i n g to the current levels of about 20 p e r thousand as the
impact of m o d e r n m e d i c i n e a n d sanitation began to have its effect.^^
O f c o u r s e , mortality rates v a r i e d e n o r m o u s l y by region a n d class.
A s a rule, the m o r e densely p o p u l a t e d a district, t h e higher t h e death
risk.ii W e a l t h also p l a y e d a p r o m i n e n t part, the English aristocracy
setting the pace of i m p r o v e m e n t in its o w n country, w i t h its life ex-
pectancy rising from 42.4 years for the cohort born 1690-1729 to 54.9
years for the cohort born 1830-1879.^^ L¡fe chances w e r e proportional
to position in society, as indicated by t h e fact that in L o n d o n in 1830
life expectancy for t h e gentry a n d t h e professional m i d d l e classes w a s
estimated at 44 y e a r s ; for t h e tradesmen a n d clerks, 25 y e a r s ; a n d
for the laborers a n d their families, 22 years.^^ After the aristocracy,
the m i d d l e classes s h o w e d the greatest i m p r o v e m e n t in infant m o r -
tality. B u t for t h e vast majority of the laboring classes, w h o m a d e up
8 5 % of the p o p u l a t i o n , the loss of children r e m a i n e d a f u n d a m e n t a l
fact of life until the beginning of the t w e n t i e t h century.^^ Why Weep-
est Thou?, a b o o k for mourners published in 1888, expressed the
experience of this age of transition.

And yet again


That elder Shepherd came: my heart grew faint—
He claimed another lamb; with sadder plaint,
Another!—she who, gentle as a saint.
Ne'er gave me pain . . .

R e d u c t i o n in fertility rates f o l l o w e d the same social a n d c h r o n o -


logical s e q u e n c e as mortality, apparently beginning first w i t h t h e u p -
per classes, f o l l o w e d by t h e m i d d l e a n d l o w e r - m i d d l e classes, a n d
reaching the laboring p o o r only t o w a r d the v e r y e n d of t h e n i n e -
teenth century. Class differences in fertility a n d mortality resulted in
a striking disparity in family size a m o n g various classes. In t h e d e c a d e
1890-1899, families of the English professional m i d d l e class a v e r a g e d
2.80 persons, about half that of manual laborers, w h o s e families w e r e

W r i g l e y , Population and History, pp. 164-171.


" A n n a W e b e r , p p . 343, 3 6 1 .
" Hollingsworth, pp. 66-70.
^ M o r l e y , p. 7.
^ B a n k s , Prosperity and Parenthood, pp. 194-195.
^ M o r l e y , p. 1 5 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1770-1870 47

Still preindustrial in size, averaging 5.11 members.i^ T h e a v e r a g e for


the total population at t h e t i m e w a s 4.34, e v i d e n c e that prior to 1900,
family limitation w a s practiced by only a small minority of the E n g ­
lish. In France, family limitation appears to have set in o n a w i d e ­
spread basis as early as the late eighteenth century, but this w a s an
exception to the E u r o p e a n pattern of the c o n t i n u a n c e of high fer­
tility a m o n g the mass of the p e o p l e until t h e e n d of the nineteenth
century.
W e have seen that in preindustrial E u r o p e it w a s precisely this c o n ­
dition of high fertility a n d high mortality, c o m b i n e d w i t h a particular
pattern of inheritance a n d marriage, that required the r e m o v a l of c h i l ­
dren from their families for that part of their life c y c l e defined a n d
institutionalized as " y o u t h . " T h e onset of industrialization a n d ur­
banization d i d not immediately alter the d e m o g r a p h i c conditions
underlying this traditional strategy of family survival but d i d c h a n g e
inheritance a n d marriage patterns in such a w a y as to seriously d i s ­
rupt the old d e v e l o p m e n t a l patterns. This w a s most a p p a r e n t a m o n g
the l o w e r strata of society, particularly a m o n g peasant a n d artisan
groups being d e p r i v e d of land and craft by the n e w e c o n o m i c order
and thus being left w i t h neither w e a l t h nor trade for their children
to inherit. Charles Fourier c l a i m e d to have o v e r h e a r d four artisans,
" a little a b o v e the poorest class," discussing their prospectsr^^

" I ' m a s k i n g t h a t girl in m a r r i a g e b e c a u s e s h e ' l l h a v e m o n e y ; t h e f a m i l y


is c o m f o r t a b l y s e t . Y o u c a n b e s u r e I d o n ' t w a n t t o b e a s u c k e r a g a i n .
T a k e a w i f e w h o h a s n ' t a p e n n y , t h e n t h e c h i l d r e n c o m e ; it's t h e d e v i l
t o t a k e c a r e of t h e m , it's h e l l . "
" T h e n y o u h a d a l o t of t h e m ? " s a i d o n e of t h e m .
" I h a d s i x — f e e d all that a n d t h e w i f e ! ! ! "
" W h a t ? Six? O h ! g o o d h e a v e n s ! a w o r k e r w h o h a r d l y e a r n s a t h i n g ,
t o f e e d six c h i l d r e n ! "
" Y e s , s i x ; b u t t h e y all d i e d , f o r t u n a t e l y f o r m e . A n d t h e m o t h e r ' s dead
too."

As Fourier a n d others pointed out, such distress w a s not limited to


the p o o r or the landless. T h e father w h o refused to give up t h e land
to his son w a s c o m m o n l y referred to as the p e r e qui vit trop (father
w h o lives t o o long) by French peasants; a n d the nineteenth century
saw a r e n e w e d attack o n the law of primogeniture in England as w e l l

^® W r i g l e y , Population and History, pp. 186-187.


" F o u r i e r , p. 2 8 2 .
42 Youth a n d History

as o n the Continent.!^ Faced w i t h the disruption of old patterns of


both paternity and fraternity, y o u t h of all classes began the painful
reassessment of traditional habits a n d values. T h e result of this proc­
ess w a s an a b u n d a n c e of n e w styles of behavior, e a c h representing
the attempt of a different segment of the y o u n g population to c o m e
to grips w i t h the challenge of the n e w industrial age.

II
Rapid growth of population w o u l d have b e e n sufficient to cause
severe strains o n traditional age relations, but t h e fact that this w a s
also a c c o m p a n i e d by the b r e a k d o w n of the traditional linkage b e ­
t w e e n inheritance a n d marriage m e a n t that the status of y o u t h w a s
fundamentally altered, giving birth to n e w patterns of personal a n d
group behavior only vaguely f o r e s h a d o w e d in earlier periods of ex­
pansion. In E n g l a n d , the process began w i t h the agricultural r e v o l u ­
tion of the eighteenth century, w h i c h i n v o l v e d the massive enclosure
of land a n d the final reduction of the peasantry to the status of l a n d ­
less w a g e laborers. T h e early phases of t h e capitalization of agricul­
ture favored the y o u n g by increasing their earning p o w e r . Increased
production of foodstuffs for a market e c o n o m y m e a n t m o r e intensive
use of w a g e labor a n d a d e c l i n e of old patriarchal arrangements, in­
cluding p a y m e n t in board and r o o m . D e m a n d for child a n d f e m a l e
labor rose until the e n d of t h e N a p o l e o n i c W a r s , e n c o u r a g i n g the
rural population of England to increase at a steady rate despite the
near subsistence levels o n w h i c h the n e w rural proletariat w e r e forced
to exist for most of the p e r i o d .
Rural society w a s dividing into three relatively w e l l - d e f i n e d ranks
— l a r g e r l a n d o w n e r s , tenant farmers, a n d landless l a b o r e r s — w h o
v i e w e d o n e another w i t h increasing suspicion. T h e tradition of hav­
ing laborers a n d servants " l i v i n g i n " had b e c o m e socially a n d e c o ­
nomically unacceptable to the l a n d o w n i n g elites a n d m a n y of the
farmers, w h o no longer w a n t e d their sons a n d daughters sitting d o w n

T h i r s k , p. 3 7 6 ; o n s i m i l a r c o n t r o v e r s y in F r a n c e , s e e d e S a u v i g n y , p p . 384ff.
' " O n these changes, see Slicher van Bath, pp. 195-208; Hobsbawm and Rude,
C h a p t e r s 1 - 2 ; W o l f r a m Fischer, p p . 4 1 5 - 4 3 5 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 43

at the same table w i t h c o m m o n folk. W h e r e servants w e r e kept, they


w e r e " b e l o w the stairs," no longer a part of the family as had b e e n
the case in the old patriarchal h o u s e h o l d . M a r k e t - o r i e n t e d l a n d o w n ­
ers w e r e finding that board a n d r o o m w e r e an unprofitable w a y of
paying for labor in any case. W i l l i a m C o b b e t t , w h o c o m p l a i n e d of
these n e w habits as an "infernal stock-jobbing s y s t e m , " described
the d e c l i n e of o n e such traditional boarding arrangement:^^

E v e r y t h i n g a b o u t this f a r m h o u s e w a s f o r m e r l y t h e s c e n e of p l a i n man­
ners a n d plentiful l i v i n g . . . . B u t all a p p e a r e d t o b e in a state of
d e c a y a n d n e a r of d i s u s e . T h e r e a p p e a r e d t o h a v e b e e n hardly any
family in t h a t house, w h e r e formerly there were, in all probability,
f r o m ten to fifteen m e n , boys, a n d maids. . . . W h y d o not farmers
n o w f e e d a n d l o d g e t h e i r w o r k p e o p l e , as t h e y d i d f o r m e r l y ? Because
t h e y c a n n o t k e e p t h e m u p o n so little a s t h e y g i v e t h e m in w a g e s . T h i s
is t h e real c a u s e of t h e c h a n g e .

T h e same class that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had


so jealously guarded the patriarchal system w a s n o w w i l l i n g to give
y o u n g laborers their i n d e p e n d e n c e , e v e n e n c o u r a g i n g t h e m to set up
their o w n h o u s e h o l d s , because it w a s n o w e c o n o m i c a l l y advanta­
geous to create an a b u n d a n c e of w a g e labor.
T h e rural p o o r had traditionally relieved themselves by placing
their children in the h o m e s of their betters, but n o w they had either
to keep t h e m at h o m e or to push t h e m further afield into the n e w
industrial cities. T h e latter alternative did not really b e c o m e o p e r a ­
tive in England until the 1830s and 1840s; a n d it appears that c o -
residence of parents a n d children w a s increasing in the late eight­
eenth a n d early nineteenth centuries. In any case, this w a s w h a t the
rural w e l f a r e system e n c o u r a g e d , for it gave grants in addition to
w a g e s to families w i t h children. W i t n e s s e s reported that " m e n w h o
receive but a small pittance k n o w that they have only to marry and
that pittance will be a u g m e n t e d in proportion to the n u m b e r of their
children. . . . But there w a s o n e thing better than to marry a n d have
a family, a n d that w a s to marry a m o t h e r of bastards. . . . A s o n e
y o u n g w o m a n of t w e n t y - f o u r w i t h four bastard children put it: 'If
she had o n e m o r e , she should be very comfortable.' "
A l t h o u g h their object of procreation w a s no longer to secure a m a l e
heir, the rural p o o r still regarded large n u m b e r s of children as the

^ Q u o t e d in R e d f o r d , p. 77.
R e d f o r d , p. 8 3 .
44 Youth a n d History

best guarantee of a comfortable old age.22 Subsisting o n t h e n e w l y


discovered foodstuff, the potato, rural laborers c o n t i n u e d to p r o d u c e
large families. In Ireland, a tradition of partible inheritance had
t e n d e d to subdivide the land into tiny plots, but parents c o n t i n u e d
to f o l l o w a strategy of high fertility.^^ " I t is general practice w i t h t h e m
to d i v i d e their land into portions, w h i c h are given to their children as
they get married. T h e last married frequently gets his father's cabin
along w i t h his portion of t h e g r o u n d , a n d there his parents like to
stop, from a feeling of attachment to t h e place w h e r e they have spent
their l i v e s . " In t h e e n d , t h e Irish strategy p r o d u c e d disastrous rural
o v e r p o p u l a t i o n a n d f a m i n e , causing thousands of y o u n g m e n a n d
w o m e n to begin emigrating in the 1840s, a n d ultimately forcing u p ­
w a r d the age of marriage for those w h o r e m a i n e d b e h i n d . A land of
unusually y o u n g families in t h e early nineteenth century, Ireland rap­
idly returned to a situation of strict primogeniture after the disastrous
1847 F a m i n e , t h e r e b y also returning to a system in w h i c h y o u n g e r
sons resigned themselves to long bachelorhoods.^^
Rural o v e r p o p u l a t i o n t h r e a t e n e d in England also, at least until 1830.
Families f o l l o w i n g a strategy of high fertility in w h a t w a s still a high
mortality situation c o n t i n u e d to p r o d u c e a surplus of o l d e r y o u t h ,
w h o w e r e pushed out of t h e h o m e as the n u m b e r of offspring b e ­
c a m e too great. N o longer subject to t h e discipline of " l i v i n g i n , " a n d
having access to w a g e s , these youths w e r e n o w a b l e to set up their
o w n households. W e l f a r e arrangements also e n c o u r a g e d y o u n g mar­
riage, thus contributing further to the population b o o m . M a n y s e e m
to h a v e settled near their kin, s h o w i n g n o eagerness to migrate in the
traditional manner. T h e parish system of w e l f a r e , w h i c h granted b e n e ­
fits only to those w h o c o u l d p r o v e their right of settlement, h a d a
g o o d deal to d o w i t h this; a n d during t h e period 1 7 5 1 - 1 8 3 1 , migra­
tion from England's agricultural counties actually fell.^® T h e resulting
situation of c o m p e t i t i o n at l o w w a g e s a n d u n e m p l o y m e n t w a s felt
most strongly t o w a r d the e n d of t h e 1820s, p r o d u c i n g a crisis w h i c h
broke forth in 1830 in the massive uprising of the rural p o o r k n o w n
as the " S w i n g R e b e l l i o n . "
N o t surprisingly, it w a s y o u n g unmarried m e n w h o w e r e a m o n g t h e

^ M i n g a y , p. 2 4 1 .
^ M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, pp. 81-83.
^ Q u o t e d in M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, p. 8 2 .
M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, pp. 78-79.
^ H o b s b a w m a n d R u d e , p p . 4 2 - 4 3 ; H a m m o n d a n d H a m m o n d , p. 2 0 4 ; Redford,
Chapters 4 - 5 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1770-1870 45

most active m a c h i n e - b r e a k e r s a n d rick-burners of that year. A c c o r d ­


ing to the historians of the m o v e m e n t , these w e r e the o n e s w h o
"suffered most from pauperization, since they r e c e i v e d least from
the parish a n d w e r e most likely to b e forced into the most d e g r a d ­
ing a n d useless kinds of parish labour, e.g. o n t h e road-gangs w h i c h
p r o v i d e d only too justified centres of disaffection." ^7 But social cus­
t o m had as m u c h to d o w i t h the form that rebellion took as did the
structure of the w o r k force. H e r e w e find t h e traditions of y o u t h
adapted to serve the purposes of e c o n o m i c protest. Rituals of M i s ­
rule p r o v e d effective in organizing entire c o m m u n i t i e s against e x p l o i ­
tation; masking w a s a feature of the early phases of m a c h i n e - b r e a k ­
ing; a n d processions, reminiscent of W h i t s u n or Plough M o n d a y
y o u t h festivals, b e c a m e regular m e a n s of rallying a c r o w d , intimidat­
ing the masters, making " c o l l e c t i o n s " from the rich in the n a m e of
the poor. T h e leaders of the protest, w h o , like t h e mythical f e l l o w
" S w i n g " from w h o m the m o v e m e n t d e r i v e d its n a m e , liked to fancy
themselves " c a p t a i n s , " playing that role in a fashion that reminds o n e
of the Lords of M i s r u l e of Stubbs's day. Eyewitnesses reported t h e
rioters as " b e i n g in general v e r y fine looking y o u n g m e n , a n d par­
ticularly w e l l dressed as if they put o n their best d o ' for the o c c a ­
s i o n . " 28 Similar recourse to the traditions of y o u t h w a s e v i d e n t in
other rural disturbances of the era, particularly in the so-called " R e ­
becca R i o t s " of 1839 in W a l e s , w h e r e the a v e n g i n g " R e b e c c a s " —
m e n dressed in w o m e n ' s clothing, w i t h faces blacked in the tradition
of m u m m e r s — a t t a c k e d toll houses a n d destroyed crops in the n a m e
of e c o n o m i c a n d social justice.^»

III
Similar interactions of tradition a n d c h a n g e w e r e e v i d e n t in other
parts of Europe w h e r e the d e m a n d for labor i n d u c e d increasing n u m ­
bers of y o u t h to remain in their villages rather than migrate in t h e

^ H o b s b a w m a n d R u d e , p. 6 2 .
^ H o b s b a w m a n d R u d e , p. 2 1 1 .
« W i l l i a m s , Chapters 7-8; Edward P. T h o m p s o n , " R o u g h M u s i c , " pp. 305-309;
E d w a r d P . T h o m p s o n , Making of English Working Class, pp. 418-429.
46 Youth a n d History

traditional manner. In the cantons of the Z u r i c h highlands, the


peasantry had begun to s u p p l e m e n t its farm i n c o m e by h o m e i n ­
dustry, receiving cotton from urban j o b b e r s , w e a v i n g it, a n d then
selling it back again. T h e n e w source of i n c o m e a l l o w e d these c o m ­
munities and others like t h e m all o v e r E u r o p e to sustain a m u c h
larger population than had b e e n previously p o s s i b l e . D o m e s t i c i n ­
dustry w a s particularly attractive to those w h o had no prospect of
landed inheritance, and its i m m e d i a t e effect w a s to break the tradi­
tional tie b e t w e e n inheritance a n d marriage. I n c o m e from w e a v i n g
a l l o w e d y o u n g couples to e v a d e parental control a n d establish h o u s e ­
holds at an earlier a g e . A c c o r d i n g to the reports of the local clergy,
most of w h o m v i e w e d such d e v e l o p m e n t s w i t h considerable a l a r m ,
precocious courting w a s rampant in the cantons by the m i d d l e of t h e
eighteenth century. Y o u t h of both sexes a n d of all ages mixed freely
during the idle hours, e n j o y i n g the forms of sociability o n c e reserved
only for older y o u t h .
Introduction to the lore, if not the actual experience of sexual i n ­
tercourse, w a s apparently b e c o m i n g accessible to youths at an ear­
lier age than previously. It w a s reported that " t h e y o u n g boy starts
as soon as he is c o n f i r m e d , a n d almost as if that w e r e an initiation
c e r e m o n y , begins to p r o w l after o n e or m o r e girls." A n d because
the competition in the marriage market w a s b e c o m i n g m o r e intense,
d u e to the fact that both girls a n d boys w h o earlier w o u l d h a v e had
to emigrate for the lack of w o r k or inheritance w e r e n o w remaining
at h o m e , e v e n the fair sex w a s b e c o m i n g m o r e aggressive. " K n o w i n g
they c a n n o t get a m a n in any other w a y , [girls] o p e n their c h a m b e r s
to these night boys a n d a b a n d o n themselves in the certain or uncer­
tain h o p e , that, in the case of pregnancy, they w i l l not b e left to their
s h a m e . " ^2
T h e traditions of bundling w e r e serving an increasingly larger p e e r
group. Nights spent in socializing proliferated; y o u n g p e o p l e , w h o
n o w had pocket m o n e y from their o w n labors, indulged t h e m s e l v e s
in drink and dress in w a y s that horrified their elders. T o the p r e v i ­
ously limited circle of peasant sons a n d daughters w e r e a d d e d c h i l ­
dren of the poor a n d the landless, w h o w i t h a tiny plot of land a n d
a l o o m w e r e n o w able to subsist in their h o m e parish.^^ " E a r l y mar-

B r a u n , e s p e c i a l l y C h a p t e r 2 ; f o r a g e n e r a l s u r v e y of d o m e s t i c i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n ,
see C h a r l e s Tilly a n d R i c h a r d Tilly.
Q u o t e d in B r a u n , p. 68.
*^ B r a u n , p. 68.
^ Braun, pp. 69-71.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 47

riages b e t w e e n p e o p l e , w h o h a v e t w o spinning w h e e l s but n o b e d ,


h a p p e n fairly o f t e n , " it w a s remarked at the t i m e . Bitter attacks o n
" b e g g a r w e d d i n g s " by the clergy a n d the richer peasantry w e r e in
v a i n , h o w e v e r , for y o u t h had not only strength of n u m b e r s but the
traditions of M i s r u l e w i t h w h i c h to resist their elders. M e d d l e s o m e
old p e o p l e w e r e visited w i t h old fashioned tin p a n n i n g , their fences
w r e c k e d a n d gardens pulled up.^^ Bans o n S u n d a y d a n c i n g a n d o r d i ­
nances against night visiting w e n t largely u n h e e d e d , not o n l y for t h e
resistance of the y o u n g themselves but for the a c q u i e s c e n c e of m a n y
parents, w h o w e r e forced to a c c e p t — a s a c o n s e q u e n c e of their o w n
poverty a n d the desire to push o l d e r children out of t h e h o m e to
m a k e r o o m for y o u n g e r — t h e liberties of their offspring, including
early marriage.
D i s a p p e a r a n c e of inheritance m e a n t that the bargaining p o w e r of
the fathers w a s greatly r e d u c e d a n d the advantages of t h e eldest
children d i m i n i s h e d . T h e older generation's frustrations w e r e re­
flected in their complaints about youthful extravagance, an almost
universal lament in the eighteenth century. Every e v i d e n c e of p r e ­
cocious c o n s u m p t i o n , e v e n the b u y i n g a n d reading of n o v e l s , w a s
v i e w e d as dangerous self-gratification.^^ Y e t , the e m p l o y m e n t o p p o r ­
tunities offered by d o m e s t i c industry appear also to have kept c h i l ­
dren at h o m e longer a n d strengthened t h e b o n d s b e t w e e n parents
and children w h o w e r e coresident. Even w h e n sons a n d daughters
set up their o w n i n d e p e n d e n t h o u s e h o l d s , they often c o n t i n u e d to
pay an a l l o w a n c e to their parents as a kind of insurance p r e m i u m
against old age. A s o n e domestic w o r k e r described it:^^

M y w i f e a n d 1 are getting o l d . W e c a n n o t w o r k so m u c h a n y m o r e . W e
a l s o h a v e t h r e e c h i l d r e n , t w o of w h o m p a y us e a c h w e e k a n a l l o w a n c e
of 30 B a t z e n . O n l y o n e d a u g h t e r still h e l p s us w i t h o u r w o r k . W e w o r k
o n l y as m u c h as w e c a n a n d f e e l is n e c e s s a r y , a n d m a k e o u t w i t h w h a t
t h e o t h e r t w o c h i l d r e n g i v e u s . It is v e r y h a r d t o f i n d w o r k e r s a n d d a y
laborers, to k e e p a b o y a n d girl, b e c a u s e b o a r d a n d w a g e s a r e so h i g h .
Thank C o d , w e can m a k e out well with w h a t the children give us.

As Rudolf Braun has described it, children w e r e b e c o m i n g " b o a r d ­


e r s " in their o w n families, and kin ties, o n c e based o n the tyranny of
inheritance, w e r e being replaced by a m o r e pragmatic a r r a n g e m e n t

^ B r a u n , p. 6 6 .
^ B r a u n , p. 1 2 1 .
Braun, pp. 120-127, 148-154.
B r a u n , p. 8 5 .
48 Youth a n d History

that a l l o w e d the y o u n g person considerable f r e e d o m to marry a n d


establish his or her o w n h o u s e h o l d , though continuing to contribute
to the support of the aging parents. Clearly, e c o n o m i c c h a n g e had
t i p p e d the b a l a n c e s o m e w h a t m o r e in the favor of y o u t h as against
the parents, but w h e r e it also created local e m p l o y m e n t o p p o r t u n i ­
ties and eliminated the n e e d both for " l i v i n g i n " a n d migration, it
w a s a l l o w i n g family m e m b e r s to remain together for longer than ever
before.^^ In the Z u r i c h highlands, " y o u t h " w a s n o longer a p e r i o d
spent a w a y from h o m e , a n d its t w o b o u n d a r i e s , c h i l d h o o d a n d adult­
h o o d , w e r e not so clearly m a r k e d as before. Early t e e n a g e , n o w
spent in c o r e s i d e n c e w i t h t h e parents, w a s b e g i n n i n g to b l e n d w i t h
the former, w h i l e early access to courting a n d the acquisition of the
sumptuary symbols of maturity w e r e blurring distinctions at the adult
e n d as w e l l .
D o m e s t i c industry w a s but a h a l f - w a y h o u s e o n t h e road to indus­
trialization. T h e w e a v e r s of the Swiss cantons survived into the early
nineteenth century, w h e n their livelihood w a s destroyed by c o m p e t i ­
tion w i t h factory-manufactured goods. T h e r e is probably n o m o r e
pitiful e x a m p l e of this kind of d o o m e d o c c u p a t i o n than the English
h a n d - l o o m w e a v e r s , w h o s e prosperity had also b e e n e n h a n c e d in
the early stages of industrialization only to have the craft ultimately
destroyed by t h e introduction of m e c h a n i z e d w e a v i n g b e g i n n i n g in
the 1820s. U p to that point, the yarns p r o d u c e d by factory-spinning
p r o v i d e d the w e a v e r s a n d their children w i t h a b u n d a n t e m p l o y m e n t ,
encouraging a family e c o n o m y in w h i c h parents w e r e able to keep
their children at h o m e for longer periods of t i m e , passing o n to t h e m
a v a l u a b l e inheritance of skill a n d culture. For the w e a v e r s ' children
the w o r k place w a s both school a n d recreation. " M y w o r k w a s at
l o o m side, and w h e n not w i n d i n g m y father taught m e reading, w r i t ­
ing, a n d arithmetic," r e m e m b e r e d o n e w e a v e r ' s s o n . A n o t h e r r e m ­
inisced that before the c o m i n g of factories " t h e r e w a s no bell to ring
t h e m up at four or five o'clock. . . . T h e r e w a s f r e e d o m to start a n d
to stay a w a y as they c a r e d . . . . In the e v e n i n g s , w h i l e still at w o r k ,
at anniversary times of the S u n d a y schools, the y o u n g m e n a n d
w o m e n w o u l d most heartily join in the h y m n singing, w h i l e the m u s i ­
cal rhythm of the shuttles w o u l d k e e p t i m e . . . . "
T h e collapse of d o m e s t i c w e a v i n g a n d similar h o m e trades m e a n t
the breakup of the family, a n d by the m i d - n i n e t e e n t h century t h e

^ Braun, pp. 80-89.


Q u o t e d in E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n , Making of English Working Class, p. 2 9 1 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1770-1870 49

w e a v e r s had o n e of t h e lowest rates of generational continuity a m o n g


the Lancashire w o r k i n g classes.^^ H a v i n g n o w h e r e else to turn, older
w e a v e r s stuck to their d y i n g craft. T h e y discouraged their children
from f o l l o w i n g t h e trade, h o w e v e r , a n d sent t h e m instead to t h e
factories w h e r e t h e prospects of a d e c e n t w a g e w e r e n o w m u c h
greater. T h e separation of t h e generations w a s not w i t h o u t m u c h
pain a n d suffering, as in o n e nineteenth century lament:^^

// you go into a loomshop, where there's three or four pairs of


looms,
They all are standing empty, encumbrances of the rooms;
And if you ask the reason why, the old mother will tell you plain.
My daughters have forsaken them, and gone to weave by steam.

A c c e p t a n c e of factory e m p l o y m e n t w a s not easy for t h e older


skilled artisan. N o t only w a s its discipline unlike that of t h e h o m e ,
but it meant disruption of t h e family e c o n o m y a n d a loss of status
besides. T h e r e w a s b o u n d to b e a g o o d deal of generational conflict
b e t w e e n parents p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h such traditional values as h o n o r
and children seeking a future in t h e n e w industrial w o r l d . Such t e n ­
sions w e r e most likely to r e v o l v e a r o u n d t h e institution of a p p r e n ­
ticeship, t h e prime regulatory d e v i c e of t h e traditional crafts. In E n g ­
land, apprenticeship w a s already at issue in t h e second half of t h e
eighteenth century, w h e n t h e functions of this y o u t h - p r o l o n g i n g i n ­
stitution began to b e u n d e r m i n e d by conflict b e t w e e n indentured
lads a n d their masters. M u c h of t h e fault lay w i t h t h e latter w h o , like
the rural landlords, w e r e finding t h e o l d boarding arrangements less
and less profitable, both e c o n o m i c a l l y a n d socially. M a n y L o n d o n
masters w e r e taking o n boys only for their c h e a p labor, teaching t h e m
nothing, a n d then encouraging t h e m to break their contract so that
they might claim t h e forfeited p r e m i u m s . M o s t adversely affected
w e r e those youths least able to d e f e n d t h e m s e l v e s , orphans a n d
pauper children w h o w e r e apprenticed by parish authorities, under
the Elizabethan statute of 1 6 0 1 , from t h e a g e 10 or 12 to 24. A s early
as 1700 w e hear a complaint that w a s to b e e c h o e d t i m e a n d again
until this long indenture w a s abolished in 1844:^^

*° M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, pp. 121-122.


*' Q u o t e d in E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n , Making of English Working Class, p. 3 0 8 .
G e o r g e , p. 2 7 7 .
50 Youth a n d History

Apprentices put o u t b y t h e parish a r e frequently placed with poor,


ill-natur'd o r unskillful masters, w h o either f o r c e t h e m f r o m t h e m by
a b a d m a i n t e n a n c e a n d severity, before their times a r e out, or w h e n
they are out send them from them but bunglers in t h e i r trade, or
m a s t e r s of s u c h a o n e a s w i l l t u r n t o n o a c c o u n t .

U n w a n t e d apprentices w e r e hired out as c h e a p m a n u a l labor,


s h i p p e d to the c o l o n i e s , turned o v e r to naval press gangs, s o m e t i m e s
e v e n murdered.^^ B y the e n d of the eighteenth century, living in t h e
master's house w a s increasingly rare, w h i c h led to t h e large n u m b e r s
of runaways r e c o r d e d d u r i n g t h e p e r i o d . " T h o u g h m a n y d o miscarry
through their o w n fault," n o t e d o n e c o n t e m p o r a r y , " y e t that v e r y
m a n y d o miscarry either through the carelessness a n d negligence or
the harshness a n d unreasonableness (or w h i c h t o o often h a p p e n s )
through the ill designs a n d practices of their masters. This is so c o m ­
m o n a n d notorious that there is no part of the nation w h i c h hath not
m a r k e d examples of such u n h a p p y y o u n g m e n , w h o might h a v e b e e n
very useful in their g e n e r a t i o n , but by these m e a n s are d r i v e n into
ill-courses, or b e c o m e either altogether useless to the public a n d a
b u r d e n to their relations." Francis Place r e m e m b e r e d that besides
himself only o n e of t h e other y o u n g m e n w i t h w h o m h e w a s a p p r e n ­
ticed on Fleet Street, L o n d o n , ever gained a mastership in his
trade.^ö
U n b u r d e n i n g themselves of t h e expense of f e e d i n g , b o a r d i n g , a n d
o t h e r w i s e l o o k i n g after their a p p r e n t i c e s , m a n y English masters w e r e
violating the patriarchal order. Even as early as 1775 it w a s reported
that there w e r e " b u t a small n u m b e r of masters in these days w h o
can or w i l l k e e p their apprentices w i t h i n d o o r in t h e e v e n i n g w h e n
their shops are s h u t . " T h e practice of p a y i n g w a g e s in lieu of living
in e n c o u r a g e d the violation of the indenture's ancient strictures:
" T a v e r n s a n d alehouses h e shall not haunt, at cards, d i c e , tables or
any other unlawful g a m e h e shall not play, m a t r i m o n y h e shall not
contract, nor f r o m the service of his said master day or night absent
himself." B r a w l i n g , drunkenness, a n d resort to prostitutes a p p e a r
to h a v e b e e n w i d e s p r e a d not only in England but in other E u r o p e a n
cities. R e m e m b e r e d Francis P l a c e : " I w e n t frequently a m o n g these

*^ G e o r g e , p p . 230ff.
" Q u o t e d in G e o r g e , p. 278.
G e o r g e , p. 2 3 0 .
*^ Q u o t e d in G e o r g e , p. 277.
Q u o t e d in G e o r g e , p. 280.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 57

girls—that is—I w e n t w i t h other lads . . . a n d at that time spent


m a n y evenings at the dirty public houses frequented by t h e m . . . .
W e w e r e all sons of master t r a d e s m e n , or persons of s o m e c o n s i d ­
eration, yet a m o n g us this bad c o n d u c t w a s suffered to exist u n ­
checked, uncontrolled."
In E n g l a n d , general obligatory apprenticeship (with the exception
of parish apprenticeship of orphans a n d pauper children) w a s a b o l ­
ished in 1814. T h e revolution in France abolished guild regulation
there, but in other continental countries, notably G e r m a n y , the cus­
t o m w a s m u c h slower to disappear. E v e r y w h e r e , h o w e v e r , the tradi­
tions that had o n c e b e e n a functioning part of the artisanal life-cycle
w e r e b e c o m i n g sources of tension, particularly w h e n industrial c o m ­
petition w a s causing a d e c l i n e a m o n g the crafts. Masters c o n t i n u e d
to take on apprentices, not for the purpose of training but as a source
of c h e a p labor. W h e n the G e r m a n j o u r n e y m a n , J o h a n n D e w a l d , w e n t
out on his Wanderjahr in the 1830s h e f o u n d the old w e l l of h o s p i ­
tality dry. S t o p p i n g in Lahr, he noted the master there to be " a skin­
flint, a miser, w h o counts every spoonful the j o u r n e y m e n put in their
mouths a n d cannot c o m p l a i n e n o u g h about h o w d e a r f o o d is, so that
o n e almost w o u l d v o m i t it up if o n e w e r e not afraid the mistress
w o u l d m a k e another meal out of it. S h e is his image and not a w h i t
better. Besides, to him the best of the experienced j o u r n e y m e n is no
m o r e than a y o u n g a p p r e n t i c e . "
Finding no w o r k w i t h masters in neighboring B o h e m i a , D e w a l d
w o r k e d for a short time in a factory there. But h e felt his status as
j o u r n e y m a n d e m e a n e d a n d did not like the pace of the w o r k : " a l l
day long o n e has to d o the same thing and so loses all sense for the
w h o l e . O f course it has to b e so in a factory, but I can't adjust to it
and always feel as if I only half ply my t r a d e . " M a n y like D e w a l d ,
bereft of a future in their craft and u n w i l l i n g for reasons of status and
habit to enter factory w o r k , f o u n d themselves extending their Wan­
derjahr b e y o n d the usual limits, sometimes b e c o m i n g p e r m a n e n t
n o m a d s . D u r i n g the 1830s, 15,000 to 20,000 j o u r n e y m e n carpenters,
tailors, and other G e r m a n craftsmen w e r e resident in Paris; a n d a n ­
other 10,000 G e r m a n s found w o r k in London."^^ T h e tradition of the

'''Quoted in G e o r g e , p. 282. S i m i l a r t r e n d s in G e r m a n apprenticeship are d e ­


s c r i b e d in S t a d e l m a n n a n d F i s c h e r , p p . 7 6 - 1 1 4 .
" Q u o t e d in E u g e n e N . A n d e r s o n et al., p. 108.
^ E u g e n e N . A n d e r s o n ef a/., p. 116.
^^Schieder, pp. 93-110.
52 Youth a n d History

Gesellenverbände served t h e m w e l l in this respect, for it a l l o w e d


t h e m to sustain themselves a w a y from h o m e a n d family.
Thus the renaissance of the traditions of the Wanderjahr, tramp­
ing, a n d the tour de France in the i m m e d i a t e post-1815 p e r i o d . B e ­
neath their romantic trappings these institutions r e v e a l e d the dire
needs of a class of y o u n g m e n w h o w e r e increasingly cut adrift from
their chosen occupations. T h e authorities, fearful of the political re­
sults of v a g a b o n d a g e , m a d e travelling difficult, but the j o u r n e y m e n
p e r s e v e r e d , s u m m o n i n g tradition in d e f e n s e of their t r a m p i n g rights.
In France, the compagnonnages w e r e undergoing a revival under the
leadership of Agricol Perdiguier, w h o argued the moral a n d social
benefits to the y o u n g a n d gained the support of s o m e industrialists
w h o found that j o u r n e y m e n belonging to these associations w e r e
better b e h a v e d a n d m o r e reliable than other w o r k i n g men."^- In E n g ­
land, t o o , the " t r a m p i n g s y s t e m " f o u n d n e w uses, particularly in times
of strikes or depressions w h e n trades w o u l d send off s o m e of their
m e m b e r s so as to relieve themselves.^^ In both England a n d France,
families w e r e left b e h i n d for m o n t h s at a t i m e , as t h e artisan passed
from o n e house of call to another. " T h o s e w h o w e r e not married used
to tease those w h o are about the w i v e s they had left in solitary. H o w
often homesickness drives the oldest to return h o m e before their
t i m e ! " r e m e m b e r e d o n e French artisan.
T h e j o u r n e y m e n ' s lodges, or " M o t h e r s " as the French called t h e m ,
continued to serve as substitute families, fraternities of " b r o t h e r s "
w h o recognized o n e a n o t h e r w i t h secret signs a n d handshakes. Partly
to escape repression by authorities, partly to fill a social a n d e m o ­
tional v o i d , the rituals of fraternity b l o o m e d in the early nineteenth
century. T h e colorful c e r e m o n i e s of the compagnonnage attracted
the attention a n d admiration of intellectuals like Victor H u g o , a n d for
a time the reforms of Agricol Perdiguier f o u n d support w i t h i n t h e
Romantic M o v e m e n t . ^ ^ But the u n d e r p i n n i n g of the artisanal revival
w a s essentially social a n d e c o n o m i c rather than cultural, a n d as the
trades u p o n w h i c h these y o u t h - p r o l o n g i n g institutions w e r e based
w e r e absorbed into the industrial system the traditions of the Wan­
derjahr w e r e b o u n d to fall into disuse.

de Sauvigny, pp. 251-254.


••'Hobsbawn, "Tramping Artisan/' pp. 3 4 - 4 5 ; for France, see d e Sauvigny, pp.
206-207.
" Q u o t e d i n C h e v a l i e r , p. 4 2 7 .
^Coornaert, pp. 71-72.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 53

Before they disappeared entirely, h o w e v e r , the institutions of the


j o u r n e y m e n served an unexpected purpose. O n c e the regulators of
the flow of candidates to mastership, they b e c a m e part of a broader
m o v e m e n t d e m a n d i n g the abolition of all corporate privilege, a
m o v e m e n t w i t h strong political overtones. B y the 1840s G e r m a n
j o u r n e y m e n w e r e asking the abolition of the corporate structure of
w h i c h they had b e e n a part. Their Gesellenverbände had b r o a d e n e d
t h e basis of m e m b e r s h i p , offering hospitality to f e l l o w w o r k e r s re­
gardless of craft and admitting married men.^^ Furthermore, the tra­
ditions of the Gesellen, w i t h their oaths of secrecy and networks of
contacts o v e r w i d e territories, p r o v e d w e l l - s u i t e d to conspiratorial
activity. J o u r n e y m e n living in Switzerland a n d France w e r e in close
contact w i t h offshoots of M a z z i n i ' s Y o u n g G e r m a n y m o v e m e n t , and
a tradition of conspiratorial activity w a s established then that e v e n as
late as the 1870s still served the o u t l a w e d G e r m a n Social D e m o c r a t i c
Party.57
But it w a s earlier, in the R e v o l u t i o n of 1848, that the extent of the
radicalization of y o u n g artisans w a s fully r e v e a l e d , j o u r n e y m e n in
Saxony took advantage of the n e w l y w o n f r e e d o m of association to
d e m a n d the abolition of the rules of celibacy that p r e v e n t e d any
married j o u r n e y m a n from b e c o m i n g a master. F e l l o w craftsmen in
other parts of G e r m a n y w e r e attacking settlement restrictions a n d
d e m a n d i n g easier access to trades closed to t h e m by guild restric­
tions. " T h i n g s had c h a n g e d since the eighteenth century days w h e n
j o u r n e y m e n had b e e n the most ardent defenders of the guildsman's
h o n o r , " writes M a c k W a l k e r . " T h e y w e r e leaving the guild corpora­
tion for the outsider class, a n d calling for reentry on those t e r m s . "
In 1848 there w e r e , according to the y o u n g printer j o u r n e y m a n
Stephan B o r n , " t w o age levels, not t w o classes" in conflict in G e r ­
many. But B o r n , w h o had b e e n influenced by t h e writings of social­
ists, including Karl Marx, w a s himself a part of a n e w generation w h o
t e n d e d to identify not w i t h the masters of their trades but w i t h a
broader w o r k i n g class."''^ T h e real situation w a s as Gottfried Kinkel d e ­
scribed it: " H a l f the artisans b e l o n g to the bourgeoisie a n d visit the
casinos . . . ; the other half sends its children to the p o o r house

^Schräder, pp. 39-44, 82-92.


For t h e p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e s of o n e y o u n g p r i n t e r ' s j o u r n e y m a n , s e e B o r n , p p .
2 7 - 3 3 , 4 2 - 4 6 ; also S t a d e l m a n n a n d Fischer, p p . 2 1 6 - 2 2 3 ; S c h i e d e r , p p . 1 4 - 4 4 .
^ W a l k e r , p. 3 6 5 .
^« B o r n , p. 29.
54 Youth a n d History

a n d lives a m e a n a n d miserable life o n its daily earnings. A m o n g the


artisans themselves an aristocracy has a r i s e n — n a m e l y , the aristocracy
of the better c o a t . " A n d for B o r n , a n d m a n y y o u n g artisans like
h i m , the aristocracy of the better coat w a s n o w the e n e m y .
It w a s precisely at the point of their dissolution that the traditions
of the j o u r n e y m e n w e r e most politically explosive. V i o l e n t protest
during the early nineteenth century w a s characteristic of groups at­
tempting to protect their traditional status against the forces of m o d ­
ernization about to o v e r w h e l m t h e m . T h e c r o w d s of 1830 a n d 1848,
like those of 1789, w e r e c o m p o s e d , for t h e most part, of respectable,
settled artisans, s h o p k e e p e r s , a n d j o u r n e y m e n w h o w e r e fighting d e ­
fensively, though w i t h the m o d e r n w e a p o n s of d e m o c r a c y , against
an increasingly alien w o r l d . T h o s e just b e g i n n i n g or attempting to
begin their careers w e r e often most d e e p l y i n v o l v e d . T h e rebels w e r e
neither v e r y y o u n g nor very o l d , as w a s s h o w n by the Paris R e v o l u t i o n
of 1830 in w h i c h 5 4 % of those killed w e r e b e t w e e n 20 a n d 35.«^ In
B e r l i n , w h e r e j o u r n e y m e n w e r e particularly c o n s p i c u o u s a m o n g the
d e a d of the M a r c h R e v o l u t i o n of 1848, the role of y o u t h w a s but a n ­
other act in a series of protests a n d revolts that had b e g u n w i t h the
so-called "tailors' r e b e l l i o n " of 1830.^^ C o n s e r v a t i v e s t e n d e d to a s ­
sociate the actions of the y o u n g w i t h the heedless g a m i n of D e l a ­
croix's " L i b e r t y Leading the P e o p l e " ; a n d o n e G e r m a n w i t included
in his " R e c i p e for a Rich R i o t " a dash of the Berlin street u r c h i n s —
but it w a s not these street n o m a d s w h o gave their lives o n the bar-
ricades.e^ O n the contrary, the j o u r n e y m e n insurgents of 1830 a n d
1848 w e r e neither rootless nor w i t h o u t tradition. " T h e s e j o u r n e y m e n
w e r e highly m o b i l e , " Richard Tilly has n o t e d , " b u t w e must r e m e m ­
ber that for j o u r n e y m e n artisans such as tailors, high geographical
mobility did not necessarily imply, thanks to t h e institution of the
Wanderschaft, uprootedness in a social s e n s e . " O n c e a source of
stability, this a n d other related institutions of w o r k i n g y o u t h w e r e
n o w vehicles for rebellion. A n o l d consciousness of b r o t h e r h o o d car­
ried w i t h i n it the seeds of a n e w . All o v e r E u r o p e , ancient notions of
fraternity w e r e being b r o a d e n e d a l o n g class lines to e n c o m p a s s all
w o r k i n g m e n , regardless of trade, marital status, or age.^^

K i n k e l q u o t e d i n N o y e s , p. 26.
^ F i g u r e s f r o m P i n k n e y , p. 2 5 7 .
« " R i c h a r d T i l l y , p. 3 1 .
« P i n k n e y , p. 2 5 6 .
R i c h a r d T i l l y , p. 3 2 .
H o b s b a w m , ' ' R i t u a l , " p. 1 6 2 ; N o y e s , C h a p t e r 8 ; C o o r n a e r t , p p . 2 8 0 - 2 8 2 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 55

IV
T h e spread of capitalism w o r k e d to transform the e c o n o m i c insti­
tutions of w o r k i n g y o u t h . Shifts in p o p u l a t i o n , associated w i t h the
same process of industrialization, contributed to a similar transforma­
tion of their social life. T h e massive urbanization that began in the
third and fourth decades of the nineteenth century radically altered
the migratory traditions of y o u t h and contributed to the r e p l a c e m e n t
of institutions associated w i t h it by forms better suited to the m o d e r n
city. N e w c o m e r s to the city w e r e heavily concentrated in the age
brackets w e associate w i t h y o u t h . Charles B o o t h f o u n d that of those
migrants from English villages to L o n d o n in the 1880s, s o m e 8 0 %
w e r e 15 to 25 years of a g e ; and these figures seem representative of
European internal migration as a whole.^<^ T h e age distribution w a s
not n e w , but its o n e - w a y character w a s . Y o u n g p e o p l e w e r e not cir­
culating back to the villages as before, but w e r e b e c o m i n g p e r m a n e n t
residents of the cities in m u c h greater n u m b e r s . T h e rural areas of
Europe w e r e beginning to be d e p o p u l a t e d in the second half of the
century.
W e can see this in Paris beginning in the 1830s, w h e n masons and
carpenters, w h o had o n c e left their w i v e s b e h i n d w h i l e they m a d e
a seasonal visit to the city, began to settle there permanently. T r a d i ­
tional migration cycles slackened a n d the hiring a n d lodging places
of the itinerant crafts began to lose their a p p e a l . T h e Indian s u m m e r
of the compagnonnage w a s c o m i n g to an e n d as industrialization a n d
urbanization eliminated the e c o n o m i c a n d e m o t i o n a l needs that
it had o n c e served. Romantics like G e o r g e Sand v i e w e d their
disappearance regretfully:^"

in P a r i s t h e compagnonnage is t e n d i n g increasingly to become


lost a n d d i s p e r s e d o v e r t h e g r e a t f i e l d of w o r k a n d v a r i e d interests.
N o a s s o c i a t i o n c o u l d h o p e t o m o n o p o l i z e w o r k in P a r i s . In a n y e v e n t ,
t h e s k e p t i c a l spirit of a m o r e a d v a n c e d c i v i l i z a t i o n h a s p u t a n e n d t o

' A n n a W e b e r , pp. 2 8 0 - 2 8 1 ; Redford, especially Chapter 1 .


' Q u o t e d in C h e v a l i e r , p. 430.
56 Youth a n d History

t h e g o t h i c c u s t o m s of t h e compagnonnage; too soon, perhaps, for a


f r a t e r n a l a s s o c i a t i o n c o v e r i n g all t h e w o r k e r s w a s n o t y e t r e a d y t o r e ­
place the association.

In England, tramping w a s being kept alive by the necessity to p r o ­


v i d e relief in hard times. O l d e r w o r k e r s w e r e the first to a b a n d o n it
w h e n they found that they c o u l d use undergrounds a n d street cars
to find w o r k w i t h i n the larger urban regions in w h i c h they l i v e d ,
w i t h o u t the necessity of leaving h o m e . Late in the nineteenth c e n ­
tury y o u n g apprentices still t r a v e l l e d , but their institutions eventually
fell into disuse d u e to e c o n o m i c modernization.^^
Industrialization a n d urbanization w e r e , in fact, tying y o u n g w o r k ­
ers closer to their families a n d n e i g h b o r h o o d s as the century p r o ­
gressed. M i d d l e - c l a s s observers described family life in the factory
t o w n s of England as characterized by " p a r e n t a l cruelty, a n d careless­
ness, filial d i s o b e d i e n c e , neglect of conjugal rights, absence of m a ­
ternal l o v e , destruction of brotherly a n d sisterly affection," but these
accounts d o not square w i t h the e c o n o m i c a n d d e m o g r a p h i c facts of
the p e r i o d . C o n d i t i o n s of extreme poverty, c o m b i n e d w i t h high levels
of fertility, w e r e b o u n d to create generational tensions, yet kin ties
r e m a i n e d surprisingly close. In the first phases of industrialization,
the p r e d o m i n a n t forms of d o m e s t i c spinning a n d w e a v i n g e n c o u r ­
aged families to stay together, children w o r k i n g w i t h parents. T h e
invention of w a t e r - p o w e r e d spinning in the 1790s brought that part
of the process w i t h i n factory walls a n d introduced a period w h e n
child labor w a s highly sought after. In the first d e c a d e s of the n i n e ­
teenth century, 8 0 % of the w o r k e r s in English cotton mills w e r e c h i l ­
d r e n , but as heavier machinery w a s introduced skilled adult m a l e
spinners took c o m m a n d . T h e y t e n d e d to hire their o w n children as
scavengers at the age of 8 or 9, p r o m o t i n g t h e m to the j o b of piecing
cotton as they m a t u r e d , and finally teaching t h e m to spin at the ages
of 17 or 18.'^ In this w a y the master spinner w a s a b l e to preserve a
great deal of paternal authority, preserving his family intact until the
1820s. W i t n e s s e s described this form of family e c o n o m y diminishing
rather than encouraging youthful immorality.*^^

It is f a t h e r s o r f r i e n d s w h o w o r k in f a c t o r i e s , a n d t h e y h a v e all a
common interest in c h e c k i n g immorality among the younger assist­
a n t s , b o t h b o y s a n d girls. . . . N o w , e v e n if n o n e of t h e i r o w n c h i l -

^ H o b s b a w m , "Tramping Artisan," pp. 46-47.


^ P e t e r C a s k e l l , q u o t e d in P e r k i n , Origins, p. 150.
' ^ S m e l s e r , p. 189.
Q u o t e d in S m e l s e r , p. 190.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 57

d r e n w e r e w o r k i n g w i t h t h e m , y e t t h e y h a v e all a c o m m o n i n t e r e s t as
f a t h e r s in d i s c o u n t e n a n c i n g i n d e c e n c i e s . . . .

In the mining industry, t o o , early industrialization seems to have


reinforced patriarchism. It w a s reported there that " t h e collier boy
is, to all intents and purposes, the property of his father (as to wages)
until he attains the age of 17 years, or m a r r i e s . " o n l y w h e n the
factories increased in size a n d the complexity of the production p r o c ­
ess displaced the master spinner did paternal authority in textiles
w a n e . ' ^ Even t h e n , h o w e v e r , kin c o n t i n u e d to b e of prime importance
in finding and holding e m p l o y m e n t in most industrial c o m m u n i t i e s .
This w a s true not only for sons a n d daughters of the operatives t h e m ­
selves, but for migrants from the rural areas w h o c a m e to the indus­
trial t o w n s to " c l a i m k i n " a n d thus to find w o r k . Because m a n y e m ­
ployers c o n t i n u e d to find it c o n v e n i e n t to recruit from families of
their most loyal w o r k e r s , the factory r e m a i n e d a source of extended
family unity.^^
Y o u n g p e o p l e w e r e m o v i n g from the o v e r p o p u l a t e d countryside
to the factory t o w n s in search of high w a g e s a n d marriage o p p o r t u n i ­
ties.^^ This m o v e m e n t brought relief to the rural areas a n d a l l o w e d
a stabilization of family life there.^^ S o m e t i m e s , h o w e v e r , a y o u n g
man or w o m a n w o u l d act as a d v a n c e party for those at h o m e , e n ­
couraging t h e m to c o m e along o n c e contacts a n d opportunities had
been established. Such w a s the strategy of the H e n r y B a n n e r m a n
family of Perthshire, S c o t l a n d , w h o sent their eldest son to seek his
fortune in industrial M a n c h e s t e r . " H e took a small w a r e h o u s e in
M a r s d e n S q u a r e , and prospered so w e l l as to induce his father to
throw up the farm and bring the w h o l e family south. . . . T h e n e w
firm w a s styled H e n r y B a n n e r m a n and Sons, four out of the five sons
having j o i n e d . " " It is significant that the firm took the father's n a m e ;
apparently the patriarchal principle c o u l d survive e v e n this kind of
relocation.
T h e B a n n e r m a n s w e r e fortunate. M o s t migrants to the cities never
c a m e to o w n their o w n businesses a n d most e n d e d up in factory
e m p l o y m e n t . Because children w e r e hired so readily, parents often

Q u o t e d in M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, pp. 68-69.


" S m e l s e r , pp. 199-201.
M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, pp. 115-119.
' ' A n n a W e b e r , pp. 318-329; Banks, "Population Change," pp. 281-285; Wrigley,
Population and History, C h a p t e r 5.
' ^ O n this p o i n t , s e e W o l f r a m F i s c h e r , p p . 4 2 3 - 4 3 5 .
" Q u o t e d in R e d f o r d , p. 136.
58 Youth a n d History

found themselves d e p e n d e n t o n t h e m . " T h e father r e m a i n e d u n e m ­


p l o y e d or u n d e r - e m p l o y e d a n d b e c a m e d e p e n d e n t in his declining
years o n the earnings of his c h i l d r e n , in a m a n n e r w h i c h r e m a i n e d
c o m m o n until recently in manufacturing districts," writes Arthur R e d -
f o r d . O n e witness reported that " g e n e r a l l y p e o p l e w h o h a v e b e e n
distressed in their families a n d their affairs broken up . . . are apt
to go as little colonies to c o l o n i z e these mills. . . . " '^^ O f t e n a l a d ­
der of migration w a s established b e t w e e n a particular village a n d the
n e i g h b o r h o o d of s o m e industrial t o w n . Because in m a n y factory a n d
mining occupations control of jobs still lay w i t h t h e older m a l e s ,
f o r e m e n a n d leaders of w o r k gangs, kin c o u l d b e s u m m o n e d f r o m
the countryside w i t h reasonable assurance that jobs w o u l d b e w a i t ­
ing for t h e m . Kin w o u l d lodge t h e n e w c o m e r s in their o w n houses
w h i l e they broke into the industrial system. Places for f e m a l e d o ­
mestics w e r e often o b t a i n e d in the same m a n n e r , w i t h relatives w h o
w o r k e d in a particular house putting in a g o o d w o r d for t h e m . In
s o m e cases, w h o l e families might be brought to the city, but it w a s
m o r e c o m m o n for rural p e o p l e to " l e n d " their y o u n g e r m e m b e r s first,
w i t h the m o r e firmly rooted elders f o l l o w i n g later, if at all.^^
In effect, factory industrialization had successfully a d a p t e d tradi­
tional rural habits of migration to its o w n uses. But in t h e process,
the traditional family strategy w a s radically transformed, particularly
for those w h o b e c a m e resident in the cities. N o longer w e r e they
forced to send their children a w a y at a certain a g e ; n o w there w a s
every advantage in k e e p i n g t h e m at h o m e during that part of the
life c y c l e , n a m e l y y o u t h , that had o n c e b e e n associated w i t h t h e
Wanderjahre. In English cotton t o w n s , w o r k i n g class families w e r e
n o w actually receiving rather than sending c h i l d r e n , as M i c h a e l A n ­
derson has s h o w n in his study of Lancashire h o u s e h o l d structure
(Table 1).
N o t i c e a b l e is the rise of lodgers and the d e c l i n e of servants living
in, but e v e n m o r e striking is the n u m b e r of resident kin. A n d e r s o n
has s h o w n that 2 8 . 3 % of the kin resident in Preston h o u s e h o l d s
w e r e "parentless c h i l d r e n , " s o m e of t h e m orphans but m a n y of t h e m
youths taken in as immigrants seeking w o r k in the town.^^ N o t only
had industrialization e n c o u r a g e d families to k e e p their o w n y o u n g
children longer for the w a g e s they could bring in, but n o w there w a s

^ « R e d f o r d , p. 186.
^ Q u o t e d in E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n , Making of English Working Class, p. 3 0 7 .
^ M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, pp. 101-106; for similar findings, see Lees,
pp. 359-385.
« ^ M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, pp. 112-123, 148-159.
Troubled Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1770-1870 59

TABLE 1

Household Composition of R e s i d e n t s O t h e r T h a n Parents"

Servants a n d
Kin Lodgers apprentices

Preindustrial
households,
1564 t o 1821 10% <1% 29%
P r e s t o n , 1851 23% 23% 10%

" F i g u r e s f r o m M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , " H o u s e h o l d S t r u c t u r e , " p. 220.

m o r e c o r e s i d e n c e of y o u n g married c o u p l e s and their elderly parents.


Factory e m p l o y m e n t w a s making three-generation households not
only socially but e c o n o m i c a l l y desirable, because the elderly person
could look after the grandchildren a n d thus a l l o w the m o t h e r to b e
out at work.^2 |η turn, children w e r e a b l e to offer a n e w kind of social
security to their parents.
Parents a n d children w e r e remaining together longer, a fact clearly
reflected in the differences in residence patterns b e t w e e n boys and
girls in Preston and those in the surrounding countryside, as s h o w n
in Table 2.

TABLE 2

Children Residing with Their Families in 185r

V i l l a g e s in s u r r o u n d i n g
Preston Lancashire

Boys 10-14 92% 77%


15-19 79% 56%
20-24 65% 53%

Girls 10-14 86% 86%


15-19 67% 62%
20-24 62% 46%

" F i g u r e s f r o m M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, p. 8 5 .

O f course, the w a g e s that y o u n g persons e a r n e d in factory e m ­


p l o y m e n t c o u l d w o r k in the opposite m a n n e r by e n c o u r a g i n g greater

« » M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, pp. 55-67,143-146.


60 Youth a n d History

i n d e p e n d e n c e o n their part. It w a s reported at the time that " c h i l ­


dren frequently leave their parents at a very early age in the m a n u ­
facturing districts. Girls of sixteen, a n d lads of the same a g e , find that
they can e n j o y greater liberty, a n d if not greater comforts, that at
least they can have their o w n w a y m o r e c o m p l e t e l y in a separate
h o m e , a n d these partings cause little surprise or d i s t u r b a n c e . "
C h e a p lodging houses b e c k o n e d to those w h o y e a r n e d for personal
f r e e d o m , a n d there is e v i d e n c e that in large cities y o u n g p e o p l e , b e ­
ing on their o w n , f o r m e d a separate sub-culture apart from kin.
" C h i l d r e n frequently pay for their o w n lodgings, b o a r d , a n d clothing.
T h e y usually m a k e their o w n contracts, a n d are in the proper sense
of the w o r d free a g e n t s . "
H o w e v e r , A n d e r s o n has calculated that, given the w a g e scales of
the factory t o w n s , f e w c o u l d afford to live out until t h e late teens or
early twenties. I n d e e d , there w e r e strong e c o n o m i c incentives for
males to remain at h o m e until 16 or 17, females e v e n longer.^^ Until
t h e n , they contributed to the family purse, holding back a share for
their personal e n j o y m e n t a n d savings. Living m o r e c h e a p l y at h o m e
than they c o u l d in a lodging house a l l o w e d y o u t h to build a nest egg
for future marriage, w h i l e at the s a m e t i m e fulfilling obligations to
parents a n d siblings. " T h e children that frequent factories m a k e a l ­
most the purse of the family, a n d by making the purse of the family
they share in the ruling of it a n d are in a great state of insubordina­
tion to their p a r e n t s , " w r o t e o n e anxious observer of this arrange­
ment.^^ Y e t f e w children deserted their families a n d , by our c o n t e m ­
porary standards, kin loyalty r e m a i n e d remarkably strong. In c o m ­
parison to the rural situation, w h e r e the father's control of inheritance
guaranteed submission, relations b e t w e e n parents a n d children w e r e
i n d e e d m o r e e q u a l ; but poverty a n d the uncertainties of daily life,
including health, accident, a n d u n e m p l o y m e n t , w e r e still so pressing
that most parents a n d children w e r e still b o u n d together by n e c e s ­
sity.
For working-class families, poverty w a s a cyclical p h e n o m e n o n
closely associated w i t h the n u m b e r a n d age of the c h i l d r e n . W h e n
offspring w e r e very y o u n g a n d not yet e m p l o y a b l e , there w a s m o r e
than a 5 0 % c h a n c e of the family being b e l o w the poverty line. T h e
situation w a s best w h e n at least half the children w e r e e m p l o y e d , but

Q u o t e d in M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, p. 124.


^ Q u o t e d in M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, p. 68.
^ M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, pp. 126-132.
M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, p. 1 3 1 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 67

w o r s e n e d again w h e n all the offspring w e r e married a n d parents


w e r e left alone.^^ This explains the observation of o n e e y e w i t n e s s
w h o o b s e r v e d that " n o t h i n g can b e m o r e w a r m a n d keen than the
affection of parents throughout the cotton districts for c h i l d r e n , so
long as they continue children. . . ." |t w o u l d s e e m that the older
y o u t h w e r e dispensable, though not in precisely the same w a y as they
had b e e n in preindustrial society. W a g e s of y o u n g e r siblings could
benefit the teenagers of t h e family by bringing t h e family purse to
its highest l e v e l , thus a l l o w i n g t h e m to set up separate lodgings or
e v e n marry. A n d e r s o n argues that y o u n g e r children also e n j o y e d cer­
tain advantages, h o w e v e r , precisely because they c a m e along w h e n
the family earnings w e r e greatest a n d they sometimes had t h e a d ­
vantages of schooling that w e r e d e n i e d to the first-born.^^
In any case, the life c y c l e of working-class children appears to have
b e e n drastically c h a n g e d by the m i d - n i n e t e e n t h century. T h e old dis­
tinction b e t w e e n d e p e n d e n t c h i l d h o o d a n d s e m i d e p e n d e n t y o u t h o n
the o n e h a n d , a n d y o u t h a n d the i n d e p e n d e n c e of a d u l t h o o d o n the
other, had b e c o m e blurred by the fact that y o u n g p e o p l e w e r e stay­
ing at h o m e longer a n d leaving o n l y a short t i m e before setting up
their o w n i n d e p e n d e n t households. But w e cannot yet talk about a
phase of life like that w h i c h w e k n o w as " a d o l e s c e n c e " replacing the
traditional s e m i d e p e n d e n t status of y o u t h . For w h i l e the t e e n - a g e d
lived at h o m e , their family situation—large n u m b e r s of siblings a n d
c r o w d e d living s p a c e — w a s still such that a large part of their social
life c o n t i n u e d to be organized a r o u n d traditional peer groups. In
short, despite the n e w residency patterns, d e m o g r a p h i c a n d e c o ­
n o m i c factors perpetuated t h e utility of y o u t h groups that w e r e very
similar to those f o u n d in preindustrial society.

V
A t this point w e h a v e less than a d e q u a t e information o n peer-
group structures in nineteenth-century cities. H o w e v e r , it w o u l d a p -

O n p o v e r t y c y c l e , s e e M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, p. 3 1 .
^ Q u o t e d in M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, p. 76.
^ M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, pp. 75-76.
62 Youth a n d History

pear that m a n y of the rural traditions of y o u t h w e r e a d a p t e d by


youthful migrants to m e e t their n e e d s in an urban setting. T h e r e is
strong e v i d e n c e , for e x a m p l e , of p e e r groups exercising strong moral
control o v e r their m e m b e r s . H e n r y M a y h e w , w h o s e studies of m i d -
nineteenth century L o n d o n life w e r e c o n c e r n e d w i t h the v e r y lowest
elements of that society, f o u n d that e v e n a m o n g t h e supposedly pro­
miscuous ranks of j u v e n i l e street peddlers a certain c o d e of h o n o r
prevailed. Boys w e r e k n o w n to discipline their girls for infidelity,
sometimes w i t h a brutality that M a y h e w f o u n d quite reprehensible.^^
G a n g s of y o u t h , ages 14-20, appear to have had the same sense of
territoriality as village y o u t h groups, w i t h the same fierce hostility for
outsiders, particularly rivals for the affections of local girls.^^ G a n g s
took o n the names of their n e i g h b o r h o o d s or baptised t h e m s e l v e s
w i t h m o r e colorful designations. In M a n c h e s t e r , gang life w a s g e n ­
erally k n o w n as " s c u t t l i n g , " an expression of " a kind of w i s h to a s ­
sert the supremacy of their o w n n e i g h b o r h o o d against that of s o m e
neighboring o n e . " A hierarchy of age w a s e v i d e n t , w i t h the y o u n g e r
m e m b e r s , aged 14-17, c o n c e r n e d mainly w i t h sex-segregated pur­
suits such as sport a n d g a m b l i n g , leaving to their older " b r o t h e r s "
the control of a n d access to serious courtship. Girls a p p e a r to have
f o r m e d satellites to the m a l e groups, often acting as a cause of p e e r
group solidarity against outsiders but having no strong structure of
their o w n . O n c e courtship b e g a n , at about 17 for boys a n d s o m e ­
w h a t earlier for girls, the p e e r group again p r o v i d e d a kind of setting
for its activities. H a v i n g no place other than the streets a n d public
houses to carry o n their a c q u a i n t a n c e rituals, y o u n g lovers d e v e l o p e d
the seasonal custom of " p r o m e n a d i n g " in large groups. O n s u m m e r
nights, the streets of both large a n d small English t o w n s w o u l d be
c r o w d e d w i t h y o u n g p e o p l e until ten o'clock or so, at w h i c h t i m e
they returned to their h o m e s to prepare for another long day of
labor.^3

O f course, peer loyalty c o u l d serve m o r e d u b i o u s purposes, a n d


the criminal bands of y o u n g pickpockets, footpads, a n d other artful
dodgers w h o populated the cities of fiction and fact in the nineteenth

M a y h e w , London Labour, p. 4 7 0 .
M o n t a g u e , p. 244.
R u s s e l l , Manchester Boys, p. 4 3 .
^ M o n t a g u e , p p . 234-254; U r w i c k , " C o n c l u s i o n , " p p . 300-308; Russell, Manches­
ter Boys, p. 1 1 5 ; R o w n t r e e , Poverty and Progress, p. 4 7 0 . O n G e r m a n u r b a n y o u t h
in t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y , s e e H e l m u t M ö l l e r , p p . 55ff. H a r r i s o n , p p . 238ff. S i m i l a r
c u s t o m s still exist in parts of W a l e s ; s e e F r a n k e n b e r g , p p . 6 2 - 6 3 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 63

century displayed similar tightly-knit structures. H o w e v e r hard honest


parents tried to steer their children from these gangs, s o m e t i m e s
bringing t h e m into court w h e n b e y o n d control, there w a s always the
danger of d e l i n q u e n c y . A s o n e English magistrate explained:^^

It Is r e a l l y a d i f f i c u l t t h i n g t o k e e p c h i l d r e n c o n s t a n t l y in t h e h o u s e ;
they must b e a l l o w e d by p o o r parents to go about, e v e n for air a n d
exercise. . . . [The magistrates] are placed in this painful situation,
that w e c a n n o t counsel a parent to prosecute a child to c o n v i c t i o n ,
a n d y e t , b y n o t p r o s e c u t i n g , w e k n o w t h a t t h e y m u s t g o o n till t h e y
b e c o m e h a r d e n e d in c r i m e .

Studies of prostitution in the same period indicate that p e e r - g r o u p


pressure w a s a powerful force in leading girls astray, though it w o u l d
seem in the case of both male and f e m a l e delinquents that it w a s
orphans and runaway children, not those living w i t h or near their
parents, w h o w e r e most frequently recruited to life-long careers in
crime.^^ W e must b e quite careful here to separate casual d e l i n q u e n c y
from persistent criminality, both of w h i c h await further intensive
study.
T h e little w e k n o w about gang behavior is c o l o r e d , unfortunately,
by the perspective of middle-class observers, w h o t e n d e d to interpret
comradery as d e v i a n c e and f o u n d in contacts b e t w e e n the sexes lit­
tle except licentiousness. In English cities, groups of y o u n g p e o p l e
perpetuated the traditions of village life w i t h i n their local neighbor­
hoods. Its streets w e r e their village g r e e n , and a marriage feast, fair,
or visiting circus their special occasion for fun and ceremony.^^ N i n e ­
teenth-century schoolmasters f o u n d it virtually impossible to m a i n ­
tain attendance o n days that children v i e w e d as rightfully theirs; and
e v e n as late as 1914 Oxford school logs recorded low attendance for
days before and after traditional holidays.^"^
T h e street gang w a s in s o m e sense the school of the poor, bringing
together y o u n g p e o p l e from early teens to m i d - t w e n t i e s in a c o m -

^ Q u o t e d in T o b i a s , p. 1 6 5 .
^Tobias, pp. 161-163; Bongert, pp. 49-90. O n prostitution, see Henriques, pp.
97-125; Bloch, pp. 315-335.
^ B r a y , " B o y a n d F a m i l y , " p p . 8 - 3 2 ; M o n t a g u e , p p . 239ff.
®^ P o r t e r , p. 19. M y o w n s u r v e y of s e v e r a l O x f o r d e l e m e n t a r y s c h o o l l o g s t u r n e d u p
similar l o w a t t e n d a n c e o n traditional dates, like M a y D a y a n d G u y F a w k e s Day, and
at t i m e s w h e n a c i v i l o r c o m m e r c i a l a t t r a c t i o n w a s in p r o g r e s s . O n t h e e f f e c t of
a n n u a l fairs, s e e A l e x a n d e r , p. 26.
64 Youth a n d History

prehensive learning situation. It w a s through the peer group that the


y o u n g person gained a sense of place and a measure of individual
w o r t h . " U n d e r s t a n d it [the street] a n d y o u hold the key to m a n y of
the riddles of social m o r a l i t y / ' w r o t e E. J . U r w i c k , " a n d let this t o o
serve to explain h o w it is that the majority of boys a n d girls for w h o m
the h o m e does so little and for w h o m the school has so little c h a n c e
of d o i n g m u c h , nevertheless g r o w up into d e c e n t a n d respectable
citizens instead of lawless a n d licentious n e ' e r - d o - w e l l s . " Social rela­
tions b e t w e e n the sexes w e r e precocious by middle-class standards,
beginning as early as 14, but most flirtations w e r e innocent e n o u g h ,
closer to childish love games a n d horseplay than adult intimacy.
" G r a n t i n g the greater coarseness of w o r d s , the m o r e flagrant faults
of habit a n d behavior, w e question w h e t h e r a c o m p a r i s o n of sins a n d
self-indulgence w o u l d w o r k out at all to the disadvantage of the t o w n
labouring class as a w h o l e , " c o n c l u d e d Urwick.^^ His collaborator,
Lily M o n t a g u e , f o u n d that serious courtship began in the late teens,
but that a p r o l o n g e d period of acquaintanceship intervened before
actual betrothal. Even though working-class y o u t h married early,
long betrothals w e r e h o n o r e d , w i t h girls testing the " s t e a d i n e s s " of
their boyfriends before marriage.'*^ Courtship w a s k n o w n a m o n g the
respectable English w o r k i n g class as " w a l k i n g , " a term that under­
lined its public, ritualistic character. As in the village y o u t h groups,
friends seem to have acted as a kind of social a n d moral jury, leading
U r w i c k to o b s e r v e : " T h e glaring publicity of the street is all o n the
side of t o w n youth's v i r t u e . "
Yet, the traditions of city y o u t h w e r e not necessarily identical to
those of the village, being no longer inclusive of such a broad range
of social ranks as before. T h e g r o w t h of residential segregation by
class had the effect of giving each urban n e i g h b o r h o o d a specific s o ­
cial character, perhaps e n c o u r a g i n g greater c o h e s i o n than had b e e n
the case w h e n various classes inhabited the same area. In the six­
teenth-century cities studied by Natalie D a v i s , social divisions caused
the d e c l i n e of a g e - h o m o g e n e o u s groups, but the nineteenth-century
city may very w e l l have p r o d u c e d the opposite effect precisely b e ­
cause the removal of adults to their place of w o r k m e a n t that parents
had to reply o n s e m i a u t o n o m o u s peer groups as extensions of their
moral authority. S o the typical fair w e a t h e r street scene:^^^

U r w i c k , " C o n c l u s i o n , " p p . 298, 310.


^ M o n t a g u e , p. 2 4 3 ; H e w i t t , p p . 3 8 - 4 0 , 8 1 - 8 4 .
U r w i c k , " C o n c l u s i o n , " p. 310.
"'^' Q u o t e d in M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure, p. 104.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 65

T h e d o o r s of t h e h o u s e s s t a n d h o s p i t a b l y o p e n , a n d y o u n g e r c h i l d r e n
cluster o v e r t h e thresholds a n d s w a r m o u t u p o n t h e p a v e m e n t . . . .
T h e p e o p l e a l l a p p e a r t o b e o n t h e b e s t of t e r m s w i t h e a c h o t h e r , a n d
laugh a n d gossip f r o m w i n d o w to w i n d o w , and door to d o o r . T h e
w o m e n , in p a r t i c u l a r , a r e f o n d of s i t t i n g in g r o u p s u p o n t h e i r t h r e s h ­
olds, sewing a n d knitting; the children sprawl about beside t h e m , a n d
t h e r e is t h e a m o u n t of s w e e t h e a r t i n g g o i n g f o r w a r d w h i c h is n a t u r a l l y
to b e l o o k e d for u n d e r such c i r c u m s t a n c e s .

W h a t strikes us here is the equilibrium b e t w e e n paternity a n d fra­


ternity. Parents c o n c e r n e d w i t h the d a y - t o - d a y struggle for survival
in a hostile e c o n o m i c e n v i r o n m e n t w e r e m o r e than w i l l i n g to turn
over tasks of education a n d supervision to the peer groups. In turn,
the urban y o u t h groups w e r e ready to support the interests of the
parents w h e n occasion d e m a n d e d . T h e ritual of Misrule r e m a i n e d an
instrument of popular protest in French cities throughout t h e early
nineteenth century, b e c o m i n g appropriately the title of D a u m i e r ' s
satirical n e w s p a p e r , the Charivari, in the IBSOs.^^^ Despite intergen-
erational tensions, y o u n g a n d old w e r e united in defense of their
class interests. In O x f o r d , the traditional G u y Fawkes Night activities
of N o v e m b e r , 1867, b e c a m e a v e h i c l e for e c o n o m i c protest, w h e n
bands of m e n and boys r o a m e d the streets, shouting for l o w e r bread
prices, and ultimately gathering under the w i n d o w s of Balliol C o l l e g e
to support a strike of masons there. After t w o nights of tumult, t o w n
and university authorities readied troops, but f o u n d it m o r e expedient
to turn students loose against the c r o w d . M e m b e r s of the University's
cadet corps, a r m e d w i t h clubs, surged into the streets on the third
night. That e v e n i n g the ritual battle b e t w e e n t o w n and g o w n took
on the aspect of class w a r f a r e , as the traditions of o n e segment of
English y o u t h w e r e pitted against those of another in a m e l e e of u n ­
accustomed violence.
As the century w o r e o n , youthful pranks w e r e m o r e likely to be
directed against another object of general working-class distrust, the
schools. H e r e again w e see the solidarity of old a n d y o u n g ; a n d in
many parts of E n g l a n d , parents e n c o u r a g e d rebellion against school
authorities w h e n compulsory education interfered w i t h w h a t they
b e l i e v e d to be their right to their children's work.^^^ Poverty a n d i n -

N a t a l i e D a v i s , " R e a s o n s of M i s r u l e , " p. 7 5 .
' ^ " R e p o r t s of R i o t " ; a l s o " G o w n a n d T o w n R o w s , " p p . 3 8 0 - 3 8 1 ; P l o w m a n , p p .
215-220.
F o r o n e s u c h c a s e in O x f o r d , s e e m s . s o u r c e D , S t . F r i d e s w i d e ' s , S e p t e m b e r 26
a n d O c t o b e r 2 , 1889. F o r L o n d o n , s e e B o o t h , p p . 2 0 6 - 2 3 0 ; a n d R u b i n s t e i n , p p . 6 1 ,
85-86.
66 Youth a n d History

security b o u n d y o u n g a n d old together, a n d anything that turned


the children from the h o m e or cut their contributions to the c o m m o n
purse w a s v i e w e d w i t h the dismay G e o r g e Sims attributed to a L o n ­
d o n costermonger in the lezOs:^^^

Its the School Board what gives 'em these notions, astuffin'
boys' heads full of pride,
And makes 'em look down on their fathers—these School
Boards I ne'er could abide.
When I was his age I was working', a-wheelin' the barrer for
dad.
And a-fetchin' the stuff from the markets, when horses was
not to be had.

W e have seen h o w the corporate traditions of the laboring poor


gave birth to n e w forms appropriate to an urbanized a n d industrial­
ized society organized o n a class basis. T h e n e i g h b o r h o o d gang, the
various rituals of social protest, a n d the e c o n o m i c a n d political r e ­
definition of " b r o t h e r h o o d " w e r e all products of a period of struc­
tural d e m o g r a p h i c a n d e c o n o m i c c h a n g e . N o t surprisingly, similar
transformations w e r e affecting the u p p e r orders of society as w e l l .
T h e r e , t o o , the traditions of y o u t h w e r e fundamentally altered, pro­
d u c i n g n e w y o u t h - p r o l o n g i n g structures to serve this other strata of
troubled y o u t h .

VI
If transition is a proper characterization of the status of y o u t h
a m o n g the poor, it is also a fitting description of the c h a n g i n g life-
cycle of the sons and daughters of the w e l l - t o - d o . Until the 1860s a n d
1870s, w h e n family limitation b e c a m e w i d e s p r e a d a m o n g the w e l l -
t o - d o , large numbers of children w e r e for t h e m also a form of social
security, though in the sense of preserving family n a m e a n d property
rather than as contributors to current i n c o m e . Large families w e r e

^ Q u o t e d in R u b i n s t e i n , p. 60.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 67

Still necessary to guarantee a m a l e heir, for w h i l e child mortality w a s


l o w e r a m o n g these elites, it w a s not yet so in the 1830s that parents
could expect m o r e than three-fourths of their children to reach t h e
age of 20. This w a s the mortality rate r e c o r d e d a m o n g the English
clergy at that t i m e , a n d w h i l e it is difficult to verify it for other m i d d l e -
class groups, it probably represented the average.^^^ In any case, the
fact of child mortality w a s an oppressive presence until very late in
the century, reflected in children's tales designed to prepare boys
and girls for d e a t h , in paintings such as A r c h e r ' s " T h e E m p t y C r a d l e , "
and in other m o r b i d decorations of mid-Victorian interiors.^^^
All this reflected a certain fatalism that the rich shared w i t h the
poor. Rousseau a n d other p e d a g o g u e s had r e m i n d e d t h e m that large
investment in a y o u n g child's training w a s a relatively p o o r risk. This
was not callous a d v i c e , for Rousseau w a s o n e of the leading p r o p o ­
nents of a n e w , m o r e sentimental, attitude t o w a r d the c h i l d , w h i c h
caught the imagination of the e d u c a t e d classes at the e n d of the
eighteenth century.^^^ But for m u c h of the nineteenth century this
concern c o u l d n e v e r b e w i t h o u t its a m b i v a l e n c e so long as the awful
facts of death l o o m e d as large as they did for most families. T h e t i m e
of the m o d e r n family, characterized by P h i l i p p e Aries as focusing its
attention o n " h e l p i n g the children to rise in the w o r l d , individually,
and w i t h o u t any collective ambition . . . , " had not yet fully arrived
o n the stage of social history e v e n by 1870.^^^ In any case, the senti­
mentality about y o u n g children did not extend to y o u t h , for in this
age of transition the treatment of t h e m reflected a family strategy
that, w h i l e modified by n e w e c o n o m i c a n d social conditions, w a s still
in m a n y respects traditional, regarding y o u n g e r sons a n d daughters
as e x p e n d a b l e to w h a t Aries w o u l d call the " c o l l e c t i v e a m b i t i o n . "
It must b e r e m e m b e r e d that relatively high mortality e n c o u r a g e d
high fertility until the 1860s and 1870s; a n d because the mortality rate
a m o n g children of the higher classes w a s beginning to d e c l i n e in the
middle of the nineteenth century, persistent high fertility w a s result­
ing in e v e n m o r e superfluous children than had b e e n the case ear-
lier.^^^ T h e p r o b l e m of w h a t to d o w i t h y o u n g e r sons a n d daughters
was d u e as m u c h to the changing social pretensions of the m i d d l e

B a n k s , Prosperity and Parenthood, p. 1 9 5 .


A r c h e r ' s p a i n t i n g a n d o t h e r m a u d l i n o b j e c t s of V i c t o r i a n s e n s i b i l i t y a r e i n c l u d e d
in M o r l e y , i l l u s t r a t i o n n o s . 1,3,4,6.
M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, pp. 63-64; Aries, pp. 365-407.
A r i e s , p. 4 0 4 .
B a n k s , Prosperity and Parenthood, e s p e c i a l l y C h a p t e r 10.
68 Youth a n d History

classes as to population g r o w t h , h o w e v e r . A s a group, they w e r e the


first to give up the practice of sending children out to live in the
households of others. T h e aristocracy, w i t h its networks of patronage,
could b e sure of placing its children properly, but the nouveau riche,
w h o s e social status w a s still shaky, w o r r i e d about any loss of status
that might result from their children's being associated w i t h t h e class
of p e o p l e w h o w e r e hired s e r v a n t s . G i r l s w e r e the first to a b a n d o n
the traditions of service, a n d because the Victorian m i d d l e classes
f r o w n e d on public education for w o m e n , there w a s no alternative for
t h e m but to remain at h o m e until marriage or, if spinsterhood w a s
their fate, to m o v e into t h e h o m e of a brother or s o m e other rela-
tive.112 W i t h respect to their sons, the m i d d l e classes w e r e d i v i d e d
b e t w e e n the entrepreneurial e l e m e n t s , w h o up to the m i d - n i n e t e e n t h
century normally brought t h e m into their businesses after s o m e kind
of apprenticeship, a n d t h e professional families, for w h o m formal
education w a s the key to career. This latter group preferred to e d u ­
cate their y o u n g children w i t h i n their o w n households d u r i n g the late
eighteenth a n d early nineteenth centuries, again partly for fear of
associating t h e m w i t h the l o w e r orders in the n e i g h b o r h o o d schools.
In w i t h d r a w i n g their sons f r o m the local grammar schools, t h e E n g ­
lish m i d d l e classes w e r e f o l l o w i n g the lead of t h e l a n d e d elites, w h o
had already a b a n d o n e d these institutions in the eighteenth century.^^^
Until the boarding (public) schools b e c a m e popular in t h e 1830s a n d
1840s, many children of the w e l l - t o - d o appear to h a v e r e m a i n e d at
h o m e until their m i d d l e t e e n years, w h e n the surviving males either
w e n t o n to university study or, m o r e often, began apprenticeships in
business or the professions. A s late as 1 8 6 1 , s o m e 40,000 English b o y s ,
15-20 years of a g e , w e r e living at h o m e w i t h o u t visible o c c u p a t i o n
or outside schooling. A p p a r e n t l y , most of these w e r e sons of the
propertied classes.^^^
Traditional forms of m a i n t e n a n c e , such as t r a m p i n g , w e r e simply
socially unacceptable to t h e expanding m i d d l e classes. Taking sons
directly into the family business w a s the cheapest m o d e of a c c o m m o ­
dation, but this w a s hardly a help to t h e professional e l e m e n t s . T h e y
shared w i t h the aristocracy an a b h o r r e n c e of trade a n d w e r e deter­
m i n e d to have their offspring f o l l o w t h e m in their o w n , or similarly

Aries, pp. 396-99.


Crozier, pp. 32-35.
' " H a n s , p p . 2 8 - 2 9 a n d C h a p t e r 9 ; C r o z i e r , p p . 1 8 - 2 3 ; M u s g r o v e , Youth and the
Social Order, pp. 37-46. O n German developments, see Stephen, pp. 64-72.
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , Pari. Papers V , p. 1 3 5 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1770-1870 69

prestigious, professions. " C l e r g y m e n beget c l e r g y m e n a n d barristers;


barristers beget barristers a n d c l e r g y m e n a n d the scions of the p r o ­
fessional classes h a v e generally to get a draught of the Lethe of p e n ­
ury before they desert their c o n v e n t i o n a l status, and take to selling
anything but their wits. . . . T h e professions absorb aspirants from
all classes, but return f e w or n o n e to their s o u r c e , " noted the Satur­
day Review in 1857.ιι·'*
Even in the eighteenth century, training for the professions w a s
b e c o m i n g a long, d r a w n - o u t affair. M i d - n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y English
doctors and lawyers w e r e typically older as a group than businessmen
or entrepreneurs, a condition that reflected their extended prepara­
t i o n . B y mid-century, the cost of d o m e s t i c e d u c a t i o n or grammar
schooling to the age of 17 or 18, plus 5 to 7 years of articled a p p r e n ­
ticeship b e y o n d that, w a s often o v e r £2,000.^^^ In E n g l a n d , only t h e
civil service w a s really o p e n to sons of modest m e a n s , for e v e n the
army required purchase of c o m m i s s i o n . T h e situation o n the C o n ­
tinent w a s m u c h the s a m e , w i t h the exception that in countries like
Prussia the civil service at its higher levels also required university
training in law, making it as expensive as the other professions.^^^
A n d a d d e d to the formal costs of education w e r e the social o v e r h e a d s
of eligible y o u n g bachelors, w h o had to keep up a p p e a r a n c e s in
order to be professionally and socially a c c e p t a b l e .
Little w o n d e r that the English Schools Inquiry C o m m i s s i o n of 1868
f o u n d the professional classes desperate about the cost of e d u c a ­
tion. " H a v i n g received a cultivated education t h e m s e l v e s , they are
anxious that their sons should not fall b e l o w t h e m . . . . T h e y have
nothing to look to but education to keep their sons o n a high social
level." Their special anguish w a s w e l l - d e p i c t e d in J . C . H u d s o n ' s
Parents Handbook of the early 1840s:i2o

T h e p r i d e a n d s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h w h i c h a f a t h e r r e g a r d s h i s first, a n d as
y e t o n l y s o n , in t h e d a y s of c o c k a d e s , w h i t e f r o c k s , a n d n a k e d k n e e s ,
are exchanged for anxiety and apprehension, when, some eighteen
years afterwards, h e sees himself s u r r o u n d e d b y a half a d o z e n full-

115 /
' Q u o t e d in R e a d e r , p. 120.
S e e a g e s t r u c t u r e of P r e s t o n p r o f e s s i o n s in M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , Family Structure,
p. 27.
""^ F i g u r e s f r o m B a n k s , Prosperity and Parenthood, pp. 173-196.
G i l l i s , Prussian Bureaucracy, pp. 49-53.
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , Pari. Papers I, p. 18.
^ Q u o t e d in B a n k s , Prosperity and Parenthood, p. 1 9 5 .
70 Youth a n d History

g r o w n a n d fast-growing candidates for frock coats, W e l l i n g t o n boots,


walking-canes, w a t c h guards, a n d cigars.

From the m i d d l e of the eighteenth century o n t h e C o n t i n e n t a n d


from the 1820s in E n g l a n d , there is e v i d e n c e of parents desperately
seeking relief f r o m this b u r d e n a n d resorting to a n y m e a n s to start
sons precociously o n careers regardless of t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s for the
individual. Parents w e r e bargaining for t h e cheapest a p p r e n t i c e p r e ­
m i u m s , indifferent to t h e quality of training. U n s c r u p u l o u s d o c t o r s ,
lawyers, and other professionals w o u l d take o n a boy merely for his
labor, teach h i m nothing, a n d then b l a m e his examination failures
o n his i d l e n e s s . W h e r e parents turned to secondary e d u c a t i o n , they
w e r e hardly less discriminating. In E n g l a n d , grasping schoolmasters
took a d v a n t a g e of parental gullibility to establish schools like D o t h e -
boys Hall in D i c k e n s ' Nicholas Nickleby, horrid d u m p i n g grounds for
u n w a n t e d lads. Prussian teachers reported that parents p u s h e d their
children w i t h unreasoning haste through school a n d o n to university.
Boys w e r e arriving at the university at such t e n d e r ages in t h e late
eighteenth a n d early nineteenth centuries that t h e Prussian state w a s
forced to contemplate prescribed examinations in order to halt
abuses w h i c h included t h e bribery of teachers.^22 Authorities w e r e
afraid of t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s , h o w e v e r , for as o n e official put it: ' O n e
is dealing here not only w i t h c o m m o n p e o p l e a n d understanding
parents, but w i t h influential a n d rich p e o p l e , w h o w o u l d raise an
uproar against such a law as an arbitrary intervention by t h e s t a t e . "
By 1818 a s c h o o l - l e a v i n g exam w a s i n t r o d u c e d , but not b e f o r e s t a n d ­
ards of p r o m o t i o n had b e e n m a d e m o c k e r y of in m a n y districts: " T h e
order and discipline a m o n g the students is t h e r e b y almost totally
d e s t r o y e d , so that b e t w e e n students a n d teachers conflict instead of
p e a c e f u l , trustful relationships appropriate to such things n o w p r e ­
vails."
T h e condition of English public schools of t h e same p e r i o d w e r e
c o m p a r a b l e , if not w o r s e . T h e y , t o o , h a d b e c o m e d u m p i n g g r o u n d s ,
both for sons of the gentry a n d for the offspring of t h e u p p e r - m i d d l e
classes, most of w h o m had no prospects of going o n to t h e university
and w e r e in public school simply to gain a bit of social polish b e f o r e
seeking their fortunes in t h e army, t h e c o l o n i e s , or, in last resort.

R e a d e r , p. 119.
^ Schwartz, vol. 1 , pp. 67-71.
" ^ S c h w a r t z , v o l . 1 , p. 107.
Q u o t e d in S c h w a r t z , v o l . 2 , p. 94.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 77

business.^25 English boarding schools, prior to t h e A r n o l d i a n reforms


of the 1830s, w e r e " g r e a t seminaries, w h e r e hundreds of bad and
g o o d boys are promiscuously m i n g l e d , w h e r e the t i m e of boys is so
entirely at their o w n disposal, that of four a n d t w e n t y hours but t w o
or three at the utmost are spent under the master's e y e s ; a n d of the
remainder, w h e n w e d e d u c t w h a t is e m p l o y e d in t h e important busi­
ness of p u r v e y i n g , in quarreling and in play, w e find little left for the
purpose of voluntary i m p r o v e m e n t . " w i t h o u t a defined future or
a reason to study, the s c h o o l b o y of the early nineteenth century
v i e w e d teachers as captors rather than mentors. Discipline, either
abysmally lax or brutally harsh, inevitably triggered r e b e l l i o n ; a n d
the early nineteenth century w a s punctuated w i t h violent s c h o o l b o y
revolts, the last of w h i c h w a s at M a r l b o r o u g h C o l l e g e in 1 8 5 1 .
M u c h of the b l a m e can b e placed o n grasping schoolmasters, to
w h o m the a c a d e m i c success of their boys mattered only as " a d v e r ­
tisement to their s c h o o l s . " But the 1868 Schools Inquiry C o m m i s ­
sion placed responsibility e l s e w h e r e : " T o o often parents s e e m hardly
to care for education at all. T o o often they think no education w o r t h
having that cannot b e speedily turned into m o n e y . " Reverend
Charles Evans, headmaster of a B i r m i n g h a m g r a m m a r s c h o o l , n o t e d
the t e n d e n c y of parents to " t h r o w the responsibility of the entire
education of their children u p o n the s c h o o l , ignoring their o w n r e ­
sponsibility." O t h e r teachers c o m p l a i n e d that parents w i t h d r e w
boys before their education w a s c o m p l e t e , thinking little of their
long-term future a n d only of i m m e d i a t e a d v a n t a g e . Masters w e r e
nearly unanimous that parents had no respect for the goals of the
local grammar schools a n d that, w h i l e day schools w e r e reported to
w o r k in S c o t l a n d , w h e r e parents carefully p l a n n e d a n d supervised
their children's e d u c a t i o n , " i n E n g l a n d , at any rate at present, parents
d o not seem able to m a k e day schools as efficient places of teaching
as g o o d boarding s c h o o l s . "
T h e C o m m i s s i o n took heart from the g r o w i n g popularity of the
reformed boarding (public) schools, but their attraction also appears
to have b e e n partly a function of parental desire for relief. " T h e y feel
themselves c h i l d - r i d d e n , " o b s e r v e d R e v e r e n d E d w a r d L o w e , " t h e

^ M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, pp. 48-49.


^ Q u o t e d in H a n s , p. 1 8 2 .
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , P a r / . Papers I, p. 17.
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , Pari. Papers, I, p. 1 5 .
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , Pari Papers 1, p. 5 4 3 .
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t . Pari. Papers I, p. 44.
72 Youth a n d History

a c c o m m o d a t i o n of small houses, the d o m e s t i c arrangement of small


houses, the class of servants in small houses, a n d all that sort of thing,
suggest the advantage it is to the parents to board their children at
school and not to have their big boys always at h o m e . " Still, such
schools w e r e increasingly expensive, a n d as late as the 1860s the
professional m i d d l e classes had f o u n d no w a y of relieving t h e m s e l v e s
of the burdens of their high fertility. F u r t h e r m o r e , the conditions of
those w h o s e " c i r c u m s t a n c e s compelí t h e m to live in small houses
w i t h large f a m i l i e s " w a s getting w o r s e , for the fall in child mortality
that w a s recorded a m o n g that class b e t w e e n 1830 a n d 1870 m e a n t
that e v e n m o r e offspring w e r e surviving to b e educated.^^^ j H.
Marshall w a s later to put their plight: " I t may b e possible to bring
ten children into the w o r l d , if y o u h a v e o n l y to rear five, a n d w h i l e
o n e is ' o n the w a y , ' the last is in the grave, not in the nursery. But
if the doctor preserves seven or eight of t e n , a n d other things remain
e q u a l , the b u r d e n m a y b e c o m e i n t o l e r a b l e . "
D e m o g r a p h i c crisis w a s c o m p o u n d e d by the peculiarities of early
nineteenth-century e c o n o m i c g r o w t h , w h i c h did not p r o v i d e a d e ­
quate e m p l o y m e n t opportunities for the e d u c a t e d . A m o n g t h e aris­
tocracy, the p r o b l e m of y o u n g e r sons returned in t h e eighteenth c e n ­
tury, particularly o n the C o n t i n e n t , w h e r e i m p o v e r i s h e d n o b l e m e n
b e c a m e a b u r d e n o n both state a n d society. In Prussia, w h e r e military
and civil service had previously p r o v i d e d a c c e p t a b l e e m p l o y m e n t for
that group, these occupations w e r e n o longer sufficient to m e e t the
d e m a n d of both the nobility a n d the e x p a n d i n g m i d d l e classes, w h o
w e r e n o w challenging the old elites' m o n o p o l y o n preferred p o s i ­
tions. A t the e n d of the eighteenth century there w a s the first of a
series of crises of u n d e r e m p l o y m e n t a m o n g the e d u c a t e d , p r o d u c i n g
an u n p r e c e d e n t e d level of generational awareness a m o n g Prussian
y o u t h . Talented y o u n g m e n , the likes of Friedrich S c h l e i e r m a c h e r a n d
Friedrich W i l h e l m S c h e l l i n g , c o u l d find no other o c c u p a t i o n than that
of tutoring the children of t h e w e a l t h y . H e n r i B r u n s c h w i g has w r i t t e n
of a w h o l e generation w h o s e frustrations adversely affected their
health, turned t h e m against society, a n d , if w e are to b e l i e v e c o n ­
temporary accounts, led to an u n p r e c e d e n t e d rash of s u i c i d e s . F o r
those w i t h o u t prospect of e m p l o y m e n t or marriage, y o u t h itself b e -

P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , Pari. Papers V , p. 50.


B a n k s , Prosperity arid Parenthood, p. 194.
Q u o t e d i n M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, p. 6 5 .
Brunschwig, pp. 177-179, 266-269.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 73

c a m e a nightmarish state of existence, reflected in t h e literature of


the Sturm und Drang m o v e m e n t , w h o s e heroes w e r e inevitably cast
in the role of y o u n g o u t l a w s . This w a s the generation that w e p t at
reading G o e t h e ' s Sorrows of Young Werther and identified w i t h S c h i l ­
ler's The Robbers. Theirs w a s not a political m o v e m e n t in the usual
sense of that t e r m , though in their a d o p t i o n of the " W e r t h e r c o s ­
t u m e , " comfortable coat and shirt o p e n at the neck, they w e r e mak­
ing a statement of rebellion against the highly formalized society of
the eighteenth century. " I t hardly o c c u r r e d to a n y b o d y in my y o u t h
to e n v y the privileged class or grudge t h e m their p r i v i l e g e s , " G o e t h e
w r o t e in 1790, " b u t knights, robbers, an honest Third Estate, a n d an
infamous nobility—such have b e e n the ingredients of our novels a n d
plays during the past ten y e a r s . "
This first generation of y o u n g romantics aroused the antagonism
of their elders, w h o accused t h e m of e v e r y excess. T h e sedition of
the y o u n g w a s purely spiritual, h o w e v e r . T h e y c a m e together in the
1770s in small, informal groups like the G ö t t i n g e n Hainbund to dis­
cuss ideas and nourish the thought of moral self-preservation. T h e
essence of this and other self-styled ''Bruderbünde'' of the period
w a s " t o spread religious virtue, sensibility, a n d pure innocent spir­
ituality." T h e Hainbund m a d e of male friendship a kind of secular re­
ligion, making of y o u t h itself the repository of all that w a s socially
and culturally holy.^^^ This tradition w e n t back to the f o u n d i n g of
Der Jüngling in 1747, o n e of the journals of the " m o r a l w e e k l y " cate­
gory that w e r e so popular a m o n g the G e r m a n e d u c a t e d class during
the p e r i o d . This paper set itself against the d o m i n a n t social m a n n e r ­
isms of the day, imports of French fashions a n d tastes that c a m e in
for increasing criticism at the e n d of the eighteenth century.^^^ T h e
association of effeminacy w i t h c o s m o p o l i t a n i s m , a n d masculinity
w i t h native G e r m a n fraternal c u s t o m , had its roots in the same r e ­
bellion against all that w a s privileged a n d therefore French. T h e
ladies of the exclusive salons w e r e v i e w e d w i t h the same c o n t e m p t
as the courtesans, thus reinforcing the cult of maleness that w a s a
part of the m o v e m e n t from the beginning. Spiritual rather than
physical h o w e v e r , the h o m o e r o t i c e l e m e n t in early romanticism's
fraternal ism w a s perhaps to h a v e b e e n expected a m o n g a b o d y of
y o u n g m e n w h o , through no fault of their o w n , had b e e n excluded

' " ^ Q u o t e d in H o l b o r n , p. 3 2 8 ; H o r n s t e i n , p p . 170ff.


'•^ M u c h o w , Jugend und Zeitgeist, pp. 29-56.
Hornstein, pp. 149-164
74 Youth a n d History

from all privilege, including the c o m p a n y of w o m e n of their own


class.138

D e m o g r a p h i c a n d e c o n o m i c conditions w e r e less severe o n E n g ­


lish y o u t h of a similar b a c k g r o u n d . England's y o u n g e r sons w e r e bet­
ter p r o v i d e d for by the expanding e c o n o m i c opportunities at h o m e
and a b r o a d . Furthermore, the aristocracy's traditional p o w e r s of p a ­
tronage and purchase a p p e a r to have r e m a i n e d a d e q u a t e for its n e e d s
until the 1870s, w h e n considerations of merit began to undercut its
traditional monopolies.^^^ T h e r e w a s talk of the n e e d for Protestant
convents for unmarried daughters in the eighteenth century, but
nothing like the crisis of the seventeenth century arose a m o n g the
gentry a n d m i d d l e classes until the third d e c a d e of the nineteenth
century, w h e n o v e r c r o w d i n g began to a p p e a r in the English profes­
sions. B y the 1850s primogeniture w a s again b e i n g criticized a n d
elaborate s c h e m e s devised to p r o v i d e respectable e m p l o y m e n t for
surplus y o u t h . T h e most ambitious project w a s that of T h o m a s
H u g h e s , the self-appointed protector of the interests of the English
upper classes, w h o collected £150,000 to f o u n d a c o l o n y for y o u n g e r
sons in b a c k w o o d s Tennessee. A p p r o p r i a t e l y called " R u g b y , "
Hughes's settlement w a s to c o m b i n e the attractions of tennis a n d
fishing w i t h the genteel but profitable e m p l o y m e n t s of farming a n d
h o r s e - b r e e d i n g . It lured several y o u n g pioneers in 1879, but, as the
historian of the experiment e x p l a i n e d : " T h e y w e r e Englishmen of
culture and refinement a n d at o n e period their supply of W o r c e s t e r
sauce b e c a m e exhausted a n d their agonies w e r e terrible to witness.
But e v e n this disaster w a s f o l l o w e d by a greater. This w a s the failure
of London Punch to arrive on t i m e . . . . T h e n again the country w a s
unfavorable for the playing of l a w n t e n n i s . " T w o years after it
b e g a n , Tennessee's Rugby collapsed.
M a n y a y o u n g g e n t l e m a n had b e e n forced to emigrate under m u c h
less attractive circumstances. T h e N a p o l e o n i c w a r s had p r o v i d e d out­
let for y o u n g energies through military service, but, w i t h the d e m o ­
bilization a n d the e c o n o m i c depression that f o l l o w e d 1815, troubles
already apparent in the eighteenth century w e r e intensified. O n the
C o n t i n e n t m a n y turned to higher education as a w a y of attaining or
maintaining status, but there, too, the professions w e r e not expanding
at a rate sufficient to absorb the n u m b e r s of qualified graduates.

' M u c h o w , Jugend und Zeitgeist, pp. 90-92.


* F. L. M . T h o m p s o n , p p . 7 0 - 7 5 .
' Q u o t e d in Thirsl<, p. 377.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 75

Already, in the 1830s, G e r m a n parents w e r e b e i n g told that " t h e


n u m b e r of y o u n g p e o p l e w h o have c o m p l e t e d their studies is already
m o r e than sufficient to o c c u p y all the positions." Enrollments d e ­
clined for a time and then shot u p w a r d s again in the 1840s, the cause
of W . H . RiehTs pessimistic o b s e r v a t i o n : " G e r m a n y produces greater
intellectual product than it can use a n d s u p p o r t . " In France, t h e
situation w a s m u c h the s a m e , there b e i n g " w a n t of straight a n d
regular paths in w h i c h steady industry or persevering ambition may
insure success in life."
In both G e r m a n y a n d France, industrial d e v e l o p m e n t w a s still p r o ­
c e e d i n g too slowly to absorb m o r e than small n u m b e r s of e d u c a t e d
y o u t h . A n d e v e n had it b e e n faster, the traditional disdain of the
e d u c a t e d for c o m m e r c e w o u l d have p r e v e n t e d most of these y o u n g
m e n from taking advantage. Until the m i d d l e of the nineteenth c e n ­
tury, higher education r e m a i n e d e v e r y w h e r e classically rather than
technologically o r i e n t e d , preparing the y o u n g almost exclusively for
the clergy, law, m e d i c i n e , and civil service. As the crisis of o v e r c r o w d ­
ing w o r s e n e d , access to salaried position, marriage, a n d , in effect, to
adulthood itself w a s progressively d e l a y e d . A m o n g candidates for the
Prussian higher bureaucracy, the age of tenured a p p o i n t m e n t w a s
increasingly p o s t p o n e d . In the 1830s a Prussian administrative trainee
of the Assessor rank w a i t e d an average of 6.6 years for his first sala­
ried post; by the 1850s the w a i t i n g period w a s o v e r 10 y e a r s . A s
the educational process b e c a m e m o r e rationalized a n d bureaucra-
tized, schooling itself w a s e x t e n d e d . Students w e r e arriving later at
the university ( m e d i a n age of 17 years at Oxford in the 1590s; m e d i a n
age of 19.7 in 1900) and staying longer. L a w r e n c e S t o n e estimates
that the w h o l e English educational process w a s e x t e n d e d 5 or 6 years
b e t w e e n the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, a trend apparent
o n the C o n t i n e n t as well.^^^ Precocity, so m u c h desired by the par­
ents, had b e c o m e socially a n d professionally unattainable for the
sons.
For m a n y , family resources w e r e too small to ride out a p r o l o n g e d
period of training. S o m e , like Stephan B o r n , w e r e forced to a b a n d o n
their schooling w h e n family funds failed and seek e m p l o y m e n t in the

' ^ ' O ' B o y l e , p. 4 7 7 ; G i l l i s , Prussian Bureaucracy, p. 66.


O ' B o y l e , p. 489.
C i l l i s , Prussian Bureaucracy, p. 4 3 .
s t o n e , " S i z e a n d C o m p o s i t i o n , " p p . 5 1 - 5 4 . F o r G e r m a n u n i v e r s i t y statistics, s e e
Zorn, pp. 321-339.
76 Youth a n d History

trades.i^^ O t h e r s turned to less socially a c c e p t a b l e intellectual o c c u ­


pations, such as journalism, w h e r e they gave v e n t to their social frus­
trations a n d generational grievances. These y o u n g m e n w e r e fated by
background or ambition to " f o l l o w o n e of the liberal professions, the
law or m e d i c i n e . . . or to gain a precarious livelihood by the public
press, or to solicit (long, perhaps, and vainly) e m p l o y m e n t in public
office. Agriculture a n d c o m m e r c e are repudiated as b e n e a t h y o u n g
m e n w h o are attempting at o n e go to o v e r l e a p m a n y steps in the
social s c a l e . " T h e y w e r e , as W . H . Riehl described t h e m , Europe's
"intellectual proletariat," inclined to be politically radical or, if not
so o r i e n t e d , i n v o l v e d in the various elite y o u t h - p r o l o n g i n g counter
cultures and organizations that had proliferated since the eighteenth
century, m a n y of t h e m sprouting from a single root, n a m e l y that of
freemasonry.

VII
Circles of serious y o u n g m e n , b o u n d together by shared intellec­
tual a n d moral c o n c e r n s , w e r e already c o m m o n in m i d - e i g h t e e n t h -
century G e r m a n y . A s a s c h o o l b o y , G o e t h e had vainly sought to j o i n
such a group w h i c h called itself the Philandria, T h o u g h not m u c h
older than h e , its m e m b e r s turned him d o w n because his reputation
for w i l d behavior w a s an affront to their image of t h e m s e l v e s as a
" l e a g u e of v i r t u e . " A l t h o u g h the future genius w a s n e v e r initiated
into that priggish c o m p a n y , h e w a s later to b e associated w i t h f r e e ­
masonry, w h i c h in its goals, organization, a n d constituency w a s strik­
ingly similar to that s c h o o l b o y s ' organization. I n d e e d , it w a s not by
accident that the Philandria later e v o l v e d into a m a s o n i c l o d g e , for
the history of masonry a n d that of elite y o u t h - p r o l o n g i n g organiza­
tions w e r e tightly i n t e r w o v e n for m u c h of the eighteenth a n d n i n e ­
teenth centuries.
T h e origins of freemasonry p r o v i d e us w i t h clues as to w h y this
m o v e m e n t exerted such an extraordinary attraction o n u p p e r a n d

Born, pp. 6-9.


Q u o t e d in O ' B o y l e , p. 489.
Friedenthal, pp. 3 0 - 3 1 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 77

middle class y o u t h , beginning in the eighteenth century. As the n a m e


implies, it b o r r o w e d heavily from certain craft traditions, notably that
of the itinerant masons, w h o s e system of lodges w a s attracting c o n ­
siderable attention a m o n g the educated class as early as the late
seventeenth century. T h e masons' w o r l d w a s an intensely moral o n e .
Its j o u r n e y m e n w e r e protected against social mishap and personal
failing by a series of strict rules to w h i c h novices c o m m i t t e d t h e m ­
selves in elaborate, ofttimes exotic, initiation c e r e m o n i e s . Ritual not
only protected the secrets of the trade, but e n c o u r a g e d a peer group
solidarity that w a s reflected in the generous mutual aid that distin­
guished this and other itinerant crafts during the Early M o d e r n p e r i o d .
Beginning s o m e t i m e in the seventeenth century, individuals of
m i d d l e - and e v e n upper-class origin began to join mason lodges. By
the early eighteenth century s o m e of the " o p e r a t i v e " lodges had
b e e n transformed into " s p e c u l a t i v e " lodges, w h o s e functions w e r e
purely social and cultural rather than e c o n o m i c . In 1717 the first
G r a n d Lodge of this n e w freemasonry w a s f o u n d e d in England, the
beginning of a m o v e m e n t that quickly spread to the Continent.^^^
The n e w speculative masons appear to have b e e n attracted originally
to the craft traditions by both their exotic character and the social-
moral fellowship that they represented. O c c u l t practices associated
w i t h craft rites w e r e to b e c o m e increasingly popular as the century
progressed, but, initially at least, these seem to have b e e n secondary
to the w a r m , convivial atmosphere of the lodges themselves. " R e ­
freshment, smoking and conversation, in circumstances of ease rather
than e l e g a n c e , and undisturbed by the society of w o m e n , in w h i c h
many a man can take a rational p l e a s u r e " — t h e s e w e r e the primary
attractions of this n e w form of fellowship.
M a s o n r y represented a rejection of the exorbitant social and e c o ­
n o m i c d e m a n d s of court and salon. Although socially it w a s a m i d d l e -
and upper-class m o v e m e n t , fashion, c o n n e c t i o n , and patronage
counted less a m o n g its circles. T h e tradition of mutual aid w a s also
refreshing to those c o n t e m p t u o u s of or exhausted by social climbing,
one of the reasons it attracted so m a n y y o u n g intellectuals, a m o n g
t h e m a large n u m b e r of declasse persons. T h e lodges p r o v i d e d a
supportive structure for the duration of that long social moratorium
that w a s the fate of this group. A s a single-sex organization w i t h a

"^On t h e o r i g i n s of f r e e m a s o n r y in E n g l a n d , s e e K n o o p a n d J o n e s ; also J . M .
Roberts, pp. 17-25.
K n o o p a n d J o n e s , p. 3 1 5 .
78 Youth a n d History

Strong moral c o d e it served as protection against disastrous liaison


and premature marriage. M e m b e r s h i p attracted not only those itiner­
ant pleasure-seekers like Casanova, w h o f o u n d that the lodges c o m ­
prised a c o n v e n i e n t international n e t w o r k for their exploits, but m o r e
sober bachelors, looking for d e c e n t , respectable companionship.^"^^
Customs that for centuries had served the tramping artisan w e r e n o w
a d a p t e d to m e e t the n e e d s of another, e v e n m o r e m o b i l e , social
class.
Like the craft from w h i c h it took its n a m e , freemasonry d i v i d e d its
m e m b e r s h i p into a n u m b e r of grades, roughly c o r r e s p o n d i n g to a g e .
Lodges w e r e active in recruiting y o u n g m e n to their apprentice and
j o u r n e y m e n ' s ranks; a n d in G e r m a n y they w e r e particularly success­
ful in penetrating the traditional student fraternities, the Landsmann­
schaften, thereby altering their character from that of regional asso­
ciations to broadly-based national organizations by establishing
w i t h i n t h e m a series of interlocking cells called Orden. Llltimately
the Orden d e t a c h e d themselves from the parent lodges a n d b e c a m e
strictly student organizations, but they c o n t i n u e d to o p e r a t e as a
moral c o u n t e r w e i g h t w i t h i n the student c o m m u n i t y . U n d e r m a s o n i c
influence, the initiations of the traditional fraternities took o n a m o r e
elevating character by the late eighteenth century, s h e d d i n g m a n y
of the brutal, senseless features that had b e e n accumulating during
the previous t w o centuries.^"^^ A t the same t i m e , the small, semisecret
Orden served as a v e h i c l e for the m o r e occult forms of freemasonry
that, after 1770, w e r e b e c o m i n g increasingly popular a m o n g old a n d
y o u n g alike. A d a m W e i s h a u p t , the leader of the exotic llluminati fringe
of G e r m a n freemasonry, found the secret student societies to b e a
useful instrument, a n d all o v e r the C o n t i n e n t a n d in England y o u n g
m e n w e r e soon d a b b l i n g in cabalistic rituals, experimenting in a l ­
c h e m y or the mysteries of Mesmerism.^"'- A n d because the llluminati
and other mystical branches of masonry w e r e also d e v o t e e s of radical
libertarianism and egalitarianism, fraternity in this case also b e c a m e
a kind of " u n d e r g r o u n d , " spreading ideas subversive to the estab­
lished order.^"'-^ Little w o n d e r that the influence of freemasonry o n
the y o u n g w a s the cause of increasing c o n c e r n in the years just b e -

J . M . R o b e r t s , p. 56.
S c h u l z e a n d S s y m a n k , p p . 161ff; M u c h o w , Jugend und Zeitgeist, pp. 47-52.
'^On France, see Viatte, pp. 33-37, 104-139; Brunschwig, pp. 217-269; Epstein,
pp. 94-97.
^••"Darnton, p p . 8 1 - 1 1 5 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1770-1870 79

fore 1789 a n d that, w i t h t h e advent of t h e French R e v o l u t i o n , authori­


ties in other parts of E u r o p e m o v e d to b a n t h e brotherhoods.
T h e appeal of the occult w e n t d e e p e r than its political t e n d e n c y ,
h o w e v e r . Henri B r u n s c h w i g has s h o w n h o w w i d e s p r e a d w a s t h e at­
traction of both mysticism a n d magic o n t h e e d u c a t e d y o u n g at t h e
e n d of t h e eighteenth century. For t h e m , it w a s a kind of secular
religion, a stabilizing e l e m e n t in a w h i r l i n g w o r l d of c h a n g e , in w h i c h
traditional religion a n d c o n v e n t i o n a l social ritual h a d lost meaning.^''^^
Poor health a n d frayed nerves h a d driven t h e y o u n g G o e t h e to search
for the philosopher's stone. U n d e r t h e direction of his Pietist friend,
Fräulein v o n Klettenberg, h e passionately explored the occult, from
the mysteries of t h e zodiac to the magic incorporated in t h e writings
of Pietist writers, including S w e d e n b o r g . T o g e t h e r these seekers ex­
plored a l c h e m y , associating personal spiritual regeneration w i t h t h e
transmutation of metals.^^^ Troubles of the heart as w e l l as t h e b o d y
w e r e b e l i e v e d to b e exorcised by absorption in t h e occult a n d it w a s
no accident that the Rosicrucians, o n e of the most exotic offspring of
eighteenth-century freemasonry, d e v o t e d themselves to experimenta­
tion w i t h drugs in search of w h a t they regarded as t h e secret of per­
petual youth.^·'·^*
T h e occult, M i r c e a Eliade informs us, often contains in its practices
rites of initiation a n d passage.^'^^ In t h e case of t h e freemasonry of t h e
late eighteenth century, these a p p e a r to have had y o u t h - p r o l o n g i n g
functions. Parallel to t h e craft brotherhoods from w h i c h it d r e w its
inspiration, masonry w a s " l i k e a family a n d a fraternity," serving to
ease t h e lonely passage from c h i l d h o o d to a d u l t h o o d by creating a
n e w , almost monastic c o d e for this elite of troubled bachelors. T h u s ,
o n e fictitious son explains to his father his enthusiasm for t h e m o v e -
ment:^'>8

O u r s e c r e t m e e t i n g s stir o u r h e a r t s . W e e x p e r i e n c e s a c r e d h o u r s d e ­
v o t e d t o t h e b r o t h e r l y l o v e o f m a n k i n d as v^e a s s e m b l e i n a q u i e t p l a c e
f a r r e m o v e d f r o m t h e b u s t l e o f t h e v^orld. S u c h a p l a c e Is r i g h t l y c a l l e d
a " t e m p l e " s i n c e all p r o f a n e r e l a t i o n s h i p s l o s e t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e t h e r e .
A p r i n c e b e c o m e s a s i m p l e b r o t h e r , t h e m o s t h u m b l e of h i s s u b j e c t s
c a n c o m m u n i c a t e w i t h h i m o n t h e basis of p e r f e c t e q u a l i t y . E v e r y m a n

Brunschwig, pp. 217-220.


Friedenthal, pp. 66-68.
^'^'" E p s t e i n , p. 1 0 9 .
'''' E l i a d e , p p . 1 2 3 - 1 2 4 , 1 3 2 - 1 3 3 .
' ^ Q u o t e d in E p s t e i n , p. 97.
80 Y o u t h a n d History

is a b r o t h e r t o e v e r y o t h e r r e g a r d l e s s of d i s t i n c t i o n s of r a n k a n d r e ­
l i g i o n . E v e r y m e e t i n g of t h e l o d g e s t r e n g t h e n s m e t e n f o l d in m y r e ­
s o l v e t o v^alk t h e t h o r n y p a t h of life a s a n u p r i g h t a n d f r e e m a n . M y
heart expands a n d e m b r a c e s all t h e w o r l d — i n short, 1 b e c o m e a c o s ­
m o p o l i t a n in f e e l i n g .

T h e imagery of freemasonry w a s both fraternal and patriarchal. Its


organization w a s hierarchical a n d at the same time fundamentally
egalitarian. A n d from it w o u l d spring a w h o l e set of organizations—
student m o v e m e n t s , revolutionary conspiracies, Utopian experiments
— w h i c h w o u l d h a v e a continuing attraction for e d u c a t e d y o u t h w e l l
into the nineteenth century.

VIII
Before m o v i n g o n to later y o u t h cultures, w e should not neglect
another set of eighteenth-century m o v e m e n t s that w e r e also to d e ­
posit their o w n traditions. T h e s e w e r e the anti-institutional evangelical
groups, such as G e r m a n Pietism, a n d English Q u a k e r i s m and M e t h ­
o d i s m . Pietism established the m o d e l of small d e v o t i o n a l groups,
patterned consciously o n the simple piety of the early Christians. T h e
rejection of social c o n v e n t i o n , and the c o n c e p t of b r o t h e r h o o d and
sisterhood, c o u p l e d w i t h a strong emphasis o n w o r l d l y success, had
great appeal to the y o u n g , not only in G e r m a n y but also in England
and America.^^^ Q u a k e r i s m , for e x a m p l e , w a s most successful in c o n ­
verting y o u n g e r sons and daughters in their late twenties and early
thirties, precisely the groups that c o u l d no longer find fellowship
w i t h i n their o w n family circle.^^^ T h e religious institution of c o n v e r ­
sion carried w i t h it the social salvation of " s e c o n d b i r t h " into a c o m ­
munity of believers, a n d it w a s through the evangelical revivals of the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that countless y o u t h f o u n d s u p ­
port a n d a sense of direction that their background a n d situation
could not p r o v i d e .
Pietist c o m m u n i t i e s , such as H e r r n h u t in G e r m a n y a n d B e t h l e h e m

H o l b o r n , p. 140.
V a n n , p p . 641-642. For A m e r i c a , see G r e v e n , p p . 119-134.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 87

in Pennsylvania, w e n t still further in institutionalizing religion's y o u t h -


prolonging character. T h e r e , the c o m m u n i t y w a s organized a r o u n d
a g e - g r a d e d , sex-segregated " c h o i r s , " w h i c h functioned to instill si­
multaneously both the skills n e e d e d in this w o r l d a n d the piety re­
quired by the next. C h i l d r e n w e r e separated at an early age from
their parents and brought up in separate lodgings, w h e r e they w e r e
e n c o u r a g e d to reject all sibling jealousies a n d to v i e w all persons as
their brothers a n d sisters. Religious fellowship b l e n d e d w i t h a kind
of social utopianism w h i c h sought to minimize social a n d g e n e r a ­
tional conflict through the abolition of private property a n d , thus,
inheritance. In place of old traditions of celibate y o u t h w e r e substi­
tuted a series of age groups, w i t h elaborate rituals marking each stage
of a passage from c h i l d h o o d to a d u l t h o o d that w a s controlled largely
by the peers themselves.^^^
Little w o n d e r that Pietism h a d such a p o w e r f u l a p p e a l for troubled
y o u t h . G o e t h e w a s attracted for a t i m e to the Herrnhut c o m m u n i t y
near his native city, reporting himself " a l m o s t " c o n v e r t e d . T h e r e
w a s hardly a figure in the " S t u r m u n d D r a n g " generation of y o u n g
G e r m a n intellectuals w h o w a s not t o u c h e d at o n e t i m e or another in
his youth by the spiritual or moral goals of the m o v e m e n t . Rejecting
infant baptism a n d concentrating its energies o n conversion after
puberty. Pietism reinforced the special significance of y o u t h as a p e ­
riod of moral a n d spiritual regeneration. Pietists w e r e a m o n g the first
to concern themselves as w e l l w i t h social w e l f a r e of y o u t h , taking t h e
lead in founding both schools a n d orphanages in eighteenth-century
Germany.i^^ T w o of the most important figures of the later G e r m a n
student reform m o v e m e n t , Friedrich S c h l e i e r m a c h e r a n d J a k o b
Friedrich Fries, w e r e both e d u c a t e d in Pietist institutions.
English Q u a k e r i s m a n d M e t h o d i s m also p r o d u c e d leaders in the
field of educational and moral reform. In their early stages, they, t o o ,
emphasized the intimate fellowship of believers, sharing social as w e l l
as spiritual concerns. A l t h o u g h there exists no systematic study of the
early m e m b e r s h i p of M e t h o d i s m , it w o u l d s e e m that many w h o w e r e
attracted to it w e r e y o u n g , single individuals for w h o m that n o n - i n ­
stitutionalized faith held a social a p p e a l . Pietism had had a direct
effect o n the form of M e t h o d i s m , through the M o r a v i a n Brethren w i t h
w h o m M e t h o d i s m ' s founder, J o h n W e s l e y , had close contact in the

Collin, pp. 68-83.


F r i e d e n t h a l , p. 6 5 .
^ « » H o l b o r n , p. 1 3 5 .
82 Youth a n d History

1720s.i^^ A s a y o u n g m a n still seeking a calling in life, W e s l e y had


found strength a n d direction a m o n g the pious B r e t h r e n , a f e l l o w s h i p
w h o s e m o d e l he f o l l o w e d in establishing his o w n evangelical m o v e ­
ment. In A m e r i c a , about w h i c h w e are s o m e w h a t better i n f o r m e d ,
M e t h o d i s m appears to have had a particularly strong a p p e a l for s o ­
cially and geographically m o b i l e y o u t h . As late as the m i d - n i n e t e e n t h
century. N e w England colleges w e r e still experiencing w a v e s of re­
vivalism a n d , in m a n y , c o n v e r s i o n to the fellowship of believers at­
tained the status of a major institution in student life.^^^ C o n v e r s i o n ,
w h i c h had b e c o m e associated w i t h late t e e n a g e by that t i m e , served
to mark a " n e w b e g i n n i n g , " the first departure from family, sustained
and legitimized by Christian fellowship.
Evangelical religion w a s a v e h i c l e for e m a n c i p a t i o n , a n d , as such,
w a s b o u n d to b e the c e n t e r of generational controversy. G e o r g e
W h i t e f i e l d w a s a c c u s e d , during his 1740 A m e r i c a n revival, of creating
" d i v i s i o n of families, n e i g h b o r h o o d s a n d t o w n s ; the contrariety of
husbands a n d w i v e s ; t h e undutifulness of children a n d s e r v a n t s . "
There is no d o u b t that the e m o t i v e imagery of M e t h o d i s m , w h i c h
E d w a r d T h o m p s o n has described as " b y turns maternal, O e d i p a l ,
sexual a n d s a d o - m a s o c h i s t i c , " w a s reflective of c o m p l e x intergenera-
tional tensions that w e r e the product of a rapidly changing e c o n o m i c
and social system. Turning to a H e a v e n l y Father and entering into
the B r o t h e r h o o d of Christ w a s u n d o u b t e d l y a w a y of reconciling the
break w i t h family, a socially a c c e p t a b l e w a y of setting off o n a long
and difficult passage to a d u l t h o o d . N o t only a m o n g middle-class
y o u t h but w o r k i n g m e n , t o o , conversion w a s both a spiritual a n d so­
cial turning point.^®' M e t h o d i s t experience of " N e w B i r t h " brought
forth m a n y famous " b o y p r e a c h e r s " from the ranks of the laboring
poor, taught t h e m the rudiments of leadership along w i t h the skills
of literacy, a n d ultimately h e l p e d t h e m t o w a r d active i n v o l v e m e n t
w i t h the early labor m o v e m e n t . " C o n v e r s i o n of s o m e kind is, of
course, a c o m m o n p l a c e in labour m o v e m e n t s , " writes Eric H o b s ­
b a w m . "British o n e s , h o w e v e r , are particularly archaic in so far as the
conversion w a s normally a traditionally religious o n e , or a political
o n e w h i c h took religious f o r m . "

W a l s h , p p . 140, 148.
H a l l , v o l . 2 , p p . 2 8 1 - 2 8 2 , 287.
G a u s t a d , p. 3 2 .
E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n p r o v i d e s a b r i l l i a n t d i s c u s s i o n of t h e c o m p l e x f o r c e s i n ­
v o l v e d in w o r k i n g - c l a s s c o n v e r s i o n s , in Making of English Working Class, pp. 365-
374.
' ^ H o b s b a w m , " R i t u a l , " p. 1 4 1 .
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 83

IX
Eighteenth-century traditions of fraternity, particularly the masonic
a n d a c a d e m i c , w e r e to take o n an increasingly political m e a n i n g after
the French R e v o l u t i o n , mainly because the authorities, in their efforts
to root out all o p p o s i t i o n , m a d e the secrecy of the brotherhoods all
that m u c h m o r e attractive to conspirators. As for the French R e v o l u ­
tion itself, its contribution to the n e w traditions of y o u t h w a s c o m ­
plicated by the fact that old forms of y o u t h c o u l d serve both it a n d
its e n e m i e s . T h e r e can b e little d o u b t that, for m a n y y o u n g m e n , 1789
constituted a personal turning point, i m p r o v i n g their prospects by
o p e n i n g careers to talent a n d abolishing feudal inequalities of i n ­
h e r i t a n c e . P a r i s o n the e v e of the R e v o l u t i o n , remarked M a l l e t d u
P a n , w a s "full of y o u n g m e n w h o take a little facility to be talent, of
clerks, accountants, lawyers, soldiers w h o m a k e themselves into a u ­
thors, d i e of hunger, e v e n b e g , a n d turn out p a m p h l e t s . " From this
proletariat de bacheliers w e r e recruited the likes of M a r a t a n d Brissot,
y o u n g m e n of uncertain or failed careers, w h o w o u l d find their v o ­
cation in revolution. A n d , of course, they w o u l d be j o i n e d by another
y o u t h . N a p o l e o n B o n a p a r t e , w h o s e meteoric rise w o u l d c o n t i n u e to
inspire the imagination of ambitious y o u t h w e l l into the nineteenth
century.
N o t surprisingly, the R e v o l u t i o n also d e v e l o p e d its o w n c o n c e p t i o n
of the phase of life b e t w e e n c h i l d h o o d a n d a d u l t h o o d . A s t h e d e ­
mands of foreign a n d civil w a r b e c a m e e v e r m o r e pressing o n the
R e p u b l i c , this b e c a m e frankly spartan in its orientation. Y o u t h had
its place in the civil c e r e m o n i a l of t h e R e v o l u t i o n , e m p h a s i z i n g the
military a n d civic duties of the age group rather than its special rights
or privileges. T h e major revolutionary festivals of 1793-1794 w e r e
d e v o t e d as m u c h to the w i s d o m of age as to the virility of y o u t h ;
and the t h e m e of generational h a r m o n y w a s given p r o m i n e n c e along
w i t h the special regenerational role of y o u t h in revolutionary c e r e ­
m o n y . T h e annual Fete de la Jeunesse saw boys of 16 ritually inducted

^^Darnton, pp. 112-113.


D a r n t o n , p. 94.
84 Youth and History

to the duty of bearing a r m s ; a n d at 21 a second rite of passage trans­


formed t h e m into adult citizens, m e n shouldering the burden of na­
tional defense, w o m e n the responsibility of bearing the children of
the Republic.^^^ C o n e w e r e the rituals of M i s r u l e , w i t h their inverted
social roles, for n o w republican virtue required that y o u n g and old
exchange gifts and blessings.
Such rituals of reciprocity w e r e meant to reflect a n e w society, in
w h i c h fathers and sons w e r e united in a broader feeling of fraternity.
H o w e v e r , social divisions and generational tensions r e m a i n e d , a n d
w h e n the spell of the J a c o b i n terror w a s broken in 1794, m a n y of the
traditional rites of youth burst forth w i t h astonishing vigor. T h e in­
famous jeunesse dorée, the gilded y o u t h of the m i d d l e and u p p e r
classes, flaunted the m e m o r y of civic puritanism w i t h foppish dress,
obscene s p e e c h , a n d d e c a d e n t manners. Their c o n t e m p t for the
J a c o b i n Revolution took the ancient form of the charivari, the revel,
and the masked d a n c e . Staging balls in h o n o r of those w h o had fallen
in the Terror, these youths m o c k e d the fathers of the revolution w i t h
obscene danse macabre, staged o n the site of cemeteries destroyed
by the Jacobins. Their d e b a u c h k n e w no limits, their w o m e n no
modesty; and for the c o n c e p t of universal fraternity they had n o t h ­
ing but derision.
Traditions of youth served both ends of the political s p e c t r u m , both
in support of revolutionary France and in opposition to it. N o w h e r e
was this m o r e apparent than in the strange career of Filippo B u o n a r ­
roti, the declasse son of an Italian n o b l e m a n , w h o had f o u n d his o w n
" s e c o n d b i r t h " in identification w i t h the Revolution and w h o , until
his death in 1837, w a s to serve as " f a t h e r " for a series of conspira­
torial organizations that had strong appeal to uprooted y o u n g m e n
of similar background. Like so m a n y of the others w h o w e r e involved
in the formation of political brotherhoods in the early nineteenth
century, Buonarroti w a s the product of eighteenth-century f r e e m a ­
sonry, w i t h its love of ritual, mystery, and hierarchical organization.
His most important secret society, the Sublimes Mahres Parfalts,
f o u n d e d in 1809 in opposition to N a p o l e o n i c dictatorship, reflected
masonry's preoccupation w i t h rites of passage. For " P a p a " Buonarroti
the y o u n g novices of his organization w e r e y o u n g knights receiving
their initiation into the secrets of r e v o l u t i o n . T h a t f e w ever got the

'-'^ O z o u f , p p . 5 7 3 - 5 7 4 .
L e f e b v r e , p p . 4 7 - 5 5 ; M a t h i e z , p p . 81 ff.
E i s e n s t e i n , p p . 74ff.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1770-1870 85

chance to put their plotting into a c t i o n , a n d n o n e , including B u o n a r ­


roti himself, ever saw any of their plans s u c c e e d , apparently mattered
less than t h e fact of belonging. This, in a n y case, w a s t h e effect that
Buonarroti had o n his most d e v o t e d f o l l o w e r , A l e x a n d e r A n d r y a n e ,
w h o , at the age of 24 a n d still w i t h o u t a purpose in life, w a s inducted
into the Sublimes Maitres Parfaits in elaborate masonic fashion.
S o m e of the conspiratorial b r o t h e r h o o d s b o r r o w e d their ritual d i ­
rectly from f r e e m a s o n r y ; others o w e d theirs to the original source,
the trades themselves. It seems likely that the a n t i - N a p o l e o n i c Italian
conspiratorial m o v e m e n t , k n o w n as the " C a r b o n a r i , " traced its forms
back to the j o u r n e y m e n ' s confraternity of charcoal burners, the Char-
bonnerie, w h i c h o p e r a t e d in t h e forests of F r a n c h e - C o m t e a n d t h e
Jura before 1789. S o m e t i m e during the R e v o l u t i o n , s o m e of this or­
ganization's lodges had begun to initiate n o n - o p e r a t i v e m e m b e r s ,
including soldiers, sharing w i t h t h e m the conviviality of the ''bons
cousins/' as the j o u r n e y m e n charcoal burners liked to call t h e m s e l v e s .
A m o n g the initiates w a s Pierre J o s e p h Briot, a left-wing revolutionary,
w h o ultimately brought the traditions of the Charbonnerie to Italy
and there set up the first of t h e C a r b o n a r i conspiratorial brother­
h o o d s in 1808.1^^
T h e fraternal tradition of the trades and freemasonry p r o v e d w e l l -
adapted to secret conspiracies. Their hierarchical organization af­
forded a useful m o d e l ; their oaths and rituals w e r e suitable c o v e r
against the authorities. Furthermore, the leading conspirators c o u l d
borrow from the familial imagery of both to reinforce their position
and p o w e r . Buonarroti w a s not the only leader to style himself as t h e
" f a t h e r " of his m o v e m e n t . Friedrich L u d w i g J a h n , G e r m a n y ' s first
politically-inclined y o u t h leader, also called himself Vater, c o m b i n i n g
with this paternalism the fraternal traditions that he had e n c o u n t e r e d
earlier in his career as a student and a freemason.^^^ J a h n ' s gymnastic
societies, f o u n d e d in 1810, served the cause of patriotic resistance to
N a p o l e o n ; and his faith in the regenerative p o w e r of y o u t h f o u n d
echoes in other major intellectual figures, including J o h a n n Fichte,
himself a former f r e e m a s o n , and Friedrich S c h l e i e r m a c h e r a n d J a k o b
Fries, both of w h o m had b e e n influenced by Pietism.
T h e streams of religious a n d intellectual thought that had s h a p e d
eighteenth-century G e r m a n y o u t h groups thus gave form to the
ideology a n d organization of their m o r e political nineteenth-century

^ ' ' ] . M . Roberts, pp. 283-286.


" ^ S c h u l z e a n d S s y m a n k , p p . 69, 2 1 6 - 2 2 4 ; W e n t z c k e , p p . 7 2 - 8 5 .
86 Youth a n d History

counterparts, beginning w i t h the gymnasts a n d culminating w i t h t h e


student reform m o v e m e n t , the Burschenschaften, which was founded
in 1815 at the University of J e n a in the n a m e of " H o n o r , Liberty, a n d
F a t h e r l a n d . " A l t h o u g h the impulse for its f o u n d i n g w a s patriotic,
m u c h of the appeal of the Burschenschaften w a s the s a m e as t h e
youth-sustaining organizations that had g o n e before. " L e t y o u r c o m ­
munity of youthful f e l l o w s h i p , y o u r federation of y o u t h , b e a m o d e l
for the national state," the students w e r e told by Fries.^^^ His inspir­
ing w o r d s w e r e spoken at the W a r t b u r g Festival of 1817, an e v e n t
that linked the anniversary of Luther's rebellion against the P o p e w i t h
youth's patriotic crusade against another foreign e n e m y , France. " R e ­
veal to us the pure life of the Burschen/' students w e r e u r g e d ; a n d
they set about purging student life of its custom of precocious w e n c h ­
ing a n d drinking, regulating the fierce dueling tradition, a n d generally
improving the t o n e of university t o w n s . Student reformers w o r e
beards as a sign of their m a n h o o d , but their initiation rites i n c l u d e d
oaths of chastity a n d t e m p e r a n c e not unlike monastic v o w s . I n d e e d ,
w e find the same distrust of f e m a l e c o m p a n i o n s h i p that w a s e v i ­
d e n c e d in the earlier Pietist a n d M a s o n i c m o v e m e n t s , and w h i c h can
be traced back to the celibate condition of students in the late M e ­
dieval universities. J a h n ' s gymnasts, a n d groups w i t h i n the Burschen­
schaften like the Glessen University " U n c o n d i t i o n a l s , " carried this
y o u t h - p r o l o n g i n g tradition to an extreme by associating patriotic a n d
moral virtue w i t h a totally Spartan existence. Vater J a h n , dressed in
his rough peasant c o s t u m e , w a s a s y m b o l of the c o n t e m p t for French
fashion w h i c h , in the m i n d of the students, w a s associated w i t h e f f e m ­
inacy a n d w e a k n e s s . T h e " U n c o n d i t i o n a l s " carried this s a d o - m a s o ­
chism so far that they regarded self-annihilation—assassination of t h e
e n e m i e s of the G e r m a n p e o p l e , f o l l o w e d by ritual s u i c i d e — a s t h e
greatest possible act of virtue. This w a s the mentality that inclined
Karl S a n d , in 1819, to m u r d e r the conservative poet K o e t z e b u e a n d
then attempt to stab himself, an act of extremism that brought d o w n
official repression o n e v e n the mild reformist majority of the ß u r -
schenschaften.^'^'^

W e n t z c k e , p p . 9 4 - 9 5 , 21 Iff.
W e n t z c k e , pp. 160-165; Feuer, pp. 63-64.
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X
Perhaps it w a s inevitable that older moral traditions of y o u t h w o u l d
take o n the violent features of an age of revolution a n d military a d ­
venture. But the Spartan mentality that can b e d e t e c t e d in s o m e a s ­
pects of the French R e v o l u t i o n a n d again in the G e r m a n resistance
to N a p o l e o n w a s relatively rare a m o n g the other e l e m e n t s of early
nineteenth-century y o u t h m o v e m e n t s . M a z z i n i ' s " Y o u n g E u r o p e " or­
ganization had little about it, e v e n in its nationalism, that can b e
called fanatical or militaristic. O n the w h o l e , it f o l l o w e d the h u m a n i ­
tarian trend evident in the eighteenth century, abhorring v i o l e n c e as
a means, a n d attaching to y o u t h a profoundly moral purpose a n d
meaning.
N o t h i n g c o u l d contrast m o r e w i t h the mentality of the " U n c o n d i -
t i o n a l s " than the self-styled " C h i l d r e n of Saint S i m o n , " o n e of the
many Utopian m o v e m e n t s in w h i c h y o u t h p l a y e d such an important
role. Its gentle " F a t h e r , " B a r t h e l e m y Prosper Enfantin, a n d his disci­
ples w e r e unmarried m e n a n d w o m e n in their twenties a n d early
thirties, m a n y of w h o m w e r e graduates of the Ecole P o l y t e c h n i q u e .
T h e y had given up their careers in w h a t a m o u n t e d to a prolongation
of y o u t h , in the n a m e of social h a r m o n y a n d universal l o v e . D e s p i t e
their reputation for libertinism, the m o v e m e n t ' s c o m m u n e outside
Paris w a s monastic in its asceticism. From 1830 to 1832, the " F a t h e r "
and his " C h i l d r e n " lived in a balance of paternal and fraternal har­
m o n y , initiating novices in elaborately-staged c e r e m o n i e s , hearing
public confessions, and generally e n c o u r a g i n g the spirit of selfless
cooperation that they held in opposition to the competitiveness a n d
division of the e m e r g i n g capitalist industrial order.^'^
Frank M a n u e l has written that " t h e S a i n t - S i m o n i a n s help us to
c o m p r e h e n d that total loss of identity, that o c e a n i c feeling (to f o l l o w
Freud), w h i c h m e n of the nineteenth a n d t w e n t i e t h century e x p e r i ­
e n c e d w h e n they successfully lost self-awareness in the ardent periods
of nationalist, socialist, a n d c o m m u n i s t m o v e m e n t s . " ^^'^ H e might

' ^ M a n u e l , pp. 149-194; Talmon, Chapter 1 ; Charlton.


M a n u e l , p. 1 9 2 .
88 Youth a n d History

have a d d e d , to f o l l o w Erikson, that in the case of the Saint S i m o n i a n s


and the other R o m a n t i c utopias that attracted e d u c a t e d y o u t h , t h e
p o s t p o n e m e n t of adult identity w a s necessary to self-preservation.
Ultimately the C h i l d r e n of Saint S i m o n w o u l d disperse from their
c o m m u n e a n d m o v e o n to successful careers in e n g i n e e r i n g a n d
business. Critics took this to b e proof of the failure of c o m m u n a l i s m ,
but in fact it w a s the strong e m o t i o n a l a n d moral support that they
found in utopia that a l l o w e d these y o u n g p e o p l e to m o v e o n b e y o n d
its cloistered walls. U n l i k e the natural fathers w h o h a d let d o w n their
sons a n d daughters, c o m m u n a l leaders like P e r e Enfantin a n d Father
N o y e s of the O n e i d a C o m m u n i t y in N e w Y o r k State w e r e apparently
succeeding in m a k i n g adults of their children.^^^^
All Utopians of the early nineteenth century w e r e vigorous in their
c o n d e m n a t i o n of the existing family e c o n o m y , but n o n e m o r e so than
Charles Fourier, himself a rebel against his o w n petite bourgeois u p ­
bringing. Fourier w a s a w a r e of the conditions that lay b e h i n d the
intergenerational tensions of his age a n d h e spoke w i t h conviction
about the n e e d for change:^^^

T o s p e a k f r a n k l y , t h e f a m i l y b o n d in t h e c/V/7/zee regime [his t e r m


f o r c o n t e m p o r a r y s o c i e t y ] c a u s e s f a t h e r s t o d e s i r e t h e d e a t h of t h e i r
c h i l d r e n a n d c h i l d r e n t o d e s i r e t h e d e a t h of t h e i r f a t h e r s . It is m u c h
w o r s e in t h e c a s e of d i s t a n t r e l a t i v e s . C o u l d t h e r e b e a n y t h i n g more
infamous? A f e w rich families a r e t h e exception that confirms t h e rule,
w h i c h a p p l i e s m a i n l y t o t h e p o o r w h o m a k e u p s e v e n - e i g h t h s of t h e
p o p u l a t i o n . T h e r u l e , h o w e v e r , a p p l i e s as w e l l t o m a n y f a m i l i e s of t h e
m i d d l e a n d w e a l t h y classes, w h e r e brothers l o v e o n e a n o t h e r like C a i n
and Abel.

Fourier's solution, similar to that of the Pietists, w a s to r e m o v e


children from their parents at an early a g e , thus eliminating the psy­
chological as w e l l as e c o n o m i c causes of conflict. A g e - g r o u p e d , but
not puritanically sex-segregated as w e r e the Herrnhut c o m m u n i t i e s ,
boys a n d girls w o u l d p r o c e e d through a series of educational phases,
each of w h i c h w o u l d b e k e y e d to their natural instincts a n d interests.
In plans that s e e m to have b e e n inspired by the traditions of his
native Besanςon, Fourier e n v i s i o n e d a series of self-regulating y o u t h
groups, called " J u v e n i l e L e g i o n s " a n d " J u v e n i l e B a n d s , " w h i c h w o u l d

' * Ό η t h e p a t e r n a l i s m of l e a d e r s p f v a r i o u s s t u d e n t m o v e m e n t s , s e e F e u e r , p. 2 2 ;
o n J o h n H u m p h r e y N o y e s , " F a t h e r " of t h e U t o p i a n O n e i d a c o m m u n i t y , s e e C a r d e n ,
Chapters 1-2.
F o u r i e r , p. 280.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 89

serve as instruments of education a n d social control. T h e y w o u l d


operate a u t o n o m o u s l y , relying o n the natural b o n d i n g instincts of the
y o u n g to bring out the goodness a n d energy of that stage of life.
" Y o u n g souls, hearts, that are fresh, exhibit in the exercise of social
virtues, such as friendship, philanthropy a n d d e v o t i o n to the c o l l e c ­
tive g o o d , a d e g r e e of ardor a n d disinterestedness w h i c h is rarely
found in a d u l t s . "
Fourier's h o p e s for t h e peer group, like his faith in social h a r m o n y
in g e n e r a l , w e r e d o o m e d to disappointment. T h e c o m m u n a l institu­
tions that w e r e his m o d e l s w e r e fast disappearing, a n d e v e n the flurry
of Utopian experimentation that w a s occurring in the late 1830s a n d
early 1840s in both E u r o p e a n d A m e r i c a c o u l d not sustain t h e m . In
Paris itself, the strong h o p e s surrounding y o u t h w e r e giving w a y to
despair. T h e failure of the French R e v o l u t i o n of 1830 s e e m e d to sap
the energies of the revolutionaries, a n d y o u t h turned in n e w d i r e c ­
tions, m a n y t o w a r d m o r e anarchical, amoral life-styles associated w i t h
b o h e m i a n i s m . W r o t e Alfred d e M u s s e t : " T h e richest b e c a m e liber­
tines; those of m o d e r a t e fortune f o l l o w e d s o m e profession a n d re­
signed themselves to the s w o r d or to t h e r o b e . T h e poorest gave
themselves up w i t h cold enthusiasm to great thoughts, p l u n g e d into
the frightful sea of aimless effort."
B o h e m i a n i s m w a s the product of Paris' extraordinary ability to at­
tract to it the y o u t h of the provinces. T h e r e , as students, they w e r e
largely o n their o w n , living as aliens w i t h i n working-class neighbor­
h o o d s , unsupervised by their teachers, u n w a n t e d by the authorities.
T h e y w e r e cut off from their families by poor transportation a n d the
lack of long vacations. T h e old custom of boarding at the h o m e of a
family friend w a s going out of style, a n d to a d d to the difficulty of
the y o u n g w a s the fact that the professions w e r e b e c o m i n g o v e r ­
c r o w d e d . B y the 1830s the city w a s full of y o u n g m e n w h o had
nothing better to d o than to s p e n d their days at the cafe, forever
t h u m b i n g through n e w s p a p e r s , talking politics a n d scandal. Balzac
described t h e m as " s o m e rich, others poor, all equally idle . . . w h o ,
w i t h no outlet for their energies, t h r e w themselves not o n l y into
journalism a n d conspiracies, literature a n d art, but into the most ex­
travagant excesses a n d dissipations."

F o u r i e r , p. 326.
F r o m d e M u s s e t , p. 344.
d e S a u v i g n y , p p . 238ff; M a z o y e r .
'"^de S a u v i g n y , p p . 2 4 3 - 2 4 5 ; A r i e s , p p . 3 9 8 - 3 9 9 .
Q u o t e d in G r a n a , p. 2 3 .
90 Youth a n d History

A pattern had b e c o m e so well-established that it w a s c o m m o n to


refer to les ¡eunes gens de Paris as a definable group, w i t h its o w n
roles a n d subculture. ' T h e y o u t h of P a r i s " had acquired a special
m e a n i n g , as Frances T r o l l o p e d i s c o v e r e d w h e n she visited t h e city in
1835: " L a jeune France is another of those cabalistic forms of s p e e c h
by w h i c h e v e r y o n e seems expected to understand s o m e t h i n g great,
volcanic, a n d s u b l i m e . " Later, H e n r i d e M ü r g e r w o u l d popularize
the term " B o h e m i a n , " b o r r o w e d from the French w o r d for " g y p s y "
and carrying w i t h it the connotation of v a g a b o n d a g e that w a s part of
the self-image of this cohort. E m e r g i n g in the late 1820s a n d s p r e a d -
ing rapidly in the w a k e of the disappointments of the R e v o l u t i o n of
1830, b o h e m i a n i s m quickly established itself in the tolerant Latin
Q u a r t e r , w h e r e almost overnight it b e c a m e a m e c c a for tourists like
M r s . T r o l l o p e , w h o described denizens w i t h " l o n g a n d matted locks
that hang in h e a v y , o m i n o u s dirtiness. . . . T h e throat is bare, at least
from linen, but a plentiful a n d very disgusting profusion of hair s u p -
plies its place. . . . S o m e roll their eyes a n d knit their dark glances
o n the ground in fearful m e d i t a t i o n ; w h i l e others there b e w h o , w h i l e
gloomily leaning against a statue or a tree, t h r o w such terrific m e a n -
ing into their l o o k s . "
W e find a m o n g the b o h e m i a n y o u t h of the 1830s the s a m e fascina-
tion w i t h bizarre styles, outlandish behavior, a n d strange language
that characterizes their counterparts today. C o n t e m p t for w o r k , p r e -
occupation w i t h the present to the exclusion of all thought of past
and future, resistance to order a n d discipline—all the signs of p r o -
longed social m o r a t o r i u m — w e r e c o m m o n then as n o w . Eastern r e -
ligions, w i t h their mind-extinguishing mysticism, e n j o y e d great p o p u -
larity. T h e occult, the alchemistic, a n d the satanical, anything that
could obliterate the d e m a n d s of a d u l t h o o d , all w e r e the rage.^^^ W e
find students experimenting w i t h rites of initiation suggested to t h e m
by the novels of Scott a n d C o o p e r , acting—as T h e o p h i l D o n d a y pic-
tured t h e m — a s "artists to the c o r e , pipes puffing, sardonic of e y e ,
their heads a d o r n e d w i t h the Liberty C a p ; the b e a r d e d Y o u n g France,
ready for the orgy. . . . "
For m a n y , Paris w a s an orgy, t h e loss of virtue a n d p u r p o s e . Y e t ,

T r o l l o p e , p. 3 1 .
T r o l l o p e , p. 124.
These themes are discussed in S c h e n k , p p . 6, 1 2 5 - 1 5 1 ; H o b s b a w m , Age of
Revolution, p p . 3 0 6 - 3 2 3 ; P a r r y , p p . 13ff.
' ' " Q u o t e d in G r a n a , p. 77.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 97

the occult carried w i t h it something of the eighteenth-century moral


tradition; a n d in the experimentation w i t h ritual w e can find another
link to the y o u t h - p r o l o n g i n g traditions of the past. In 1846, students
at the S o r b o n n e f o r m e d a Suicide C l u b , pledging to defy bourgeois
morality through that ultimate act of rebellion, self-destruction.
Parisians w e r e relieved to learn that only o n e death actually resulted,
but e v e n in this madness there remains a glimmer of earlier tradi­
tions of y o u t h . T h e traditional carnival revel w a s still part of the
Parisian calendar and b o h e m i a ' s sense of the bizarre and grotesque
b l e n d e d w e l l w i t h its c e r e m o n i e s of M i s r u l e . T h e counterculture of
the y o u n g artists and intellectuals w a s an extension of the tradition
of the société joyeuse a n d it had a certain appeal e v e n to the stuffy
bourgeoisie. T h e same m i d d l e class bought paintings like " Y o u n g
V e n e t i a n after an O r g y " because, as o n e historian has n o t e d , these
had an appeal w h i c h , " l i k e the masked balls, w e r e socially a p p r o v e d
channels for the f o r b i d d e n . " For the youths t h e m s e l v e s , b o h e m i a
was a kind of prolonged carnival, an a v o i d a n c e of roles in the real
(adult) w o r l d to w h i c h most k n e w they must ultimately turn. Alex­
ander D u m a s r e m e m b e r e d of his y o u t h that " I had put o n , along
with the others, a m a s k . " Y o u t h m a d e life an art a n d , in turn, writ­
ers like Victor H u g o m a d e art of y o u t h . Robert S c h u m a n n e n d e d his
Carneval w i t h the rebellion of the y o u n g against the philistinism of
the o l d ; and no R o m a n t i c play w a s w i t h o u t its y o u n g rebel.
In their desire to be different, the b o h e m i a n s created their o w n
conformity. S t e n d h a l , w h o w a s born in 1783, r e m e m b e r e d that in his
youth " I w a s full of heroes of R o m a n history: I looked u p o n myself
as a future Camillus or Cincinnatus . . . " French y o u t h in the
1830s w e r e also searching for m o d e l s , but their heroes w e r e m o r e
likely to be poetical spirits, like Lord B y r o n . " Y o u n g p e o p l e f o u n d
a use for inactive strength in the affectation of d e s p a i r , " c o m m e n t e d
Alfred d e Musset. " S c o f f i n g at glory, religion, l o v e , at e v e r y b o d y , is
a great consolation for those w h o d o not k n o w w h a t to d o . . . . A n d
it is easy to believe oneself w r e t c h e d w h e n o n e is only e m p t y and
bored." D e t a c h e d f r o m , yet still d r a w i n g o n , old traditions, the

Grana, pp. 79-80.


P e l l e s , p p . 97, 144.
' ^ Q u o t e d in P e l l e s , p. 114.
S c h e n k , p. 27.
Q u o t e d in P e l l e s , p. 114.
P e l l e s , p. 8 5 .
92 Youth a n d History

counterculture of the 1830s w a s o n e m o r e of the n e w forms of y o u t h


that w e r e a product of this age of transition.

XI
Paris w a s exceptional a m o n g E u r o p e a n cities, a n d the n e w y o u t h
culture w h i c h it p r o d u c e d found no i m m e d i a t e counterparts, e v e n in
industrialized England. In the m o r e b a c k w a r d parts of E u r o p e , tradi­
tion lingered m u c h longer, interacting w i t h political a n d e c o n o m i c
m o v e m e n t s until the m i d d l e of the century. In 1848 the j o u r n e y m e n ' s
m o v e m e n t a n d student radicalism c a m e together in G e r m a n y in w h a t
s e e m e d the l o n g - a w a i t e d revenge of the sons against the fathers. But
the grand alliance of y o u t h that Mazzini a n d others had b e e n talking
about since the 1830s did not m a t e r i a l i z e . W h i l e it w a s the fondest
wish of the middle-class students to replace t h e formal " S i e " w i t h
the c o m r a d e l y " D u , " thus breaking d o w n structured social roles, the
y o u n g w o r k e r s d e m a n d e d instead that the adult dignity attached to
formal address be extended to all m e m b e r s of the society.^^® Further­
m o r e , w o r k e r s and students could not agree o n the m e a n i n g of
"fraternity." For the former, the c o n c e p t w a s c o m i n g to m e a n not
the brotherhood of all m a n k i n d , but the solidarity of their o w n class
against the capitalist bourgeoisie. For the students, t o o , the m e a n i n g
of fraternalism w a s narrowing. S o o n after 1848 t h e egalitarianism of
the progressive student m o v e m e n t gave w a y to the snobbish c o m ­
radeship of the highly conservative d u e l i n g organizations, the Corps.
Social a n d political changes that h a d previously disturbed t h e g e n e r a ­
tional balance a n d ushered in n e w traditions of y o u t h on each level
of society w e r e n o w reinforcing rather than ameliorating class d i v i ­
sions.
For the w o r k i n g y o u t h , ancient traditions of fraternity had b e c o m e
the instruments of forging a precocious identity w i t h adult c o m r a d e s .
Recourse to the traditions of y o u t h served precisely the opposite

' " O n t h e b a c k g r o u n d of Y o u n g G e r m a n y ' s c o n t a c t w i t h t h e j o u r n e y m e n i n t h e


1830s a n d 1840s, s e e S c h i e d e r , p p . 30ff.
Noyes, pp. 127-128.
T r o u b l e d Y o u t h : T h e C o n s e q u e n c e s of M o d e r n i z a t i o n , 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 7 0 93

function for the m i d d l e classes, h o w e v e r . A m o n g their ranks, too


precipitous an entry into the status of a d u l t h o o d meant forfeiture
of future opportunity. Individual success required long training a n d
d e l a y e d gratification, and the n e w middle-class y o u t h cultures, e v e n
those c o n s i d e r e d " d e v i a n t " by society, c o m p l e m e n t e d this c o n d i t i o n .
Thus, w h i l e y o u t h cultures of different classes might d r a w o n a similar
historical heritage, by midcentury they w e r e m o v i n g in v e r y different
directions.
Boy cadets at Charterhouse S c h o o l in the 1870s. Second from left is Robert
Baden-Powell, later to b e c o m e f a m o u s as a g e n e r a l and the founder of t h e Boy
Scouts movement. R e p r o d u c e d by p e r m i s s i o n of t h e J o h n s t o n H i s t o r i c a l Museum,
B o y S c o u t s of A m e r i c a , N o r t h B r u n s w i c k , N e w J e r s e y .
3
Boys Will Be Boys: Discovery
of Adolescence, 1870-1900

T h e failed revolutions of 1848 marked a turning point in


the political history of y o u t h , effectively terminating E u r o p e ' s first
period of student unrest a n d e n d i n g the i n d e p e n d e n t role of the
y o u n g w i t h i n the working-class m o v e m e n t s as w e l l . N o t until 1900
w o u l d y o u t h again take to the public stage, a n d then in very different
forms a n d in support of n e w causes. T h e traditions of radicalism a n d
b o h e m i a n i s m survived to r e n e w themselves in the socialist y o u t h
m o v e m e n t s and the artistic avant-garde of t h e turn of the century,
but at that point they w e r e j o i n e d , a n d e v e n o v e r s h a d o w e d , by a
n e w set of y o u t h m o v e m e n t s that t e n d e d to b e focused o n the nar­
rower spectrum of y o u t h w e n o w call " a d o l e s c e n c e . " N o t only w e r e
the n e w organizations y o u n g e r in constituency, but their sense of
fraternity w a s both m o r e nationalistic a n d socially conservative. B y
1900 the symbol of y o u t h as a regenerative force w a s shifting from
left to right, revealing the c h a n g e d status of the y o u n g in E u r o p e a n
society.
In England w e can detect this process beginning in the 1850s, start­
ing w i t h the u p p e r a n d m i d d l e classes a n d then gradually trickling
d o w n to the l o w e r orders. D u r i n g the C r i m e a n W a r o n e of t h e tra­
ditional festivals of M i s r u l e , G u y Fawkes Night, b e c a m e the occasion
for outbursts of patriotic v e n o m . T h e effigy of Czar Nicholas replaced
that of G u y on the N o v e m b e r bonfires, a n d although such substitu­
tions w e r e not n e w — N a p o l e o n , t o o , had b e e n b u r n e d at the b e g i n ­
ning of the c e n t u r y — t h e a c c o m p a n y i n g enthusiasm for j u v e n i l e
marching a n d drilling in the n a m e of Q u e e n a n d C o u n t r y w a s u n -

95
96 Youth a n d History

p r e c e d e n t e d . i T h e threat of w a r w i t h France at t h e e n d of t h e s a m e
d e c a d e p r o d u c e d a m o v e m e n t to f o r m rifle corps w i t h i n the elite
boarding s c h o o l s ; a n d at O x f o r d t h e V o l u n t e e r s , a university militia
w h i c h had lapsed after t h e N a p o l e o n i c W a r s , sprang up again after
E d m o n d W a r r e w r o t e a stirring letter to the L o n d o n 7/mes in A p r i l
1859:2

I s u p p o s e t h a t w h e n next t e r m begins there will b e s o m e thou­


s a n d s of us s t r a p p i n g y o u n g f e l l o w s u p t h e r e , w h o s e a v e r a g e height,
weight, a n d activity might, I h a v e n o d o u b t , e q u a l , if n o t e x c e l , t h a t
of a n y r e g i m e n t in H . M . ' s s e r v i c e . I n t h r e e y e a r s t h e y w i l l b e s c a t t e r e d
all o v e r t h e E m p i r e . W h a t u s e f u l results m i g h t not ensue from their
b e i n g i n s t r u c t e d as w e l l in t h e a r s militaris a s in t h e ars lógica. . , .
W h y should not the Royal Oxford University Volunteers be e m b o d i e d
a n d d r i l l e d in P o r t M e a d o w ? . . . . T w o h o u r s ' drill t w o o r t h r e e t i m e s
a w e e k w o u l d set us u p b r a v e l y , a n d a b l u e f l a n n e l t u n i c a n d w h i t e
trousers w o u l d not ruin a n y b o d y .

International crisis passed a n d W a r r e ' s V o l u n t e e r s graduated w i t h ­


out a test of their fighting spirit. Eight years later, h o w e v e r , the u n i ­
versity cadets w e r e to b e sent into battle, in this case against a t o w n
c r o w d agitating for redress of e c o n o m i c grievances. In putting d o w n
the rioters, Oxford's y o u n g g e n t l e m e n p r o v e d that d e f e n s e of class
w a s inseparable in their minds f r o m d e f e n s e of country."^ B y the e n d
of the century, m a n y traditional rituals of M i s r u l e had b e c o m e similar
instruments of conservative nationalism, culminating in t h e w i l d out­
burst of M a f e k i n g Night of M a y 18, 1900, a n d in the attacks o n p r o -
B o e r p e a c e meetings by students, clerks, a n d other y o u n g profes­
sionals in t h e days that followed.^
T h e utility of turning folk custom to patriotic purpose b e c a m e i n -

' I n O x f o r d , N i c h o l a s r e p l a c e d G u y i n 1854. T w o y e a r s later, t h o s e h o u s e h o l d e r s


who did not illuminate their windows in c e l e b r a t i o n of v i c t o r y h a d t h e i r panes
s m a s h e d . P l o w m a n , p p . 4 8 , 88. O t h e r e x a m p l e s of c o n s e r v a t i v e u s e s of traditional
y o u t h rituals a r e p r o v i d e d b y E d w a r d P. T h o m p s o n , " R o u g h M u s i c , " p p . 3 0 8 - 3 0 9 .
' ^ Q u o t e d in N e w s o m e , p. 2 2 4 ; P l o w m a n , p p . 3 0 - 3 2 .
' P l o w m a n d e s c r i b e d t h e a t t a c k of t h e s t u d e n t s u p o n t h e b r e a d r i o t e r s a s f o l l o w s :

I shall n e v e r f o r g e t t h e i r swift a n d j o y o u s o n r u s h . I n a spirit o f k e e n e s t


e n j o y m e n t , w i t h a n e s t a t i c s h o u t , t h e y fell u p o n t h e m o b in f r o n t o f
t h e m w i t h i r r e s i s t i b l e d e t e r m i n a t i o n , a n d m o w e d t h e m d o w n as t h o u g h
t h e y h a d b e e n grass. In f a n c y , I c a n h e a r n o w t h e r a p p i n g o f s t a v e s o n
t h e h e a d s of t h e d i s c o m f i t e d d i s t u r b e r s , i n t e r m i n g l e d w i t h t h e c r i e s o f
the w o u n d e d [p. 220].
* O n t h e M a f e k i n g Night a n d that w h i c h f o l l o w e d , see Price, p p . 132-176.
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 97

creaslngly o b v i o u s to elites in the late nineteenth c e n t u r y ; a n d w h e n


the antiquarian, Percy M a n n i n g , w e n t looking in the 1890s for a u t h e n ­
tic traditions of y o u t h , he f o u n d to his disgust that the M a y singing
and dancing in the Oxfordshire villages w a s m o r e often an officially-
sponsored exercise for school children than an authentic e x a m p l e of
folk custom. G o n e w e r e the spontaneous revels; absent, t o o , w e r e
the social satires associated w i t h the traditional m u m m i n g s . W h a t w a s
left w e r e pious ditties a n d artificial diversions, shorn of all social
m e a n i n g . " I w a s in h o p e s that I had f o u n d a g o o d t h i n g , " M a n n i n g
w r o t e after a visit to M a y M o r n i n g at Yarnton M a n o r , " b u t the c h i l ­
dren f o l l o w e d it up w i t h s o m e m i l k - a n d - w a t e r rubbish that they had
b e e n taught in s c h o o l . " ^
In E n g l a n d , traditional d a n c i n g , m u m m i n g , and hunt festivals had
b e e n in d e c l i n e since the 1850s. M a n n i n g f o u n d that by 1900 not only
w e r e the occasions o n c e presided o v e r by y o u n g m e n a n d w o m e n
being a b a n d o n e d to children of a m u c h y o u n g e r a g e , but that t h e
class composition of the participants w a s also changing. This w a s true
of the First of M a y in O x f o r d itself, w h e r e the c r o w n i n g of a king
and q u e e n , o n c e e n t e r e d into by y o u t h of all social ranks, had b e ­
c o m e the rite of the very lowest of y o u t h s , the poor c h i m n e y s w e e p s ,
w h o m a n a g e d to keep the tradition only w i t h difficulty in the face
of harassment by city officials. T h e profane version of the h y m n s sung
on M a y M o r n i n g from the top of the M a g d a l e n C o l l e g e t o w e r had
long since b e e n expurgated, making the w h o l e occasion m o r e the
quaint tourist attraction it is today than the boisterous revel it had
b e e n earlier in the nineteenth century.^ Festivals like t h e W h i t H u n t
in Oxfordshire's W y c h w o o d Forest w e r e also a thing of the past,
perpetuated at the turn of the century by gypsies and other " u n d e ­
sirables," but no longer respectable as far as the mass of the rural
population w a s c o n c e r n e d . M o r r i s dancing and the m u m m i n g asso­
ciated w i t h it had fallen into such d e c l i n e that it took the attentions
of urban folklorists to revive t h e m . From photographs taken in the
1860s, Percy M a n n i n g had b e e n able to identify t w o former d a n c e r s ,
w h o m he e n c o u r a g e d to teach songs and steps to y o u n g e r m e n . But
e v e n M a n n i n g ' s desire for authenticity w a s not strong e n o u g h to dis-

^ M s . s o u r c e B , M a n n i n g C o l l e c t i o n , S c r a p b o o k s a n d notes, M S T o p O x o n d 199,
pp. 192-193.
® M s . s o u r c e B , M a n n i n g C o l l e c t i o n , S c r a p b o o k s a n d n o t e s , M S T o p O x o n d 199,
p. 1 1 9 ; M a n n i n g , p p . 3 0 7 - 3 0 9 .
^ M s . s o u r c e B , M a n n i n g C o l l e c t i o n , S c r a p b o o k s a n d n o t e s , M S T o p O x o n d 199,
p p . 166, 1 8 6 - 8 8 , 258; M a n n i n g , p p . 3 0 9 - 3 1 5 .
98 Youth a n d History

place his Victorian sense of d e c o r u m a n d w h e n his dancers m a d e


their first a p p e a r a n c e in O x f o r d in 1899, not only w e r e their lyrics
clean of the g o o d - h u m o r e d profanity, but the antics of the traditional
Lord of M i s r u l e w e r e missing.^
T h e t e n d e n c y for y o u t h to lose its a u t o n o m y a n d b e c o m e an i n ­
strument of adult interests w a s resisted most strongly a m o n g the la­
boring poor. Y e t , by 1900, traditions of M i s r u l e w e r e d y i n g in the
better sorts of working-class n e i g h b o r h o o d s , revealing changes there
that paralleled w h a t w a s h a p p e n i n g to m i d d l e - a n d upper-class y o u t h .
B e h i n d both the d e c l i n e of the j o u r n e y m e n ' s m o v e m e n t s a n d t h e dis­
appearance of student radicalism lay d e e p e r transformations that not
only eased the d e m o g r a p h i c a n d e c o n o m i c strains that h a d b e e n a
cause of troubled y o u t h earlier in the century, but altered t h e life-
cycle itself in such a w a y as to bring forth n e w forms of fraternity in
the place of o l d . Y o u t h ' s loss of political a n d social i n d e p e n d e n c e r e ­
flected the fact that a significant segment of that life-phase, the a d o ­
lescent years 14-18, w a s b e c o m i n g increasingly d e p e n d e n t . W h i l e
older y o u t h retained m u c h of its earlier a u t o n o m y , b e c o m i n g e v e n
m o r e identified w i t h the status of a d u l t h o o d , this y o u n g e r a g e - g r o u p
w a s losing access to the e c o n o m y a n d society of adults as it b e c a m e
increasingly subject to parental a n d other institutional controls. T h e
moral a u t o n o m y attributed to y o u t h by earlier generations w a s giving
w a y to n e w kinds of conformity associated w i t h a m o r e mindless kind
of physical vitality. In turn, this w a s reflected in t h e public image of
the y o u n g , changing from Delacroix's rebels o n the barricades, y o u t h
at w a r w i t h society, to the late-nineteenth-century recruiting posters,
glorifying y o u t h at w a r for their society.

T h e discovery of a d o l e s c e n c e b e l o n g e d essentially to t h e m i d d l e
classes, the first group, apart from the aristocracy, to e x p e r i e n c e a
drop in child mortality a n d the c o n s e q u e n c e s this e n t a i l e d . T h e n o -

^ M a n n i n g ' s r o l e is d o c u m e n t e d in t h e B o d l e i a n L i b r a r y , M S T o p O x o n d 2 0 0 . A l s o
see B e e r b o h m .
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 99

bility w a s able to absorb larger n u m b e r s of surviving c h i l d r e n , b e ­


cause of both its greater w e a l t h a n d the firm tradition of p r i m o g e n i ­
ture that allocated subordinate roles to y o u n g e r sons. T h e m i d d l e
classes, particularly their professional e l e m e n t s , having no c o m p a r ­
able resources a n d not w i s h i n g to penalize the last b o r n , turned to
family limitation as the only w a y to relieve their b u r d e n . A l t h o u g h
the actuality of the t w o - c h i l d family w a s still s o m e w a y off, the E n g ­
lish m i d d l e classes, a n d other groups claimant to that social status,
w e r e beginning to adapt it as an ideal in the 1860s a n d 1870s as a
means of bringing into line w i t h their i n c o m e s the g r o w i n g expense
of raising a n d educating c h i l d r e n . A m o n g this group, the situation of
the early nineteenth century, w i t h its superfluity of sons a n d d a u g h ­
ters, w a s thereby gradually a m e l i o r a t e d ; a n d instead of each succes­
sive generation being larger than the next, each w a s n o w smaller
a m o n g those groups practicing family limitation.^
Family strategy h a d c h a n g e d from o n e of high to o n e of l o w fer­
tility, altering parental attitudes t o w a r d t h e children in the process.
Increasingly, each individual child w a s treated (according to sex)
w i t h o u t prejudice to his or her place in t h e birth order. " G i v e the
boys a g o o d education a n d a start in life," w r o t e J . E. P a n t o n in 1889,
" a n d p r o v i d e the girls w i t h £150 a year, either w h e n they marry or
at y o u r o w n d e a t h , a n d y o u h a v e d o n e y o u r duty by y o u r c h i l d r e n .
T h e girls cannot starve o n that i n c o m e , a n d neither w o u l d they be
prey of any fortune hunter; but no o n e has a right to bring children
into the w o r l d in the ranks of the u p p e r m i d d l e class a n d d o less."
T h e c o n s u m i n g c o n c e r n that had previously b e e n reserved for t h e
very y o u n g child appears to h a v e b e e n e x t e n d e d to o l d e r y o u t h as
w e l l , not simply out of sentimentality but w i t h the realization that
the investment in long, expensive e d u c a t i o n should b e carefully
planned and conscientiously p r o t e c t e d , rather than left to c h a n c e as
had so often b e e n the case in the first half of the century.
O n e aspect of this n e w care a n d c o n c e r n for older children w a s
the longer period of d e p e n d e n c e that y o u t h w a s n o w subjected to.
Girls of the m i d d l e classes w e r e kept at h o m e until marriage, tightly
supervised by their parents until they passed safely into the b o s o m
of another family. A n interest in f e m a l e education w a s g r o w i n g in
t h e s e c o n d half of t h e nineteenth century, partly as a result of sur­
plus y o u n g w o m e n for w h o m marriage did not b e c k o n ; but this w a s

® B a n k s , Prosperity and Parenthood, Chapters 10-12.


" Q u o t e d in B a n k s , Prosperity and Parenthood, p. 1 6 3 .
700 Youth a n d History

Still suspect a m o n g a group w h o b e l i e v e d that " l o v e of h o m e , of c h i l ­


d r e n , and of domestic duties are the only passions they [ w o m e n ]
feel." Boys had greater a u t o n o m y , but their careers w e r e also b e i n g
carefully supervised by the parents, w h o , recognizing the d e c l i n e in
traditional kinds of apprenticeship, w e r e taking a m u c h greater inter­
est in secondary e d u c a t i o n . Even businessmen, for w h o m classical
education had previously held little attraction, w e r e increasingly c o n ­
c e r n e d to gain for their sons the benefits of schooling to 16 or 17,
e v e n w h e n they expected the lads to join theirs or s o m e other busi­
n e s s . J a m e s T e m p l e t o n , master of the Mission H o u s e S c h o o l in
Exeter, told the English Schools C o m m i s s i o n of 1868: " I n s t e a d of
w h a t I heard in my y o u n g e r days, a parent saying, Ί have d o n e very
w e l l in the w o r l d . I w a s only six or t w e l v e months at s c h o o l , ' the
a c k n o w l e d g m e n t of such a m a n w i l l n o w b e . Ί had no such a d v a n ­
tages or opportunities in m y early life; I should like my son to b e
something of an e d u c a t e d m a n , and to have far greater advantages
than I have h a d . ' " A similar trend w a s noticeable o n the C o n t i n e n t ,
w h e r e the d e c l i n e of apprenticeship w a s also the product of parental
desires to see their children have not only the intellectual but the
social benefits of elite schooling.^^
T h e Edinburgh Review w r o t e in 1876 of an upper m i d d l e class
w h i c h w a s " c o n s c i o u s that its retention of the advantages w h i c h it
enjoys is still d e p e n d e n t on the mental activity by w h i c h they w e r e
g a i n e d ; and keenly alive to the aesthetic a n d intellectual pleasures,
the upper m i d d l e class seems the least likely of all to neglect its o w n
educational c o n c e r n s . " T h e Schools C o m m i s s i o n f o u n d t h e m likely
to keep their children in school the longest, to 18 or 19, a n d then to
send t h e m on to the university. But e v e n the less w e l l - t o - d o of the
m i d d l e classes s h o w e d a similar c o n c e r n , motivated by a desire to
attain a similar privileged status. A n ironmonger, E d m u n d E d m u n d -
son, testified in 1868 that because the traditions of apprenticeship
had recently d e c a y e d , tradesmen's traditional prejudice against Latin
education w a s diminishing. " T h e fact is, if a boy is not w e l l e d u c a t e d
he cannot keep his position in society. Society t w e n t y years a g o , as

" A c t o n , p. 2 1 3 .
'^Crozier, pp. 3 3 - 4 2 ; Z o r n , pp. 329-334; Ringer, Chapters 1-2.
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t : Pari. Papers iV, pp. 744-745.
^* M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, p p . 46ff; M u s g r o v e , " D e c l i n e of E d u c a t i v e
F a m i l y , " p p . 3 7 7 - 4 0 4 . F o r G e r m a n y , s e e R o e s s l e r , C h a p t e r 5.
Q u o t e d in B a n k s , Prosperity and Parenthood, p. 1 9 1 .
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 707

I recollect it, w a s a totally different thing to w h a t it is n o w . " The


bias of the s e l f - m a d e m a n , n e v e r so strong to begin w i t h o n the C o n ­
tinent, w a s giving w a y all o v e r Europe as the m i d d l e classes b e c a m e
increasingly d e p e n d e n t o n t h e schools to guarantee a future for their
progeny.
Smaller n u m b e r s of children e n c o u r a g e d longer c o r e s i d e n c y , par­
ticularly o n the C o n t i n e n t , w h e r e secondary e d u c a t i o n w a s organized
around the day s c h o o l . T h e g r o w t h of secondary education in t h e
second half of t h e nineteenth century had m a d e secondary schools
locally available e v e n in moderately-sized t o w n s , making the n e e d
for boarding out w h i l e going to school m u c h less prevalent than it
had b e e n earlier. I m p r o v e d transportation facilitated the m o v e m e n t
of pupils w i t h i n urban areas w h e r e n e i g h b o r h o o d s w e r e not served
by their o w n schools, a n d thus, by 1900, most French a n d G e r m a n
secondary students w e r e living w i t h their parents, leaving h o m e only
w h e n they w e n t o n to the university or e n t e r e d careers. Even in E n g ­
land, w h e r e the boarding tradition w a s c o n t i n u e d and e x p a n d e d dur­
ing the s e c o n d half of the century, longer vacations a n d better trans­
portation w e r e making contact b e t w e e n parents a n d their children
m u c h m o r e frequent.
W h e t h e r a child w a s sent a w a y to school or not, parents w e r e a s ­
suming a m u c h greater role in the supervision of the entire training
process of each of their sons a n d daughters. G e r m a n fathers w e r e
notorious for the strictness w i t h w h i c h they o v e r s a w their sons' train­
ing. T h e y cloistered both boys a n d girls w i t h i n t h e narrow confines
of the h o m e , a l l o w i n g t h e m only limited contact w i t h the w o r l d out­
side, and then only for the purposes of formal training and e d u c a t i o n .
The age of the patriarchal h o u s e h o l d , w i t h its multiple e c o n o m i c a n d
civil functions, w a s past by 1870, m a n y of the prerogatives of the
father having b e e n usurped by factory, state, and s c h o o l . Y e t , the
authority of the fathers persisted in w h a t often s e e m e d an o u t d a t e d ,
tyrannical manner. Hans H e i n r i c h M u c h o w has p e r c e i v e d a cultural
lag operating in t h e fathers' slowness to adjust to t h e transition f r o m
the large multifunctional h o u s e h o l d to the small nuclear family unit:
" O u t of habit, h e held o n t o t h e role, h o w e v e r , a n d thus pressed d o w n
o n the nuclear family as a superfather [Übervater], especially o n t h e
g r o w i n g c h i l d r e n , w h o from the nursery o n w a r d s w e r e subject to
every impulse of their paternal master." Little w o n d e r that the sons

P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t : Pari. Papers V , p. 4 8 7 .
" M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozialstruktur, p. 54.
702 Youth a n d History

of the G e r m a n m i d d l e class l o o k e d back o n t h e earlier s e m i d e p e n d -


ent traditions of y o u t h , especially the Wanderjahr, w i t h a certain
nostalgia. T r a p p e d during their teen years b e t w e e n the tyranny of
the h o m e a n d the d e m a n d s of the rigorous G e r m a n a c a d e m i c s c h o o l ,
the Gymnasium, they had lost contact w i t h the sustaining force of
the old p e e r - g r o u p structure a n d the a u t o n o m y w h i c h that r e p r e ­
sented.
In E n g l a n d , parental c o n c e r n w a s no less intense or c o m p r e h e n s i v e ,
but, there, an alternative to fatherly tyranny offered itself. O n t h e
C o n t i n e n t , boarding schools and military a c a d e m i e s r e m a i n e d the
m o n o p o l y of the aristocracy, w h i l e in England this tradition w a s
b r o a d e n e d to include a g r o w i n g part of the m i d d l e class. T h e reform
and expansion of the boarding (public) schools w a s a key instrument
of the c o m p r o m i s e b e t w e e n middle-class aspirations a n d aristocratic
values that took place in t h e mid-Victorian p e r i o d . T h e attractions to
the social climbers w e r e o b v i o u s : " I n the great schools, w h i c h p o s ­
sess famous traditions, a n d in w h i c h the pupils c o m e for the most
part from the houses of g e n t l e m e n , there is a t o n e of manners a n d
a sentiment of h o n o u r w h i c h goes far to neutralize the disadvantages
of too early w i t h d r a w a l from the shelter of h o m e . " For parents w h o
w e r e w o r r i e d about sending their children a w a y at an age that d e ­
m a n d e d care a n d protection, there w a s the assurance that " t h e m a s ­
ter in this case stands in the parent's p l a c e , and to d o his w o r k p r o p ­
erly ought to b e clothed w i t h all the parent's authority." Whether
a boy r e m a i n e d at h o m e for his schooling or w a s sent a w a y to a
boarding institution w a s obviously less important to the E u r o p e a n
m i d d l e classes than w e r e the social controls associated w i t h that e d u ­
cation. T h e universal result w a s a state of d e p e n d e n c e longer than
that e x p e r i e n c e d by t h e previous g e n e r a t i o n : in effect, t h e creation
of a n e w stage of life corresponding to w h a t w e n o w call " a d o l e s ­
cence."
At its l o w e r limit, a d o l e s c e n c e w a s d i v i d e d from c h i l d h o o d by the
lines n e w l y - d r a w n b e t w e e n primary a n d secondary e d u c a t i o n .
W h e r e a s , in the early nineteenth c e n t u r y — w h e n , for reasons of tra­
dition a n d expediency, parents e n c o u r a g e d the precocity of their
c h i l d r e n — b o y s of the ages 8 to 19 had b e e n t h r o w n together in
English public schools, in 1868 it w a s reported that "it has n o w b e ­
c o m e a very c o m m o n practice not to send boys to such a school as

P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t : Pari. Papers I, p. 4 5 .
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t : Pari. Papers I, p. 4 3 .
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 703

H a r r o w or Rugby till 13 or 14, a n d to h a v e t h e m prepared at a p r e ­


paratory school w i t h boys of their o w n a g e . " Stricter age-grading
and a d e e m p h a s i s o n precocity w e r e also reflected at the other limit
of a d o l e s c e n c e by the g r o w i n g uniformity of t h e age of matriculation
to the university. T h e age distribution of entrants to O x f o r d U n i v e r ­
sity (Table 3) demonstrates the striking trend t o w a r d a n e w set of

TABLE 3

Age D i s t r i b u t i o n of M a t r i c u l a n t s t o O x f o r d University
(in percentages)""

Age Year

1810 1835 1860 1885 1910 1960

13
14 1
15 1 1
16 7 2 1
17 25 24 10 5 2 2
18 34 48 48 34 18 30
19 16 15 30 40 45 31
20 + 16 10 12 20 35 37

" From stone, "Size and Composition," Table X I .

norms, establishing a clear boundary b e t w e e n adolescent years of


secondary schooling (14-18) a n d the status of " y o u n g a d u l t h o o d , "
lasting from university entrance until marriage at 30.^^
The period 1830-1890 w a s the most a g e - h o m o g e n e o u s in Oxford's
history. Thereafter, graduate admissions increased the n u m b e r of e n ­
trants w h o w e r e o v e r 20, but this d o e s not detract from the point
that the day of both the precocious a n d the laggard w a s clearly past.
Neither parents nor schoolmasters w e r e interested any longer in
pushing boys in the m a n n e r c o m m o n earlier. Precocity itself w a s in
disrepute, associated w i t h street urchins rather than respectable
schoolboys. " H o w I dread mannikizing a b o y , " stated W a r d e n S e w e l l
of Radley C o l l e g e . . " I t is to b e just as bad as o p e n i n g an egg a n d

^ P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t : Pari. Papers I, p. 89.


O n a g e g r a d i n g , s e e A i r e s , C h a p t e r 4.
104 Youth a n d History

finding an a d v a n c e d chicken inside it. W h a t say to a baby w i t h


whiskers, or mustachios? N o , k e e p boys b o y s — c h i l d r e n c h i l d r e n —
young men young m e n . "
S e w e l l w a s w r i t i n g in t h e late 1850s, w h e n this n e w tripartite d i v i ­
sion w a s giving " b o y h o o d " a concrete m e a n i n g it had not had p r e ­
viously. T h e e m e r g e n c e of b o y h o o d (and later girlhood) w a s reflected
in the changing children's literature of t h e t i m e , w h i c h w a s u n d e r ­
going its o w n peculiar age-grading. Prior to t h e m i d d l e of the c e n ­
tury, magazines such as Youth's Monthly Visitor had a i m e d their
moral homilies at an undefined a u d i e n c e that c o v e r e d both sexes
and ranged from m e r e children to y o u n g adults. T h e a p p e a r a n c e in
1855 of Boy's Own Magazine—followed, after it h a d d e m o n s t r a t e d
its c o m m e r c i a l succcess, by Boy's Own Paper, Boy's Penny Magazine,
Boys of England, a n d a host of other competitors—signaled a m o -
mentus c h a n g e in public attitudes, at least a m o n g the m i d d l e classes
w h o w e r e the initial subscribers. N o t only w e r e t h e n e w papers sex-
segregated, but they reinforced t h e stereotypes f a v o r e d by t h e V i c ­
torian bourgeoisie, " t h e image of the public school boy for males.
W o m e n in the H o m e for f e m a l e s . " ^3 B y the e n d of the century, c h i l ­
dren's literature w a s further s u b d i v i d e d , there being magazines for
babies, c h i l d r e n , adolescents, a n d y o u n g adults, each reflecting a
w e l l - d e f i n e d n o r m of w h a t b e h a v i o r ought to b e at e a c h stage of
the life cycle.^^

Childhood Adoles- Young Parenthood Death


cence Adult­ or
hood Retire­
ment

Figure 3 L i f e c y c l e of m i d d l e c l a s s , 1900.

" T h e y [parents] desire very often, a b o v e e v e r y t h i n g else, that their


boys should b e like other b o y s , a n d not m a r k e d off as p e c u l i a r , " r e -

^ Q u o t e d i n M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, p. 5 5 .


=^ D a r t o n , p. 2 9 3 ; T u r n e r , Boys Will Be Boys, pp. 66-72; Avery, pp. 139-148.
^ D a r t o n , p. 314.
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 705

ported the Schools Inquiry Commission.^-^ A n important part of b e i n g


like e v e r y o n e else w a s conformity to the c o n v e n t i o n s of the m i d d l e -
class life cycle, w h i c h by 1900 had already enshrined a d o l e s c e n c e as
a part of the natural order of respectable society. ( S e e Figure 3.)

II
Low mortality a n d low fertility m a d e a d o l e s c e n c e possible, but the
real crucible of the age-group's social a n d psychological qualities
was the elite secondary s c h o o l . In E n g l a n d , t h e invention of a d o ­
lescence w a s the u n i n t e n d e d product of the reform of the public
schools, w h o s e beginnings are usually associated w i t h the era of
T h o m a s A r n o l d ' s tenure as headmaster at R u g b y , 1827-1839. A r n o l d
and the other reformers of his generation w e r e the products of that
earlier era of troubled y o u t h , w h o s e o w n training had b e e n p r e c o ­
cious a n d w h o t h e m s e l v e s had k n o w n nothing like t h e adolescent
stage of life that w a s to e n s u e from their reforms. A s university stu­
dents in the 1820s, they had felt the spiritual a n d social ferment of
the times. M o s t had b e e n t o u c h e d by Evangelicalism a n d had at o n e
time or another felt themselves " s a v e d " by its fellowship. T h e social
forms from w h i c h they d r e w strength w e r e those typical of the age
of transition—small, intimate circles of friends, such as that w h i c h
T h o m a s A r n o l d shared w i t h J o h n K e b l e a n d J . T. C o l e r i d g e at O x f o r d .
C o l e r i d g e w r o t e of " t h e m e m b e r s rather under the usual a g e , and
w i t h m o r e than the ordinary proportion of ability a n d scholar­
ship. . . . O n e result of all these circumstances w a s , that w e lived
o n the most familiar terms w i t h e a c h o t h e r : w e might b e , i n d e e d ,
w e w e r e , s o m e w h a t boyish in m a n n e r , a n d in the liberties w e took
w i t h each o t h e r ; but our interest in literature, ancient a n d m o d e r n ,
and in all the stirring matters of that stirring t i m e , w a s not b o y i s h ;
w e d e b a t e d the classic a n d romantic q u e s t i o n ; w e discussed poetry
and history, logic and p h i l o s o p h y ; or w e fought o v e r the Peninsular
battles a n d the Continental campaigns w i t h the energy of disputants

• P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t : Pari. Papers I, p. 17.


106 Youth a n d History

personally c o n c e r n e d in t h e m . O u r habits w e r e inexpensive a n d t e m ­


p e r a t e . " 26
Theirs w a s a generation that c o u l d still w e e p o p e n l y w i t h o u t fear
of being called effeminate, c o u l d e m b r a c e w i t h o u t taint of sexual
deviation. T h e y e n j o y e d a cult of w a r m , o p e n m a l e friendship not
unlike that of the G e r m a n Romantics w h o m they a d m i r e d ; a n d they
associated manliness w i t h high, rather priggish, moral standards, that
they felt preserved t h e m from both childishness a n d adult i n d u l ­
gences. T h o u g h f e w Englishmen of their social position w e r e t o u c h e d
by either the b o h e m i a n i s m or the utopianism so prevalent o n t h e
C o n t i n e n t , there w e r e not a f e w w h o w o u l d later b e attracted to the
monastic v o w s of the Tractarian M o v e m e n t of the 1830s. " H a v i n g
f o r m e d intimate friendships at an age w h e n it is proper to see v i ­
s i o n s , " writes D a v i d N e w s o m e , " t h e y d e v e l o p e d a c o m m o n resolve
to impress their ideals u p o n the particular society into w h i c h their
w o r k w a s to take t h e m . "
A r n o l d p r o c l a i m e d his calling as educator to b e that of the keeper
of the w h o l e p e r s o n : " H e must adjust the respective claims of bodily
a n d mental exercise, of different kinds of intellectual labour; h e must
consider every part of his pupil's nature, physical, intellectual, a n d
m o r a l ; regarding the cultivation of the last, h o w e v e r , as p a r a m o u n t
to that of either of the o t h e r s . " A r n o l d w i s h e d to turn out y o u n g
m e n characterized by intellectual toughness, moral earnestness, a n d
d e e p spiritual c o n v i c t i o n . T h e feelings h e w i s h e d to d e v e l o p w e r e
not those of childish e m o t i o n but n o b l e idealism. His o w n u p b r i n g ­
ing a c c u s t o m e d him to thinking in terms of precocious b e h a v i o r a n d
w h e n he asked himself the question " C a n the c h a n g e f r o m c h i l d h o o d
to m a n h o o d be hastened in the case of boys a n d y o u n g m e n w i t h o u t
exhausting prematurely the faculties either of b o d y or m i n d ? " his
answer w a s staunchly affirmative. T h e object of a R u g b y e d u c a t i o n
w a s , h e w r o t e , "if possible to form Christian m e n , for Christian boys
I can scarcely m a k e . " 2»
T h e philosophy of " b o y s w i l l b e b o y s " had no place in A r n o l d ' s
w o r l d , o n e still so close to the conditions that e n c o u r a g e d precocity
a m o n g the y o u n g earlier in the century. "If the c h a n g e from c h i l d ­
h o o d to m a n h o o d can be hastened safely, it ought to b e h a s t e n e d ;
a n d it is a sin in e v e r y o n e not to hasten it," r e m a i n e d his educational

' Q u o t e d in N e w s o m e , p p . 9 - 1 0 .
' N e w s o m e , p. 7.
' N e w s o m e , p. 2 ; B a m f o r d , p p . 1 9 - 2 6 , 4 9 - 5 3 ; M a c k , p p . 1 9 4 - 2 0 0 .
' Q u o t e d in N e w s o m e , p. 5 1 .
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1870-1900 707

philosophy to the end.^^ A s an admirer of tradition, A r n o l d did not


attempt to destroy the structure of peer group. Instead, he turned the
traditional h e g e m o n y of the older o v e r the y o u n g e r boys to his o w n
advantage, purging the prefectorial system a n d the fagging of their
v i o l e n c e , modifying both to fit the n e w , m o r e paternal discipline of
the schools. It w i l l b e r e m e m b e r e d that in the e a r l y - n i n e t e e n t h - c e n ­
tury s c h o o l , boys had virtually g o v e r n e d t h e m s e l v e s , controlling their
m e m b e r s through group pressure that tolerated an excess of bullying.
W h e n masters t a m p e r e d w i t h these rights of self-rule, they did so at
their o w n risk, often p r o v o k i n g the kind of rebellion that w a s a fre­
quent e v e n t in school histories throughout the first half of the n i n e ­
teenth century. N i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y schoolmasters w e r e infamous for
their use of the w h i p , a n d reign by corporal p u n i s h m e n t certainly
did not e n d w i t h the beginnings of reform. Nevertheless, the rela­
tionship b e t w e e n students a n d masters w a s both milder a n d m o r e
intimate. Repressive force w a s r e d u c e d by a system of almost fatherly
supervision, a i m e d at preventing abuses rather than punishing t h e m .
A n d so it c o u l d be reported in 1864 that " t h e relationship b e t w e e n
Masters a n d boys is closer a n d m o r e friendly than it used to b e . . . .
Flogging, w h i c h t w e n t y years ago w a s resorted to as a matter of
course for the most trifling offenses, is n o w in general used sparingly,
and applied only to serious ones. M o r e attention is paid to religious
teaching . . . a n d m o r e reliance is placed o n a sense of d u t y . "
The authority of the Masters, so m u c h d e p r e c i a t e d in the previous
100 years, w a s raised, by those w h o f o l l o w e d A r n o l d , to the point that
it w a s possible to think of the school as a proper substitute for the
family, the teachers serving as surrogate fathers. B y the 1860s it c o u l d
be said that the M a s t e r w a s in loco parentis in the full sense of that
t e r m . Reform had given the school c o m p l e t e authority o v e r its i n ­
mates, something never d r e a m e d of earlier w h e n schooling w a s mar­
ginal to the principal place of learning, the w o r l d at large. N o w , h o w ­
ever, the school w a s v i e w e d as a superior substitute, not only for the
family but for life itself: " T o the boarding scholar, the school is the
w o r l d , the w o r k of the w o r l d . " T h e lessons, p r o m o t i o n s , a n d priv­
ileges of the school m a d e a greater impact o n the b o y than "if his
w o r l d w e r e but a part of that larger w o r l d to w h i c h his father a n d his
mother b e l o n g e d . " T h e c o m p a n y of his peers is in all respects s u p e ­
rior to that of adults, because " h i s father's conversation is partly o n
subjects that h e does not yet understand, partly is r e m o v e d from h i m

' Q u o t e d in M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, p. 5 5 .


' P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t : P a r / . Papers X X , p. 4 4 .
108 Youth a n d History

by the undefined difference caused by difference of a g e ; but the


conversation of a boy, e v e n if far cleverer than himself, is still w i t h i n
his c o m p r e h e n s i o n . "
A r n o l d himself w o u l d never h a v e argued the case for t h e c o m p l e t e
separation of the boy from the w o r l d . T r u e , s o m e topics like sex w e r e
inappropriate to y o u t h , but his goal of making Christian scholars p r e ­
c l u d e d the exclusion from s c h o o l b o y life of other c o n c e r n s — s o c i a l ,
political, a n d ideological—that w e r e necessary to the multifaceted
d e v e l o p m e n t of the individual. But e v e n A r n o l d , in his desire to
create an e n v i r o n m e n t c o n d u c i v e to g r o w t h , had given e n c o u r a g e ­
ment to the erection of barriers b e t w e e n the school a n d adult life.
In order to attract the right kind of middle-class b o y s , h e had ex­
c l u d e d local day scholars of p o o r backgrounds. T o w n a n d g o w n
never mixed easily after A r n o l d ' s t e n u r e , a n d as the social exclusivity
of the schools b e c a m e m o r e p r o n o u n c e d so did the isolation of their
inmates.^^ T h e m o m e n t u m of reform had its u n i n t e n d e d results,
a m o n g t h e m the transformation of t h e boarding school into a clois­
tered institution that it has r e m a i n e d ever since. A r n o l d ' s fatherly
supervision w a s transformed gradually into paternalistic surveillance.
B o y s interested in t h e outside w o r l d , its poetry or its politics, w e r e
permitted to experience t h e m o n l y at s e c o n d h a n d through d e b a t i n g
societies a n d other such imitations of adult life.^^ C o n t i n e n t a l schools
w e n t a step further, entirely eliminating politics a n d social issues from
their curriculum. O n e G e r m a n observer c o m m e n t e d that in English
schools, " i m i t a t i o n of the life of adults in clubs a n d other societies,
and their observing the forms of public meetings, cannot but a p p e a r
to us as signs of a certain p r e c o c i t y . " Y e t , this w a s not the same as
the precocity that A r n o l d had e n c o u r a g e d . Playing at politics m a i n ­
tained a v e n e e r of sophistication a m o n g s c h o o l b o y s , but this w a s n o
closer to authentic political e x p e r i e n c e than j u v e n i l e w a r games of
the public school cadet corps w e r e to actual w a r . N o t h i n g c o u l d s u b ­
stitute for actual i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h the social, e c o n o m i c , a n d political
facts of life, confrontation w i t h w h i c h w a s being p o s t p o n e d to later
and later ages.
R e f o r m , h o w e v e r liberal a n d e n l i g h t e n e d , c o n t a i n e d a f u n d a m e n t a l
contradiction in so far as it tried to hasten the passage from c h i l d h o o d

P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t : Pari. Papers I V , p. 4 4 .
^ W e i n b e r g , pp. 37-38; Rupert Wilkinson, pp. 8-26.
^ W e i n b e r g , pp. 34-52; Rupert Wilkinson, pp. 29-32; Bamford, pp. 80-82; W a k e -
ford, Chapter 1 .
^ W i e s e , p. 4 8 .
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 709

to a d u l t h o o d by institutional means. B y the 1860s, English public


schools had b e c o m e w h a t Erving G o f f m a n describes as a total i n ­
stitution: " a place of residence or w o r k w h e r e a large n u m b e r of like-
situated individuals, cut off from the w i d e r society for an a p p r e c i a b l e
period of t i m e , together lead an e n c l o s e d , formally administered
round of life." T h e cloistering of the boarding school w a s , of
course, m u c h m o r e c o m p l e t e than that of the day s c h o o l , but e v e n
in France and G e r m a n y , w h e r e the boarding tradition did not prevail,
there w a s a certain t e n d e n c y for schools to extend their authority o v e r
an increasingly large part of the student's life. Continental secondary
schools f o l l o w e d this pattern to the point that, by the e n d of the
nineteenth century, they had h e d g e d their students' i n d e p e n d e n c e
to such an extent that no activity c o u l d be carried o n w i t h o u t the
school authorities' permission. H o m e w o r k b e c a m e tantamount to
m a k e - w o r k , so heavy as to regulate most of a student's time outside
the school hours.
T h e cloistering of adolescents w a s justified in England by religion,
o n the C o n t i n e n t by appeal to culture; but in both places the tangible
fears that m o v e d both parents and schoolmasters w e r e actually quite
similar. T h e r e w a s , of course, the recent m e m o r y of student radical­
ism and schoolboy rebellion. It w a s not only foreign threat that E n g ­
lish adults thought about w h e n they organized j u v e n i l e cadet c o m ­
panies in the 1850s. A similar c o m b i n a t i o n of nationalism a n d social
conservatism w a s b e h i n d a similar flurry of j u v e n i l e marching and
drilling in France after the C o m m u n e of 1 8 7 1 , culminating in the
colorful but short-lived bataillons scolaires of the early 1880s.^*=* W h e n
boys tired of playing at w a r , their elders f o u n d other games to engage
and divert their energies, h o w e v e r . T h e French archconservative, H i p ­
polyte T a i n e , could r e c o m m e n d to his c o u n t r y m e n the English mania
for team sports o n the grounds that it w a s socially conservative and
militarily useful. T h e y apparently took his a d v i c e , for by 1899 the
Almanach des Sports w a s reporting: " L e football is a veritable little
w a r , w i t h its necessary discipline a n d its w a y of getting participants
used to danger a n d to b l o w s . "
T o o y o u n g to v o t e , b e drafted, or volunteer for the real army,

G o f f m a n , p. xiii.
'"Wiese, pp. 23-32; W a a s , pp. 87-89; Pross, pp. 8 7 - 8 9 ; Muchow, Sexualreife
und Sozialstruktur, p p . 1 4 - 1 6 ; B a m f o r d , p p . 8 0 - 8 3 ; N e w s o m e , p p . 81 ff; Weinberg,
pp. 45-46.
^ Eugen W e b e r , pp. 74-75.
^ Q u o t e d in E u g e n W e b e r , p. 90.
7 70 Youth a n d History

schoolboys w e r e not necessarily exempt f r o m the discipline that w a s


in store for their older brothers. But real soldiering had at least t h e
compensations of access to the status of a d u l t h o o d , a n d the swagger­
ing y o u n g reserve officer of the later nineteenth century w a s v e r y
m u c h a symbol of the liberties of older y o u t h , w h i c h s e e m e d all t h e
m o r e p r o n o u n c e d precisely because they contrasted so sharply w i t h
the straitjacket of a d o l e s c e n c e . G e r m a n university m e n m a r k e d t h e
social distance b e t w e e n themselves a n d s c h o o l b o y s by indulging in
excessive duelling a n d drinking. Fraternal c o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n t h e
t w o levels, w h i c h had existed in the early nineteenth century, d e ­
clined to a state of unimportance.^^ In E n g l a n d , t o o , t h e lines b e t w e e n
school and university w e r e m o r e sharply d r a w n , though the customs
and fashions of college m e n c o n t i n u e d to set t h e style for h e r o -
worshipping schoolboys.
Affectation of a d u l t h o o d by adolescents c o n t i n u e d , but the s u b ­
stance of manliness as A r n o l d ' s generation had understood it—
namely, spiritual a u t o n o m y a n d intellectual m a t u r i t y — w a s replaced
by an emphasis o n physical p r o w e s s a n d pure w i l l p o w e r . This n e w
cult of masculinity w o r s h i p p e d a different set of virtues. T h e spartan
replaced the platonic, as " f r a t e r n i t y " c a m e to m e a n shared physical
rather than spiritual characteristics. Treitschke w a s not far w r o n g
w h e n h e said that the Englishman's idea of civilization w a s soap.
A r n o l d ' s successors thought goodness to b e a function of g o o d health
and strong muscles. " T h a t m o r n i n g bath, w h i c h foreigners consider
as y o u n g England's strangest superstition, has d o n e as m u c h to a b o l ­
ish drunkenness, as any other cause w h a t e v e r , " stated Charles Kings-
ley.^^ Simultaneously, the importance of t e a m sports rose, a n d by
1880, games w e r e compulsory in most public schools, justified largely
by their alleged contribution to the training of boys from different
backgrounds in a c o m m o n esprit de corps, E d w a r d Thring, h e a d m a s ­
ter of U p p i n g h a m a n d o n e of sport's greatest a d v o c a t e s , b e l i e v e d it
to b e the key to the formation of a n e w national elite, c o m p o s e d of
the fittest of both the aristocracy a n d the m i d d l e class.^^

There is a v e r y s t r o n g f e e l i n g g r o w i n g u p a m o n g t h e merchant
class in E n g l a n d in f a v o u r of t h e p u b l i c s c h o o l s ; a n d h u n d r e d s g o t o
s c h o o l s n o w w h o t h i r t y y e a r s a g o w o u l d n o t h a v e t h o u g h t of d o i n g s o .
The learning to b e responsible, a n d i n d e p e n d e n t , to bear pain, to play

W a a s , p p . 98ff; Z o r n , p. 329.
Q u o t e d in N e w s o m e , p. 2 1 1 .
" Q u o t e d in N e w s o m e , p. 227.
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 777

g a m e s , t o d r o p r a n k , a n d w e a l t h , a n d h o m e l u x u r y , is a p r i c e l e s s b o o n .
I t h i n k m y s e l f t h a t it is t h i s w h i c h h a s m a d e t h e E n g l i s h s u c h a n a d ­
v e n t u r o u s r a c e ; a n d t h a t w i t h all t h e i r f a u l t s . . . p u b l i c s c h o o l s a r e
t h e c a u s e of this " m a n l i n e s s . "

Sport w a s taking o v e r m a n y of the functions of the rite of passage


o n c e reserved to Latin language study, for it, t o o , ensured the sepa­
ration of boys from the w o r l d of w o m e n during the critical transition
from c h i l d h o o d to a d u l t h o o d . T h e r e w a s an important social c h a n g e
involved in this substitution, h o w e v e r . T h e m o d e l of the earlier Latin
school w a s the monastery; the ideal of the public school w a s increas­
ingly military. W o m e n w e r e to b e a v o i d e d by adolescents because
femininity w a s n o w associated w i t h w e a k n e s s , e m o t i o n , a n d u n r e ­
liability. S o strong w a s the a v o i d a n c e of f e m a l e traits by 1860 that
m e n no longer dared e m b r a c e in public and tears w e r e shed only
in private. A w h o l e series of m a l e clubs sprang up to shield m e n from
w o m e n . S o m e , like the Y o u n g M e n ' s Christian Association, f o u n d e d
in 1844, d r e w their inspiration from the t e m p e r a t e evangelical f e l l o w ­
ships of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; but, for
the upper classes it w a s m o r e likely to be hard-drinking, hard-riding
organizations that attracted t h e m . D e s p i t e their Victorian exteriors,
these upper-class fraternal groups t e n d e d to u p h o l d a d o u b l e stand­
ard w i t h respect to social morality, including sexuality. A s males, they
reserved for themselves the right of access to drink, g a m b l i n g , a n d
prostitution, rationalizing these things as " n a t u r a l " to m e n and " u n ­
n a t u r a l " to w o m e n .
" G o d m a d e m a n in His image, not in an imaginatory Virgin M a r y ' s
i m a g e , " explained Charles Kingsley, o n e of the so-called " m u s c u l a r
Christians" for w h o m traits of sensitivity or domesticity in a m a n w e r e
a kind of sin against nature and society.^^ A n d , of course, w h a t c o u l d
better preserve the differences b e t w e e n the sexes than the military?
— t h u s a partial explanation for the popularity of the rifle clubs a n d
cadet corps in the second half of the century. H e r e m a l e and national
chauvinism b l e n d e d neatly in a spartan m o d e l of b o y h o o d that per­
mitted no deviation. Boys w h o did not play the g a m e or march in
step w e r e l o o k e d u p o n as misfits. U n i f o r m s , w h e t h e r athletic or mili­
tary, underlined the g r o w i n g intolerance of individuality that charac­
terized late-nineteenth-century schooling in both England and G e r ­
many. M a x W e b e r , looking back on the e n o r m o u s impact of student

" T h o m a s , pp. 196-201, 215-216; Cominos, pp. 243-46; Harrison.


K i n g s l e y q u o t e d in N e w s o m e , p. 210.
772 Youth and History

fraternities on G e r m a n life, w r o t e of the false understanding of f r e e ­


d o m that these e n g e n d e r e d : ^ ^

T h e " a c a d e m i c f r e e d o m " of d u e l i n g , d r i n k i n g , a n d class c u t t i n g stems


from a time w h e n other k i n d s of f r e e d o m d i d n o t exist in Germany
and when only the stratum of literati and candidates for office was
p r i v i l e g e d in s u c h l i b e r t i e s . T h e i n r o a d , h o w e v e r , w h i c h t h e s e c o n v e n ­
t i o n s h a v e m a d e u p o n t h e b e a r i n g of t h e " a c a d e m i c a l l y c e r t i f i e d man"
of G e r m a n y c a n n o t b e e l i m i n a t e d e v e n t o d a y .

H e praised the English for e d u c a t i n g their sons to a b r o a d e r d e f i n i ­


tion of rights, but he might w e l l have listened to those in England w h o
w a r n e d of the trend t o w a r d mindless conformity that w a s the p r o d ­
uct of the philosophy, " b o y s will b e b o y s . " T o G e o r g e T r e v e l y a n the
results w e r e clear:^^

W h a t e l s e c a n b e e x p e c t e d , w h e n a y o u n g m a n at t h e a g e h i s g r a n d ­
father w a s fighting in t h e P e n i n s u l a o r p r e p a r i n g t o s t a n d f o r a bor­
o u g h , is still h a n g i n g o n at s c h o o l , w i t h h i s m i n d half t a k e n u p with
Latin verses, and the other half divided between his s c o r e in the
c r i c k e t f i e l d a n d h i s s c o r e at t h e p a s t r y - c o o k ' s ?

III
Increasing c o n c e r n w i t h the physical e l e m e n t s of b o y h o o d brought
parents and educators face to face w i t h sexuality, the t a b o o subject
of the earlier generation. B y the 1870s the subject of " p u b e r t y " w a s
b e i n g discussed o p e n l y in both medical books and parents' m a n u a l s ;
and a d e c a d e later, e v e n the conservative Oxford Clerical Association
declared for " f r a n k n e s s " in the catechising of its y o u n g confirmees.^^
Recognition of the sexuality of adolescence did not m e a n , h o w e v e r ,
a liberalization of Victorian attitudes. O n the contrary, the t e n d e n c y
of writers w a s to b l a m e parents for being too careless, a l l o w i n g their
sons to pick up bad habits f r o m both peers and servants. W a r n e d

M a x W e b e r , pp. 387-388.
*^ Q u o t e d in N e w s o m e , p. 227.
* ' ' M s . s o u r c e B , M i n s . O x f o r d C l e r i c a l A s s n . , M a y 5 , 1879, M S T o p O x o n e 38.
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 773

Elizabeth B l a c k w e l l : " T h e physical g r o w t h of y o u t h , t h e n e w p o w e r s ,


the various s y m p t o m s w h i c h m a k e the transition from c h i l d h o o d into
y o u n g m a n - and w o m a n h o o d are often alarming to the individual.
Yet this important period of life is entered u p o n , strange to say, as a
general rule, w i t h o u t parental g u i d a n c e . " ^« If parents c o u l d not deal
w i t h it, then other institutions w o u l d . T h e cloistered sex-segregated
schools w e r e the best guarantee against sexual d e v i a t i o n , but Dr.
W i l l i a m A c t o n also praised the efforts of the Y o u n g M e n ' s Christian
Association and the V o l u n t e e r M o v e m e n t to i m p o s e c o n t i n e n c e : " I
am c o n v i n c e d that m u c h of the incontinence of the present day c o u l d
be a v o i d e d by finding a m u s e m e n t , instruction, and recreation for t h e
y o u n g m e n of large t o w n s . "
C o n t e m p o r a r i e s recognized that the high age of marriage a m o n g
the m i d d l e classes (29.9 years for English professional males in the
period 1840-1870) represented an e n o r m o u s challenge to supervision
and control, not just of relations w i t h the opposite sex but of those
b e t w e e n boys and boys. It w a s admitted by A c t o n a n d others that
" a schoolmaster should be alive to the excessive d a n g e r of platonic
attachments that sometimes b e c o m e fashionable in a s c h o o l , e s p e ­
cially b e t w e e n boys of very different a g e s . " A s Robert G r a v e s w a s
to experience later, social attributes that w e r e normal in the outside
w o r l d w e r e forfeited in favor of loyalty to the m a l e group. Boys w e r e
forced e v e n to a b a n d o n normal sex roles. " I n English preparatory and
public schools r o m a n c e is necessarily h o m o s e x u a l , " G r a v e s n o t e d .
"The opposite sex is despised and treated as something o b ­
scene. . . . For e v e r y o n e born h o m o s e x u a l , at least ten p e r m a n e n t
pseudo-homosexuals w e r e m a d e by the public school s y s t e m ; nine
of these ten as h o n o u r a b l e chaste a n d sentimental as I w a s . "
For most, the regression to this f o r m of innocent affection w a s but
a temporary detour o n the w a y to adult heterosexuality. H e a d m a s t e r
G . H . Rendall w a s probably accurate in his assessment that " m y boys
are a m o r o u s , but s e l d o m e r o t i c . " Y e t , w h i l e it is unclear w h e t h e r
the schools p r o d u c e d m o r e than their share of adult homosexuals,
almost c o m p l e t e isolation from the opposite sex had the effect of

B l a c k w e l l , p. 68.
*® A c t o n , p. 30.
^ A c t o n , p. 4 7 ; f i g u r e s o n a g e of m a r r i a g e f r o m B a n k s , Prosperity and Parent­
hood, p. 48.
R o b e r t G r a v e s , p. 1 9 ; C o m i n o s , p p . 2 2 6 - 2 2 8 .
R o b e r t G r a v e s , p. 1 9 ; o n G e r m a n y , s e e M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozialstruktur,
pp. 52-53.
114 Youth a n d History

transforming the facts of genitality into a f o r b i d d e n secret w o r l d , ex­


posure to w h i c h had a traumatic effect o n y o u n g asexuals like C r a v e s .
Confrontation w i t h the effects of puberty w a s m o r e u n e x p e c t e d a n d ,
therefore, m o r e traumatic than today. A t 17 G r a v e s h a d his first real
introduction to l o v e play: " A n Irish girl staying at the s a m e pension
m a d e love to m e in a w a y that, I see n o w , w a s really v e r y s w e e t . It
frightened m e so m u c h , I c o u l d h a v e killed h e r . "
Headmasters l o o k e d u p o n the p e e r group as a m e a n s of controlling
sexual d e l i n q u e n c y , both because it w a s t h e least expensive w a y of
extending their o w n control a n d because they, like A r n o l d , sensed
the p o w e r of " p u b l i c o p i n i o n " a m o n g the boys t h e m s e l v e s . P r o b l e m s
arose from t h e fact that group pressures b e c a m e so strongly organized
that any kind of individualism w a s i m m e d i a t e l y taken as a sign of
sexual v i c e . A sure sign of "self a b u s e " (masturbation) w a s physical
w e a k n e s s : " M u s c l e s u n d e r d e v e l o p e d , the e y e is sunken a n d h e a v y ,
the c o m p l e x i o n is sallow a n d pusty, or c o v e r e d w i t h spots of a c n e ,
the hands are d a m p a n d c o l d , the skin m o i s t . " H o w many inno­
cents undergoing the physical c h a n g e associated w i t h a d o l e s c e n c e ,
a g r o w t h spurt that w a s n o w c o m i n g earlier a n d m o r e rapidly a m o n g
the m i d d l e classes, must h a v e b e e n terrified by these s y m p t o m s of
normal d e v e l o p m e n t ? But e v e n m o r e telling w a s any failure to play
the g a m e or to march in step w i t h the g r o u p , a sure sign of secret
sin.^'^

T h e b o y s h u n s t h e s o c i e t y of o t h e r s , c r e e p s a b o u t alone, joins with


r e p u g n a n c e in t h e a m u s e m e n t s o f h i s s c h o o l f e l l o w s . H e c a n n o t look
a n y o n e i n t h e f a c e , a n d b e c o m e s c a r e l e s s in d r e s s a n d u n c l e a n l y in
p e r s o n . H i s i n t e l l e c t b e c o m e s s l u g g i s h a n d e n f e e b l e d , a n d if h i s e v i l
h a b i t s a r e p e r s i s t e d i n h e m a y e n d in b e c o m e a d r i v e l l i n g i d i o t o r a
peevish valetudinarian.

Thus, w h a t w e r e historically-evolved social norms of a particular


class b e c a m e enshrined in m e d i c a l a n d psychological literature as the
" n a t u r a l " attributes of a d o l e s c e n c e . T h e transmutation, through i n ­
stitutional imperatives, of social values into natural laws suited the
n e w materialist outlook of the m i d d l e classes in the s e c o n d half of
the nineteenth century. O n e of W i l l i a m A c t o n ' s c o r r e s p o n d e n t s , w r i t -

^ R o b e r t G r a v e s , p. 3 6 ; M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozialstruktur, pp. 36-40.


^* A c t o n , p. 1 6 . O n t h e g r o w t h of f e a r of m a s t u r b a t i o n i n t h e e a r l y nineteenth
century, see Spitz, pp. 490-527.
^ A c t o n , p. 1 6 .
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 775

ing to him c o n c e r n i n g w a y s of c o n v i n c i n g the y o u n g e r generation of


the dangers of i n c o n t i n e n c e , expressed the universal desire to find in
science a n e w legitimation of old social controls: " I t w o u l d b e the
greatest e n c o u r a g e m e n t to k n o w that physical science confirms the
dictates of r e v e l a t i o n . " C o n f o r m i t y , self-denial, a n d d e p e n d e n c e —
all essentially functions of the kind of upbringing that w a s peculiar
to a particular c l a s s — h a d b e c o m e positivistic standards of h u m a n b e ­
havior by w h i c h an u p p e r class c o u l d assure itself of its inherent
superiority to the l o w e r orders. T h e fact that children of the w o r k i n g
class w e r e i n d e p e n d e n t a n d resistant to institutional controls w a s n o w
proof of their inferiority.

IV
H o w e v e r pleased the m i d d l e classes w e r e w i t h their i n v e n t i o n , they
w e r e also a w a r e of its difficulties, particularly t h e e m o t i o n a l deficits
that arose out of so m u c h investment in the artificial w o r l d of the
school. " L e f t entirely to themselves they [adolescents] t e n d to dis­
order a n d triviality, a n d controlled too m u c h by adults they t e n d to
lose zest a n d s p o n t a n e i t y , " w r o t e G . Stanley H a l l . His conclusions
w e r e not unlike those S t e p h e n S p e n d e r arrived at s o m e 50 years later,
w h e n , r e v i e w i n g English a d o l e s c e n c e , h e w r o t e that the schools
taught " b o y s to take themselves seriously as functions of an institu­
tion, before they take themselves seriously as persons or i n d i v i d ­
uals." England's schoolboys possessed a c o m p o s u r e a n d polish that
surprised a n d delighted most foreign visitors, but b e n e a t h this surface
lay considerable turmoil and self-doubt, the product of an e d u c a t i o n
that gave little attention to personality a n d e m o t i o n a l d e v e l o p m e n t .
Robert G r a v e s , w h o w a s particularly sensitive to this deficit in his o w n
training, w r o t e of h o w the total institution w a s arranged so that boys
c a m e to v i e w themselves as possessed of no personal rights as such,
but only of statuses granted to t h e m as privileges. " A n e w b o y h a d
no privileges at a l l ; a boy in his s e c o n d term might w e a r a knitted

'^' A c t o n , p. 5 1 .
S p e n d e r , p. 2 3 5 ; s e e a l s o C a r t e r , p p . 2 0 9 - 2 3 4 .
776 Youth a n d History

tie instead of a plain o n e ; a n d a boy in his s e c o n d year might w e a r


coloured socks." A sturdy individualist like G r a v e s w a s a b l e to
subvert t h e rules of C h a r t e r h o u s e S c h o o l a n d d e v e l o p a personal
identity apart from its hierarchy, but most of his f e l l o w students w e r e
not so fortunate. " S c h o o l life b e c o m e s reality, a n d h o m e life t h e illu­
s i o n " ; a n d boys w h o s e w h o l e lives h a d b e e n built a r o u n d t e a m sports
and fraternity life w e r e naturally insecure in the c o m p a n y of the o p ­
posite sex. M o v i n g o n to university, the army, or t h e p r o f e s s i o n s —
all still exclusively m a l e institutions—it w a s understandable that they
should seek to allay their anxiety about this aspect of a d u l t h o o d by
perpetuating s c h o o l b o y c o m r a d e r y w e l l past their o w n years of a d o ­
lescence.^^
T h e most famous fictional s c h o o l b o y of the m i d - c e n t u r y , T o m
B r o w n , had b e e n eager to get o n w i t h life. " I f I can't b e at R u g b y ,
I w a n t to be at w o r k in the w o r l d , a n d not d a w d l i n g a w a y three years
at O x f o r d , " he told his tutor. But in the e n d he a c c e p t e d a d v i c e of
the kind that w a s to b e c o m e c o n v e n t i o n a l by 1900: " D o n ' t b e in a
hurry about finding y o u r w o r k in the w o r l d for yourself. Y o u are not
old e n o u g h to j u d g e for yourself y e t , but just look a b o u t y o u in the
place y o u find yourself in, a n d try to m a k e things a little better a n d
honester t h e r e . " T h e gap b e t w e e n A r n o l d ' s generation a n d that of
the schoolmasters w h o f o l l o w e d t h e m can b e m e a s u r e d h e r e . D a v i d
N e w s o m e has summarized it best: " T h e worst educational feature of
the earlier ideal w a s the t e n d e n c y to m a k e boys into m e n t o o s o o n ;
the worst feature of the other, paradoxically, w a s that in its efforts
to a c h i e v e manliness by stressing the cardinal i m p o r t a n c e of playing
games, it fell into the opposite error of failing to m a k e boys into m e n
at a l l . " 61
By century's e n d , schoolmasters all o v e r Europe c o u l d congratulate
themselves o n the g o o d order of their pupils. N e v e r had the s c h o o l ­
boy b e e n so at p e a c e w i t h the w o r l d , so accepting of his social d e p ­
rivation, so apathetic t o w a r d his civil status. A l t h o u g h y o u n g fools
might still play their pranks o n a N o v e m b e r night or d a n c e o n M a y
mornings, middle-class boys did not ordinarily d o n t h e masks of
Misrule except in a patriotic or conservative cause. Y e t , b e n e a t h this
surface calm m a n y thought they detected an inner storm. T h e asso-

R o b e r t G r a v e s , p. 4 5 .
™ Rupert Wilkinson, pp. 29-37, 54-63.
Hughes, pp. 305-307.
N e w s o m e , p. 238.
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 777

ciation of e m o t i o n a l turmoil w i t h transition f r o m c h i l d h o o d , w h i c h


can be traced back at least to the writings of Rousseau, had by 1900
f o u n d a prominent place in medical a n d psychological literature. T h e
image of the s c h o o l b o y had shifted f r o m t r o u b l e - m a k e r to t r o u b l e d ,
particularly in G e r m a n y , w h e r e t h e relationship of the school to t h e
h o m e only increased the p r o b l e m s of p r o l o n g e d d e p e n d e n c e .
The d a y - C y m n a s / u m lacked those features of a total institution
w h i c h distinguished the English public s c h o o l . In G e r m a n y , the m i d ­
dle-class family retained control of social learning, the school m o ­
nopolized intellectual training, a n d both civic a n d sexual e d u c a t i o n
w e r e left at dispute b e t w e e n t h e m . This uneasy allocation w a s the
subject of increasing controversy at century's e n d . T h e d e m o g r a p h i c
and e c o n o m i c situation of the G e r m a n bourgeoisie w a s m u c h like
that of its English counterpart, except that it placed greater emphasis
o n a c a d e m i c success because of t h e greater prestige conferred o n
formal educational attainment in that society. T h e r e appears to have
b e e n the same g r o w i n g pressure on adolescents to m e e t parental
expectations a n d thus justify the g r o w i n g investment in e d u c a t i o n .
In contrast to the English public s c h o o l , h o w e v e r , the G e r m a n Gym­
nasium w a s less w e l l - e q u i p p e d to deal w i t h t h e p h e n o m e n o n of
" b o y h o o d " that this p r o d u c e d . Lacking the characteristics of a total
institution, it had greater difficulty in shaping y o u t h to c o n f o r m to
its elite goals. T h e r e w e r e no sports or extracurricular activities to
c o p e w i t h the social and e m o t i o n a l side-effects of prolonged d e p e n d ­
e n c e ; and thus the school a p p e a r e d to m a n y of its inmates as an arid
bra i η-factory, unable to m e e t the needs of the y o u n g . A rash of stu­
dent suicides in the 1890s caused L u d w i g Gurlitt to ask: " C a n there
be any graver charge against a school system than these frequent
student suicides? Is it not grisly a n d horrible if a child voluntarily
renounces seeing the light of the s u n , voluntarily separates himself
from his parents a n d brothers and sisters, f r o m all the j o y s , h o p e s ,
and desires of his y o u n g life, because h e doubts himself a n d no
longer can bear t h e compulsions of s c h o o l ? "
The family, o n the other h a n d , w a s organized in an authoritarian
w a y around its o w n private affairs a n d w a s also poorly e q u i p p e d to
deal w i t h the larger tasks of youthful d e v e l o p m e n t . Sexual learning
r e m a i n e d in a kind of n o - m a n ' s land, attended to by neither parents
nor schoolmasters, despite the g r o w i n g anxiety about the onset of
puberty. D e p r i v e d of youth's traditional agency of sexual e d u c a t i o n .

^ Q u o t e d in F i s h m a n , p. 176.
118 Youth a n d History

the peer group, G e r m a n middle-class boys and girls f o u n d their stage


of d e p e n d e n c y an extraordinarily lonely, disturbing e x p e r i e n c e . B y
1900 this social experience w a s translating itself into literary expres­
sion, w i t h the novels of T h o m a s M a n n , H e r m a n n Hesse, a n d Robert
M u s i l exploring the inner turmoil of a d o l e s c e n c e . Similar c o n c e r n s
w e r e reflected in the w o r k of the G e r m a n a n d Austrian psychological
schools, including, of course, Freud a n d his followers.^^ A n d their
definition of the " p r o b l e m a t i c " character of a d o l e s c e n c e w a s t h e n
influencing v i e w s in both England a n d the U n i t e d States, particularly
in the latter, w h e r e G . Stanley Hall published his massive Adoles­
cence, Its Psychology and Its Relation to Physiology, Anthropology,
Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion, and Education in 1904. A d o l e s c e n c e ,
w r o t e H a l l , w a s o n e of the most important blessings that civilization
had b e s t o w e d ; a n d yet its promise w a s also its danger. A stage of life
w i t h d r a w n from adult pursuits w a s desirable, but it also exposed the
y o u n g to idleness a n d depravity. " M o d e r n life is h a r d , a n d in m a n y
respects increasingly so, o n y o u t h . H o m e , s c h o o l , c h u r c h , fail to rec­
ognize its nature a n d n e e d s a n d , perhaps most of all, its p e r i l s . "

V
T h e p r o b l e m s of the adolescent w e r e gaining public attention by
1900 because an increasingly larger minority of the population w a s
finding itself in the d e m o g r a p h i c and e c o n o m i c situation that p r o ­
d u c e d this n e w phase of life. T o b e sure, their n u m b e r s w e r e still
limited. In England, the richest country in E u r o p e , those parents w h o
c o u l d afford a secondary education for their children still a m o u n t e d
to only about 6 % of the population in 1909; a n d there w e r e only
1.5% of the age group 15-18 e n g a g e d in secondary education.^^ But
there w a s beneath the solid m i d d l e class a g r o w i n g l o w e r - m i d d l e class
w h o w e r e e n c o u r a g e d , by the expansion of w h i t e - c o l l a r jobs in the

F i s h m a n , p p . 1 8 0 - 1 8 5 ; P r o s s , p p . 44ff.
« * H a l l , v o l . 1 , p . xiv.
•'^ L o w n d e s , p p . 7 8 - 9 0 ; H a l s e y , Trends, p. 1 6 3 ; f o r G e r m a n y , S a m u e l a n d T h o m a s ,
pp. 36-54.
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1870-1900 119

last quarter of the nineteenth century, to send their sons to local


secondary schools in order that the sons might pick up sufficient
education for qualifying as clerks, secretaries, a n d l o w e r - r a n k i n g civil
servants. " P a r e n t s are eager to get their sons into houses of business
w h e r e they can maintain the a p p e a r a n c e , if not the standing, of g e n ­
t l e m e n , " noted o n e c o n t e m p o r a r y w h o k n e w w e l l the c h a n g i n g o c ­
cupational pattern of L o n d o n . " T h e City is c r o w d e d w i t h w e l l - e d u ­
cated lads, w h o are d o i n g m e n ' s w o r k for b o y s ' w a g e s . It is quite
useless to argue w i t h parents, and urge the propriety of sending boys
to learn a t r a d e ; the idea of a lad returning from his w o r k in the e v e ­
ning w i t h dirty hands, a n d clad in fustian or corduroy, is quite shock­
ing to the respectability of P e c k h a m or C a m b e r w e l l . " The expand­
ing white-collar class w a s heard a m o n g the voices calling for a
further growth of secondary education in all European countries, b e ­
cause, as the earlier entrepreneurial ideal of the s e l f - m a d e man f a d e d ,
this b e c a m e the only w a y to attain the respectability they so strongly
desired.^' In their m i n d s , a d o l e s c e n c e w a s part of that respectability;
and it w a s d u e in no small part to this class that the popularity of n e w
j u v e n i l e magazines, h o b b i e s , and fashions e x p a n d e d rapidly t o w a r d
the turn of the century.
B e l o w the l o w e r - m i d d l e class, h o w e v e r , the attitude t o w a r d e d u c a ­
tion and the valuation of a d o l e s c e n c e w a s m u c h less uniform, w i t h
the w o r k i n g c l a s s e s — w h o still constituted the vast majority of the
p o p u l a t i o n — d i v i d i n g roughly a l o n g the lines of the skilled versus the
unskilled in the w a y they treated the teen years. A t the very top of
the w o r k i n g classes w e r e the so-called "aristocracy of l a b o u r , " a
group of skilled, highly-paid artisans w h o s e standard of living w a s
similar to that of the l o w e r - m i d d l e class. Strictly speaking, they c o n ­
stituted only about 1 5 % of the English working-classes in the period
1890-1914; but w e must place in a similar category another 4 0 - 4 5 %
of the proletariat w h o w e r e skilled or semiskilled a n d w h o s e stand­
ard of living w a s also a b o v e the poverty line, w h i c h in 1914 still ex­
c e e d e d the earnings of o v e r 3 0 % of the English population.^^ A m o n g
the top half of the w o r k i n g classes, the trend t o w a r d a family strategy
s o m e w h a t like that of the m i d d l e classes w a s already apparent by
1900. A m o n g the poor and the unskilled, w h o w e r e still struggling
against the conditions of the city slums, the same situation of high

Q u o t e d in B a n k s , Prosperity and Parenthood, p. 1 9 3 .


' " M u s g r o v e , " M i d d l e Class Families," p p . 169-178; Perkin, " M i d d l e Class Edu­
c a t i o n , " p p . 122-130; M u s g r o v e , " M i d d l e Class E d u c a t i o n , " p p . 320-329.
^ Hobsbavc'm, " L a b o u r Aristocracy," p p . 284-285.
720 Youth a n d History

mortality a n d high fertility that had characterized practically the e n ­


tire w o r k i n g class 50 years earlier w a s still in effect.
Rising w a g e s a n d i m p r o v e d health conditions h a d altered skilled
w o r k e r s ' attitudes t o w a r d their c h i l d r e n . M a n y lived outside the c e n ­
tral c o r e of the cities a n d w e r e n o w e n j o y i n g an average living space
of three or four rooms per house.^^ H o m e life h a d b e e n t r a n s f o r m e d ,
w i t h mothers being less likely to be e m p l o y e d , a n d therefore d e v o t ­
ing increasing a m o u n t s of time a n d energy to child rearing. " F a m i l y
life b e c o m e s m o r e p r i v a t e , " S e e b o h m R o w n t r e e o b s e r v e d , " a n d the
w o m e n are left in the house all day whilst their husbands are at w o r k ,
and largely t h r o w n u p o n their o w n resources. . . . Character a n d at­
tractive p o w e r of family life are principally d e p e n d e n t o n h e r . "
T h e care a n d attention d e v o t e d to the individual child w a s reflected
in the e x t e n d e d training a n d education that w a s given to both boys
and girls. Surveys before 1914 s h o w e d that skilled w o r k e r s w e r e likely
to keep their children in school longer than the unskilled, a n d to
place a v a l u e o n post-school training, w h e t h e r it b e night e d u c a t i o n
or apprenticeship. T h e y w e r e not so eager to rush their children to
w o r k immediately u p o n s c h o o l - l e a v i n g ; a n d in O x f o r d s o m e artisans
e v e n a l l o w e d their children a f e w months to " l o o k a r o u n d " before
starting t h e m o n careers."^^ In L o n d o n , since the 1880s, the aristocracy
of labor had b e e n k e e p i n g their sons at school until t h e age of 14,
s o m e 2 or 3 years b e y o n d the average leaving-age of the unskilled in
the same period.'^ A n d they w e r e proud of this distinction, for, as o n e
c o n t e m p o r a r y r e p o r t e d , " n o o n e has so important a c o n t e m p t for the
uneducated w o r k i n g m a n as has the e d u c a t e d w o r k i n g m a n . "
Parents o n the u p p e r reaches of t h e w o r k i n g class v a l u e d t h e school
not only for the mobility that it offered their children but for the so­
cial control it represented. Their c o n t e m p t for the u n e d u c a t e d ex­
t e n d e d to the undisciplined, w i t h street arabs and lodging-house
y o u t h the targets of particular hostility."^ O b e d i e n c e o n t h e part of
children w a s regarded as an especially important status s y m b o l , l e a d ­
ing to a situation that caused Alexander Paterson to remark: " P a r e n t a l
discipline is, in fact, a sure sign of prosperity a n d respectability."

B r a y , " B o y a n d F a m i l y , " p. 1 1 .
R o w n t r e e , Poverty: A Study, p. 109.
B u t l e r , p. 5 3 .
Rubinstein, pp. 8-10.
' • ' Q u o t e d in R u b i n s t e i n , p. 1 2 .
R u s s e l l , Manchester Boys, p. 47.
P a t e r s o n , p. 16.
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 727

This same group w a s also the most likely to plan its leisure activities
around the family, in the m a n n e r already established a m o n g t h e
classes higher up the social scale. T h e y w e r e t h e first of the w o r k i n g
classes to take family holidays, a n d it w a s also a m o n g their ranks that
the greatest support for organized extracurricular activities for c h i l ­
d r e n — t e m p e r a n c e clubs, junior friendly societies, S u n d a y s c h o o l s —
was to be f o u n d . A y l w a r d D i n g l e w a s born in the poorest section
of O x f o r d , St. E b b e ' s , but his father had pretensions to respectability
and j o i n e d a series of different c h u r c h e s , b e g i n n i n g w i t h the l o w -
prestige Salvation A r m y a n d ascending ultimately to t h e M e t h o d i s m
as his prospects i m p r o v e d . T h e boy w a s shifted from o n e church
organization to another, as these suited the father's aspirations:"^^

A t S u n d a y s c h o o l m o s t of t h e kids h a t e d it as m u c h as I d i d , b u t
went because they h a d to. T h e " b e s t " boys played up to their teachers
a n d t h e p a r s o n , a n d m o s t of t h e m w e r e t h e v e r i e s t t o a d i e s , s n e a k s , a n d
l i a r s ; b u t t h e y w e r e t h e o n e s I w a s t o l d I m u s t c o p y . I s a w little t o
a d m i r e in t h e m , a n d t r i e d m y b e s t t o g e t t u r n e d o u t of t h e s c h o o l -
but n o w F a t h e r r e n t e d a p e w , l i k e A u n t L i z z i e , a n d p u t s i x p e n c e in t h e
plate every Sunday, a n d I couldn't get expelled.

Not all the organizations that children like D i n g l e w e r e j o i n i n g


w e r e as middle-class as the M e t h o d i s t S u n d a y S c h o o l . T h e y also filled
the ranks of the Secularist and Socialist S u n d a y schools at the turn
of the century a n d w e r e active in t h e j u n i o r ranks of the trade u n -
ions.^^ But they w e r e an elite a n d they t e n d e d to m o n o p o l i z e the
opportunities w i t h i n the trades t h e m s e l v e s , including the best a p p r e n ­
ticeships. D u r i n g the last quarter of the nineteenth century, a p p r e n ­
ticeships of all sorts w e r e disappearing, and the ones that w e r e left
w e r e far t o o expensive for the vast majority of w o r k i n g - m e n ' s sons.
Furthermore, the sons of the skilled had the advantage of the patron­
age w i e l d e d through the unions by their fathers a n d other kin, w h i c h
gave t h e m an additional advantage o v e r those further d o w n the social
scale, most of w h o m w e r e still unorganized. W h i l e it is true that t h e
ability of w o r k e r s to find jobs for kin w a s generally declining by 1900,
studies at the time s h o w e d that the skilled trades w e r e strongly self-
perpetuating, producing w h a t observers saw to b e a g r o w i n g gulf
b e t w e e n the skilled and the unskilled in the decades before 1914.*^^

•« F r e e m a n , p. 1 3 0 ; B u t l e r , p p . 1 6 7 - 1 8 1 .
" D i n g l e , p. 2 3 .
Simon, pp. 48-59.
Freeman, pp. 22-34; Rowntree, Poverty: A Study, p p . 103ff; Meachem, pp.
143-1364.
722 Youth a n d History

Despite these advantages, skilled w o r k e r s w e r e not c o m p l a c e n t


about their children's c h a n c e s ; a n d f r o m the 1890s o n w a r d s there
seems to have b e e n considerable anxiety a m o n g t h e m , about c o m ­
petition for the higher-paying positions. T h e occasion for this w a s
the changing character of t h e e c o n o m y itself, w h i c h , as a result of
the so-called " s e c o n d industrial r e v o l u t i o n , " had drastically r e d u c e d
the e m p l o y m e n t of the y o u n g in industry w h i l e at the s a m e t i m e i n ­
creasing it in certain other areas, such as transportation, distribution,
and merchandising. Increasingly, the route to h i g h l y - p a i d , skilled i n ­
dustrial w o r k lay through technical-school training or a p p r e n t i c e ­
ships, both requiring s o m e outlay of m o n e y by the trainee. In t h e
other sectors of the e c o n o m y , h o w e v e r , there w e r e by 1890 a plethora
of jobs for unskilled boys from the ages 14 to 18; jobs as errand b o y ,
street v e n d o r , live-out domestic servant, porter, a n d carter's assistant,
w h i c h paid as m u c h as 7 or 8 shillings a w e e k but usually led to n o
a d v a n c e m e n t as in the skilled trades. This w a s the category of s o -
called " b o y labor," occupations that w e r e absorbing an e v e r greater
share of the t e e n - a g e labor force before 1914.^^
A l t h o u g h the ultimate w a g e an unskilled boy c o u l d expect to earn
w a s n o w h e r e near that w h i c h c o u l d b e expected by an a p p r e n t i c e
o n c e he had finished his training, t h e initial earnings w e r e a great
deal higher than the prevailing w a g e s of apprentices. F u r t h e r m o r e ,
an apprentice p r e m i u m or school f e e m e a n t m o n e y out of the family
p o c k e t ; a j o b delivering for the corner shop m e a n t m o r e p e n n i e s in
mother's budget at precisely that t i m e in the life c y c l e of the w o r k ­
ing-class family w h e n extra m o n e y to f e e d m a n y mouths w a s most
n e e d e d . M a n y saw this situation leading to a further d e c l i n e in a p ­
prenticeship a n d t h e social control w h i c h it represented:^^

The master is c a r e l e s s , or the apprentice is i d l e , or the older


w o r k m e n w i l l n o t b e t r o u b l e d t o s h o w t h e b o y h i s w o r k ; o r if, a s n o t
infrequently h a p p e n s , t h e b o y , at fifteen or sixteen, c h a n g e s his m i n d ,
b e g i n s t o d e t e s t t h e t r a d e h e is l e a r n i n g , a n d r e b e l s a g a i n e a r n i n g 3s
o r 4s a w e e k w h i l e h i s f r i e n d w h o w a s t h r e e s t a n d a r d s b e l o w h i m in
s c h o o l is g e t t i n g 7s o r 8s as e r r a n d - b o y o r s h o p - p o r t e r , it is h a r d o n
both parties to b e legally b o u n d to e a c h other for five o r e v e n three
years longer.

S e e b o h m R o w n t r e e f o u n d in his 1899 study of Y o r k that o v e r 4 0 %


of working-class families f o u n d e n d s hard to m e e t w h i l e their c h i l -

* * C l o e t e , p p . 1 0 2 - 1 3 5 ; B r a y , Boy Labour; Tawney.


B u t l e r , p. 5 2 .
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 723

dren w e r e g r o w i n g up. T h e effects of o v e r c r o w d i n g and disease w e r e


still m u c h as they had b e e n earlier in the century, and the family
strategy, therefore, still dictated large n u m b e r s of c h i l d r e n , w h o c o n ­
t i n u e d , of necessity, to be treated as a form of e c o n o m i c a n d social
security. As long as conditions of high mortality p r e v a i l e d , their lives
c o n t i n u e d to b e , as A l e x a n d e r Paterson described it, " a giddy K a l e i ­
d o s c o p e of danger, catastrophy, a n d unexpected w i n d f a l l s . " jhe
life of the unskilled r e m a i n e d o n e of cycles of w a n t a n d relative
a b u n d a n c e , d e p e n d i n g largely o n e c o n o m i c conditions a n d the size
of family. T h o s e families that w e r e most likely to fall b e n e a t h the
poverty line w e r e those w i t h n u m b e r s of small children not yet old
e n o u g h to leave school and begin earning. R o w n t r e e f o u n d that the
w o r k e r ' s prospects w e r e brightest w h e n his children w e r e old e n o u g h
to w o r k , but then fell again w h e n the children left h o m e to set up
their o w n households. For the individual born into such a family a n d
remaining unskilled for the rest of his life, the cycle of poverty w a s
as d e p i c t e d in Figure 4.

Poverty Line^

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70
<u Q>
Ε
o c
c •£ σ> Χ
φ
υ.Ε
"O ^ c
1? O) o o

Έ->
o o ce

Figure 4 C y c l e of p o v e r t y a m o n g t h e u n s k i l l e d w o r k i n g c l a s s , 1900 [ F r o m Rown­


t r e e , Poverty: A Study, p. 1 7 1 ] .

T h e ability of children of poverty families ever to rise a b o v e this


class w a s severely limited by the fact that n e e d pressed so strongly
o n their families precisely at that point in their lives w h e n e x p e n d i ­
ture o n schooling or apprenticeship w o u l d have facilitated m o v e m e n t
u p w a r d . In O x f o r d , for e x a m p l e , " t h e traditional rate of w a g e s for
these learners or apprentices [was] an almost impossible obstacle to
boys from p o o r families entering most of the skilled trades or the
higher ranks of e m p l o y m e n t as a shop assistant." ^-^ This w a s particu­
larly true of the eldest c h i l d r e n , u p o n w h o m the family w a s most r e ­
liant for i n c o m e . " B y the time there are t w o or three of the o l d e r boys

' P a t e r s o n , p. 7 2 ; R o w n t r e e , Poverty: A Study, pp. 152-172.


' B u t l e r , p. 5 3 .
724 Y o u t h a n d History

at w o r k , the family can afford to accept l o w e r w a g e s for the y o u n g e r


ones a n d put t h e m to a better t r a d e , " noted o n e observer. Even as
late as the 1930s, p l a c e m e n t in the birth o r d e r d e t e r m i n e d w h e t h e r
an English working-class child w o u l d h a v e benefit of secondary e d u -
cation.s^

It w a s a l w a y s t h a t w a y w i t h t h e o l d e s t . W i t h b i g f a m i l i e s w e w e r e
w a i t i n g f o r t h e m t o g o t o w o r k . T h e y o u n g e r o n e s w e r e b e t t e r off in
e v e r y w a y . T h e y g o t t h e b e s t of t h e e d u c a t i o n a n d t h e y g o t t h e a d v a n ­
t a g e of b e t t e r j o b s t o o .

Because since 1880 children under 11 had b e e n compulsorily


confined to the s c h o o l r o o m (by 1918 t h e leaving-age had b e e n raised
to 14), the b u r d e n of earning w a s increasingly that of the t e e n a g e d .
A s late as 1 9 1 4 , 1 0 % of t h e families in s o m e English c o m m u n i t i e s had
no other source of i n c o m e but their c h i l d r e n . P a t e r s o n f o u n d that
in the p o o r districts of L o n d o n , fathers e a r n e d less than 5 0 % of the
family i n c o m e ; a n d w h e n they w e r e disabled or laid off, the son
virtually took their places in the family. W h e r e the son e a r n e d m o r e
than the father, " h e w i l l , w i t h o u t c o m m e n t , expect a n d receive t w o
kippers for his tea, w h i l e his u n e m p l o y e d father w i l l m a k e the most
of bread a n d butter." T h e poor chances of boys of this sort to rise
a b o v e their station w a s revealed in R o w n t r e e ' s study of York, in w h i c h

TABLE 4

P r o p o r t i o n s of A g e G r o u p s Living
in Poverty in York, 1899

Under 1 year 33.33%


1-5 31.91%
5-15 37.58%
15-65 23.60%
Over 65 21.39%

he f o u n d that the highest proportion of the population living b e l o w


the poverty level (defined at that t i m e as families w h o s e i n c o m e w a s
less than 22 shillings per w e e k ) w e r e those b e t w e e n 5 a n d 15 years
of age (Table 4),^^

« ^ C l o e t e , p. 106.
B o w l e y a n d B u r n e t t - H u r s t , p. 1 1 1 .
^ P a t e r s o n , p. 1 5 .
^ R o w n t r e e , Poverty: A Study, pp. 441-445.
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 725

Families w e r e e v e n m o r e desperate to keep t e e n - a g e d children at


h o m e and at w o r k than they had b e e n in industrial Lancashire 50
years earlier, both because y o u n g e r children w e r e r e m o v e d from e m ­
p l o y m e n t by factory a n d school laws a n d because w o m e n w e r e n o w
less likely to b e e m p l o y e d . Little w o n d e r that the poverty-stricken
regarded c o m p u l s o r y education as a threat to themselves. T h e long
struggle of L o n d o n truant officers to raise the attendance rates from
76.7% in 1872 to 8 8 . 2 % in 1906 w a s fought mainly w i t h the poorest
classes. T h e most frequent reason for absence w a s that the child w a s
at w o r k ; the next most important w a s the lack of pennies to pay the
school fees or to p r o v i d e shoes or a d e c e n t breakfast. G o i n g to school
often m e a n t giving up a m e a l , o n e reason w h y M r s . Besant described
L o n d o n parents, fined for the truancy of their c h i l d r e n , as " g a u n t ,
hunger p i n c h e d m e n a n d w o m e n , all, but o n e , d e c e n t folk, w h o did
not w a n t to keep their children ignorant, but s o m e t i m e s there w e r e
no books, s o m e t i m e s there w a s a baby to m i n d , s o m e t i m e s there
w a s not f o o d . " T h e same class w a s most likely to h a v e its y o u n g e r
children e m p l o y e d after school hours, a proportion that a m o u n t e d
to 2 5 % of all L o n d o n school children as late as 1910.^» C h i l d r e n w e r e
pressured to leave school at t h e earliest possible m o m e n t , like t h e
York lad w h o asked his teacher the time.^^

" H a l f past t e n , m y l a d ; b u t w h a t ' s t h e m a t t e r ? "


" P l e a s e , sir, t h e n m a y I g o , sir? M y m o t h e r s a i d I s h o u l d b e f o u r t e e n
at half p a s t t e n this m o r n i n g , a n d I c o u l d leave school w h e n I was
fourteen, sir."

In all probability, t h e n , this boy w e n t straight into the kind of


casual d e a d - e n d jobs that constituted " b o y l a b o r . " H e might, if h e
w e r e fortunate, gravitate to h i g h e r - p a y i n g , semiskilled e m p l o y m e n t
by the time he w a s 18 or 19, but as a report o n L o n d o n ' s poorer
districts in 1909 indicated (Table 5), most must have r e m a i n e d at the
same level they began.
T h e old custom of tramping in search of training w a s virtually d e a d ,
as the figures o n emigration indicate. C o n t e m p o r a r i e s c o m p l a i n e d
that boys and girls rarely l o o k e d b e y o n d their o w n n e i g h b o r h o o d s
for e m p l o y m e n t , relying mainly o n kin or mother's contacts w i t h local
tradesmen for their jobs.-^^ T h e use of kin, w h i c h had b e e n an a d -

Q u o t e d in R u b i n s t e i n , p. 6 2 .
' B r a y , Boy Labour, p. 1 5 3 .
' R o w n t r e e , Poverty: A Study, p. 1 0 5 .
^ C l o e t e , p. 1 0 8 ; B u t l e r , p. 6 5 .
726 Youth a n d History

TABLE 5

A g e Distribution in L o n d o n Occupations, 1909"

Age

14 15 16 17 18 19

Skilled trades 11.2 14.0 16.8 17.8 18.0 16.3


Clerks 14.6 15.0 16.4 15.2 15.4 14.3
Low-skilled 28.2 32.8 34.1 33.9 32.5 34.1
Car m e n .6 .2 .6 2.6 4.5 5.1
Van boys 8.2 6.6 5.2 4.9 2.8 1.2
Post office 1.4 1.4 .2 .2 .3 1.2
Errand a n d shopboys 30.5 22.0 18.4 15.0 12.6 10.3
G e n e r a l casual labor 5.3 7.0 6.7 6.9 6.4 8.7
Army .6 .6 1.1 3.6 4.0
At sea .2 .4 .8 1.5 2.8 3.5
Emigrants .2 .4 .8 1.2

" F i g u r e s f r o m B r a y , Boy Labour, p. 1 4 5 .

vantage in the Lancashire industrial t o w n s 50 years b e f o r e , w a s n o w


w o r k i n g to the disadvantage of the poor, since jobs that c o u l d b e
had in this m a n n e r w e r e often those j o b s w i t h the poorest pros­
pects. Families c o u l d not dispense w i t h their children's labor until
the youngsters w e r e 17 or 18; a n d e v e n t h e n , w h e n free to l e a v e ,
m a n y simply drifted, j o i n i n g t h e a r m y or w o r k i n g o n t h e railway as
many Oxford y o u t h d i d , a n d later returning to their h o m e s to settle
d o w n to lives of casual, unskilled e m p l o y m e n t s ^
O f L o n d o n school-leavers studied by Reginald Bray early in the
twentieth century, almost two-thirds w e n t i m m e d i a t e l y to j o b s of the
casual or " d e a d - e n d " sort. Less than a third of those w h o left d u r i n g
the 1907-1908 school y e a r t o o k up apprenticeships leading to j o b s
defined as " s k i l l e d , " a n d only 6^% of the total w e n t o n to any further
e d u c a t i o n , day or e v e n i n g . L o n d o n offered m o r e than its share of
d e a d - e n d j o b s , but e v e n in those places w h e r e the e c o n o m y w a s m o r e
industrial than c o m m e r c i a l or s e r v i c e - o r i e n t e d , the story w a s not
m u c h different.s^ " B o y s are kept to b o y s ' w o r k , m e n to m e n ' s w o r k ;

B u t l e r , p. 5 4 .
® ^ B r a y , Boy Labour, pp. 114-118. In O x f o r d , about 40% of t h e b o y s leaving
s c h o o l in 1 9 1 0 - 1 9 1 1 w e r e e n t e r i n g s k i l l e d o c c u p a t i o n s o r t r a i n i n g p o s i t i o n s . B u t l e r ,
p. 5 3 .
Boys W i l l B e B o y s : D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 727

there is no natural passage from o n e to the o t h e r / ' noted B r a y — b y


w h i c h he also meant that in the great majority of cases the unskilled
boy b e c a m e the unskilled m a n , a n d the skilled boy the skilled man.^^
The unskilled might out-earn the skilled during their teen years, but
at the age of 18 or so, this situation w a s reversed. A p p r e n t i c e s h i p or
schooling gave an automatic right to adult levels of remuneration at
this age, but for the unskilled b o y or girl there w a s no such guarantee.
The critical turning point for the vast majority of unskilled y o u t h c a m e
at 18, w h e n they w e r e c o m p e l l e d to ask for adult w a g e s . A t this point
they might b e taken o n at higher rates of pay, but it w a s m o r e likely
that the e m p l o y e r w o u l d c h o o s e to let t h e m go in favor of y o u n g e r
boys or girls w h o cost him less.^^ A t this point in their lives, the high
d e m a n d for unskilled labor no longer w o r k e d in their favor. B o y s
without skills or g o o d references w e r e t h r o w n into the great pool of
casual labor that w a s a feature of industrial capitalism at the e n d of
the nineteenth century. T h e r e they w o u l d remain at the bottom of
the social scale, perpetuating w h a t m a n y observers had c o m e to fear
was a semihereditary culture of poverty, a conclusion e n c o u r a g e d by
the Social D a r w i n i s m of the p e r i o d , w h o s e advocates d e t e c t e d signs
of moral as w e l l as physical d e g e n e r a c y a m o n g the y o u t h b e l o n g i n g
to the l o w e r segments of the w o r k i n g class.»^
E c o n o m i c c h a n g e had the effect of creating a situation w h i c h u n ­
derscored t w o distinct turning points in the life of y o u n g w o r k e r s .
The first, b e t w e e n 12 a n d 14, r e v o l v e d a r o u n d s c h o o l - l e a v i n g a n d
w a s critical in d e t e r m i n i n g future e m p l o y m e n t prospects. It w a s , a c ­
cording to A r n o l d F r e e m a n , " a f u n d a m e n t a l m o m e n t in the life of
the individual, s e c o n d only in importance to that of his physical birth.
It is, i n d e e d , the m o m e n t of his s e c o n d birth into all the higher p o s ­
sibilities of h u m a n n a t u r e . " ^' Reginald Bray, on the other h a n d ,
v i e w e d the transition from b o y ' s w o r k to m a n ' s w o r k at 17 or 18 as
of no less importance, for, there, " m a n y d r o p into the abyss as they
essay the crossing." B o t h w e r e right but w e r e talking about differ­
ent segments of the w o r k i n g class. For the skilled, the earlier age w a s
critical as the beginning of their technical training and as the start
of a kind of a d o l e s c e n c e , during w h i c h they w o u l d remain d e p e n d ­
ent o n their parents and masters. For the unskilled, the c h a n g e from

B r a y , " Y o u t h a n d I n d u s t r y , " p. 58.


°' Freeman, pp. 54-55.
^ Hynes, pp. 22-23.
F r e e m a n , p. 108.
B r a y , " Y o u t h a n d I n d u s t r y , " p. 6 1 .
128 Youth a n d History

school to e m p l o y m e n t i n v o l v e d no c h o i c e o n their part, n o invest­


ment o n the part of their parents. M a n y w e r e already w o r k i n g , e v e n
before they left s c h o o l , a n d full-time e m p l o y m e n t w a s but o n e step
in a gradual realization of full i n d e p e n d e n c e from the h o m e . T h e
critical point for the p o o r c a m e t o w a r d the e n d of their teens, w h e n ,
to fail to attain a " m a n ' s j o b " — u s u a l l y m e a n i n g a skilled or s e m i ­
skilled p o s i t i o n — w a s tantamount not only to e c o n o m i c poverty but
to social subordination. Thus, they w o u l d remain " l a d s " or " b o y s "
in the traditional d o u b l e m e a n i n g of that t e r m , l o o k e d d o w n u p o n by
both the upper classes and the better-paid w o r k i n g m e n . ( S e e Figure
5 for a c o m p a r i s o n of the t w o groups' life cycles.)

Ages 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60

o
C7> α>
o
0)
cn
o
I
χ:
c ö
Skilled σ o
o
CO
e^ σ
Έ
c
0)

< o
Q-
-o
>>

c
.c
"0
1o σ Qi
CP
JZ
o
o
Unskilled σ o
sz _J >-
o
c
0)
o o Έ o
CO CD Q_

Figure 5 Life c y c l e s of s k i l l e d a n d u n s k i l l e d w o r k e r s , 1900.

VI
" F a t h e r and son can s e l d o m w o r k t o g e t h e r , " Reginald Bray c o n ­
c l u d e d after surveying several thousand families in the poorer n e i g h ­
borhoods of L o n d o n . H e f o u n d that 4 0 % of the fathers w e r e e m ­
p l o y e d in trades a n d industries, as c o m p a r e d w i t h only 2 2 % of their
sons. T h e boys w e r e highly concentrated in transport a n d other d e a d ­
e n d jobs.^^ E v i d e n c e of stagnating opportunities a n d d o w n w a r d m o ­
bility w a s a major cause after 1900 of the skilled w o r k i n g - m a n ' s anx­
iety about the adolescent years. From it s t e m m e d the increasing i n ­
terest, s h o w n by m e m b e r s of t h e u p p e r levels of the w o r k i n g classes,

B r a y , Boy Labour, p. 118.


Boys Will B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 0 729

in extending the school-leaving a g e , providing industrial training, a n d


generally regulating the life of the y o u n g . Their fears w e r e also r e ­
flected in the pressures they placed o n their o w n children to join
trade a n d church organizations, a n d in the increasing strictness w i t h
w h i c h parents of that strata controlled the street life of their sons a n d
daughters. Even before 1900, observers d e t e c t e d a c h a n g e in t h e s o ­
cial habits of this class of y o u t h . Their leisure pursuits w e r e b e c o m i n g
d e t a c h e d from the traditions of the urban y o u t h group a n d b e c o m i n g
m o r e closely related to family pleasures. T h e y w e r e also b e c o m i n g
m o r e c o m m e r c i a l i z e d , centering on the music hall, the local p u b ,
a n d , as 1914 a p p r o a c h e d , on the c i n e m a a n d spectator sports.^^^
M u c h of skilled youth's activity w a s m o v i n g off the streets a n d i n ­
doors, either w i t h i n the h o m e itself or at the various y o u t h clubs that
had proliferated in the 1880s a n d 1890s. A m o n g t h e m the practice
of " p r o m e n a d i n g " had virtually c o m e to a stop by 1900, being re­
placed by less public forms of courtship, usually centering o n paid
entertainment in the cheaply furnished but comfortable public houses
that by the turn of the century w e r e rapidly replacing the rough beer
shops of the early nineteenth century.^^^
A m o r e informal peer-group structure appears to have replaced the
street gang, a n d despite sensational reports of a rise of j u v e n i l e v i o ­
lence in the 1890s, there appears to b e no substantial e v i d e n c e to
support the notion that gangs w e r e b e c o m i n g m o r e aggressive. O n
the contrary, careful observers like Charles Russell f o u n d the o p p o ­
site to have b e e n the case. In M a n c h e s t e r , the " S c u t t l e r s " of earlier
decades had b e e n replaced by the " I k e s , " a better-dressed street idler
w h o s e distinctive mark w a s his b e l l - b o t t o m fustian trousers a n d heavy
buckled belt, a fashion similar to that of the L o n d o n " H o o l i g a n s " of
the same era. T h e Ikes w e r e responsible for their share of brawls,
but w e r e less likely to d e f e n d a particular territory than w e r e their
predecessors. Furthermore, they w e r e a b a n d o n i n g the calendar cus­
toms of the past, substituting the relatively n e w B a n k H o l i d a y for the
m o r e traditional dates of revel like N o v e m b e r 5th or M a y 1st. W i t h
greater leisure a n d m o r e pocket m o n e y , these lads w e r e able to pur­
sue m o r e individualized forms of pleasure, leading Russell to c o n ­
c l u d e : " T h e Scuttlers, for better as w e l l as for w o r s e , had a sense of
c o m r a d e s h i p , a n d c o u l d , in a sort, organize t h e m s e l v e s , as w e have

Stedman-Jones.
Rowntree, Poverty: A Study, pp. 368-369; Rowntree, Poverty and Progress,
p. 478.
130 Youth a n d History

s e e n , in gangs; but the Ike is for the most part solitary—less danger­
ous, therefore, to the c o m m u n i t y but m o r e d e p l o r a b l e in himself."
Large amounts of leisure in t h e t e e n years w a s still limited, h o w ­
ever, to the higher levels of the w o r k i n g classes. T h e children of the
poorer e l e m e n t s w o r k e d longer hours a n d had less s p e n d i n g m o n e y
than the class a b o v e t h e m . T h e y contributed as m u c h as 8 0 % of their
earnings to their families a n d , thus, w e r e not y e t in a position to take
up either the entertainments or t h e activities w h i c h w e r e attracting
the m o r e prosperous w o r k i n g class. H o l i d a y s , c a m p i n g trips, club
fees, h o w e v e r inexpensive, w e r e a b o v e their m e a n s ; a n d w h a t fun
they had w a s m a d e by themselves in the traditional m a n n e r of t h e
urban y o u t h group. Living in houses of t w o or three rooms c r o w d e d
w i t h large families of eight persons or m o r e p r e c l u d e d the kind of
privatized family life that w a s d e v e l o p i n g a m o n g the m o r e affluent
w o r k e r s , as w e l l as t h e bourgeoisie.^^^ T h e street w a s still their major
recreation g r o u n d ; territoriality w a s maintained a n d intruders,
w h e t h e r they b e rival gangs or adult-organized y o u t h groups, w e r e
bitterly contested. It w a s in slum n e i g h b o r h o o d s that t h e c h u r c h -
sponsored B o y s ' Brigades of the 1880s met w i t h t h e greatest a n -
tagonism.i<^^

Here comes the Boys' Brigade


All smovered in marmalade
A Tup'ny-'apenny pill box
And 'arf a yard of braid.

The O x f o r d boy. A y l w a r d D i n g l e , f o u n d j o i n i n g the Salvation A r m y


junior b a n d no less painful: " W h e r e v e r w e m a r c h e d a h o r d e of boys
from the school m a r c h e d abreast of the b a n d , yelling ribald jeers at
m e . I got t h u m p e d at school o n M o n d a y , but had I refused to march
I w o u l d h a v e b e e n t h u m p e d m o r e hellishly at h o m e — s o I tootled m y
little horn a n d cursed the A r m y . "
Refusal to d o n a pill-box hat a n d march in step w a s proof to m i d ­
dle-class observers that t h e children of the p o o r suffered f r o m a d a n ­
gerous precocity. T h e y w e r e , said E. j . U r w i c k , " a species of m a n -
c h i l d , in w h o m the natural instincts of b o y h o o d are almost o v e r -

R u s s e l l , Manchester Boys, p. 5 4 ; P a t e r s o n , 98ff; T u r n e r , History of Courting,


pp. 175-190.
R u s s e l l , Manchester Boys, p. 1 7 ; B r a y , " B o y a n d F a m i l y , " p p . 2 3 - 2 6 .
Q u o t e d in S i m o n , p. 6 5 .
'''^ D i n g l e , p. 2 2 .
Boys W i l l B e Boys: D i s c o v e r y of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1870-1900 1 31

w h e l m e d by a feverish anxiety to b e c o m e a m a n . " Their early entry


into courtship a n d marriage separated t h e m not only from the bour­
geoisie but from the u p p e r levels of their o w n class. B y the age of 22,
almost one-third of York's unskilled laborers w e r e m a r r i e d , c o n ­
trasted to less than 2 0 % of the skilled workers.^^^ A s w e have s e e n ,
marriage itself w a s but a brief transition from o n e state of poverty
to another, w i t h nothing like the interlude of f r e e d o m from care a n d
w a n t that the m o r e privileged associated w i t h a d o l e s c e n c e a n d y o u n g
a d u l t h o o d . " A t thirty a m a n has given up playing g a m e s , m a k i n g love
to his w i f e , reading books, or building castles in the air," w r o t e Pater­
son. " H e is dangerously c o n t e n t e d w i t h his daily w o r k . "
A n d so the cycle of poverty a n d despair w a s transmitted from o n e
generation to the next. A r n o l d F r e e m a n w a s right in stating that " t o
understand the p r o b l e m of B o y Life a n d Labor it is essential to c o n ­
sider first w h a t psychologists call ' a d o l e s c e n c e , ' " but w r o n g in i m ­
plying that the p r o b l e m s t o p p e d w i t h the adolescents t h e m s e l v e s .
In reality, the troubles of the children of t h e p o o r w e r e d e e p l y i m ­
b e d d e d in the e c o n o m i c a n d d e m o g r a p h i c structure of the society.
The g r o w i n g t e n d e n c y to treat these as psychological a n d , therefore,
as subject to clinical rather than political or e c o n o m i c solution w a s
at least as disturbing as the p h e n o m e n o n itself. Poverty, a n d the high
mortality that a c c o m p a n i e d it, w a s still the single most important
factor in d e t e r m i n i n g the differences b e t w e e n the adolescent a n d the
m a n - c h i l d , differences that w e r e perhaps as great in 1900 as they
w o u l d be at any t i m e before or since.

U r w i c k , " i n t r o d u c t i o n , " p. x i i .
R o w n t r e e , Poverty: A Study, p. 174.
P a t e r s o n , p. 137.
F r e e m a n , p. 94.
ΓΓΝ(ΊΓ. OH Tin: I.(AnO>í CH.\RlVAIír.-Sirn Mum 1, l'J<".t.

ουκ YOUNGEST LINE OF DEFENCE.


BOY SCOUT (ίο MR5. BRITANNIA\ ' FKAU NOT, GRANMA; NO DANOKR CAN liKKALL YOU NOW.
RFMKMBKT?, / AM WITH YOU! '

The imperial m i s s i o n of t h e S c o u t s a t t r a c t e d t h e a t t e n t i o n of c a r t o o n i s t s f r o m the


movement's beginning. "Our Y o u n g e s t L i n e of Defence" reproduced from Punch,
September 1 , 1909.
4
Conformity and Delinquency:
The Era of Adolescence, 1900-1950

T h e discovery of a d o l e s c e n c e b e l o n g e d to the m i d d l e
classes and they m o n o p o l i z e d it until the beginning of this century.
Exemption from the w o r l d of w o r k c o u l d b e a l l o w e d the children of
the w e l l - t o - d o , but there w e r e grave doubts as to w h e t h e r the e c o n ­
o m y c o u l d dispense w i t h the labor of children of other classes. T h e n ,
simultaneously in almost e v e r y w e s t e r n country, the c o n c e p t of a d o ­
lescence w a s d e m o c r a t i z e d , offered to, or rather required of, all the
t e e n a g e d . Social a n d psychological theories of the instability a n d
vulnerability of the age-group justified a d e l u g e of protective legis­
lation w h i c h , by 1914, had radically c u r b e d its i n d e p e n d e n c e . As
secondary education b e c a m e m o r e extensive, so, t o o , did the extra­
curricular activities. For the first t i m e , there w e r e organizations d e ­
v o t e d entirely to a d o l e s c e n c e , the t w o b e s t - k n o w n , the English Scouts
and the G e r m a n Wandervogel, f o u n d e d in the first d e c a d e of the n e w
century. Prisons a n d courts especially for j u v e n i l e s , special e m p l o y ­
m e n t services and w e l f a r e agencies, all w e r e part of society's r e c o g ­
nition of the unique status of those w h o w e r e no longer children a n d ,
yet, not fully adult.
C o n t e m p o r a r i e s like Ellen Key and G . Stanley Hall celebrated the
removal of the adolescent from the adult w o r l d as the c r o w n i n g
a c h i e v e m e n t of an enlightened civilization. O t h e r s w e r e less san­
guine, h o w e v e r , pointing to the incidence of j u v e n i l e mental disor­
ders, misspent leisure, a n d rising c r i m e rates as e v i d e n c e of g r o w i n g
d e l i n q u e n c y a m o n g the y o u n g . Even H a l l , w h o had w e l c o m e d t h e
discovery of this n e w stage of life almost apocalyptically as a grand

733
134 Youth a n d History

turning point in h u m a n e v o l u t i o n , w a r n e d of dangers o n e v e r y side.


' T h e r e is not only [physical] arrest, but p e r v e r s i o n , at e v e r y stage,
and h o o d l u m i s m , j u v e n i l e c r i m e , a n d secret v i c e s e e m not only to
increase, but to d e v e l o p earlier in e v e r y civilized l a n d . " ^ A s the n e w
century b e g a n , public expectations of y o u t h had n e v e r b e e n higher,
yet there w a s probably n o period since the late eighteenth century
w h e n there w e r e m o r e complaints about youthful misconduct. O n e
can begin to explain the a m b i v a l e n c e only w h e n o n e looks closely
at the historical process that e x t e n d e d the middle-class n o r m of a d o ­
lescence to other groups w h i c h had not previously shared that par­
ticular c o n c e p t i o n of y o u t h . H o p e a n d fear w e r e partners in that e n ­
terprise; a n d the w i d e s p r e a d a m b i v a l e n c e t o w a r d y o u t h can b e a c ­
c o u n t e d for in terms of the conflicts a n d contradictions that arose
as parents, schoolmasters, a n d y o u t h leaders a t t e m p t e d to i m p o s e
o n e tradition of y o u t h u p o n another. T h e result w a s greater c o n ­
formity o n o n e hand a n d greater d e l i n q u e n c y o n t h e other, because
the conditions c o n d u c i v e to a d o l e s c e n c e w e r e not e v e n l y distributed
a m o n g the various strata of E u r o p e a n society. T h e imposition of a d o ­
lescence p r o v o k e d strong resistance from a sizeable part of t h e p o p u ­
lation, particularly the laboring poor, w i t h the result that for most of
the period 1900-1950 the lines b e t w e e n conformity a n d d e l i n q u e n c y
w e r e d r a w n along w h a t w e r e essentially class divisions.
W e dealt, in the previous chapter, w i t h the reasons w h y a d o l e s ­
c e n c e as a stage of life w a s confined to the m i d d l e classes a n d t h e
very highest strata of the proletariat. Forces t e n d i n g to spread a d o ­
lescence d o w n w a r d w e r e certainly present as the t w e n t i e t h century
began a n d , as figures for secondary e d u c a t i o n s h o w (Table 6), m o r e
and m o r e y o u n g p e o p l e w e r e being r e m o v e d from the labor market
during their teen years.
These n u m b e r s reflected the raising of the s c h o o l - l e a v i n g age f r o m
14 in 1918 to 15 in 1947, but they also displayed a g e n u i n e social
t e n d e n c y of parents to seek further training for their c h i l d r e n — a
trend w h i c h gained considerable m o m e n t u m d u r i n g t h e 1920s, r e ­
gressed s o m e w h a t during the e c o n o m i c hardships of the 1930s, a n d
then b o o m e d after the S e c o n d W o r l d W a r . ^
It w o u l d s e e m that the c o n c e p t of " a d o l e s c e n c e " w a s gradually
but smoothly extending b e y o n d the classes w i t h w h i c h it had origi­
nated to an increasingly larger part of the laboring p o p u l a t i o n . H o w -

' H a l l , v o l . 1 , p. x i v ; K e y ; a l s o D e m o s a n d D e m o s , p p . 6 3 2 - 6 3 8 .
' L o w n d e s , C h a p t e r 6; C l a s s , p. 3 9 2 .
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 735

TABLE 6

P e r c e n t a g e of A g e G r o u p s i n F u l l - T i m e Education
in England, 1870-1962«

Age Year

1870 1902 1938 1962

10 y e a r s 40 100 100 100


14 y e a r s 2 9 38 100
17 y e a r s 1 2 4 15
19 y e a r s 1 1 2 7

" M a r s h , p. 218.

ever, w e should be careful not to treat figures o n secondary e d u ­


cation as representing conclusive e v i d e n c e that the a c c e p t a n c e of
a d o l e s c e n c e w a s p r o c e e d i n g at an e v e n p a c e . O n t h e contrary, the
benefits of schooling w e r e not e v e n l y distributed a n d the bulk of the
growth of secondary school and university populations c a m e mainly
from within the ranks of the m i d d l e classes t h e m s e l v e s , not f r o m
additional recruitment of working-class boys a n d girls. In E n g l a n d ,
the chief beneficiaries of the 1902 Education A c t , w h i c h permitted
local authorities to support secondary e d u c a t i o n out of public funds,
w e r e the m i d d l e - and l o w e r - m i d d l e strata. O f the cohort of boys
born 1910-1929, s o m e 3 9 % of middle-class boys w e r e getting s o m e
kind of secondary e d u c a t i o n , w h i l e , of working-class lads born in t h e
same d e c a d e s , only 1 0 % w e r e staying b e y o n d the primary grades.
If w e look at the same cohort's university a t t e n d a n c e , the disparity
is e v e n m o r e o b v i o u s . O f middle-class b o y s , 8 . 5 % w e r e reaching
higher e d u c a t i o n , as c o m p a r e d w i t h o n l y 1.4% of working-class
boys.^ In G e r m a n y , w h e r e the expansion of secondary a n d university
education had b e e n e v e n m o r e rapid during t h e first three d e c a d e s
of the century, o v e r a half of these at university w e r e from l o w e r -
m i d d l e class backgrounds. H o w e v e r , o n l y 5.8% w e r e from the urban
or rural proletariat.^
T h e reasons for these disparities, w h i c h b e c a m e e v e n m o r e p r o ­
n o u n c e d during t h e D e p r e s s i o n , are not hard to find if o n e looks at
the e c o n o m i c conditions of the period 1900-1950. S e e b o h m R o w n -

^ F i g u r e s f r o m G l a s s , p. 398.
* K o t s c h n i g , p p . 1 3 , 5 7 ; S a m u e l a n d T h o m a s , C h a p t e r s 3 , 8.
736 Youth a n d History

tree, w h o w e n t back to York in the 1930s to see w h a t changes in


poverty had occurred in the first three decades of the century, f o u n d
a distressing 3 1 % of the population still b e l o w the poverty line.^
T h e same cycles of poverty o p e r a t e d , a n d although u n e m p l o y m e n t
c o n n e c t e d w i t h the Depression contributed heavily to the poverty
figures, there w a s no question that the situation of the children w a s
m u c h the same as earlier, w i t h s o m e 3 9 % of the age-group 5-15
living b e l o w the poverty line in 1931.^ C o n d i t i o n s such as these did
not disappear until after W o r l d W a r I I , w h e n affluence finally began
to be distributed m o r e e v e n l y across English society. In his final
survey, m a d e in 1 9 6 1 , R o w n t r e e c o u l d report that only 3 % of the
English p e o p l e w e r e living in w h a t he considered primary p o v e r t y —
and almost all of these w e r e aged persons.
T h e c o m p a n i o n s of p o v e r t y — n a m e l y , o v e r c r o w d e d housing, dis­
ease, a n d high death rates—also persisted a m o n g the p o o r until after
1945. Infant mortality w a s falling from a rate of 145 per 1000 births
in 1900 to 63 in 1930, and then to 30 in 1950.'^ But again, these gains
w e r e not e v e n l y distributed a n d , until very recently, the life chances
of the poor c o n t i n u e d to lag b e h i n d those of the e c o n o m i c a l l y bet­
ter-off. A s o n e might expect, England's poorest families w e r e forced
to continue the family strategy of high fertility to m a k e up for their
losses, so that the differential of family sizes a m o n g the various classes
w a s actually increasing in the first four decades of the twentieth c e n ­
tury, although fertility w a s d r o p p i n g o n all levels. A m o n g the m i d d l e
classes, family size d r o p p e d steadily until after 1945, w h e n it s h o w e d
something of an u p s w i n g , particularly a m o n g the professional elites.
L o w e r - m i d d l e - c l a s s families w e r e contracting at an e v e n faster rate,
w h i l e skilled w o r k e r s w e r e also s h o w i n g signs of w a n t i n g f e w e r c h i l ­
d r e n . T h e family size of unskilled w o r k e r s w a s d e c l i n i n g , t o o , but not
as fast as the classes a b o v e it a n d , therefore, its deviation from the
national average w a s e v e n m o r e p r o n o u n c e d by 1930 than it had
b e e n in 1900.^ Thus, w h i l e there w o u l d ultimately be c o n v e r g e n c e in
family size as the professional m i d d l e classes began to p r o d u c e m o r e
children after the W a r , the family strategy of the poor, for most of
the period 1900-1950, w a s still at o d d s w i t h that of the rest of the
society.

' Laslett, World We Have Lost, p. 2 0 6 .


* R o w n t r e e , Poverty and Progress, p. 156.
^ M a r s h , p. 6 3 ; B e c h t e l , p p . 3 2 4 - 3 3 0 .
® W r i g l e y , Population and History, pp. 186-187.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 737

T h e d e m o g r a p h i c a n d e c o n o m i c pressures, w h i c h had traditionally


forced children of this class out to w o r k as soon as legally possible,
w e n t on unabated at a time w h e n other groups w e r e seeking further
education for their children. T h e e c o n o m i c conditions that e n c o u r ­
aged " b o y l a b o r " continued into the late 1930s, w h e n m o r e skilled
jobs finally began to b e c o m e available to the young.^ Until t h e n , there
w a s still the old incentive for boys to begin w i t h unskilled j o b s , to
neglect further e d u c a t i o n , a n d to resist all attempts to curb their
i n d e p e n d e n c e . O n e sign of their continuing precocity w a s the c o n ­
tinuing gap b e t w e e n their age of marriage a n d that of higher strata.
T h e m i d d l e classes c o n t i n u e d to marry late, a n d w h i l e the D e p r e s ­
sion t e n d e d to retard the marriage age of the l o w e r classes s o m e ­
w h a t , the difference in courtship patterns r e m a i n e d very great until
after W o r l d W a r I I , w h e n the m i d d l e classes began to marry at
y o u n g e r ages.^^
E v i d e n c e of persistent a n d e v e n g r o w i n g divergencies in the life
cycles of various classes indicates s o m e of the salient peculiarities of
this p e r i o d . O n the institutional level, the raising of school-leaving
ages and the provision of extracurricular activities indicated the m i d ­
dle classes' belief in the universality of a d o l e s c e n c e . H o w e v e r , their
expectations w e r e not fulfilled a n d there w a s e v e n e v i d e n c e of a
c o u n t e r m o v e m e n t a m o n g lower-class y o u t h w h o w e r e resistant to
the pressures for conformity that w e r e being exerted u p o n t h e m . T h e
conflict b e t w e e n their life c y c l e a n d that of the m o r e privileged w a s
most obvious at the level of the s c h o o l , w h e r e early leaving contra­
dicted the goals of teachers and y o u t h w o r k e r s . But it w a s also e v i ­
dent at other social interfaces, w h e r e the traditions of y o u t h clashed
w i t h the officially sanctioned norms of d e p e n d e n c e a n d conformity.
It w a s no accident that w h a t the public c a m e to regard as j u v e n i l e
d e l i n q u e n c y b e c a m e the focus of attention precisely at the t i m e that
pressures to universalize a d o l e s c e n c e w e r e first b e c o m i n g felt; for,
despite their apparent dissimilarities, the t w o w e r e related. T h e very
traits that stigmatized certain y o u t h as d e l i n q u e n t — n a m e l y , p r e c o c ­
ity a n d i n d e p e n d e n c e of adult a u t h o r i t y — w e r e precisely the o p p o ­
site of those e m b o d i e d by the m o d e l adolescent. D e l i n q u e n c y served
to delineate the central features of conformity, a n d vice versa. H i s ­
torically speaking, the t w o w e r e , in fact, dialectically inseparable in
their origins a n d d e v e l o p m e n t ; a n d no discussion of o n e is c o m p l e t e

^ M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, pp. 81-87.


M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, p. 8 0 ; G o o d e , p p . 4 0 - 4 5 .
738 Youth a n d History

w i t h o u t investigation of the other. W e w i l l , therefore, begin w i t h t h e


pressures t o w a r d conformity that y o u t h w e r e experiencing at t h e turn
of the century, returning to discuss both the e m e r g e n c e of j u v e n i l e
d e l i n q u e n c y at the e n d of the century a n d the m a n n e r in w h i c h both
trends define the period of roughly 1900 to 1950 as a u n i q u e era in
the social history of y o u t h .

W e have seen in the previous chapter that a d o l e s c e n c e w a s a p r o d ­


uct of the elite secondary schools. Until the 1880s, the assumption
that " b o y s will b e b o y s " w a s a p p l i e d mainly to the inmates of those
schools. Lower-class boys w e r e regarded almost as a race apart,
hardly a m e n a b l e to the same handling, a n d perhaps e v e n a little
dangerous if too m u c h indulged by education or leisure. T h e w a y
poet G e o r g e C r a b b e had v i e w e d the educational hierarchy in the
seventeenth century still held almost to the e n d of the n i n e t e e n t h .

To every class we have a school assigned


Rules for all ranks and food for every mind.

A n d B i s h o p S a m u e l W i l b e r f o r c e w a s still talking in the 1850s of the


danger of educating the l o w e r classes, for it " w o u l d m a k e e v e r y o n e
unfit to f o l l o w the p l o u g h , or else the rest of us w o u l d have nothing
to e a t . " 1^ C h i l d r e n of the l o w e r orders w e r e simply assumed to b e
" h a r d e n e d " in their habits by t e e n - a g e , a n d although there w e r e
those like M a r y Carpenter, the mid-Victorian j u v e n i l e reformer, w h o
b e l i e v e d that love a n d attention might soften e v e n the most vicious
criminal, o n e of her closet collaborators, M a t t h e w D a v e n p o r t H i l l ,
still spoke of j u v e n i l e delinquents as "little stunted m e n , " w h o s e
most irradicable trait w a s their precocity.^^ Early-nineteenth-century
reformers t e n d e d to focus their attention o n the children of the poor,
as if they w e r e a separate species w h o s e p r o b l e m s bore little or no

' Q u o t a t i o n s from Stone, "Literacy a n d E d u c a t i o n , " pp. 7 1 , 95.


' ' H i l l q u o t e d in C a r l e b a c h , p. 6 1 .
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e Era of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1900-1950 739

resemblance to those of respectable boys a n d girls, w h o w e r e to b e


treated according to entirely different standards.
B y the e n d of the 1880s, h o w e v e r , these distinctions w e r e melting
into a single a p p r o a c h to y o u t h w h i c h assumed that " b o y s w i l l b e
b o y s , " "girls w i l l be girls," regardless of class b a c k g r o u n d . T h e style
of y o u t h w o r k already w e l l - d e v e l o p e d in the elite schools but as y e t
little attempted a m o n g the children of the w o r k i n g class, n a m e l y a
c o m b i n a t i o n of games a n d drill, w a s n o w b e c o m i n g universalized.
Its p r o p o n e n t s felt that they had f o u n d in b o y s ' physical natures that
c o m m o n d e n o m i n a t o r w h i c h had e l u d e d the earlier reformers. T h e
early-nineteenth-century evangelical approach—which had been
c o m m o n to J o h a n n W i c h e r n ' s Rauhe Haus, the French c o l o n y for
w a y w a r d y o u t h at M e t t r a y , a n d C a r p e n t e r ' s R e d L o d g e for g i r l s — w a s
giving w a y to m e a n s w h i c h w e r e less reliant o n religion or t h e i n ­
tellect a n d m o r e attentive to the psychology a n d the biology of the
adolescent.i^ Playing a n d marching w o u l d s o m e h o w heal the d e e p
class-divisions of the 1880s by w i p i n g a w a y the artificial barriers that
d i v i d e d b o y f r o m boy. " C l a s s distinctions are difficult to maintain
a m i d the healthy rivalries of the o p e n air, a n d 'footer shorts' a n d
naked bodies m a k e for e q u a l i t y , " w r o t e o n e enthusiast of t h e n e w
method.^5
T h e physical side of humanity, so distrusted by the older g e n e r a ­
tion of y o u t h w o r k e r s , w a s rapidly b e c o m i n g an obsession w i t h the
n e w . Shirt sleeves replaced clerical collars, a n d the f o r b i d d i n g e v a n ­
gelical d e m e a n o r gave w a y to a m o r e informal, c o m r a d e l y attitude
w h i c h characterized middle-class reformers f r o m the 1880s o n w a r d s .
Those like Charles Russell felt that the d e c l i n e of the urban gang
offered an o p p o r t u n i t y to substitute adult supervision for t h e tradi­
tional leadership of older y o u t h s . T h e y w o u l d enter into b o y s ' o w n
fun and t h e r e b y w i n o v e r those w h o c o u l d not b e reached by s t a n d ­
ing in the pulpit or remaining b e h i n d the teacher's desk. This w a s
the philosophy b e h i n d the English settlement m o v e m e n t of t h e 1880s,
w h i c h f l o o d e d the city slums w i t h earnest but hearty child-savers
from the universities a n d public schools. T h e y w i s h e d to m e e t d e ­
linquent y o u t h m o r e o n their o w n terms, w i t h o u t the interference
of the formality that their predecessors had felt necessary to put b e -

^ S e e C a r l e b a c h , C h a p t e r 3.
" U s e f u l s u r v e y s of I n t e r n a t i o n a l t r e n d s in t h e t r e a t m e n t of t h e d e l i n q u e n t y o u n g
a r e p r o v i d e d b y R o b e r t M e n n e l , C h a p t e r s 4, 6; a n d J o s e p h Hav^es.
H o p e , p. 3 0 2 .
^® R u s s e l l , Manchester Boys, p. 54.
140 Youth a n d History

t w e e n themselves a n d their charges.^^ Their e x a m p l e w a s c o p i e d in


the next d e c a d e by the H a m b u r g pastor, W a l t h e r Classen, w h o used
sport a n d similar physical activities to d r a w w o r k i n g y o u t h to his
version of the settlement house.^^
T h e r e w a s a strong d o s e of paternalism in this n e w fraternity, h o w ­
ever. M i d d l e class child-savers never quite forgot their position, a n d
w h e n Oxford students f o u n d e d the O x f o r d W o r k i n g M e n ' s a n d Lads'
Institute in 1884, it w a s , as they stated, because " t h e m o r e forward
classes of society h a v e t h e p o w e r to s h o w those b e l o w t h e m h o w to
live." In G e r m a n y , t o o , there w a s a r e n e w e d attempt to establish
the natural leadership of the u p p e r classes. T h e " n e w f e u d a l i s m , " as
s o m e critics called it, w a s p r o m p t e d by the o b v i o u s inroads that social­
ism and secularism w e r e making a m o n g the w o r k i n g classes at that
time. T h e G e r m a n b o y s ' club m o v e m e n t benefitted f r o m the s a m e
conservative thrust that spurred a n d financed its English counterpart.
A c c o r d i n g to its historian, the English club m o v e m e n t of the 1880s
w a s " t o preserve the established order in C h u r c h a n d State by e d u ­
cating the masses in manners a n d morals, a n d up to political r e s p o n ­
sibility, w h i c h m e a n t , of course, a c q u i e s c e n c e . " In both countries,
the elites assumed that national interest required d e e p e r i n v o l v e m e n t
in the life of the p o o r ; a n d , since children a n d y o u t h w e r e m o r e a c ­
cessible than adults, it w a s they w h o c a m e in for increasing attention
from the clergy, businessmen, a n d other leaders of m i d d l e - a n d
upper-class o p i n i o n . " T h e children of t h e p o o r f o l l o w w h e r e they
are l e d , " stated E. J . U r w i c k at the turn of the century. " T h e i r ' b e t ­
ters' are their leaders, a n d t h e e x a m p l e of their life d e t e r m i n e s t h e
p a t h . " 21
Percy M a n n i n g f o u n d vicars, schoolmasters, a n d reforming g e n t l e ­
w o m e n to be particularly adept at turning the traditions of y o u t h to
their o w n purposes. But nothing c o u l d surpass the ingenuity of t h e
n e w y o u t h m o v e m e n t s , particularly the B o y Scouts a n d the Wander­
vogel, in the proliferation of g a m e s a n d rituals, all purporting to m e e t
the natural, i.e., the instinctual, needs of the universal boy. M u c h of
their adult-sponsored juvenalia w a s comical e v e n to the youngsters

" O n settlement m o v e m e n t , see Eagar, p p . 1 8 4 - 2 2 5 ; S i m o n , p p . 6 9 - 7 1 , 7 8 - 8 5 .


Freudenthal, pp. 309-314.
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t . R e p o r t of O x f o r d W o r k i n g M e n ' s a n d L a d s ' I n s t i t u t e , 1 8 9 3 -
1894 a n d 1898.
^ E a g e r , p. 149. F o r s i m i l a r a n x i e t y a m o n g O x f o r d c l e r g y m e n , s e e m s . s o u r c e B ,
M i n s . O x f o r d C l e r i c a l A s s n . , N o v e m b e r 1 1 , 1878, M S T o p O x o n e 36.
U r w i c k , " C o n c l u s i o n , " p. 318.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 141

for w h o m it w a s i n t e n d e d , but entertainment w a s not the only pur­


pose designed by the originators. T h e popularity of Kipling tales a n d
solstice c e r e m o n i e s reflected a longing for simpler, m o r e natural,
forms of life by m e n and w o m e n b e c o m i n g uneasy about their o w n
material progress. T h e n e w m o d e l y o u t h - m o v e m e n t s of the turn of
the century w e r e expressions of a general cultural m o v e m e n t a m o n g
the E u r o p e a n m i d d l e classes that b o r e strong traces of a n t i m o d e r n -
ism as w e l l as antimaterialism. M i x e d together w i t h the fin de siécle
pessimism w e r e also m o r e tangible fears, anxieties about the d e c l i n e
of religion a n d the threat of working-class socialism to bourgeois
society. Ranging along a spectrum that ran from romantic escapism
to militant political conservatism, the major nonsocialist y o u t h m o v e ­
ments of this period projected the anxieties of ruling elites seeking to
secure their position in a w o r l d disturbed by class conflict a n d inter­
national crisis.
T h e n e w m o v e m e n t s w e r e less eager to press the y o u n g into a
m o l d of adult c o n v e n t i o n s , m o r e w i l l i n g to treat e v e n their most
frivolous pursuits as healthy a n d innocent. All w e r e m a r k e d by a cer­
tain romanticization of y o u t h as the source of personal a n d societal
revitalization, a sign that the c e n t u r y - l o n g struggle to establish a lib­
eral civilization had left the m i d d l e classes exhausted in terms of
political m e t h o d s and ideologies. T h e y t e n d e d , therefore, to v i e w
their role as child-savers as apolitical or, rather, as b e i n g a b o v e p o l i ­
tics a n d political criticism. For e x a m p l e . Pastor C l e m e n s Schultz,
w h o s e b o y s ' organization in the H a m b u r g district of St. Pauli attracted
considerable attention by its successes w i t h working-class youths,
declared that y o u t h w o r k must b e " i n d e p e n d e n t of e v e r y political
and religious party." For h i m , as for other English a n d G e r m a n
child-savers, w o r k i n g w i t h the fresh, pure impulses of the y o u n g
p r o v i d e d an exciting alternative to the shallow soulless civilization of
industrial society. Thus, o n o n e h a n d , the n e w m o v e m e n t s attempted
in an ostensibly apolitical m a n n e r to a c h i e v e cultural revitalization
through the revivification of w h a t they b e l i e v e d to be the archetypical
form of y o u t h , " a d o l e s c e n c e . " O n the other h a n d , in so far as their
forms and ideologies reflected elite values, they t e n d e d to constitute
a conservative force despite all disavowals of political intention.
Through games, rituals, j u v e n i l e pursuits of all kinds, the post-
Victorian y o u t h leaders had set out to free the y o u n g from the bonds

^ F r e u d e n t h a l , p. 3 1 1 . O n t h e c u l t u r a l a n d s o c i a l b a c k g r o u n d of this m o o d of
fear a n d pessimism, see S t e r n ; M o s s e ; D a n g e r f i e l d ; a n d H y n e s , C h a p t e r 2.
742 Youth a n d History

of an urban-industrial civilization g r o w n rigid a n d corrupt in their


eyes by virtue of its o w n material progress. In the process of seeking
the physical a n d instinctual essence of b o y h o o d they m a n a g e d , h o w ­
ever, to separate the notion of " y o u t h " from its earlier associations,
both from morality a n d spiritual strength. T h e emphasis o n the p h y s i ­
cal a n d psychological sides of a d o l e s c e n c e , a trend w h i c h w e saw
d e v e l o p i n g a m o n g the e d u c a t e d elites e v e n before the turn of the
century, w a s ultimately to r e d u c e this phase of life to an object of
scientific observation a n d clinical treatment by adults. W h a t began
as an effort to allow the y o u n g to live by the rules of nature, e n d e d
in chaining t h e m to a n e w conformity sanctioned by positivist social
science. Furthermore, in an attempt to protect the adolescent against
the d e c a d e n t w o r l d of adults, the y o u n g w e r e separated from those
civil a n d social rights w h i c h w e r e their only real protection against
the elders. These w e r e s o m e of the contradictions inherent in the
history of y o u t h beginning at the turn of the century.

II
In both p u r p o s e a n d m e t h o d the n e w generation of self-appointed
caretakers that e m e r g e d at the turn of the century d i v e r g e d sharply
from their Victorian predecessors. T h e metaphors of religious c o n ­
version had b e e n replaced by a language of " t r e a t m e n t " a n d " c u r e , "
b o r r o w e d directly from the sciences. T h e object of attention at the
turn of the century w a s the w h o l e c h i l d , his or her social, e c o n o m i c ,
hygienic, as w e l l as spiritual w e l l - b e i n g . T h e n e w century had g e n ­
erated a reevaluation of the potentialities of child care a n d e d u c a ­
tion, n o w defined m o r e broadly to e n c o m p a s s w h o l e areas of child
life w h i c h had previously b e e n left to the control of the family or the
peer group. T h e social ideology b e h i n d these innovations w a s m u c h
m o r e aggressive, less tolerant of failure than the m o r e laissez-faire
Victorian doctrines. T h e n e w metaphors of medical pathology r e ­
flected imperatives m o r e scientific than moral in their origins. Just
as the public interest dictated the immunization of all children
against certain contagious diseases, so the future of the nation re­
quired the " i m m u n i z a t i o n " of the y o u n g e r generation against various
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e Era of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1900-1950 143

social maladies to w h i c h urban-industrial society w a s b e l i e v e d par­


ticularly susceptible.23
T h e voluntaristic m e t h o d s of an earlier generation c a m e in for criti­
cism. T h e pioneers in the field of child care had not g o n e far e n o u g h ;
they had left too m u c h to parents of l o w character a n d faulty u n d e r ­
standing; their w o r k had b e e n too m u c h like charity, sufficient to
maintain the status quo but inadequate for a period of m o r e rapid
c h a n g e w h e n internal unrest a n d external aggression t h r e a t e n e d na­
tional survival. A d o l e s c e n c e w a s suddenly t h r o w n into the battle
against d e c a d e n c e at h o m e a n d threat f r o m a b r o a d . After all, " w i t h
its adolescents f r o m age to age rests the destiny of the nation, the
r a c e , " w r o t e the English social reformer, C . E. B. Russell. " B y t h e m ,
if by any, will great d e e d s b e p l a n n e d , high thoughts translated into
action. It is for us, so far as w e are a b l e , to see w h a t o p p o r t u n i t y ,
sympathetic g u i d a n c e , a n d w o r t h y e x a m p l e are t h e i r s . "
Socialists like Ellen Key liked to think of the y o u n g e r generation
as c o m m i t t e d to " t h e w o r k of popular e d u c a t i o n , t h e t e m p e r a n c e
m o v e m e n t , the p e a c e m o v e m e n t , " but by the e v e of W o r l d W a r I
it w a s clear that a greater segment of adolescents had b e e n c a p t u r e d ,
symbolically at least, by the forces of nationalism a n d conservatism.
In G e r m a n y , G e n e r a l K e i m ' s militaristic Jugendverband w a s only the
first of a n u m b e r of defense a n d sport clubs w h i c h p r e c e d e d the
f o u n d i n g of the strongly conservative Jungdeutschlandbund in 1 9 1 1 ,
w h i c h by 1914 had 750,000 members.^^ T h e B o e r W a r g a v e a strong
boost to similar attempts in England to capture the y o u n g for national
service. It hurried a l o n g the passage of the 1902 Education A c t , estab­
lishing state support for secondary e d u c a t i o n . " T h e v e r y existence of
the E m p i r e d e p e n d s u p o n sea p o w e r a n d school p o w e r , " warned
M i c h a e l Sadler, w h o w a s keenly a w a r e of Britain's inferiority to G e r ­
m a n y in the educational field.
A similar language of national preparedness w a s part of Lord R o b ­
ert's s p e e c h to the n e w l y - f o r m e d O x f o r d S c o u t troops in 1909: " L e t
the w a t c h w o r d s of the boys b e those of the E m p i r e M o v e m e n t — r e ­
sponsibility, duty, sympathy, a n d self-expression." ^7 Local scout m a s -

" * O n t h e g r o w t h of t h e m e d i c a l m e t a p h o r , s e e P i a t t , p. 3 5 ; M o r r i s o n , p p . 3 8 - 4 0 ;
B r a y , Town Child; Hall, vol. 1 , pp. xiv-xviii.
^ R u s s e l l , " A d o l e s c e n c e , " p. 5 5 .
^ K i t c h e n , pp. 136-142.
Q u o t e d in L o w n d e s , p. 7 2 .
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , O x f o r d a n d Dist. B o y Scouts' C h r o n .
144 Youth a n d History

ters took it as their p r i m e duty to " c o n v e r t the g r o w i n g boys of today


into the useful citizens of t o m o r r o w , " a goal they shared w i t h their
G e r m a n counterparts of the Jungdeutschlandbund.All the major
child-saving m o v e m e n t s of both c o u n t r i e s — t h e English National S o ­
ciety for the Protection of C h i l d r e n a n d the G e r m a n Pestolozzi Stif­
tung, the M o t h e r s U n i o n a n d the Deutsch-Evangelischer Frauenbund,
the C o u n c i l for the Industrial A d v a n c e m e n t of Y o u n g P e o p l e a n d the
Herberge zur Heimat—had incorporated s o m e e l e m e n t s of the c o n ­
servative formula of patriotism a n d social reform into their official
philosophies by 1914. Ideologies of national p u r p o s e , often c o u c h e d
in Social Darwinist terms of racial survival, had supplanted earlier
religious a n d moral justifications, t h o u g h the latter w e r e still v e r y
m u c h a part of public rhetoric. A p p e a l to nationalist justifications for
social reform w e r e carried to such length that not e v e n babies w e r e
exempt from the call for national revitalization. " T h e race marches
forward o n the feet of little c h i l d r e n , " p r o c l a i m e d O x f o r d ' s Infant
W e l f a r e C o m m i t t e e in 1919.2»
Contributing to this c h a n g e w a s the realization that Europe had
entered into an age of d e m o c r a c y in w h i c h no class or group c o u l d
be excluded from a share of responsibility a n d p o w e r . In this sense,
the child savers p r o c e e d e d o n the same principle of p r e e m p t i v e s o ­
cial control that had led Robert L o w e to remark u p o n passage of the
1867 suffrage act: " W e must e d u c a t e our masters." T h e feeling that
the education of little children w a s insufficient to that purpose a n d
that the years b e t w e e n s c h o o l - l e a v i n g a n d y o u n g a d u l t h o o d had also
to include e d u c a t i o n , w a s o n e of the strongest motives of the extra­
curricular y o u t h - m o v e m e n t s . W h a t t h e schools c o u l d not a c c o m p l i s h ,
they w o u l d attempt to a c h i e v e . T h e fact that the first years of the
twentieth century w e r e not socially peaceful ones for either G e r m a n y
or England gave a d d e d impetus to those caretakers w h o saw t h e m ­
selves as the disinterested mediators of class conflict. State legislation
in Prussia in 1 9 1 1 , establishing public support for voluntary y o u t h
agencies, w a s directly related to the industrial unrest that had b e g u n
four years earlier.^i A similar impulse w a s b e h i n d t h e foundation of
Oxford's Balliol B o y s ' C l u b . " T o e n c o u r a g e friendship b e t w e e n
classes, so that there shall b e no barriers b e t w e e n classes," w a s t h e

^ M s . s o u r c e B , M i n s . G e n e r a l C o m m i t t e e , R e p o r t of S c o u t s F r i e n d s C e n t r a l Com­
m i t t e e ; a l s o P r o s s , p. 1 6 3 ; a n d L a q u e u r , C h a p t e r 8.
" ^ M s . s o u r c e G , M i n s . O x f o r d S u b c o m m i t t e e , J u n e 1919, E E 1 / 1 8 .
Lowndes, pp. 3-17; Simon, Chapter 2.
''Pross, pp. 160-162.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 745

w a y the w i f e of the founder, M r s . A . L. S m i t h , later recalled her hus­


band's vision.^^- W e k n o w from the records of the club's d e b a t e so­
ciety that the truly divisive issues then agitating society w e r e usually
kept at a distance; and w h e n in 1910 the sensitive issue of tariff re­
form w a s d e b a t e d , the leaders f o u n d to their satisfaction that " n e a r l y
all the club seem staunch T o r i e s . " '^^ But m o r e typical w a s the e x p e ­
rience of a S c o u t : " T h e Scout M o v e m e n t teaches y o u to be g o o d
citizens, and not to k n o w anything about p o l i t i c s " — a n apt s u m m a ­
tion of the goals of this and other middle-class-sponsored y o u t h or­
ganizations.^^
T h e social and political precedents for the n e w a p p r o a c h to y o u t h
w o r k w e r e set in the 1880s, w h e n the older evangelical a p p r o a c h
began to be replaced by a m o r e vigorous program of drill a n d a t h ­
letics. T h e first to break w i t h tradition in England w a s W i l l i a m S m i t h ' s
B o y s ' Brigade, f o u n d e d in 1883 w i t h the novel idea of substituting a
regimen of military drill for the c o n v e n t i o n a l B i b l e reading. " A m a z ­
ing a n d preposterous i l l u s i o n ! " w r o t e o n e patron of S m i t h ' s m o v e ­
ment. " C a l l these boys ' b o y s , ' w h i c h they are, and ask t h e m to sit up
in a S u n d a y class and no p o w e r on earth will m a k e t h e m d o it; but
put a five p e n n y cap on t h e m and call t h e m soldiers, w h i c h they are
not, and y o u can order t h e m about until m i d n i g h t . " The Boys'
Brigade found that by dispensing w i t h s o m e of the earnestness a n d
d e c o r u m that had b u r d e n e d Victorian y o u t h organizations it c o u l d
attract e v e n m e m b e r s of the w o r k i n g class. But the idea that physical
exercise w a s m o r e appropriate than spiritual r e m a i n e d suspect until
the turn of the century w h e n m a n y of S m i t h ' s techniques w e r e p o p u ­
larized through the B o y Scout m o v e m e n t .
By the time of the B o e r W a r , English public o p i n i o n , including a
segment of the previously antimilitaristic w o r k i n g class, had s w u n g
behind the drilling a n d m a r c h i n g . T h e nation w a s n o w a w a r e of
the n e e d for military p r e p a r e d n e s s ; a n d o n e of the heroes of the
B o e r c a m p a i g n , G e n e r a l B a d e n - P o w e l l , w a s so impressed w i t h the
potential of the B o y s ' Brigades that he w r o t e his famous Scouting for
Boys to be used by his friend S m i t h . A s it turned out, B a d e n - P o w e l l ' s
formulation of an outdoor life for b o y s , influenced by the " w o o d -

R e m a r k s m a d e b y M r s . A . L. S m i t h at t h e o p e n i n g of t h e K e i t h Rae House,
N o v e m b e r 19, 1 9 2 1 . M s . s o u r c e 1, B a l l i o l p a p e r s .
^ M s . s o u r c e I, B a l l i o l l o g b o o k , J a n u a r y 17, 1910.
P a u l , p. 2 1 .
=^ Q u o t e d in S i m o n , p. 6 5 .
Price, pp. 172-176; Hynes, pp. 17-32.
146 Youth a n d History

craft" romanticism of the A m e r i c a n y o u t h leader, Ernest T h o m p s o n


S e t o n , w a s so w e l l - r e c e i v e d as to justify the establishment of its o w n
organization separate from the Brigade. W i t h the financial support
of conservative sources a n d w i t h strong backing from his former a r m y
c o m r a d e s , the G e n e r a l created in 1908 the vastly m o r e popular B o y
Scout movement.^^
It is not surprising that, from the start, Scouting had a strong n a ­
tionalist orientation. " T h e ideology u n d e r p i n n i n g S c o u t i n g w a s a
c o m b i n a t i o n of B a d e n - P o w e l l ' s o w n personalized brand of social-
imperialism, an o m n i p r e s e n t social d a r w i n i s m a n d the E d w a r d i a n
cult of national efficiency," writes o n e of the m o v e m e n t ' s m o r e criti­
cal h i s t o r i a n s . T w o - t h i r d s of the leadership at the national level w e r e
high-ranking military officers, a n d the first Executive C o m m i t t e e w a s
closely c o n n e c t e d w i t h the National Service League, a conservative
organization that had b e e n pressing for universal conscription since
1902.^^ A l t h o u g h B a d e n - P o w e l l w e n t to s o m e lengths to d e n y that his
troops w e r e recruiting agencies for the Territorial A r m y , the suspicion
lingered that the uniforms, drilling, a n d w e e k e n d w a r games w e r e
a i m e d at indoctrination. S o m e of the m o r e liberal m e m b e r s of the
m o v e m e n t found the influence of the National Service League t o o
strong for their liking and they pressed the G e n e r a l to m o v e in the
internationalist direction that had b e e n part of the original charter
of Scouting. Sir Francis V a n e left the m o v e m e n t in protest to the
c o n t i n u e d militarism, but it w a s not until after W o r l d W a r I that the
m o r e d e m o c r a t i c a n d pacifist e l e m e n t s split off to form separate
organizations. T h e most important of these, J o h n Margrave's K i b b o
Kift K i n d r e d a n d Leslie Paul's W o o d c r a f t Folk, both of w h i c h had a
strong socialist orientation, reflected the disillusionment that m a n y
felt w i t h the conservative bias of B a d e n - P o w e l l ' s brand of y o u t h
work.^o

T h e politics of S c o u t i n g w e r e not the only thing that m a r k e d the


m o v e m e n t as u p p e r class. B a d e n - P o w e l l prided himself o n his u n ­
derstanding of " b o y spirit," a n d his fertile imagination w a s prodigious
in its production of rituals, songs, and festivals a d a p t e d to the m a l l e -

S p r i n g h a l l , p p . 1 2 5 - 1 5 8 ; also Paul W i l k i n s o n , p p . 7 - 2 3 .
=^ S p r i n g h a l l , p. 1 3 6 .
'^'* S p r i n g h a l l , p. 1 3 5 ; P a u l W i l k i n s o n , p. 14. I n O x f o r d , t h e S c o u t s w e r e closely
linked to t h e c o n s e r v a t i v e N a t i o n a l S e r v i c e L e a g u e . S e e m s . s o u r c e B , M i n s . Gen­
eral C o m m i t t e e , S e p t e m b e r 2 , 1909, D e p . d 50. F o r f u r t h e r e v i d e n c e of N . S . L.
activity a m o n g y o u n g p e o p l e , particularly the schools, see ms. source B, M i n s . O x ­
f o r d B r a n c h N . S . L., J u n e 19, 1908, M S T o p O x o n e 228.
Springhall, pp. 153-155.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 747

able nature of the a d o l e s c e n t ; but he had little experience w i t h , or


understanding of, the life style of the w o r k i n g class. Bare knees a n d
segregation from the opposite sex might suit middle-class b o y s , but
c o u l d hardly b e expected to b e i m m e d i a t e l y popular w i t h the vast
majority of w o r k i n g lads. S c o u t i n g chose as its m o d e l the separation
of adult and y o u t h w o r l d s already established in the elite public
schools. A s a single-sex organization, it m a d e a virtue of the post­
p o n e m e n t of access to adult roles, maintaining that premature c o n ­
tact w i t h the opposite sex e n d a n g e r e d the masculinity of boys a n d
corrupted the domesticized femininity of girls. Even w h e n Lady
B a d e n - P o w e l l created the Girl G u i d e s in 1909, the G e n e r a l insisted
that nature required the activities of the t w o b e kept quite separate.
Boys w o u l d be boys a n d girls w o u l d be girls, a n d the t w o w o u l d
never m e e t . A fanaticism for the t e m p e r a t e , ascetic life ensured the
isolation of youths from the normal pleasures of a d u l t h o o d . T h e
ethic of I h e " g o o d d e e d " implied a certain carefully controlled i n ­
v o l v e m e n t in the civic a n d social life of the c o m m u n i t y , but stopped
w e l l short of the e n c o u r a g e m e n t of actual social or political c o m m i t ­
ments. " B e P r e p a r e d " m e a n t to refrain from all prematurities, for the
v a l u e to the nation of its y o u n g lay in the i n n o c e n c e a n d purity that
w e r e being e n d a n g e r e d by the alluring a m u s e m e n t s a n d rapid pace
of urban-industrial society.
Little w o n d e r , t h e n , that the Scouts, w i t h their a b u n d a n c e of rules
and distrust of precocity, had greater success a m o n g the m i d d l e
classes than a m o n g the proletariat. A poll of adult males m a d e in
1966 revealed that w h i l e 4 4 % of middle-class Englishmen had b e e n
Scouts at o n e t i m e or another, only 2 5 % of working-class males had
had any contact w i t h the movement.^^ T h e m o v e m e n t p r o c e e d e d
under the banner of classlessness, but it w a s stamped indelibly w i t h
the life style and ideology of those higher o n the social ladder. T h e
m o v e m e n t relied for m e m b e r s h i p o n the heavily middle-class areas
of southern England, including s o m e parts of L o n d o n that w e r e
l o w e r - m i d d l e class in c o m p o s i t i o n . It w o u l d a p p e a r that the w o r k i n g -
class boys that it and similar m o v e m e n t s attracted w e r e primarily
from the skilled segment of the proletariat, particularly those w i t h
aspirations for u p w a r d mobility, lads in s c h o o l , w h o s e parents c o u l d
afford the m o n e y for uniforms and fees. Scout leaders, like Oxford's
J i m m y Law, f o u n d that the poorer segments of the w o r k i n g class
simply could not afford the outlay of t i m e a n d m o n e y necessary to
join their m o v e m e n t . Law w o u l d e v e n tell parents that he w o u l d pay

" S p r i n g h a l l , p p . 1 3 8 - 1 3 9 ; a l s o P a u l , p. 36.
748 Youth a n d History

for the uniforms, tempting t h e boys by promising t h e m a bugle so


that they c o u l d j o i n the band.^^
That same b a n d w a s j e e r e d by boys t o o p o o r or p r o u d to j o i n , a n d
in the first f e w years of its existence, the Scout m o v e m e n t , like the
B o y s ' Brigade before it, had to d e f e n d itself against verbal a n d p h y s i ­
cal abuse w h e n it paraded in slum n e i g h b o r h o o d s . S o m e Scout l e a d ­
ers recognized that bare knees a n d hiking breeches w e r e just not a c ­
ceptable to boys w h o w e r e already at w o r k and w h o v a l u e d their
precocity. T h e y broke w i t h the adolescent m o d e l of B a d e n - P o w e l l
a n d , after W o r l d W a r I, established a series of y o u t h m o v e m e n t s that
w e r e mixed-sex, a n d self-consciously a i m e d at the w o r k i n g class.
Leslie Paul's K i b b o Kift K i n d r e d rejected as nonsense the middle-class
notion that c o e d u c a t i o n "softens the fibres of boys a n d makes girls
h o y d e n i s h , " a n d his m o v e m e n t p r o v i d e d a v o t e to all its m e m b e r s
regardless of age.^^ A . S . Neill taught Paul to regard the separation
of y o u t h a n d adults as u n p r o d u c t i v e a n d undemocratic. A n o t h e r
ex-Scout, J o h n H a r g r a v e , f o u n d e d the W o o d c r a f t Folk, w h o s e motto
" L e a r n by d o i n g , teach by b e i n g " expressed an entirely different
a p p r o a c h to the g r o w t h process, o n e m u c h m o r e in tune w i t h the
life cycle of the English w o r k i n g class.^^ B y the 1930s the various
socialist y o u t h m o v e m e n t s had a m e m b e r s h i p of about 100,000, small
in c o m p a r i s o n w i t h the million plus boys a n d girls c l a i m e d by the
various bourgeois organizations. T h e C o o p e r a t i v e Y o u t h M o v e m e n t
and the Girls Friendly Societies did h a v e , h o w e v e r , the distinction
of having a higher percentage of m e m b e r s o v e r 14 than any of the
other youth m o v e m e n t s , a tribute to their success in providing m a ­
ture pursuits for the y o u n g p e o p l e they did attract. T h e l o w overall
enrollments reflected the fact that neither the Labor Party nor the
powerful trade unions had taken m u c h interest in y o u t h mobilization.
T h e apathy that characterized working-class y o u t h during t h e D e ­
pression hurt all the y o u t h m o v e m e n t s , but the socialists the m o r e so
because of their smaller resources.^^

* ' H i s c o c k , p. 4.
*^ P r e - w a r working-class youth groups included the Socialist Sunday Schools
( f o u n d e d 1 9 0 9 ) , J u n i o r C o o p e r a t i v e C l u b s (1895), a n d G i r l s ' F r i e n d l y S o c i e t y (1875).
E r n e s t W e s t l a k e ' s O r d e r of W o o d c r a f t C h i v a l r y w a s f o u n d e d in 1 9 1 5 ; J o h n Mar­
g r a v e ' s K i b b o Kift K i n d r e d in 1 9 2 0 ; a n d L e s l i e P a u l ' s W o o d c r a f t F o l k in 1 9 2 5 . S e e
P a u l , p p . 3 1 - 4 8 ; P a u l W i l k i n s o n , p p . 19ff.
P a u l , p. 60.
*^ P a u l , p. 4 8 ; Beard, "Appendix"; publication/report. Disinherited Youth, pp.
106-118.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 149

III
In G e r m a n y , t o o , old-fashioned corporate a n d d e n o m i n a t i o n a l
youth organizations p r e d o m i n a t e d until the early twentieth century.
Early evangelising efforts like J o h a n n W i c h e r n ' s Rauhe Haus (1833)
and A d o l f Kolping's Rheinischer Cesellenbund (1846) w e r e directed
primarily at the children of the poor. Later religious y o u t h organiza­
tions such as the Protestant Christlicher Verein junger Männer (1883)
and the Catholic Quickborn (1909) assumed a b r o a d e r social c o n ­
stituency, but retained a strong d e n o m i n a t i o n a l character. V a r i o u s
guild a n d trade unions sponsored activities for their y o u n g e r m e m ­
bers a n d , beginning in H o l l a n d in 1885, socialist y o u t h m o v e m e n t s
spread across the continent, reaching G e r m a n y in 1904. Various party
groups had also begun to organize junior sections a r o u n d the turn
of the century, the Catholic C e n t e r Party's Windthorstbünde estab­
lishing the p r e c e d e n t in 1895. T h e conservative Jungdeutschlandbund
w a s f o u n d e d in 1 9 1 1 , a d d i n g to the list of sport a n d military training
groups supported by the various antisocialist parties a n d organiza­
tions. All m a n n e r of t e m p e r a n c e organizations had also e n t e r e d the
field before 1900, a d d i n g to the n u m b e r of groups v y i n g for the at­
tentions of the y o u n g e r generation.
N o t until 1 9 0 1 , h o w e v e r , w a s there an organization that c l a i m e d
no ulterior interest other than y o u t h itself. In that year, the Wander­
vogel took form in a Berlin suburb u n d e r the direction of a charis­
matic but eccentric stenography teacher by the n a m e of Karl Fischer.
M e m b e r s of Fischer's original group w h o c o u l d not tolerate his a u ­
thoritarian personality left to form their o w n m o v e m e n t s , but the
various branches of the original stem all o w e d m u c h to his original
impulse.^^ A G e r m a n counterpart of the English B o y Scouts, the
Deutscher Pfadfinderbund, w a s f o r m e d in 1911 but it n e v e r g a i n e d
the popularity e n j o y e d by the Wandervogel. N o t so m u c h in terms
of n u m b e r s but in the w a y it shaped the a p p r o a c h to a d o l e s c e n c e in

" Pross, p p . 4 6 9 - 4 8 2 ; Laqueur, p p . 6 6 - 7 3 .


Laqueur, especially Chapters 2 - 3 .
150 Youth a n d History

G e r m a n y , it r e m a i n e d the most influential of the y o u t h m o v e m e n t s ,


leaving its mark o n the civil as w e l l as the social status of the y o u n g
for several d e c a d e s to c o m e .
T h e ultimate importance of the Wandervogel lay not in its myriad
organizational forms, but in the historical social reality that it re­
flected. A t first glance, it w o u l d a p p e a r that it represented a t e n d e n c y
very different from English S c o u t i n g . T h e latter, so archetypically
British in its disciplined c o m p r o m i s e of middle-class utilitarianism
and the sporting instinct of the aristocracy, contrasted stylistically
w i t h the Wandervogel, w h o s e defiantly u n c o n v e n t i o n a l manners a n d
appearance s e e m to reflect a revival of the youthful radicalism of the
early nineteenth century. T h e Wandervogel s e e m e d to challenge the
social conventions of the G e r m a n aristocracy a n d , initially at least,
placed itself in opposition to its militarism as w e l l . Their bizarre dress,
uninhibited behavior, a n d reputation for sexual liberation shocked
the W i l h e l m i n i a n upper crust a n d e a r n e d for the m o v e m e n t a r e p u ­
tation for rebelliousness that contrasted sharply w i t h the sober image
of English Scouting.4»
Yet, beneath the differences lay similarities of origin a n d purpose.
T h e Wandervogel w a s also the product of middle-class c o n c e r n s ,
though the history of the G e r m a n bourgeoisie had b e e n sufficiently
different from that of the English so as to p r o d u c e very different w a y s
of handling a d o l e s c e n c e . Relations b e t w e e n the m i d d l e a n d upper
classes in G e r m a n y had b e e n marked not by c o m p r o m i s e but by
tension. T h e G e r m a n state a n d its educational institutions r e m a i n e d
highly stratified, the aristocracy clinging to the traditional military
schools, the m i d d l e classes m o n o p o l i z i n g the day Gymnasia. We
have seen that the socially integrative English public school p r o d u c e d
a single m o d e l of b o y h o o d . In contrast, the G e r m a n educational sys­
tem afforded no such concensus.^^
G e r m a n y ' s military a c a d e m i e s turned out m o d e l s of conformity.
T h e day Gymnasium, lacking the features of a total institution a n d
distributing the important tasks of education a n d socialization b e ­
t w e e n itself a n d the h o m e , p r o d u c e d a troubled adolescent.''" T h e
p r o l o n g e d , lonely social moratorium expressed itself in the kind of
restless self-absorption described so w e l l in the novels of Hesse and
other c o n t e m p o r a r i e s ; a n d e v e n before Karl Fischer began to or-

Laqueur, pp. 2 5 - 3 1 , 56-65.


' ' ' M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozialstruktur, p p . 2 7 - 7 0 ; o n t h e r e f l e c t i o n of this in
literature, see Hicks, pp. 105-115.
' " S e e pp. 117-118.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 757

ganize his hiking a n d c a m p i n g trips, the students of G e r m a n y ' s aca­


d e m i c secondary schools w e r e spilling out of the cities into the c o u n ­
tryside in search of the f r e e d o m a n d c o m p a n i o n s h i p they c o u l d find
neither at h o m e nor in s c h o o l . " T h e essence of the Wandervogel was
flight from the confines of the school a n d city into the o p e n w o r l d ,
a w a y from a c a d e m i c duties a n d the discipline of e v e r y d a y life into
an a t m o s p h e r e of a d v e n t u r e , " recalled G ö t t i n g e n ' s Frank Fischer.'^^
A l t h o u g h the m i d d l e classes themselves w e r e d i v i d e d in their at­
titude t o w a r d the self-assertion of their sons a n d daughters, c o n c e r n
for the disturbing effects of a d o l e s c e n c e ultimately led t h e m to sup­
port m o v e m e n t s like the Wandervogel w h i c h attempted to bridge
the gap b e t w e e n the h o m e and the school by offering a c o m p r e h e n ­
sive a p p r o a c h to the y o u n g . T h e rhetoric of generational conflict
should not obscure the d e g r e e to w h i c h the Wandervogel w a s adult-
sponsored and -directed from the very start.''^ A l t h o u g h certainly less
strictly regulated than the Scouts, the m o v e m e n t reflected the c o n ­
cerns of middle-class parents at every point in its d e v e l o p m e n t . T h e
paradox of youthful rebelliousness supported and e n c o u r a g e d by
adults is m o r e apparent than real, h o w e v e r , for it reflected the situa­
tion of the G e r m a n m i d d l e class itself, w h i c h , caught b e t w e e n a mili­
tant w o r k i n g class o n o n e hand and a semifeudal military a n d b u ­
reaucratic elite o n the other, sought to create a m o v e m e n t that w o u l d
meet the special n e e d s of its y o u t h w h i l e at the same t i m e a v o i d i n g
the possibly dangerous social a n d political c o n s e q u e n c e s of their
deviation from the cultural norms of the u p p e r classes.
In its initial phases, the m o v e m e n t w a s i n d e e d highly individual­
istic, e v e n anarchical, in its antagonism t o w a r d all c o n v e n t i o n a l re­
straints o n the f r e e d o m of expression. Y e t , it w a s also productive of
its o w n kinds of conformity, m a n y of w h i c h w e w o u l d recognize to­
day as typical of the life styles associated w i t h a d o l e s c e n c e . T h e
m o v e m e n t w a s like the English B o y Scouts in its emphasis o n small
groups, though initially it relied m u c h less o n the rules and regula­
tions that B a d e n - P o w e l l felt so necessary to b o y h o o d c o n d u c t . T h e
intimate circles that Karl Fischer called his tribes (Horde) w e r e , like
the troops and dens of scouting, functional substitutes for the p e e r -
group culture that w a s repressed by the G e r m a n system of secondary
e d u c a t i o n . A r o u n d the campfire or in the privacy of w h a t they called
their " N e s t s , " the Wandervogel w e r e e n c o u r a g e d to be free in the
expression of their d e e p e s t e m o t i o n s , safe in the k n o w l e d g e that

Frank Fischer; R a b e , p p . 109-110; Lütkens.


""*On l e a d e r s h i p , s e e J a n t z e n ; a l s o F r e u d e n t h a l , p p . 2 9 7 - 3 0 5 .
152 Youth a n d History

n o n e of the Victorian taboos a p p l i e d in the c o m p a n y of their peers.


The c o m r a d e l y " H e i l " h a d replaced the despised formalism of c o n ­
ventional greetings, serving also to underline the equality that w e n t
w i t h the n e w - f o u n d sense of fraternity. Fischer's m o d e l w a s the
M e d i e v a l v a g a b o n d , carefree a n d indifferent to all the c o n v e n t i o n s
and responsibilities associated w i t h a d u l t h o o d . Bare knees a n d hatless
heads initially shocked W i l h e l m i n i a n society, but gradually the inno­
cent pleasures of hiking a n d c a m p i n g f o u n d a c c e p t a n c e a m o n g the
upper classes.^^
T h e c o m r a d e s h i p of the Wandervogel r e s e m b l e d that of the ear­
lier Sit/rm und Drang m o v e m e n t , except insofar as t h e n e w Romantics
w e r e y o u n g e r a n d their m o d e s of expression less mature than their
e i g h t e e n t h - a n d early-nineteenth-century predecessors, most of
w h o m w e r e socially and intellectually quite adult. A s adolescents they
w e r e incapable of artistic or poetic expression of the kind that had
distinguished the earlier m o v e m e n t , y e t they retained its ascetic if
not its aesthetic features. A strong t e m p e r a n c e e l e m e n t existed f r o m
the start a n d their attitude t o w a r d sexuality w a s distinctly puritanical.
Even the " h o m o e r o t i c i s m " that w a s p r e a c h e d by s o m e of its leaders
was m o r e platonic than genital a n d , if the Wandervogel w e r e prone
to any perversion, it w a s the neglect rather than the e n c o u r a g e m e n t
of heterosexual development."*^ Even after the entry of girls into t h e
m o v e m e n t , there w a s strong resistance to mixed activities. Folk
dancing w a s preferred because it w a s in the round a n d a v o i d e d the
premature pairing-off of c o u p l e s . L e d e r h o s e n a n d dirndle w e r e
scarcely high-fashion at the turn of the century; nevertheless they
w e r e part of the attributes of i n n o c e n c e that characterized Wander­
vogel circles. S o naive w e r e the relationships b e t w e e n t h e sexes that
many graduates of the m o v e m e n t later had difficulty adjusting to t h e
conditions of marriage."*^
I n d e e d , it w o u l d be interesting to k n o w h o w m a n y other difficul­
ties w e r e e n c o u n t e r e d by those for w h o m a d o l e s c e n c e w a s such an
unusually d r a w n - o u t process. M o v e m e n t literature d w e l l s so heavily
o n the v a l u e of the social moratorium p r o v i d e d by Wandervogel cul­
ture that it is difficult if not impossible to gain a clear picture of the
kinds of burdens age-segregation i m p o s e d on its m e m b e r s . T h e fact
that so m a n y lives w e r e cut short by W o r l d W a r I complicates the

Pross, p p , 7 5 - 9 9 ; Laqueur, p p . 2 5 - 3 1 ; W e i d e l m a n n , C h a p t e r 2.
^ I n t e r e s t i n g d i s c u s s i o n of h o m o s e x u a l i t y in L a q u e u r , p p . 5 6 - 6 5 ; a n d M u c h o w ,
Sexualreife und Sozialstruktur, pp. 30-32; Mosse, pp. 176-177.
'^^^'Pross, p. 129.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 753

question of the effects of p r o l o n g e d d e p e n d e n c e . Its critics c l a i m e d


that Wandervogel institutionalized the w o r s e effects of self-indul­
g e n c e ; supporters e m p h a s i z e d the regenerative effects of extending
the possibilities of g r o w t h b e y o n d the age limits that civilization had
previously imposed.^^ In the e n d , t h e cult of y o u t h w o n this a r g u ­
ment, for e v e n before 1914 there w e r e signs that the kind of vitality
that the y o u t h m o v e m e n t represented w a s b e c o m i n g fashionable
a m o n g the previously straightlaced m e m b e r s of the W i l h e l m i n i a n
upper classes.
Spontaneity, sensitivity, a n d the other spiritual qualities of Wan­
dervogel culture w e r e hardly those to attract support a m o n g the
military or the bureaucracy. O n the other h a n d , the emphasis o n
physical exercise a n d t h e training of t h e w i l l fit w e l l w i t h t h e d e m a n d s
for discipline e m a n a t i n g from those quarters as W o r l d W a r I a p ­
proached.^^ T h e G e r m a n m i d d l e classes w e r e at o d d s w i t h these elites
culturally, but politically they r e m a i n e d loyal to the patriotism e n u n ­
ciated by militarism. D e s p i t e its u n c o n v e n t i o n a l social a n d cultural
features, the essentially apolitical stance of the m o v e m e n t m a d e it
an acceptable alternative to the socialist m o v e m e n t s that w e r e b e ­
ginning to m a k e inroads a m o n g students just before the First W o r l d
War.^8 T h e inner f r e e d o m s that the adolescent tribes talked so m u c h
about m a d e n o m e n t i o n of civil liberties; their sense of equality w a s
confined to m e m b e r s of their o w n class a n d thus did not threaten
the social order; a n d the v a u n t e d spirit of fraternity carried sufficient
patriotic conviction so as to b e perfectly a c c e p t a b l e . It is not w i t h o u t
significance that the Wandervogel e n j o y e d its greatest g r o w t h at a
time of social a n d political unrest; for, to parents indoctrinated by
pedagogues a n d psychologists to v i e w a d o l e s c e n c e as the critical
stage of life, a m o v e m e n t so d e d i c a t e d to the p o s t p o n e m e n t of s o ­
cial and political c h o i c e w a s extremely attractive.^^ T h e Wandervogel
itself w a s , by 1 9 1 1 , m o v i n g closer to m o v e m e n t s like the Jungdeut­
schlandbund, w h o s e scarcely disguised antisocialist partisanship had
m a d e it the most popular single y o u t h - m o v e m e n t in G e r m a n y by
1914. Even though Wandervogel still held themselves aloof f r o m the
military style of groups like the G e r m a n B o y Scouts, it w a s clear that,
beneath the unpolitical exterior, there lay c o m m i t m e n t s that w e r e

^ M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozialstruktur, pp. 44-45; Mosse, pp. 171-175; Stem,


pp. 266-274.
^ Kitchen, pp. 139-142; Rabe, pp. 110-114; Laqueur, pp. 57-58.
^ L a q u e u r , p p . 3 2 - 3 8 , 4 1 - 4 9 ; P r o s s , p. 157.
^« P r o s s , p. 1 6 2 .
754 Youth a n d History

every bit as conservative as the m o r e overtly partisan y o u t h groups.^^'


T h e implicit middle-class orientation of the m o v e m e n t also m a d e
it impossible for it to a c h i e v e the classless character its founders had
e n v i s i o n e d . Leaders c o n t i n u e d to talk of the universal a p p e a l of hik­
ing and folk d a n c i n g , but the great mass of the nation's y o u t h had
little of the leisure time o r pocket m o n e y required of regular m e m ­
bers. T h e innocent, puritanical life style of the Wandervogel bore no
resemblance to the experience of v^^orking-class children, w h o w e r e
brought up to value a quite different kind of masculinity and f e m i n ­
inity. Little w o n d e r that, on passing through w o r k i n g class districts,
the hikers w e r e greeted w i t h jeers and e v e n physical abuse. C a m p e r s
f o u n d , as did the early B o y Scouts, that peasants w e r e also very u n ­
likely to w e l c o m e city boys w i t h bare knees a n d strange habits.*'^
Even before the socialists established their o w n y o u t h organizations
in 1904, it w a s quite clear that in style and ideology the bourgeois
m o v e m e n t s offered little that could attract many w o r k i n g y o u t h .
T h e leadership of the Wandervogel nevertheless retained the p r e ­
tense of classlessness and nonpartisanship. T h e y c o n t i n u e d to b e l i e v e
in the innocent functions of Kriegsspiele ( w a r games) e v e n in t h e face
of the m o u n t i n g hysteria of w a r preparedness. Not until w a r itself
broke u p o n E u r o p e did they a b a n d o n the pretense of i n n o c e n c e , and
t h e n , w i t h a naivete that w a s typical of their m o v e m e n t , m a d e w a r a
holy cause. " N o t h i n g divides the Wandervogel from m a n h o o d , " p r o ­
c l a i m e d the first w a r edition of Der Wandervogel. " W e are not s p e ­
cial. W e wish to be considered like all the others, m e n in the fullest
sense of that t e r m . " But w h a t e v e r d e m a n d s the w a r may h a v e m a d e
on these y o u n g recruits, it w a s in its peculiar w a y a continuation of
the y o u t h - p r o l o n g i n g institutions of p e a c e t i m e . A s Harry Pross has
pointed out, the trenches p r o v i d e d a further m o r a t o r i u m o n all the
social and political choices that this generation felt so ill-equipped
to handle. For y o u n g m e n like Frank Fischer, the Wandervogel had
represented "flight from the confines of the school and the c i t y " ;
n o w death on the battlefield w a s to be their ultimate escape.^^
W a r d e p r i v e d the organization of its leadership, a n d on their return
from the trenches the surviving Wandervogel had little desire to ex-

P r o s s , p. 1 6 3 ; L a q u e u r , p. 73.
Cillis, "Conformity and Rebellion," pp. 256-257.
N e w s p a p e r / p e r i o d i c a l , Der Wandervogel, H e f t 9 - 1 0 , 1914.
A rich s o u r c e of m a t e r i a l a r e t h e u n p u b l i s h e d n o t e b o o k s of F r a n k F i s c h e r , m s .
source A.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 755

change the field grey for lederhosen. T h e y o u t h groups s p a w n e d by


the revolutionary years 1918-1919 w e r e m o r e political, a n d their
m e m b e r s h i p older. Y e t , the same t h e m e of rebellion against society
persisted, only this time specifically directed against the W e i m a r R e ­
public, a n d having a m u c h m o r e overt rightist orientation than b e ­
fore. T h e cult of strength a n d j o y served the Freikorps and other
proto-Fascist m o v e m e n t s w e l l . T h e classless image of the p r e - w a r
years fell a w a y a n d the successors of the Wandervogel e m e r g e d as
strongly antisocialist. In C ö t t i n g e n , for e x a m p l e , the remnant of the
p r e w a r Wandervogel m e m b e r s h i p found their w a y mainly into the
right-wing lungnationaler Bund, a pattern similar to other G e r m a n
communities.^^
Yet, w h i l e the Wandervogel of the old style v a n i s h e d , the c o n c e p t
of a d o l e s c e n c e that it had created b e c a m e a force of its o w n , both
in the bourgeois y o u t h m o v e m e n t s of the 1920s a n d in the greatly
e x p a n d e d public y o u t h services that w e r e established after the w a r .
Pedagogues and psychologists like Gustav W y n e k e n a n d Eduard
Spranger, w h o had b e e n influenced by the earlier m o v e m e n t , had
in the m e a n t i m e universalized the experience of p r e - w a r m i d d l e -
class y o u t h into theories of a d o l e s c e n c e that w e r e n o w a c c e p t e d ,
in the n a m e of science, as universally a p p l i c a b l e . Ironically, the most
notable contribution of the Wandervogel, a social-historical m o v e ­
ment associated w i t h rebelliousness, w a s a n e w kind of conformity
w h i c h w a s institutionalized in schools a n d extracurricular organiza­
tions as m e e t i n g the s u p p o s e d n e e d s of adolescents. T h e image of
d e p e n d e n c e and immaturity gradually b e c a m e the operating princi­
ple for all state a n d voluntary agencies c o n c e r n e d w i t h the e d u c a t i o n
and care of that a g e - g r o u p . B y 1933 the d e p e n d e n t status of those
14 to 18 w a s taken for g r a n t e d ; a n d the Nazi declaration of that year,
officially requiring the association of all y o u t h w i t h the Hitler Y o u t h ,
only c o m p l e t e d a trend t o w a r d c o m p u l s o r y supervision already w e l l
under way.^^

^ W a i t e , p p . 207ff.
^ L a q u e u r , p p . 5 0 - 5 5 . F o r t h e e v o l u t i o n of t h e G ö t t i n g e n y o u t h o r g a n i z a t i o n s , s e e
publication/report, Berichte d e n Jugendpfleger.
756 Youth a n d History

IV
Despite the o b v i o u s political differences, it is clear that socially
both England and G e r m a n y w e r e m o v i n g along the same general
path t o w a r d the definition of " a d o l e s c e n c e " as a subordinate, d e ­
p e n d e n t category of the p o p u l a t i o n . C o e r c i v e legislation, a i m e d at
increasing society's control o v e r children e v e n w h e n this conflicted
w i t h the interests of parents, gained considerable m o m e n t u m in E n g ­
land after the founding of the National Society for the P r e v e n t i o n of
Cruelty to C h i l d r e n in the 1880s. " O u r grandfathers w e r e great o n
the 'rights' of p a r e n t s , " argued C a n o n Horsley. " W e have had to e n ­
force their 'obligations,' and if necessary to destroy their 'rights' w h e n
these are m a d e to injure the c h i l d . " T h e P r e v e n t i o n of Cruelty a n d
Protection of C h i l d r e n A c t of 1889 p r o v i d e d for the removal of c h i l ­
dren from h o m e s that the courts ruled dangerous to their health a n d
w e l l - b e i n g , w h i c h often meant poverty households w h e r e children
had to w o r k to maintain the family i n c o m e . This w a s a p r e l u d e to the
m o r e c o m p r e h e n s i v e Childrens A c t of 1908, that p r o v i d e d stiffened
penalties for child abuse and b a n n e d , a m o n g other things, the sale
of tobacco to children under 16 a n d the entry into taverns by children
under 14. These a n d subsequent legislative a m e n d m e n t s (1933 a n d
1963) had the effect of eliminating " t h e sharp distinction b e t w e e n
those children w h o c o m e before the j u v e n i l e courts because they
have c o m m i t t e d offences a n d those w h o require care, protection or
c o n t r o l , " and w e r e a major step t o w a r d placing all minors under the
supervision of the state.^'
T h e evolution of British court a n d penal procedures paralleled a n d
reinforced this t r e n d , beginning in the 1850s w i t h the establishment
of reformatory a n d industrial schools for offenders under 16. In 1899,
imprisonment of the m e m b e r s of this age-group in the same facilities
as adults w a s prohibited. Probation for y o u n g offenders w a s estab-

P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , R e p o r t of O x f o r d a n d C o u n t y B r a n c h , 1914.
B o s s , p. 15. M u s g r o v e , " D e c l i n e of E d u c a t i v e F a m i l y , " pp. 182-183; on Ger­
m a n y , s e e M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozi al struktur, pp. 18-19.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 757

lished in 1907; a n d , in 1908, justices w e r e e m p o w e r e d to deal in


separate closed session w i t h those u n d e r 16. T h e C h i l d r e n a n d Y o u n g
Persons A c t of 1933 extended still further the principle of special
summary jurisdiction, so that y o u n g persons up to the age of 17
w e r e , effectively, subject to a system of jurisdiction that assumed
those before the court to have less than adult responsibility for their
a c t i o n s . T h e traditional adversary p r o c e e d i n g w a s , therefore, e l i m i ­
nated in favor of a p r o c e d u r e in w h i c h the o p i n i o n of " e x p e r t s " w a s
substituted for the arguments of lawyers. In the n a m e of social a n d
psychological understanding, a system of treatment w a s substituted
f o r t h a t of justice.®^
Originally, the arguments for the protection of the child w e r e
moral a n d religious in character. B y 1910, h o w e v e r , science w a s i n ­
creasingly i n v o k e d to justify the control a n d c o n f i n e m e n t of the
y o u n g . Social D a r w i n i s m had alerted the e d u c a t e d public to the d a n ­
gers of physical and mental degeneration and it w a s in the n a m e of
the survival of the race that c o m p u l s o r y physical and military training
w e r e a r g u e d . T o Eugen S a n d o w , w r i t i n g in the journal of the C h i l ­
dren's Protection League, "scientific physical training sharpens the
intellect a n d d e v e l o p s v a l u a b l e moral qualities. A splendid p h y s i q u e
is rarely a c c o m p a n i e d by a vicious trait; it is the loafer, the w e e d y ,
the sluggard w h o is the b a n e of the school a n d the d e g e n e r a t e of
after life." T h e medical literature of the day w a s filled w i t h the kind
of behaviorism that proclaimed " m i n d a n d b o d y are so i n t e r w o v e n
that care of o n e implies the care of the o t h e r . " '^^ H e n c e f o r t h , national
as w e l l as individual character w o u l d b e v i e w e d as a function of
sound genes, square meals, a n d plenty of cold baths. R e d u c e d to its
physiological and neurological fundamentals, a d o l e s c e n c e w a s o b v i ­
ously too important a matter to be left to parents or y o u t h t h e m ­
selves. " S p e a k i n g generally, the longer children are at school a n d the
longer they are a w a y from the influence of their h o m e s , the better
strangers d o find t h e m , " noted Dr. Eric Pritchard. " I t is in my m i n d a
very significant fact that recent statistics s h o w that the average n u m ­
ber of successes is greater a n d of failure less in our industrial a n d
reformatory centers than in our ordinary elementary schools. That is
to say, the organized a n d o r d e r e d discipline of industrial schools can

«**Boss, p p . 1 9 - 3 5 .
Piatt, p p . 1 4 2 - 1 4 3 ; S i m o n s o h n , p p . 1 9 - 2 0 .
N e w s p a p e r / p e r i o d i c a l , National Health 1 ( 9 ) ( 1 9 0 9 ) , p. 8 1 .
" ^ N e w s p a p e r / p e r i o d i c a l , National Health 2 ( 1 5 ) ( 1 9 1 0 ) , p. 34.
158 Youth a n d History

m a k e respectable citizens out of a class of children w h o are quite


u n m a n a g e a b l e and e v e n anti-social in their o w n h o m e s / '
N o w h e r e w a s the substitution of scientific j u d g m e n t for c o m m o n
sense m o r e noticeable than in the treatment of j u v e n i l e sexuality.
This had always b e e n a c o n c e r n of child savers, but n e v e r before had
it b e e n v i e w e d through such a deterministic perspective. M a s t u r b a ­
tion, or w h a t the Victorians liked to call " s e l f - a b u s e , " had b e e n caus­
ing increasing anxiety since the late eighteenth century.^^ M e d i c a l
men a n d moralists (often o n e a n d t h e same) had attributed t h e most
terrible c o n s e q u e n c e s to it; e v e r y t h i n g from i m p o t e n c e to epilepsy,
w i t h melancholia a n d suicidal depression h e a d i n g the list of s y m p ­
toms of w h a t w a s c o m m o n l y called " m a s t u r b a t o r y insanity." D r .
H e n r y M a u d s l e y , a leading English physician, c o u l d w r i t e in 1867
that masturbation " g i v e s rise to a particular a n d disagreeable form
of insanity characterized by intense self-feeling and c o n c e i t . " But by
1895 Dr. M a u d s l e y had significantly modified his v i e w s , indicating a
major shift in medical a n d moral o p i n i o n . A direct cause-and-effect
relationship w a s no longer d e m o n s t r a b l e ; rather, both w e r e the effect
of something h e called " a d o l e s c e n t insanity." H e n c e f o r t h , both m e l ­
ancholy a n d masturbation w e r e to b e diagnosed as b e i n g d u e to " t h e
process of a d o l e s c e n c e a n d not to the particular v i c e . " Level of
maturity rather than level of morality w a s t h e cause of the p r o b l e m ,
after all.
It w o u l d be s o m e t i m e , h o w e v e r , before masturbation a n d other
sexual d e l i n q u e n c i e s of y o u t h entirely e s c a p e d the clutches of m o r -
alism. Doctors like M a u d s l e y still referred to it as a " v i c e " ; a n d e v e n
the most enlightened sex educators of that era, including C . Stanley
Hall a n d H a v e l o c k Ellis, d i d not break entirely w i t h t h e Victorian n o ­
tion that c h i l d h o o d sin w a s the cause of adult depravity.^^ Instead,
they subsumed the old cause-and-effect relationship u n d e r a n e w ,
e v e n m o r e deterministic psychological theory, arguing that the course
of an individual's d e v e l o p m e n t in a d o l e s c e n c e necessarily had c o n ­
sequences for his or her formation as an adult. T h e r e w a s s o m e t h i n g
both comforting a n d frightening about this substitution: comforting
to this " e n l i g h t e n e d " generation of adults, w h o c o u l d d e p l o r e o l d -

N e w s p a p e r / p e r i o d i c a l , National Health 4 ( 3 7 ) ( 1 9 1 2 ) , p. 249.


^ S p i t z , p p . 499ff; H a r e , p p . 1 - 2 5 .
C o m f o r t , Anxiety Makers, pp. 76-77.
^ ^ H a l l , v o l . 1 , p p . 4 3 4 , 4 3 9 ; Ellis, p p . 2 0 - 2 1 , 3 8 2 ; E d w a r d C a r p e n t e r , p p . 1 0 2 - 1 2 0 ;
B l o c h , p. 690. G e n e r a l d i s c u s s i o n of s e x u a l c o n t r o v e r s y i n E n g l a n d is p r o v i d e d b y
S a m u e l H y n e s , C h a p t e r 5.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 759

fashioned punitive attitudes t o w a r d sex without having to a b a n d o n


their middle-class respectability by advocating an actual c h a n g e in
sexual b e h a v i o r ; frightening to the adolescent, to w h o m the burden
of discipline w a s n o w shifted, a n d w h o s e responsibility it n o w w a s
to w o r k out a balance b e t w e e n w h a t w e r e loosely defined as the
"natural instincts" of y o u t h a n d the equally v a g u e c o n s e q u e n c e s of
self-indulgence in the impulses of their o w n sexuality.^^^ Little w o n d e r
that youths themselves s h o w e d greater personal confusion a n d anx­
iety under the n e w " l a w of n a t u r e " than under the previous regime
of moral absolutes.

V
In England, w o r k w i t h y o u t h a b o v e school age (14 in 1918) had
b e e n traditionally left to voluntary agencies. This legacy of n i n e ­
teenth-century liberalism w a s modified in 1916 w i t h the creation of
official J u v e n i l e Organization C o m m i t t e e s , designed to e n c o u r a g e
a n d coordinate o n a voluntary basis all public a n d private y o u t h
work."^' T h e reform had b e e n spurred by rising rates of j u v e n i l e crime
during the w a r and it w a s clear that the state w o u l d h a v e liked to
have pressed its controls further had conditions permitted.^^ But
financial difficulties p r e v e n t e d the 1921 Education A c t f r o m i m p o s ­
ing compulsory further education on school-leavers, and most local
J . O . e . r e m a i n e d w e a k throughout the 1920s a n d 1930s. A census of
school-leavers in the 1930s s h o w e d that only 3 0 - 4 0 % had any c o n ­
tact w i t h youth organizations; a n d commissions on both youthful
u n e m p l o y m e n t and physical conditioning brought in reports that
provided further a m m u n i t i o n for those w h o w i s h e d to strengthen

^" S e e C o m i n o s , p p . 2 4 1 - 2 4 2 . T y p i c a l of t h e c a u t i o n a r y l i t e r a t u r e w a s E d w a r d B .
K i r k ' s A Talk with Boys About Themselves, a book which provided t w o sets of
i l l u s t r a t i o n s of t h e r e p r o d u c t i v e o r g a n s , o n e e x p l i c i t a n d t h e o t h e r less s o , a l l o w i n g
p a r e n t s t o t e a r o u t t h e first if t h e y t h o u g h t it i n a p p r o p r i a t e f o r t h e i r s o n s . F o r o t h e r
such literature, see B l a c k w e l l ; L y t t e l t o n , Mothers arid Sons; L y t t e l t o n , Training of
Young. O n t h e G e r m a n l i t e r a t u r e , s e e S p i t z , p. 500.
B r e w , p. 89.
B e a r d , p p . 1 3 9 - 1 4 9 . M a n n h e i m , p. 122.
760 Youth a n d History

controls.^'-^ Y e t , it w a s not until a s e c o n d w a r broke out that t h e E n g ­


lish g o v e r n m e n t m o v e d w i t h great energy. In N o v e m b e r , 1939, a
National Y o u t h C o m m i t t e e w a s c r e a t e d , w i t h p o w e r s a n d funds m u c h
greater than the earlier J . O . C . T h e 1944 Education A c t , w h i c h m a d e
secondary education universal a n d raised the leaving-age to 15,
strengthened the hand of the y o u t h service by m a k i n g coordination
w i t h its c o m m i t t e e s c o m p u l s o r y a n d by providing for the training of
professional y o u t h w o r k e r s . But the reliance o n voluntary organiza­
tions c o n t i n u e d , a n d for the rest of t h e 1940s a n d t h e 1950s, E n g ­
land's y o u t h service w a s plagued by public indifference a n d g o v e r n ­
mental austerity.^^ O f England's y o u t h programs, 80 to 9 0 % c o n ­
tinued to be privately f u n d e d , a n d a c o m m i s s i o n reporting in 1960
f o u n d only o n e in three y o u t h s , aged 14 to 18, enrolled in a r e c o g ­
nized organization.^^ B y that t i m e , h o w e v e r , y o u t h w o r k e r s w e r e
beginning to recognize that c o e r c i o n w a s neither in their interests
nor in those of y o u t h . C h a n g i n g c o n c e p t s of y o u t h w o r k reflected
the changing perception of a d o l e s c e n c e itself, and an era in English
social history c a m e to an e n d .
T h e greater i n v o l v e m e n t of the state in G e r m a n society reflected
a political a n d e c o n o m i c history characterized by higher levels of
social conflict. England's m i d d l e classes did not h a v e to face the same
kind of militant proletarian m o v e m e n t s as did their G e r m a n c o u n t e r ­
parts, a major reason w h y the latter supported stronger controls o v e r
the youthful part of the p o p u l a t i o n . A precedent for the care a n d
protection of juveniles w a s p r o v i d e d by the various sumptuary laws
relating to apprentices, relics of the social policies of monarchical
absolutism. These w e r e turned to a n e w a n d different purpose w h e n ,
in 1878, schoolboys in Prussia w e r e forbidden the use of taverns, a
favorite haunt of the semisecret drinking clubs (Verbindungen) that
had b e e n a part of scholastic existence for centuries. Reasons of
health a n d morality given at t h e t i m e c o n c e a l e d a d e e p e r sort of
anxiety, for it w a s clear that the ruling class w a s w o r r i e d about the

^" M s . s o u r c e I, C o l e P a p e r s , " R e p o r t o n H o w t h e W a r is A f f e c t i n g Y o u t h O r g a n i ­
z a t i o n s in O x f o r d , " p r e p a r e d b y E. G i l i , S e p t e m b e r 1 9 4 1 , as p a r t of s o c i a l s u r v e y of
Oxford. Also publication/report. City of O x f o r d Youth Committee, 1941, which
s h o w e d 5 0 % of t h o s e 1 4 - 2 0 e n r o l l e d in s o m e o r g a n i z a t i o n . T h i s w a s a rise of 1 4 %
o v e r t h e 1 9 3 8 - 1 9 3 9 f i g u r e . S e e p u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t . R e p o r t of O x f o r d C o u n c i l . Also
m s . s o u r c e I, C o l e P a p e r s , " V o l u n t a r y S e r v i c e s in O x f o r d , " p r e p a r e d b y C . C r a v e n ,
1 8 4 2 ; E. Eric R o b e r t s ; p u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t . D i s i n h e r i t e d Y o u t h , p p . 114ff; Brew, p.
96.
Brew, pp. 92-95.
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , Y o u t h S e r v i c e in E n g l a n d a n d W a l e s , p p . 8 - 1 2 .
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e Era of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1900-1950 767

social a n d e v e n t h e political results of uncontrolled activity a m o n g


the nation's e d u c a t e d y o u t h . N o less an authority than the Prussian
Minister of Interior, Friedrich Graf zu E u l e n b e r g , c o n t e n d e d that
Verbindungen constituted a d a n g e r " n o t simply to the students and
their future, but directly to family life a n d e v e n to the status of their
class." 82 Anxiety did not diminish w i t h the passage of restrictive
ordinances, h o w e v e r , a n d by 1899 the g o v e r n m e n t w a s considering
e v e n m o r e c o m p r e h e n s i v e legislation, this t i m e c o v e r i n g all a d o l e s ­
cents, w o r k e r s as w e l l as students. A p p a r e n t l y , control w a s ineffective
as long as the prohibitions w e r e not universal, a deficiency in the
original legislation w h i c h w a s attested to by local police w h o e n c o u n ­
tered great difficulty in enforcing the 1878 edicts.®"^
Such extension did not c o m e until 1915; but, in the m e a n t i m e ,
school a n d university authorities had d i s c o v e r e d n e w causes of c o n ­
cern. In G ö t t i n g e n , police w e r e k e e p i n g careful w a t c h in 1904 o n
left-wing activity a m o n g students.^^ For their part, the m i d d l e classes
of the t o w n f o u n d e d the Nationalliberaler Jugend Verein, an antiso­
cialist organization a i m e d at rallying support for patriotic causes.^^
Political organization of juveniles w a s illegal in G e r m a n y , but despite
these restrictions both the socialists a n d the conservatives f o u n d
w a y s of reaching y o u t h . T h e former w o r k e d through the regular S o ­
cial D e m o c r a t i c Party, w h i l e the latter used all kinds of sport a n d
patriotic organizations as instruments of indoctrination. T h e c o n s e r v a ­
tive effort w a s m a d e a g o o d deal easier by the Prussian y o u t h service
legislation of 1 9 1 1 , w h i c h authorized local officials to e n c o u r a g e all
nonsubversive y o u t h organizations by providing funds a n d facilities.
G r o u p s like the militaristic Jungdeutschlandbund grew enormously
under this program a n d , prior to 1914, bodies like G ö t t i n g e n ' s Kriegs­
verein had begun extensive programs of premilitary training for
boys.®^ In 1914, o n l y an estimated one-sixth of Berlin y o u t h w e r e
e n r o l l e d in any recognized y o u t h organization, but w i t h the c o m i n g
of w a r extensive mobilization p o w e r s strengthened the h a n d of G e r ­
m a n y ' s y o u t h services, granting t h e m the right to c o m p e l premilitary

""-'^ M s . s o u r c e C , P o l . D i r . , B e s u c h d e r W i r t s c h a f t e n d u r c h S c h ü l e r , D i r e c t i v e of
M i n i s t e r of I n t e r i o r E u l e n b e r g , J u n e 1 8 8 2 , F a c h 52 N o . 8.
M s . source C, P o l . Dir., Besuch der Wirtschaften d u r c h S c h ü l e r , D i r e c t i v e of
M i n i s t e r of Interior E u l e n b e r g , J u n e 1 8 8 2 , F a c h 52 N o . 8.
M s . source C , P o l . Dir., Sozialdemokratische B e w e g u n g e n unter d e n hiesigen
S t u d i e r e n d e n , 1 9 0 4 - 1 9 0 5 , F a c h 1 6 1 N o , 16.
*^Ms. source C, P o l . Dir., Nationalliberaler Jugend Verein Göttingen, 1904-1921,
F a c h 161 N o . 20.
P r o s s , p. 1 6 3 ; L a q u e u r , p. 7 2 ; K i t c h e n , p p . 1 2 9 - 1 3 8 .
762 Youth a n d History

training a n d thus lending further prestige to t h e conservative o r g a n i -


zations.e^
Ironically, legal restrictions o n t h e y o u n g increased at t h e s a m e
time that the conditions of w a r p r o v i d e d y o u t h w i t h a f r e e d o m
and status it had not k n o w n prior to 1914. D u r i n g hostilities, the
p r e - w a r trend t o w a r d the exclusion of y o u t h from highly-paid indus­
trial jobs w a s temporarily reversed. T h e military services, c o m p e t i n g
w i t h o n e another for enlistments, offered their y o u t h brigades (lug-
endkompagnien) the f o r b i d d e n fruits of w i n e , w o m e n , a n d s o n g ; a n d
w i t h fathers, teachers, a n d elder brothers at the front, both adolescent
boys and girls e n j o y e d u n p r e c e d e n t e d f r e e d o m as w e l l as greater
earning p o w e r . Naturally, this n e w status brought the y o u n g into
conflict w i t h those authorities c h a r g e d w i t h the care a n d protection
of the rising generation. Reaction w a s not slow to set in, a n d by 1915
there w a s w i d e s p r e a d support in school a n d g o v e r n m e n t circles for
a curb o n w h a t s e e m e d to b e an e p i d e m i c of j u v e n i l e c r i m e a n d mis­
behavior. In O c t o b e r of that year, sale of liquor a n d t o b a c c o to youths
under 17 (later l o w e r e d to 16) w a s f o r b i d d e n under martial law.
M o v i e theatres, d a n c e halls, a n d e v e n ice c r e a m parlors w e r e d e ­
clared off limits; curfews w e r e i m p o s e d , loitering prohibited, a n d the
sale of certain categories of pulp literature b a n n e d . O r d i n a n c e s fixing
the levels of t a k e - h o m e pay for those u n d e r 18 w e r e also instituted,
but met w i t h such strong resistance f r o m working-class parents that
they w e r e soon a b a n d o n e d . Y e t , t h e ban o n youthful assembly w a s
extended e v e n to courtrooms a n d places of civic business, thus legally
quarantining adolescents f r o m political as w e l l as social life.^^
T h e effectiveness of these d e c r e e s seems to h a v e b e e n l i m i t e d ;
w o r k i n g youths appear to have successfully e v a d e d all but the most
repressive measures a n d e v e n school boys f o u n d life a g o o d deal
freer. This only reinforced the near hysteria that arose in middle-class
circles, w h o s e fear of j u v e n i l e d e l i n q u e n c y a n d d e g e n e r a c y w a s u n ­
abated at w a r ' s e n d . In 1918 a n e w e l e m e n t of f e a r — d e m o c r a t i c r e v o ­
lution—had b e e n a d d e d to t h e cauldron of anxiety. N e w political

^Ms. source C , O b e r . , Jugendflege, Kriegszeit u n d A u f g a b e n d e r J u g e n d p f l e g e ,


D e c e m b e r 1914, Ε. 17. P u b l i c a t i o n s / r e p o r t s , J a h r e s b e r i c h t d e s O r t s a u s s c h u s s e s ; a n d
Berichte d e n Jugendpfleger, D e c e m b e r 1 1 , 1915.
^ M s . source C , P o l . Dir., Verordnungen betreffend jugendliche Personen, 1915-
1944, F a c h 59 N o . 1 2 . I n p a r t i c u l a r , t h e o r d e r s of A r m y C o m m a n d , October 30,
1 9 1 5 ; M i n i s t r y of T r a d e a n d I n d u s t r y , F e b r u a r y 2 9 , 1916. F u r t h e r e v i d e n c e o n w a r ­
t i m e r e s t r i c t i o n s is p r o v i d e d b y m s . s o u r c e C , F e l i x - K l e i n , M i l i t ä r i s c h e V e r b e r e i t u n g
d e r J u g e n d , 1 9 1 4 - 1 9 1 8 , 16 Ε. 3 ; a n d B r i e k e .
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 763

freedoms s e e m e d to threaten the very foundations of the old order,


w i t h the result that, instead of relaxing controls, e v e r y effort w a s
m a d e to strengthen t h e m . T h e caretaker elites w e r e strongly resistant
to any attempt to disestablish their w a r t i m e p o w e r s , and the g o v e r n ­
ments of the W e i m a r R e p u b l i c w e r e quick to support t h e m through
further legislation. C o n v i n c e d that d e m o c r a c y required greater rather
than less discipline, the Ministries of W e l f a r e and Education o r d e r e d
reorganization of local y o u t h authorities, w i t h the aim of extending
state control over voluntary y o u t h organizations.^'^ T h e brief r e v o l u ­
tionary period 1918-1919 had t h r o w n up a w h o l e n e w set of political
youth organizations on both the left and the right, a n d as early as
D e c e m b e r 1918 the youth service m o v e d to defuse these m o v e m e n t s
by encouraging t h e m to sink their differences in a c o m m o n effort to
provide for the needs of the y o u n g e r g e n e r a t i o n . Leaving aside any
mention of responsibility to the fledgling W e i m a r d e m o c r a c y , the
youth workers defined their mission in unmistakably conservative
terms: " T h e task of the youth service is to c o o p e r a t e in the cultiva­
tion of happy, physically healthy, morally strong y o u t h , filled w i t h a
sense of c o m m u n i t y a n d a love of h o m e a n d c o u n t r y . "
By d e v o t i n g itself to " d e p o l i t i c i z a t i o n , " the y o u t h service placed
itself firmly, if unwittingly, on the side of the conservative forces that
w e r e bent on maintaining a social a n d political status q u o . In G ö t ­
tingen, youth workers readily c o o p e r a t e d w i t h the police in e x c l u d ­
ing C o m m u n i s t youth from public facilities. T h r o u g h o u t the 1920s
they consistently s h o w e d themselves m o r e tolerant of right-wing
youth groups, with the exception of the Nazis w h o s e activities w e r e
considered too radical by the Prussian authorities.^^ In their c h o i c e
of social activities, as w e l l as in their political orientation, the c a r e ­
taker organizations betrayed a distinctly middle-class character. Their
m o d e l w a s a modified version of p r e w a r Wandervogel, only w i t h
less emphasis on f r e e d o m of individual expression. Like the earlier
m o v e m e n t , they preferred sex segregation. Folk d a n c i n g w a s f a v o r e d
because of its group character, a n d premature pairing-off of y o u n g

^ M s . s o u r c e C , O b e r . , F ü r s o r g e für S c h u l e n t l a s s e n e J u g e n d , G r u n d l e g e n d e E r l a s s e
b e t r e f f e n d F ö r d e r u n g d e r J u g e n d p f l e g e i n P r e u s s e n , 1920, E. 17.
Ms. source C, Ober., F ü r s o r g e für S c h u l e n t l a s s e n e J u g e n d , D i r e c t i v e s of D e ­
c e m b e r 17, 1918, a n d N o v e m b e r 2 2 , 1919, Ε. 17.
These relations can b e traced through p u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , Berichte d e n J u g e n d ­
pfleger, 1915-1930; ms. source C, P o l . Dir., D i e Kommunistische Jugendabteilung,
1 9 2 1 - 1 9 3 2 , F a c h 155 N o . 4 , a n d J u n g S t a h l h e l m a n d J u n g d e u t s c h e n O r d e n , Fach
153 N o . 20 a n d N o . 27. A l s o L a q u e u r , C h a p t e r 16.
764 Youth a n d History

p e o p l e w a s strenuously discouraged.»^ A s the old religious a t m o ­


sphere of G e r m a n y o u t h w o r k w a s replaced by a m o r e o p e n , hearty
spirit, the n u m b e r s of m e m b e r s g r e w . Enrollment in y o u t h organiza­
tions tripled in G ö t t i n g e n in the years 1921-1930 a n d , although w e
have no social b r e a k d o w n of the m e m b e r s h i p , it w o u l d s e e m that
the vast majority of recruits w e r e from the m i d d l e , l o w e r - m i d d l e ,
and top strata of the w o r k i n g classes. T h e latter t e n d e d to keep to
themselves in organizations sponsored by craft guilds, trade unions,
and the proletarian political parties, h o w e v e r . As in E n g l a n d , it w a s
only a small minority of the w o r k i n g classes, mostly the skilled, w h o
w a n t e d m u c h to d o w i t h a d o l e s c e n t - m o d e l y o u t h movements.^^
Schools w e r e no m o r e successful in m e e t i n g the needs of the n e w
d e m o c r a c y for political c o m m i t m e n t a n d social equality. In 1922 the
Prussian Ministry of Education o r d e r e d a ban o n the w e a r i n g of p o ­
litical insignia, symbolic of its effort to exclude all civic c o n c e r n s f r o m
the schools. Teachers w e r e told that their responsibility lay in p r e ­
paring students for future political choices rather than present c o m ­
mitments, a charge w e l c o m e d by that o v e r w h e l m i n g l y conservative
profession. In place of party insignia, they w e r e o n l y t o o h a p p y to
substitute distinctive school caps. Sports, scholastic j o u r n a l i s m , a n d
other extracurricular activities multiplied as alternatives to the politi­
cal a n d social activities considered dangerous by school authorities.^^
Progressive in the sense that it e n c o u r a g e d closer c o o p e r a t i o n a m o n g
students, parents, and teachers, the extension of the reach of the
school to areas previously outside a c a d e m i c jurisdiction also had its
conservative aspects. T h e m o r e strenuously the school pursued its
charge of creating a neutral " s e n s e of c o m m u n i t y , " the m o r e it b e ­
c a m e a socially exclusive a n d authoritarian institution, reinforcing the
immaturity of its inmates w h i l e at the same t i m e segregating t h e m
from w o r k i n g y o u t h . B y the mid-1920s, G e r m a n schoolboys a n d
schoolgirls w e r e restricted by regulations that prohibited unauthor­
ized participation e v e n in d a n c i n g lessons. Breach of any rule c o u l d
m e a n forfeiture of scholarship a n d the foreclosure of opportunity for
further u p w a r d mobility. T h e middle-class parents at the Oberlyzeum
for Girls, anxious about t h e effects of radical feminism a m o n g their
daughters, readily agreed to a school rule prohibiting teachers from

P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , B e r i c h t d e n J u g e n d p f l e g e r , 1925.
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , B e r i c h t d e n J u g e n d p f l e g e r , 1930. O n g r o w t h of w o r k e r s o r ­
ganizations, see Pross, pp. 87-89, 265-279.
^ Baustedt, pp. 17-18.
Conformity a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 765

addressing their students w i t h the adult " S / e . " ^ ^ Such w a s t h e kind


of fear that g r i p p e d the status-conscious l o w e r - m i d d l e strata during
the 1920s, thus reinforcing the d e m a n d for conformity.
T h e c o m i n g to p o w e r of t h e Nazis in 1933 t h r e a t e n e d to radically
revise t h e status of y o u t h by politicizing every aspect of G e r m a n life.
All y o u t h organizations except those officially s p o n s o r e d by the party
w e r e b a n n e d ; t h e school s c h e d u l e w a s i n v a d e d by the political a c ­
tivities of Hitler Jugend a n d the Bund Deutsche Madel; a n d teachers
f o u n d t h e m s e l v e s c o n t e n d i n g w i t h militant y o u t h leaders, s o m e of
w h o m m a d e life v e r y u n c o m f o r t a b l e for their f o r m e r masters. B u t
the n e w - f o u n d status a n d f r e e d o m of y o u t h w a s short l i v e d . It w a s
f o u n d that the hastily organized units of the Hitler Y o u t h took t o o
readily to various forms of d e l i n q u e n t activity, including theft a n d
assault.^e Total i n v o l v e m e n t had brought into y o u t h activities e l e ­
ments of the p o p u l a t i o n , mainly lower-class, w h i c h had never taken
part before. T h e y brought w i t h t h e m habits a n d attitudes that w e r e
not easily reconciled w i t h the c o n c e p t of youthful o b e d i e n c e that
w a s a part of the Nazi design. A s a result, t h e proletarian leaders of
many units w e r e purged a n d the w h o l e organization took o n an aura
of bourgeois respectability under t h e leadership of Baldur v o n S c h i -
rach. C o n f o r m i t y to middle-class norms of a d o l e s c e n c e m e a n t that
Nazi y o u t h organizations lost the active allegiance of m a n y , if not
the majority of, w o r k i n g y o u t h . Even in the early years of the r e g i m e ,
the resistance of so-called " w i l d g a n g s , " expressed in d e l i n q u e n t acts,
was a major c o n c e r n to the authorities. O n c e the w a r had b e g u n a n d
y o u t h w e r e less subject to direct c o n t r o l , the p r o b l e m grew to e p i ­
d e m i c proportions.^^
W h a t i n d e p e n d e n c e adolescents did retain w a s d u e m o r e to the

E v o l u t i o n of rules a n d r e g u l a t i o n s c a n b e t r a c e d in m s . s o u r c e C , O b e r . , A l l g e ­
m e i n e s ü b e r F r a g e n d e r S c h u l z u c h t , 1 9 1 2 - 1 9 2 9 , E. 7. D i s c u s s i o n in m s . s o u r c e C ,
O b e r . , M i n u t e s of E l t e r n b e i r a t , O c t o b e r 17, 1 9 2 4 , A 14 Α . O t h e r discussions c o n ­
c e r n e d curfews for students, prohibition o n d a n c i n g a n d d a n c i n g lessons, drinking,
etc.
M s . source C , P o l . Dir., V e r o r d n u n g e n betreffend jugendliche P e r s o n e n , Report
to t h e O b e r p r ä s i d e n t , M a r c h 9, 1 9 3 5 , F a c h 59 N o . 1 2 . R e p o r t s t a t e d t h a t t h e " s u b -
l e a d e r s of t h e H i t l e r Youth are immature a n d not ready to take o n t h e r o l e of
youthleader and educator." F o r a n e x c e l l e n t d i s c u s s i o n of r e s i s t a n c e of w o r k i n g -
class y o u t h g r o u p s t o state o r g a n i z a t i o n , s e e H o r n , p p . 3 0 - 3 8 .
" ' P r o s s , p p . 4 2 5 - 4 3 3 ; in N o v e m b e r 1939, w o m e n u n d e r 16 a n d m e n u n d e r 18
w e r e forbidden public dancing. A s the w a r w e n t o n , the regulations o n youth w e r e
f u r t h e r s t i f f e n e d , b u t w i t h little a p p a r e n t e f f e c t . M s . s o u r c e C , P o l . D i r . , P o l i c e O r d i ­
n a n c e of M a r c h 9, 1940, F a c h 59 N o . 1 2 . S e e a l s o S c h o e n b a u m , p p . 291ff.
766 Youth a n d History

full e m p l o y m e n t e c o n o m y of the Third Reich than to the official p o l i ­


cies of its y o u t h organizations. T h e prohibitions o n s m o k i n g , drink­
ing, a n d entertainment r e m a i n e d in effect throughout t h e 1930s a n d
w e r e further tightened during the S e c o n d W o r l d W a r . T h e substitu­
tion of therapeutic for judicial treatment of j u v e n i l e d e l i n q u e n c y ,
begun before 1914, w a s c o n t i n u e d in G e r m a n y as in England. C h i l ­
dren w h o w e r e j u d g e d genetically deficient faced sterilization, the
ultimate in a preventative a p p r o a c h to social control.®^ E v i d e n c e of
rising rates of absenteeism a n d d e l i n q u e n c y a m o n g y o u n g w o r k e r s
also p r o v o k e d the same kind of resentment from the Nazi caretakers
as it did from their English counterparts, w i t h the result that e v e n
after the b e g i n n i n g of the w a r , w h e n the d e m a n d for labor a n d talent
rose e v e n m o r e rapidly, the Nazis w e r e telling their y o u t h w o r k e r s
that " t o be addressed as ' D u ' is a r e m i n d e r to the y o u n g that they
have no grounds for considering t h e m s e l v e s fully a d u l t . " ®^

VI
W h o , t h e n , w e r e the child savers w h o w e r e b e h i n d the protective
legislation of the period 1900-1950? Ultimately, y o u t h w o r k w a s to
b e c o m e professionalized, but prior to W o r l d W a r II it w a s still p r i ­
marily the voluntary effort of u p p e r - a n d middle-class m e n a n d
w o m e n , most visibly the clergy, educators, and the military, w i t h d o c ­
tors also playing a p r o m i n e n t role in s o m e places. Their i n v o l v e m e n t
w i t h the y o u n g betrayed a certain anxiety about both the nature of
society and the stake of the propertied a n d e d u c a t e d classes in it.
For the m e n of this strata, leadership s e e m e d but an extension of
their roles in the e c o n o m y a n d the social hierarchy. For the w o m e n
of this class, w h o in increasing n u m b e r s m a d e child saving their per-

I r o n i c a l l y , this n i g h t m a r e p o l i c y w a s p a r t l y t h e o u t c o m e of a m o r e p r o g r e s s i v e
i m p u l s e t o w a r d sexual l i b e r a t i o n a n d p r o t e c t i o n of c h i l d r e n . E l l e n K e y , a s o c i a l i s t ,
h a d w r i t t e n at t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e c e n t u r y : " T h i s n e w e t h i c [ f r e e l o v e ] w i l l call
n o o t h e r c o m m o n l i v i n g of m a n a n d w o m a n i m m o r a l , e x c e p t t h a t w h i c h g i v e s o c ­
c a s i o n t o a w e a k o f f s p r i n g . T h e T e n C o m m a n d m e n t s o n this s u b j e c t w i l l n o t b e
p r e s c r i b e d b y t h e f o u n d e r s of r e l i g i o n , b u t b y s c i e n t i s t s . " K e y , p. 14.
^ SAs. s o u r c e C , P o l . D i r . , R e p o r t of H i t l e r Y o u t h C o n f e r e n c e , D e c e m b e r 1 0 , 1 9 4 1 ,
F a c h 59 N o . 1 2 .
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 767

sonal crusade and e v e n their w h o l e purpose in life, y o u t h w o r k w a s


s o m e t h i n g of a social redefinition, h o w e v e r . T h e r e had b e e n lady
child-savers before, but they had always r e m a i n e d in the b a c k g r o u n d ,
fearing, as M a r y C a r p e n t e r h a d , the " u n s e x i n g " of themselves by a
too active participation in w h a t w a s previously the m a l e preserve of
public affairs.i^o B y 1900 this w a s changing a n d , in both England a n d
G e r m a n y , lobbies like the N S P C C a n d Pestolozzi Stiftung w e r e p r e ­
dominantly w o m e n ' s organizations. T h e English M o t h e r s ' U n i o n a n d
the G e r m a n Verein der Freundinnen junger Mädchen m a d e a special
point of the f e m a l e ' s unique responsibility in the field of child rear­
ing a n d her natural role as the guardian of the y o u n g . T h e entry of
w o m e n into civic affairs might disturb conservatives, but they c o u l d
hardly object to a m o v e m e n t that maintained a strong separation b e ­
t w e e n m a l e a n d f e m a l e roles and i n v o l v e d no real redistribution of
p o w e r b e t w e e n the sexes. W h a t A n t h o n y Piatt has pointed out for the
A m e r i c a n case w a s equally true for the English a n d G e r m a n : T h e
i n v o l v e m e n t of w o m e n " w a s not so m u c h a break w i t h the past as
an affirmation of faith in traditional institutions." Because this w a s
" u n p o l i t i c a l " activity a n d e m i n e n t l y bourgeois in its social orienta­
tion, it presented n o n e of the challenge to m a l e d o m i n a n c e that
radical feminism and suffragette m o v e m e n t presented. In O x f o r d , for
e x a m p l e , w o m e n w e r e p r o m i n e n t in t h e various moral vigilance s o ­
cieties that sprang up at the turn of the century. T h e r e they c o u l d
h e e d the a p p e a l of the R e v e r e n d W a r d e n of K e b l e C o l l e g e to " o r ­
ganize and increase the better moral forces of public o p i n i o n , " par­
ticularly w i t h respect to c h i l d r e n , precisely because it c o i n c i d e d so
w e l l w i t h the traditional role of m o t h e r h o o d . M i d d l e - c l a s s w o m e n ,
released by birth control from the burdens of child raising, f o u n d in
the career of moral crusader a status that w a s responsible a n d at the
same t i m e respectable. It goes w i t h o u t saying that w o m e n m u c h
further d o w n the social scale, still b u r d e n e d w i t h the fruits of high
fertility, found the zealous visiting of their f e m a l e superiors no less
objectionable than the interference of male child savers such as the
truant officer or the medical inspector.^^^

^ " " J . Estlin C a r p e n t e r , p. 158.


'''' P i a t t , p. 98. F o r t h e p h i l o s o p h y of t h e M o t h e r s ' U n i o n , s e e p u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t .
M o t h e r s ' U n i o n Report, Fourth Report. For various G e r m a n groups, consult publica­
tion/report, Jahresberichte des Ortausschusses; a n d ms. source C , Soz. Fürsorge,
R e p o r t t o B ü r g e r m e i s t e r , III Μ 2 3 .
P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , R e p o r t of O x f o r d V i g i l a n c e A s s n . A l s o m s . s o u r c e B , M i n s .
O x f o r d C l e r i c a l A s s n . , M a y 9, 1 8 8 2 , M S T o p O x o n e 8 5 ; a n d I n g l i s , p p . 1 9 5 - 1 9 9 .
168 Youth a n d History

If the professional m i d d l e class a n d their w i v e s f o r m e d the general


staff of the w a r against j u v e n i l e d e g e n e r a c y , its foot soldiers w e r e the
n e w l o w e r - m i d d l e class, n a m e l y those groups w e have c o m e to k n o w
as white-collar. For t h e m , the y o u t h m o v e m e n t s w e r e a w a y of o v e r ­
c o m i n g their social isolation f r o m the solid m i d d l e class. G r o u p s like
the B o y Scouts and the W a n c f e r v o g e / , together w i t h sports clubs a n d
the army reserves, served to bind the t w o together through their
c o m m o n interest in patriotism. This w a s particularly true of e l e m e n ­
tary teachers, w h o s e status had b e e n rising since the turn of the c e n ­
tury but w h o s e standing w a s still uncertain until they began to d e m ­
onstrate n e w forms of civic activism.^^-^ T o g e t h e r w i t h ex-military m e n ,
many of w h o m f o u n d a place in civilian society as physical-training
instructors, they contributed strongly to the leadership of the Scouts
and B o y s ' Brigades on the local level. In G ö t t i n g e n , both e l e m e n t a r y
and secondary school teachers w o r k e d closely w i t h the c o m m u n i t y ' s
various y o u t h groups. A m o n g the most active w a s Franz H e n k e l , w h o
w a s a leader not only in the Wandervogel a n d gymnastic society, but
also in the conservative Kreigsverein, B y the time of the First W o r l d
W a r , teachers in both G e r m a n y a n d England w e r e strongly r e p r e s e n ­
tative of the patriotism that w a s , by t h e n , part and parcel of the c h i l d -
saving m o v e m e n t . W h e n the O x f o r d teachers p r o c l a i m e d in 1916 that
"it remains w i t h the teacher a n d wrth those w h o help the teacher in
any capacity to d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r England shall b e better or w o r s e
after the w a r , " they w e r e using a language almost identical to that of
G e r m a n y o u t h workers.^^^
It is also interesting to speculate w h a t the d e c l i n e of the old l o w e r -
m i d d l e class, consisting of small artisans a n d s h o p k e e p e r s , had to d o
w i t h the rise of the y o u t h m o v e m e n t s . W e k n o w that in O x f o r d the
old artisan class s h o w e d great c o n c e r n about the y o u n g e r generation.
It w a s the craft unions of the city that w e r e taking a strong line, vis a
vis j u v e n i l e d e l i n q u e n c y , in urging stricter discipline by the police
and the schools.^"^ Their fear of seeing their sons a n d daughters a s ­
sociated w i t h the less reputable y o u t h of the t o w n seems to h a v e had
a great deal to d o w i t h this; a n d i n d e e d , in G e r m a n y as w e l l , it w a s
those groups w h o o c c u p i e d the border line b e t w e e n t h e m i d d l e class

' " • ' C . F. G . M a s t e r m a n c a l l e d t h e m " t h e s u b u r b a n s , " a n d w r o t e : " T h e y o u n g m e n


of t h e s u b u r b a n s o c i e t y , e s p e c i a l l y , a r e b e i n g a c c u s e d of a m e r e c h i l d i s h a b s o r p t i o n
in v i c a r i o u s s p o r t a n d t r i v i a l a m u s e m e n t s . " M a s t e r m a n , p. 9 1 .
M s . s o u r c e A , F r a n z H e n k e l , Personal Akten; ms. source Β, Mins. Church of
E n g l a n d , F e b r u a r y 1 5 , 1916, M S T o p O x o n e 238.
B u t l e r , p. 47.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 769

and the proletariat w h o w e r e often the most active in the n e w y o u t h


w o r k . Franz H e n k e l , for e x a m p l e , w a s a m a n only o n e generation r e ­
m o v e d from artisan s t a t u s . A n d C ö t t i n g e n ' s C a t h o l i c Cesellen-
v e r e / n , w h i c h had begun in 1884 as an organization for apprentices,
w a s by the 1920s a y o u n g m e n ' s club for m e m b e r s of t h e w h i t e - c o l l a r
class, a c h a n g e reflecting the broader shifts that w e r e occurring w i t h i n
l o w e r - m i d d l e - c l a s s groups in the early twentieth century.^^'^
It is significant that the n e w w h i t e - c o l l a r class c a m e into existence
at precisely the t i m e that the n e w social attitudes t o w a r d y o u t h w e r e
being g e n e r a t e d . T h e m o d e of u p w a r d mobility of this group w a s no
longer the t i m e - h o n o r e d ladder of the trades a n d private enterprise,
but e d u c a t i o n , at first secondary but later at university as w e l l . Little
w o n d e r that so m u c h of the anxiety about the years 14 to 18 w a s ex­
pressed in the organizations a n d agencies that w e r e patronized a n d
staffed by the m e m b e r s of this class. D i s c i p l i n e , deferred gratification,
and conformity w e r e the keys to their success in the difficult years of
inflation during the 1920s, in the D e p r e s s i o n , a n d again during t h e
period of austerity after the S e c o n d W o r l d W a r . Their anxiety to at­
tain a n d hold the respectability generally a c c o r d e d a middle-class
person c a m e to be institutionalized in the schools a n d y o u t h o r g a n i ­
zations through t w o different c h a n n e l s . T h e first w e r e the school
teachers and y o u t h w o r k e r s t h e m s e l v e s , m a n y l o w e r - m i d d l e class in
origins a n d eager to serve bourgeois norms as a w a y of certifying
their o w n status. T h e other w a y w a s through the parents, w h o w e r e
w i l l i n g to fit their sons a n d daughters to the social a n d psychological
d e m a n d s of a d o l e s c e n c e in order to guarantee t h e m a step up the
ladder of success. Education w a s , as the generally l o w e r - m i d d l e class
students of O x f o r d H i g h S c h o o l put it, " t h e only means of distin­
guishing us from the ignorant, the p o o r . . . a n d the i n c o m p e ­
tent." T h e social requirements of the s c h o o l , including t h e d e ­
p e n d e n c e a n d deprivation of civil status that w e r e a part of a d o l e s ­
c e n c e , w e r e the price they w e r e w i l l i n g to pay to establish their s u ­
periority to the w o r k i n g classes.
In a period w h e n e v e n the smaller cities like O x f o r d a n d G ö t t i n g e n
w e r e losing their h o m e t o w n quality, lines d r a w n by w e a l t h or birth
w e r e not so o b v i o u s as they had o n c e b e e n . It w a s b e c o m i n g s o m e ­
w h a t easier to appropriate the symbols of higher status just by ap­
pearing, in dress, language, or d e m e a n o r , to b e l o n g to the respectable

M s . s o u r c e A , F r a n z FHenkel, Personal Akten.


' • ^ M s . s o u r c e C , P o L D i r . , K a t h o i i s l i e n G e s s e l l e n v e r e i n , 1 8 8 4 - 1 9 3 4 , F a c h 6 1 N o . 4.
N e w s p a p e r / p e r i o d i c a l , Oxford High School Magazine 9 ( 1 ) ( J u n e 1911).
770 Youth a n d History

Strata of society, because o n e ' s background w a s n o w a n o n y m o u s .


C o n t e m p o r a r i e s noticed that t h e o b v i o u s lines of class, o n c e so p r o ­
n o u n c e d a m o n g c h i l d r e n , w e r e rapidly blurring. " C o l l a r s a n d ties are
n o w almost as c o m m o n as rags w e r e a f e w years a g o , " n o t e d E. J .
U r w i c k in 1904. " T h e bare-footed ragamuffin of popular imagination
figures still as the frontispiece to w e l l m e a n i n g philanthropic appeals,
but is no longer a c o m m o n object of the streets."
But the l o w e r i n g of o n e t y p e of barrier m e a n t that others w o u l d b e
put in its place. T h e m i d d l e a n d l o w e r - m i d d l e class w e r e n o w mark­
ing the distinction b e t w e e n themselves a n d the children of the p o o r
through the use of school uniforms, w h i c h b e c a m e increasingly p o p u ­
lar in the 1920s. T o parents of t h e O x f o r d High S c h o o l for B o y s , w h o
w e r e w o r r i e d about the social standing of the s c h o o l , the headmaster
stated:

I a m s o m e t i m e s t o l d t h a t t h e b o y s at t h e C i t y S c h o o l a r e r a t h e r m i x e d .
It is p e r f e c t l y t r u e a n d I s e e n o p r o s p e c t of a n y m o v e t o w a r d restrict­
i n g o u r i n t a k e t o a n y s o c i a l c l a s s . T h e b e s t b o y in t h e last y e a r ' s S i x t h
F o r m is t h e s o n of a f a r m l a b o u r e r , b u t h e c o m m a n d e d the respect
a n d a f f e c t i o n of e v e r y o n e . A u n i f o r m d r e s s w i l l h e l p b o y s t o f o r g e t t h e
d i f f e r e n c e s of s o c i a l s t a n d i n g a n d l i v e o n t e r m s of f r i e n d l y e q u a l i t y .

Class lines w e r e still t h e r e , but w e r e being redrawn along n e w


boundaries set by the school a n d extracurricular activities. T h e u n i ­
f o r m , the s c h o o l , the c l u b — t h e s e w e r e t h e n e w symbols of status
of the era of a d o l e s c e n c e .

VII
W e have d r a w n a profile of those w h o " d e m o c r a t i z e d " the n o r m
of a d o l e s c e n c e . N o t surprisingly, it w a s the s a m e groups w h o w e r e
instrumental in creating another of the twentieth century's social
stereotypes, n a m e l y t h e aggressive, antisocial image of t h e m o d e r n
j u v e n i l e delinquent. If the m o d e l adolescent stood for e v e r y t h i n g

U r w i c k , " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " p. x i ; s i m i l a r c o m m e n t s in S h e r w o o d , p p . 4 2 - 4 5 .
^ ' " M s . s o u r c e D , M i n . B o o k of B o a r d of G o v s . , H e a d m a s t e r ' s R e p o r t of O c t o b e r
1928.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 777

pure and stable in a period of internal a n d external t e n s i o n , t h e j u ­


v e n i l e d e l i n q u e n t e m b o d i e d e v e r y t h i n g to b e feared a n d resented,
making h i m an indispensable part of the social w o r l d of t h e child
savers. This is not to say that they invented j u v e n i l e c r i m e , for it had
b e e n a subject of c o n c e r n throughout the nineteenth century. But the
child criminals of D i c k e n s ' t i m e had b e e n m o r e closely associated
w i t h a class than an age group. T h e y had b e e n s p o k e n of as "little
stunted m e n " w h o s e misfortune it h a d b e e n to miss the softening
influence of a true c h i l d h o o d a n d a d o l e s c e n c e . B y the 1890s, h o w ­
ever, d e l i n q u e n c y w a s beginning to b e seen not as an attribute of
precocity but of immaturity. A d o l e s c e n c e itself w a s identified as a
cause of d e l i n q u e n c y a n d thus all c h i l d r e n , regardless of class, w e r e
d e e m e d v u l n e r a b l e to d e v i a n c e unless carefully protected.
This w a s an age d e e p l y impressed by the ideas of biological d e ­
terminism, a n d those influenced by t h e Italian criminologist, L o m -
broso, w e r e certain that they c o u l d detect " c r i m i n a l t y p e s " at a very
early a g e . Even theorists not c o m m i t t e d to t h e idea of an inherited
criminal disposition w e r e n o w m o r e a w a r e of the w a y nature (as
o p p o s e d to e n v i r o n m e n t ) shaped b e h a v i o r ; a n d the English, w h o had
always t e n d e d m o r e t o w a r d e n v i r o n m e n t a l explanations, w e r e stress­
ing the existence of s o m e inherited traits.^^^ T h e i r carefully b a l a n c e d
v i e w w a s expressed by W i l l i a m D o u g l a s M o r r i s o n , w r i t i n g in 1896:
" T h e results of recent research point to the conclusion that h u m a n
beings are born into the w o r l d w i t h a distinct bent of t e m p e r a m e n t
and character w h i c h w i l l always manifest itself in s o m e f o r m , no
matter w h a t process of training the individual is called u p o n to u n ­
dergo. But the ultimate shape w h i c h inherited characteristics w i l l
assume is largely d e p e n d e n t o n the sort of social conditions in w h i c h
h u m a n d e v e l o p m e n t takes p l a c e . " Signs of criminality, like signs
of sexual perversion, if picked up early e n o u g h c o u l d b e treated a n d
e v e n c u r e d , but this required constant vigilance a n d c o m p l e t e c o n ­
trol o v e r the age group in q u e s t i o n , c o e r c i v e measures w h i c h M o r ­
rison a n d his contemporaries w e r e w i l l i n g to take.
N o t until the 1890s did the question of j u v e n i l e c r i m e b e c o m e g e n ­
eralized into the question of j u v e n i l e d e l i n q u e n c y , a p r o b l e m pertain­
ing not just to w h a t M a r y C a r p e n t e r ' s generation had called t h e " d a n ­
gerous a n d perishing classes," but to all y o u t h , regardless of back­
g r o u n d . W h e n C a n o n Horsley w r o t e his juvenile Crime in 1894, h e

R a d z i n o w i c z , p p . 5 2 - 5 6 ; also Piatt, p p . 1 8 - 3 6 .
^ " M o r r i s o n , p. 121
772 Youth a n d History

referred to his subject as the " g r e a t social question of the d a y , " a


conclusion s e c o n d e d by the H o w a r t h Association in the published
results of its inquiry into the s a m e subject issued in 1898. N o t all
contemporaries w o u l d have a g r e e d , of course, w i t h an analysis that
placed the problems of poverty a n d w a r s e c o n d to those of r o w d y i s m
a n d masturbation, but in the eyes of the m i d d l e classes the threat of
all forms of d e v i a n c e took p r e c e d e n c e , j u v e n i l e misconduct w a s no
longer explicable in terms of grinding poverty, but w a s instead the
function of rising affluence a n d a b u n d a n t leisure. " M o s t j u v e n i l e of­
fenses c o m m i t t e d in this country arise from cupidity, a n d consist of
offenses against p r o p e r t y , " w r o t e M o r r i s o n ; but it w a s the o p p o r ­
tunity to steal rather than n e e d itself that w a s b e h i n d c r i m e . " T h e
strongest temptation of the ordinary j u v e n i l e is the impulse to stear­
in the t o w n s , this impulse is stimulated in every street by the inter­
m i n a b l e lines of shops a n d w a r e h o u s e s exhibiting all kinds of m e r ­
chandise in half-protected state."
O n l y a generation earlier the " o r d i n a r y j u v e n i l e " w a s the honest,
respectable j u v e n i l e , the polar opposite of the d e l i n q u e n t t y p e ,
w h i c h had previously b e e n associated only w i t h the sons and d a u g h ­
ters of the l o w e r classes. Authorities w e r e n o w w i l l i n g to admit that
the children of the rich could be just as deviant as those of the poor
a n d , thus, the images of the ordinary a n d the d e l i n q u e n t youngster
w e r e no longer linked w i t h different classes but w e r e c o n s i d e r e d the
opposite faces of a certain a g e - g r o u p . All y o u n g p e o p l e at a d o l e s ­
c e n c e w e r e to be considered potentially d e l i n q u e n t , a c o n c e p t m u c h
m o r e suitable to a d e m o c r a t i c a g e . M o r r i s o n w r o t e that " i n very early
life inadaptability to social surroundings usually s h o w s itself in the
shape of truancy, vagrancy, w a n d e r i n g habits—in short, a disposition
to revert to the n o m a d i c stage of civilization. T h e greater the d e m a n d
m a d e by society o n the c h i l d , such as the d e m a n d of t h e present
century that he shall regularly attend an e l e m e n t a r y s c h o o l , the m o r e
clearly the extent of this n o m a d i c instinct is brought to life." The
"street a r a b , " previously identified w i t h the u n d e r d e v e l o p e d morality
of a particular class, w a s n o w seen as the product of the e m o t i o n a l
u n d e r d e v e l o p m e n t of the adolescent a g e - g r o u p , regardless of class.
Social and e c o n o m i c factors w e r e not d i s c o u n t e d , but they w e r e no
longer the primary cause of d e l i n q u e n t behavior. This lay in the p e ­
culiar character of a d o l e s c e n c e as a stage of life, w h o s e control a n d

^ " H o r s l e y , p. 9 ; R u s s e l l , " A d o l e s c e n c e , " p p . 4 5 - 5 5 ; Juvenile Offenders, p. 1 8 9 ;


M o r r i s o n , p. 28.
M o r r i s o n , p. 58.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 773

direction w e r e absolutely critical in d e t e r m i n i n g the future of t h e


individual. T o those w h o w r o t e o n the subject, the threat to society
posed by the existence of this huge concentration of half-tamed sav­
ages w a s self-evident: " T h e r e is not an hour of it [youth] but it is
not trembling w i t h destinies, not a m o m e n t of w h i c h o n c e past, the
a p p o i n t e d w o r k can n e v e r b e d o n e again or the next b l o w b e struck
o n cold i r o n . "
N o n e of the classic Victorian e n v i r o n m e n t a l explanations of j u v e ­
nile c r i m e w e r e entirely discounted in the literature of the 1890s, but
there w a s a t e n d e n c y to replace the moral voluntarism of the earlier
era with a n e w psychological d e t e r m i n i s m . Fifty years before, in
D i c k e n s ' t i m e , the pernicious influence of adults had b e e n held a c ­
countable for j u v e n i l e c r i m e . B y the 1890s it w a s the c o n d u c t of the
child itself that w a s supposed to be the determinant of adult c r i m i ­
nality. T h e influential A m e r i c a n child-psychologist, G . Stanley H a l l ,
w r o t e in 1904 that "criminals are like o v e r g r o w n c h i l d r e n , " w h e n
only a f e w decades earlier it had b e e n c o m m o n to describe little
artful dodgers as miniature a d u l t s . W i t h the c h a n g e in the p e r c e p ­
tion of the causes of c r i m e , all forms of j u v e n i l e c o n d u c t w e r e re­
e x a m i n e d for their effect o n adult b e h a v i o r a n d e v e n the most inno­
cent actions w e r e interpreted as foretelling terrible c o n s e q u e n c e s .
Hall cited e v i d e n c e to the effect that "semicriminality is normal for
healthy b o y s , " a d d i n g that only the right kind of care a n d protection
w o u l d guarantee that they w o u l d step forth from this most fateful of
all ages onto the straight a n d narrow life.^^^
By 1914 the p r o b l e m s e e m e d bigger a n d m o r e threatening than
any of the earlier reformers had i m a g i n e d ; it n o w s e e m e d that ear­
lier goals of p u n i s h m e n t a n d reform n e e d e d to be s u p p l e m e n t e d by
social prevention and control. As the old legal distinctions b e t w e e n
the criminal a n d the noncriminal d i s a p p e a r e d , these w e r e r e p l a c e d
by contrasts b e t w e e n the d e l i n q u e n t a n d n o n d e l i n q u e n t ages of c h i l ­
d r e n . In the m i d - n i n e t e e n t h century, c r i m e had b e e n c o n s i d e r e d a
moral disease; by the early t w e n t i e t h century this proposition had
b e e n reversed, a n d it w a s assumed that immoral or antisocial b e ­
havior should be treated as a c r i m e . T h e n e w j u v e n i l e justice system
was a reflection of the c h a n g e w h i c h had b r o a d e n e d the jurisdiction
of the police a n d the courts to include normative b e h a v i o r previously
b e y o n d the reach of the law, w h i l e at the same t i m e redefining t h e

115 H o r s l e y , p. 9.
116 H a l l , v o l . 1 , p. 338.
117 H a l l , v o l . 1 , p p . 360, 404.
774 Youth a n d History

a p p r o a c h to traditional offenses so that the child before the court w a s


no longer afforded the protection of d u e process. W e h a v e h e r e a
striking case of the " c r i m i n a l i z a t i o n " of areas of c o n d u c t o n c e left
to private discretion, a n d , at the same t i m e , a substitution of treat­
m e n t for punishment that meant that older concepts of justice w e r e
no longer applicable. O n c e it w a s a c c e p t e d that every b o y a n d girl,
regardless of class, had in t h e m a bit of the street arab, then these
n e w strategies b e c a m e a matter of course. Sir Leon R a d z i n o w i c z
quotes o n e c o n t e m p o r a r y ' s perception of the c h a n g e : " T h e classical
school exhorts m e n to study justice: the positivist school exhorts
justice to study m e n . "
N o t surprisingly, the increasing d e m a n d for preventative controls
w a s also o n e of the prime causes for the rise in r e c o r d e d instances
of d e l i n q u e n c y . N o t u n e x p e c t e d , either, w a s the fact that it w a s the
children of the p o o r w h o w e r e most likely to s h o w the " a n t i s o c i a l "
traits that m i d d l e - c l a s s observers f o u n d so disturbing. C o m p u l s o r y
school attendance p r o d u c e d a p r o l o n g e d struggle b e t w e e n the poor
and local authorities. In S e p t e m b e r 1 9 1 1 , after a s u m m e r of intense
adult labor unrest, youths in Hull a n d several other industrial cities
w a l k e d out of s c h o o l , d e m a n d i n g " l e s s hours a n d no c a n e . " Pickets
w e r e established, blacklegs b e a t e n , a n d property d a m a g e d before
authorities c o u l d get the children back to s c h o o l . A d u l t labor agita­
tion p r o v i d e d the m o d e l for these youths a n d their strike, h o w e v e r
fruitless, c o u l d not have begun w i t h o u t at least the passive consent
of parents, particularly fathers. As Dr. O r m e r o d , the O x f o r d S c h o o l
M e d i c a l Officer, w a s discovering, parents resented any kind of in­
terference w i t h their children. O n e mother told h i m she w a s glad
her daughter w a s about to leave s c h o o l , because " s h e w i l l b e four­
teen t h e n , a n d y o u w o n ' t b e able to w o r r y m e . "
If the intention of the child savers w a s to s h o w the underprivileged
h o w to live, the slum d w e l l e r s had s o m e lessons of their o w n to
teach. O n e clergyman w h o had b e e n active in the O x f o r d M e n ' s a n d
Lads' Institute in the 1880s r e m e m b e r e d : " T h e boys w e r e v e r y g o o d
fellows, but they regarded the Institute as an o p e n i n g for a p e r m a ­
nent ' T o w n a n d G o w n ' conflict, a n d naturally began at o n c e to
measure their strength against those w h o had c o m e to civilize and
instruct t h e m . Classes w e r e started, but often terminated p r e m a ­
turely; the scholars w o u l d turn off the gas, stick pins in their teacher,

Q u o t e d f r o m R a d z i n o w i c z , p. 56.
"•^ C i t e d in p u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , Oxford School Board Annual Report, 1911. A
f a s c i n a t i n g s t u d y of t h e strikes is p r o v i d e d b y M a r s o n .
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 175

and break up the furniture." ^^o A n d in t h e early days of the club


f o u n d e d by Balliol C o l l e g e students in Oxford's St. E b b e ' s s l u m , there
w a s further e v i d e n c e of the incompatibility of the paternalistic i m ­
pulse w i t h t h e n e e d s of working-class b o y s . F r o m t h e club's b e g i n ­
nings in 1907, its sponsors had to tolerate a g o o d bit of ragging, e v e n
physical threat f r o m the boys w h o m the club w a s supposed to
serve.121

It r e q u i r e d all t h e skill of t h e o f f i c e r of t h e d a y t o e s t a b l i s h e v e n
t o l e r a b l e d i s c i p l i n e . T h e c h i e f s u b j e c t f o r d i s c u s s i o n , as I r e m e m b e r it,
was which boys should be turned out. Perhaps our decisions w e r e
c o l o r e d by t h e k n o w l e d g e that w h o e v e r w a s turned o u t w o u l d prob­
ably retaliate by t h r o w i n g a stone through t h e w i n d o w f r o m outside
during prayers.

A n o t h e r of the founders, l o o k i n g back o n the early days, nicely s u m ­


marized the sociology of all the club a n d settlement m o v e m e n t s : i 2 2

T h e r e w a s a far w i d e r s o c i a l gulf t h a n n o w b e t w e e n undergraduate


a n d c i t y b o y . T h e 'toffs' o r C o l l e g e g e n t l e m e n a p p e a r e d t o l e a d a l i f e
of luxury and indolence. . . . There w a s as y e t little political con­
sciousness. H e r e a n d there a thoughtful b o y w a s beginning to w o n d e r ,
but to most t h e pre-1914 social o r d e r a p p e a r e d both ' g i v e n ' a n d per­
manent.

VIII
Altruism, w h e n met w i t h resistance, all too often p r o d u c e s bitter
resentment; a n d it w a s not accidental that w h e n a n n o y a n c e at j u v e n i l e
misconduct turned to aggressive hostility in the early 1890s, it w a s
those most i n v o l v e d w i t h y o u t h that w e r e most likely to b e out­
spoken in favor of c o e r c i v e measures. T h e last d e c a d e s of t h e n i n e ­
teenth century w e r e w h e n O x f o r d citizens began to c o m p l a i n with

^ P u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t , R e p o r t of O x f o r d W o r k i n g M e n ' s a n d L a d s ' I n s t i t u t e , 1 8 9 3 -
1894 a n d 1898.
' - ' B a i l e y , p. 10. A l s o , m s . s o u r c e I, B a l l i o l l o g b o o k . M a y 1907. U s e d b y p e r m i s ­
s i o n of D e a n W i l l i s B u n d , B a l l i o l C o l l e g e , O x f o r d .
B a i l e y , p. 9.
776 Youth a n d History

persistence about the boisterous behavior at the annual St. G i l e s ' s


Fair.123 C l e r g y w e r e m u c h c o n c e r n e d a b o u t S a b b a t h o b s e r v a n c e , urg­
ing the police to clear the streets during t h e m o r n i n g a n d e v e n i n g
services.124 G a m b l i n g , public solicitation by prostitutes, a n d e v e n
such innocent pastimes as n u d e bathing w e r e c o m i n g u n d e r attack,
all in the n a m e of protecting the rising g e n e r a t i o n . v V e find the
same kind of vigilance prevailing in G ö t t i n g e n a f e w years later, w h e r e
school teachers w e r e leading a drive against the latest threat to j u ­
v e n i l e d e c e n c y , the n e w l y arrived picture s h o w s . I t is interesting
to note that the police themselves f o u n d little that c o u l d b e c o n ­
strued as illegal or immoral in most of the entertainments.^^? This
did not prevent the various vigilance a n d childsaving organizations
from bringing pressure o n national a n d local officials to enforce their
particular c o d e of morality, a n d by 1914 this had paid off in the
form of ordinances a n d policies circumscribing the activities of the
child. B y then t h e police w e r e m o r e likely to pick up children for
" w a n d e r i n g , " a n d parents m o r e w i l l i n g to bring their children before
t h e courts for care a n d protection.
C r i m e statistics s e e m e d to justify this vigilance, for t h e n u m b e r of
juveniles being brought before the courts for various offenses w a s
rising in all E u r o p e a n countries. Y e t , w h e n o n e looks carefully at the
" c r i m e s " for w h i c h those u n d e r 19 w e r e b e i n g arrested, o n e finds
that it w a s probably the b r o a d e n i n g definition of " d e l i n q u e n c y "
rather than a greater disposition to c r i m e that w a s the cause of the
increase. A r e v i e w of the Oxford Police C o u r t records for 1870-1914
reveals a sharp increase in the n u m b e r of juveniles brought before
the court, but not necessarily for those offenses (including theft a n d
crimes against persons) that w o u l d h a v e fallen under earlier defini­
tions of " j u v e n i l e c r i m e . " ( S e e Figure 6.)
T h e feeling that indictable crimes such as larceny w e r e increasing
had s o m e substance, but w h i l e j u v e n i l e theft s h o w e d a steady i n ­
crease after 1890, it is doubtful that this a l o n e c o u l d h a v e a c c o u n t e d

^ ^ M s . source G , Mins. W a t c h Committee, R e p o r t of S u b c o m m i t t e e o n S t . G i l e s ' s


Fair, D e c e m b e r 1 4 , 1 8 9 3 , H H 1 / 6 .
^ * M s . s o u r c e G . M i n s . W a t c h C o m m i t t e e , O c t o b e r 9, 1 8 9 1 , H H 1 / 6 .
^ M s . source G , Mins. W a t c h Committee, P o l i c e report of N o v e m b e r 1 , 1894,
H H 1 / 7 ; a g r e e m e n t w i t h U n i v e r s i t y P r o c t o r s in 1 8 9 1 , H H 1 / 6 .
^ M s . source C, Übersichte über d e n Besuch der Kinomatographen Theater durch
S c h u l k i n d e r , 1913, Lfd 24.
^ M s . source G , Mins. W a t c h Committee, Inspector's Report, D e c e m b e r 15, 1893,
H H 1/6.
^Publication/report: C i t y of O x f o r d C o n s t a b l e ' s R e p o r t , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 1 4 .
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T l i e Era of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1900-1950 177

no
100

ΚA
90
80
70 A A/\
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
\ 9 ζ <2 1
1 σ} Φ 0} Φ σ>

Figure 6 I n d i c t a b l e (represented by solid line) a n d n o n i n d i c t a b l e ( r e p r e s e n t e d by


d o t t e d l i n e ) o f f e n s e s of m a l e s u n d e r 19, p r o s e c u t e d in O x f o r d , England,
1870-1914. Indictable crimes include theft, breaking a n d entering, seri­
ous assaults; n o n i n d i c t a b l e crimes include g a m b l i n g , malicious mischief,
l o i t e r i n g , w i l l f u l d a m a g e , b e g g i n g , d a n g e r o u s p l a y , as w e l l as s o - c a l l e d
" c a r e a n d p r o t e c t i o n " cases. [ F i g u r e s f r o m t h e r e c o r d s of t h e Oxford
Police Court, 1870-1914.]

for the fears that ultimately generated stricter, m o r e c o m p r e h e n s i v e


law e n f o r c e m e n t . M a n y of the things stolen w e r e of little value—fruit,
toys, and cigarettes destined almost certainly for personal use. T h e r e
is little e v i d e n c e of the organized c r i m e or the gangs of child thieves
that existed in s o m e places earlier in the nineteenth century. H o w e v e r ,
the offenses for w h i c h boys w e r e charged w e r e very often those
arising from or c o n n e c t e d w i t h traditional forms of j u v e n i l e sociabil­
ity, particularly street games, g a m b l i n g , a n d other peer-group activ­
ity. U p to 1910 most of those arrested w e r e in groups of t w o or
m o r e , though most of these seem to have b e e n informal rather than
tightly-structured gangs.
W h a t this seems to indicate is that law e n f o r c e m e n t agencies, e n ­
couraged by certain segments of the public, w e r e e n g a g e d in a p r o c ­
ess of redefining as " d e l i n q u e n t " those patterns of b e h a v i o r w h i c h
had traditionally b e e n tolerated by the c o m m u n i t y . T h e y w e r e b e ­
c o m i n g increasingly sensitized to types of social b e h a v i o r — i n c l u d i n g
d e p o r t m e n t , a p p e a r a n c e , a n d disposition—that in earlier d e c a d e s
might have b e e n v i e w e d as irritating but hardly dangerous to law
and order. T o s o m e d e g r e e this w a s the product of the d e m a n d s of
an urban-industrial age. T h e increase first in h o r s e - d r a w n traffic a n d
then in motor vehicles required a regulation of the streets that had
b e e n unnecessary in a quieter era. R o u g h , boisterous c o n d u c t w a s
perhaps m o r e dangerous in an age of plate-glass s h o w w i n d o w s a n d
delicate landscaping; yet, the court records a n d police minutes d e m ­
onstrate that stricter e n f o r c e m e n t w a s not primarily the result of

* F o r full d i s c u s s i o n of t h e c h a r a c t e r of d e l i n q u e n c y , s e e G i l l i s , "Emergence."
178 Youth a n d History

complaints by angry businessmen or anxious h o m e o w n e r s but of the


urgings of school teachers, c l e r g y m e n , a n d childsaving groups w h o
liked to think of themselves as protecting y o u t h (against itself, of
course) rather than property. Like so m a n y groups that claim the
" d i s i n t e r e s t e d " role of u p h o l d i n g public morality, their actions w e r e
characterized by a certain resentment, e v e n hostility, t o w a r d s those
w h o m they sought to redeem.^-^^
Earlier in the nineteenth century this kind of hostility w o u l d c e r ­
tainly have b e e n returned in kind, but it is interesting to note h o w
little resentment there apparently w a s , e v e n in the attitudes of those
older y o u t h that w e r e brought before the court for assault o n police
or willful d a m a g e to property. Just as today, these so-called " d e f i a n t "
or " a n t i s o c i a l " crimes w e r e m o r e prevalent a m o n g older y o u t h ( 1 4 -
18), w h i l e theft w a s confined largely to the y o u n g e r ages. It is rea­
sonably clear from police records, h o w e v e r , that the acts w h i c h w e r e
charged as disorderly w e r e t h e n , as n o w , mainly innocent assertions
of i n d e p e n d e n c e o n the part of w o r k i n g males attempting to culti­
vate the masculine prowess e n c o u r a g e d in y o u n g m e n of their class.
T h e r e is little e v i d e n c e of the existence of d e l i n q u e n t subcultures, or­
ganized around aggressive gangs, that p l a c e d themselves in p e r m a ­
nent opposition to the d o m i n a n t values of the society. For that kind
of conflict, w e must go back to the ritualized hostility that w a s or­
ganized around holiday rows a n d t o w n - g o w n fights, a p h e n o m e n o n
already in d e c l i n e by 1900,^·^^
In the nineteenth century, aggressive hostility b e t w e e n children of
different classes w a s taken for granted. O n e O x f o r d m a n , w h o c o u l d
r e m e m b e r the b l o o d y night in N o v e m b e r 1867, w h e n students
a r m e d w i t h clubs w e r e turned loose o n a c r o w d of O x f o r d m e n a n d
boys crying for c h e a p b r e a d , recalled that such " c a d r o w s " often
lasted for d a y s : " N a t u r a l l y , w h e r e there w a s this difference in o p ­
portunity, there w a s a g o o d deal of feeling b e t w e e n the H a v e s a n d
the H a v e - n o t s . " U p to the e n d of the century, university g e n t l e ­
m e n took delight in testing their fists against local lads, not only o n
those nights w h e n battles b e t w e e n t o w n a n d g o w n w e r e customary
but any time the opportunity might offer.^'^*^ T h e v i o l e n c e w a s tradi-

For this a p p r o a c h , I a m i n d e b t e d t o J o s e p h C u s f i e l d ' s d i s c u s s i o n of status p o l ­


itics in Symbolic Crusade: Status Politics and the American Temperance Move­
ment, C h a p t e r s 4, 7; a n d Piatt, p p . 4 - 9 , 77.
Gillis, " E m e r g e n c e . "
S h e r w o o d , p. 48.
P l o w m a n , pp. 218-226.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e Era of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1900-1950 179

tionally returned in kind. Margaret Fletcher, w h o grew up in North


Oxford in the 1860s a n d 1870s, later r e c o r d e d the peril of m i d d l e -
class children passing through the poorer sections of t o w n . " J u m p i n g
about w i t h excitement a n d pointing w i t h their fingers, they (the
n e i g h b o r h o o d children) shouted 'gentry' w i t h such scorn a n d c o n ­
t e m p t as almost to imply a la laterne! ' C a d s ' called back a breathless
victim sprinting for safety. . . . "
Miss Fletcher f o u n d it comforting that, by the t w e n t i e t h century,
the cads and gentry w e r e increasingly sharing the same classrooms;
but, w h i l e school loyalties may have p r e v e n t e d s o m e of the m o r e
overt manifestations of class antagonism, the c h a n g e w a s d u e m o r e
to the d e c l i n e of older collective norms a m o n g the w o r k i n g class
itself. Ironically, the invention of the frightening spectre of the d e ­
linquent c a m e at the very t i m e w h e n the j u v e n i l e expression of c o l ­
lectivity, the gang, w a s apparently beginning to r e c e d e . T h e bands
that had b e e n in possession of the streets of m a n y p o o r w o r k i n g -
class n e i g h b o r h o o d s for most of the nineteenth century s e e m e d to
have d e c l i n e d after 1900, to the point, in the 1960s, that they w e r e
little m o r e than informal cliques, less offensive than d e f e n s i v e in
character.i'^^ D e s p i t e all the talk of violent gangs in the 1950s, tightly-
knit hostile groups w e r e rare in E u r o p e . Even o n the riotous night of
N o v e m b e r 6, 1959, w h e n from 2000 to 4000 y o u t h w e r e o n the
streets of O x f o r d , the Chief C o n s t a b l e c o u l d identify only o n e group
of 20 to 30 boys as being responsible for the extensive d a m a g e to
shop windows.^'^^ After 1910, the earlier t e n d e n c y for c r i m e to be
c o m m i t t e d in groups t e n d e d to fall off, further e v i d e n c e that b e ­
havior had b e c o m e m o r e individualized since the beginning of the
century.^^^
As far as can be d e t e r m i n e d from the O x f o r d police and court
records, the patterns of d e l i n q u e n c y seem to have r e m a i n e d fairly
consistent in the period 1900-1950. T h e r e is no e v i d e n c e that s p o n ­
taneous y o u t h groups w e r e hostile to adults although, w h e n pro­
v o k e d by w h a t s e e m e d to b e unjustified interference, they did t e n d
to strike back in a w a y that w a s often interpreted by authorities as

M a r g a r e t F l e t c h e r , p. 4 8 .
' ' • ' W i l l m o t t , C h a p t e r 2 ; N e i d h a r d t , Junge Generation, p. 77.
'*'Ms. source C , Mins. W a t c h Committee, Special R e p o r t of C h i e f Constable,
D e c e m b e r 3 , 1959, H H 1 / 3 2 .
''•^On g e n e r a l d e c l i n e of g a n g b e h a v i o r in O x f o r d , s e e G i l l i s , " E m e r g e n c e . " A s p e ­
c i f i c c a s e w a s c h a n g e in t h e b e h a v i o r of c r o w d s at S t . G i l e s ' s Fair. S e e A l e x a n d e r ,
p p . 3 4 - 3 7 ; M a y s , Young Pretenders, pp. 28-30.
180 Youth a n d History

antisocial behavior. T h e records of truant officers, school m e d i c a l


p e o p l e , police, a n d other adults likely to c o m e into contact w i t h t h e
children of the poor, a m p l y illustrate t h e resentments of both w o r k ­
ing y o u t h a n d their parents in those instances w h e n they b e l i e v e d
their rights w e r e being infringed upon.^^^^ Y e t this kind of resistance
is not so m u c h a sign of social alienation as the simple desire to b e
left a l o n e , part of the general privatization that had affected the m i d ­
dle class m u c h earlier but also left its mark o n the laboring poor as
their conditions of life c a m e gradually to c o n v e r g e w i t h those of the
u p p e r classes.^^^
Expressions of class hostility, such as the t o w n - g o w n riots of G u y
F a w k e s ' Night, w e r e also m u c h rarer at the e n d of the century. W h i l e
students a n d other middle-class y o u t h had a b a n d o n e d t h e old festive
calendar for a n e w set of dates revolving a r o u n d armistice nights a n d
national holidays, traditions such as the First of M a y w e r e n o w in t h e
keeping of w h a t T h o m a s P l o w m a n described as " u n k e m p t , bedraggled
youngsters, w h o ' w e l c o m e in the M a y ' w i t h discordant cries a n d the
shuffling of feet on our d o o r s t e p s . " Y e t , h o w e v e r m u c h the g a m e s
and rituals of the p o o r may h a v e irritated those like P l o w m a n , there
exists no e v i d e n c e of a d e l i n q u e n t subculture p e r m a n e n t l y at w a r
w i t h respectable society. N o d o u b t s o m e of the v i o l e n c e of M i s r u l e ,
finally released from traditional forms, did tend to spill out r a n d o m l y
and senselessly. But, w h i l e the m o d e r n delinquent's b e h a v i o r m a y be
marked by assertion of m a l e p r o w e s s a n d defiance of routine, it must
be r e m e m b e r e d that these are t h e t i m e - h o n o r e d w a y s of g r o w i n g
up in a lower-class culture that still places great v a l u e o n early m a t u ­
ration a n d i n d e p e n d e n c e . M o s t of t h e v i o l e n c e so generated is turned
i n w a r d , h o w e v e r , a n d is likely to b e r e c o r d e d o n police blotters
mainly w h e n authorities intervene in the internal affairs of the
young.i^^

^ M a t z a , " P o s i t i o n a n d B e h a v i o r P a t t e r n s , " p. 1 9 5 ; W i l l m o t t , p p . 1 5 3 - 1 5 8 .
^ O n t h e privatization of t h e w o r k i n g class, s e e G o l d t h o r p e e i a/., C h a p t e r 4 ; in
O x f o r d , M o g e y ; a n d in G e r m a n y , N e i d h a r d t , lunge Generation, p. 8 4 .
P l o w m a n , p. 8 6 ; o n c h a n g i n g p a t t e r n of s t u d e n t " r a g s , " s e e P o r t e r , p p . 2 8 9 -
291. I have gone through the police committee minutes for Oxford for t h e period
1 9 2 0 - 1 9 6 0 , a n d c a n f i n d n o t h i n g c o m p a r a b l e t o t h e v i o l e n c e of n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y
t o w n - g o w n r o w s . A f t e r 1900, m o s t G u y F a w k e s N i g h t s h a v e b e e n m a r k e d b y m i n o r
pranks. M s . source G , M i n s . W a t c h C o m m i t t e e , H H 1 / 1 7 - 3 2 .
Willmott, pp. 162-167.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e E r a of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 5 0 737

IX
There is no reliable social b r e a k d o w n of the j u v e n i l e offenders for
the period 1890-1914, but it seems likely that t h e n , as today, those
w h o w e r e picked up w e r e mostly from the w o r k i n g c l a s s . M i d d l e -
class y o u t h escaped the long arm of the law not because they w e r e
subject to any less strict authority, but because they w e r e u n d e r the
control of the school a n d university.^^^ T h e increasingly strict rule
of a c a d e m e meant they w e r e subject to other kinds of paternalism,
w h i c h partly e x e m p t e d t h e m from the c o m m o n law. T h e y o u t h most
likely to be brought before the regular courts w e r e those y o u n g p e o ­
ple w h o had no institutional affiliations aside from w o r k . In other
w o r d s , the m o r e i n d e p e n d e n t the y o u t h , the m o r e responsible h e
or she w a s for his or her o w n c o n d u c t , the m o r e likely the stigmatiza-
tion by society as a real or potential d e l i n q u e n t . I n d e e d , the very
customs of the adult-centered working-class family contributed to
this vulnerability, since, in the eyes of the m i d d l e classes, it d e p r i v e d
its children of proper care and protection by sending t h e m into the
w o r l d so early. Failing to understand, or e v e n to tolerate, the w a y
the w o r k i n g class brought up their y o u n g , the self-appointed c a r e ­
takers of the y o u n g e r generation v i e w e d the " d e p r i v e d " child as the
potential delinquent.
This w a s , of course, the kind of self-fulfilling p r o p h e c y that m a n ­
ages to p r o d u c e the d e v i a n c y it claims to a b h o r but w h i c h it, in fact,
must have in order to sustain the ideologies and institutions that are
based u p o n it. T h e attempt to legislate morality and to restrict the
i n d e p e n d e n c e of w o r k i n g y o u t h naturally resulted in conflicts b e ­
t w e e n the authorities a n d the y o u n g , w h i c h c o u l d b e interpreted as
e v i d e n c e of the latter's inherent t e n d e n c y t o w a r d antisocial b e h a v -

' " O n t h e p r o b l e m of u n r e c o r d e d d e l i n q u e n c y , s e e W e s t ; a n d M a y s , Crime and


Social structure, pp. 20-66.
A b u n d a n t e v i d e n c e o n t h e s p e c i a l status of s t u d e n t s is p r o v i d e d b y t h e P r o c ­
t o r s ' M a n u a l s in M s . s o u r c e H . I a m i n d e b t e d t o M r . T r e v o r A s t o n , U n i v e r s i t y A r c h i ­
vist, f o r p e r m i s s i o n t o c o n s u l t t h e m .
7 82 Youth a n d History

ior.i^^ T h e sons and daughters of the p o o r did not adjust nearly so


w e l l as middle-class y o u t h to the m o d e l of a d o l e s c e n c e that schools
and y o u t h organizations presented to t h e m . W i t h o u t d e n y i n g that
m u c h malicious a n d violent b e h a v i o r characterized y o u n g e r m e m b e r s
of w o r k i n g class (as w e l l as m e m b e r s of the m i d d l e class), a survey
of historical a n d c o n t e m p o r a r y e v i d e n c e reveals that the attitudes
of the y o u n g t o w a r d their elders contains little of the aggressive re­
sentment that is often attributed to t h e m . Studies of intergenera­
tional attitudes, d o n e since 1950, h a v e conclusively s h o w n that the
hostility that d o e s exist e m a n a t e s largely from the adults t h e m s e l v e s ,
especially from middle-class probation officers, schoolmasters, a n d
others w h o are the assigned guardians of youth's virtue. M u s g r o v e ,
for e x a m p l e , found that middle-class child-savers w e r e v e r y m u c h
m o r e likely to have a negative image of t e e n - a g e b o y s , e v e n though
there w a s little or no hostility turned in their direction by t h e y o u t h
themselves.i^^

X
It seems, therefore, that the images of the innocent adolescent a n d
the predatory d e l i n q u e n t h a v e f o r m e d an historical dialectic for most
of this century. T h e y both originated in the same p e r i o d ; both w e r e
largely projections of the h o p e s a n d fears of a m i d d l e strata of E u ­
ropean society struggling to hold its o w n against successive w a v e s
of social a n d political c h a n g e . T h e notion of a stage of life freed from
all the cares a n d responsibilities of a troubled civilization w a s their
escapist d r e a m , the vision of j u v e n i l e d e g e n e r a c y their recurring
nightmare. In order to keep that d r e a m alive, they i m p o s e d o n t h e
y o u n g a conformity a n d d e p e n d e n c e that p r o v e d unacceptable to a
significant segment of the p o p u l a t i o n . Instead of accepting the i n d e ­
p e n d e n c e a n d nonconformity of the poor as a product of e c o n o m i c
conditions, they t e n d e d to inflate their o w n fears by treating a legiti­
mate tradition of y o u t h as punishable d e l i n q u e n c y .

See H o r n , pp. 30-40; Gillis, " E m e r g e n c e . "


' * " O n t h e h o s t i l i t y of a d u l t t o w a r d t h e y o u n g , s e e M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social
Order, p p . 9 7 - 1 0 3 ; E p p e l a n d E p p e l , p p . 2 4 3 - 2 6 3 ; F r i e d e n b e r g , C h a p t e r 6.
C o n f o r m i t y a n d D e l i n q u e n c y : T h e Era of A d o l e s c e n c e , 1900-1950 783

Edgar Z . F r i e d e n b e r g has noted that, since 1914, the old identifica­


tion of maturity w i t h personal a u t o n o m y has b e e n e r o d e d to the
point that nonconformity is automatically treated as a threat to s o ­
ciety. T h e delinquent, in exemplifying that i n d e p e n d e n c e , is met
w i t h increasing suspicion a n d fear. " A s the conditions of life alter in
such a w a y as to p r o v i d e less scope for self-direction, a u t o n o m y it­
self either b e c o m e s suspect or must b e redefined as a kind of c o n ­
sidered acquiescence in the d e m a n d s of group living. T h e persist­
e n c e of the older ideal of maturity, t h e n , b e c o m e s a source of c o n ­
flict a n d anomie, b u r d e n i n g those w h o try to live up to it w i t h a d ­
ditional self-doubt. M a t u r a t i o n itself, then b e c o m e s a source of anx­
iety from w h i c h the adult must seek r e f u g e . "
T h e cult of y o u t h , from w h i c h no w e s t e r n society in the twentieth
century has b e e n exempt, has b e e n primarily the result of this his­
torical process. T h e child-savers saw t h e m s e l v e s as liberating y o u t h
a n d , through y o u t h , society itself from the strictures of a highly or­
ganized industrial civilization. But their n o b l e goal w a s frustrated by
their o w n inability as adults to free t h e m s e l v e s from a narrow class
perspective. T h e y misled t h e m s e l v e s in thinking that the p r o b l e m
of the adolescent w a s essentially psychological, rooted in the nature
of the child rather than in the nature of the society. T h e y also ignored
the fact that their o w n a m b i v a l e n c e t o w a r d y o u t h w a s essentially the
result of social a n d cultural disparities, disparities that w o u l d remain
p r o n o u n c e d in all European countries until after W o r l d W a r I I , w h e n
a measure of affluence w o u l d b e c o m e available to a m u c h broader
section of the p o p u l a t i o n . N o t until the o b v i o u s inequalities of so­
ciety began to diminish did the a m b i v a l e n c e begin to disappear and
the era of a d o l e s c e n c e itself finally begin to terminate.

' Friedenberg, pp. 284-285.


Youth showed a new f a c e in t h e late 1960s a n d early 1970s, o n e not always
p l e a s i n g to its e l d e r s . T h i s s c e n e in M a d i s o n , W i s c o n s i n , w a s r e p e a t e d in numerous
A m e r i c a n a n d E u r o p e a n p r o t e s t s . R e p r o d u c e d b y p e r m i s s i o n of U n i t e d P r e s s I n t e r ­
national.
5
End of Adolescence: Youth
in the 1950s and 1960s

T h e ideal of a d o l e s c e n c e that generations of schoolmasters


and youth w o r k e r s had labored to perfect s e e m e d c o m p l e t e in the
tranquil 1950s; yet, e v e n t h e n , there w e r e adults w h o w e r e troubled
by this, their o w n creation. T h e notion of a period of life freed f r o m
the responsibilities of a d u l t h o o d w a s too easily distorted by the m o r e
restive m e m b e r s of the y o u n g e r generation into the frightening i m ­
age of the rebel w i t h o u t a cause. A n d if rising rates of d e l i n q u e n c y
w e r e not e n o u g h to give second thoughts, there w a s also the reali­
zation that e v e n the m o r e benign features of a d o l e s c e n c e , including
its political passivity a n d social conformity, mirrored other w e l l -
k n o w n weaknesses of adult society. T h e likeness of m o d e l y o u t h to
organization man w a s pointed out by both E u r o p e a n a n d A m e r i c a n
observers. A t the s a m e time that Edgar Z . F r i e d e n b e r g w a s w a r n i n g
A m e r i c a n s that " H o m o sapiens is undergoing a fundamental m o d e l
c h a n g e , " Frank M u s g r o v e a n d Hans H e i n r i c h M u c h o w w e r e p r o d u c ­
ing discouraging reports o n the loss of individualism a m o n g the
y o u n g in England and G e r m a n y , respectively.^
Ironically, pessimism w a s most p r o n o u n c e d on the very e v e of a
d e c a d e in w h i c h both A m e r i c a n a n d E u r o p e a n y o u t h w o u l d s h o w
w h a t s e e m e d an entirely different face to its elders. T h e r e n e w a l of
political activism and social c o m m i t m e n t during the 1960s s e e m e d

^ F r i e d e n b e r g , p. 2 0 4 ; a l s o M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozi al struktur, pp. 107-123;


Musgrove, Youth and Social Order, "introduction"; Schelsky; Marwick, p. 5 1 ;
Zweig.

185
186 Youth a n d History

to terminate abruptly the long era of a d o l e s c e n c e . In several c o u n ­


tries the voting age w a s l o w e r e d , walls b e t w e e n school a n d society
w e r e b r e a c h e d , a n d e v e r y w h e r e the y o u n g w e r e reclaiming the rights
and duties of a d u l t h o o d previously w i t h h e l d from t h e m . T h e revival
of student radicalism a n d b o h e m i a n i s m , together w i t h an apparent
increase in various kinds of sexual experimentation, s e e m e d , in fact,
to reverse t h e trend of the previous 50 years a n d to restore s o m e ­
thing of the social a n d political i n d e p e n d e n c e of y o u t h that had
b e e n a feature of the nineteenth century. B e h i n d these m o v e m e n t s
lay social changes that w e r e altering the status of those y o u t h w h o s e
life cycles had b e e n most accurately reflected in the institution of
a d o l e s c e n c e , namely the u p p e r and m i d d l e classes. Political a n d c u l ­
tural radicalism w a s the o u t w a r d expression of their search for n e w
forms to m e e t the needs of a changing life c y c l e . T h e 1960s w e r e
for t h e m , therefore, a t i m e of reassessing old traditions a n d experi­
menting with new.
A m o n g working-class y o u t h , c h a n g e w a s also e v i d e n t , though per­
haps not as striking if only because the n o r m of adolescent d e p e n d ­
e n c e a n d passivity had n e v e r b e e n so pervasive a m o n g that group.
T h e rise in delinquent behavior that m a n y observers c l a i m e d to per­
c e i v e w a s not so m u c h a rejection of an earlier tradition of y o u t h as
the extension of an u n b r o k e n pattern of behavior, modified s o m e ­
w h a t by the n e w standards of living of the p o s t - W o r l d W a r II p e r i o d .
Nevertheless, o n this level of society as w e l l , a n e w phase of the
social history of y o u t h w a s clearly beginning. T o understand the
trends manifesting themselves a m o n g the w o r k i n g classes a n d w h y
these differed so from those present at higher social levels, it is n e c ­
essary to look at the changing d e m o g r a p h i c a n d e c o n o m i c c o n d i ­
tions of the p o s t - W o r l d W a r II p e r i o d .

I
Trends t o w a r d family limitation, d e t e c t e d e v e n before the b e g i n ­
ning of the century, had c o n t i n u e d ; a n d , w h i l e there w a s s o m e slight
increase in average family size in the 1950s, it w a s so small as not
to affect the overall picture of smaller families a n d the m o r e careful
consideration of children's futures. T h e ideal of the t w o - c h i l d family
E n d of A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h I n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 787

s e e m e d to h a v e percolated d o w n to the lowest ranks of society, e v e n


though the restriction of fertility w a s still slightly less at the v e r y bot­
t o m of the social order. Birth control had spread to all classes, b e ­
ginning at the top a n d spreading d o w n w a r d as t h e century pro­
gressed. E c o n o m i c conditions w e r e also c h a n g i n g , as t h e postwar
affluence eliminated the primary poverty that had b e e n prevalent in
the 1930s. M a n y observors t h o u g h t they d e t e c t e d a c o n v e r g e n c e of
class values d u r i n g the 1950s. It a p p e a r e d that the rising standard of
living e n j o y e d by the w o r k i n g classes w a s causing their attitudes
t o w a r d children to b e c o m e m o r e middle-class, w h i l e the bourgeoisie
w a s m o v i n g in its o w n w a y t o w a r d a c o n c e p t of y o u t h that w a s closer
to the i n d e p e n d e n c e a n d precocity earlier associated only w i t h w o r k ­
ing-class children.2
For m i d d l e - a n d upper-class families, t h e p e r i o d after about 1950
saw the final d e c l i n e of patriarchalism.^ O n e sign of the greater f r e e ­
d o m of adolescents w a s the final d i s a p p e a r a n c e of c h a p e r o n a g e ; a n d
by the 1960s there w a s a significant t e n d e n c y for parents to place
considerably greater trust in t h e p e e r g r o u p a n d to require less adult
supervision for both their sons a n d daughters.^ F r e e d o m s previously
associated w i t h university-age y o u t h w e r e b e i n g rapidly appropriated
by adolescents, w h o , having access to larger a l l o w a n c e s a n d greater
mobility m a d e possible by the a u t o m o b i l e , w e r e gaining something
of the a u t o n o m y they had lost a century or so before. W h i l e m i d d l e -
class patterns t e n d e d still to segregate this age group f r o m the w o r l d
of w o r k , this w a s less likely than before to be a c c o m p a n i e d by social
a n d sexual separation. Even in E n g l a n d , w h e r e sex-segregated e d u ­
cation r e m a i n e d e n t r e n c h e d in t h e boarding s c h o o l , there w a s s o m e
tendency toward m o r e c o e d u c a t i o n of males a n d females. Every­
w h e r e the walls b e t w e e n school and w o r l d w e r e c o m i n g d o w n , as
n e w , m o r e broadly defined types of secondary e d u c a t i o n w e r e in­
troduced.
T h e t e e n a g e d of this class w e r e breaking out of their social isola­
tion a n d n o w h e r e w a s this m o r e o b v i o u s than in their sexual b e ­
havior. M i c h a e l Schofield a n d Hans H e i n r i c h M u c h o w h a v e d e m o n ­
strated for England and G e r m a n y , respectively, that middle-class
courtship a n d marriage patterns w e r e c o n v e r g i n g w i t h those of the
w o r k i n g strata of society. O n all social levels, the t e n d e n c y of the

- M a r s h , p. 5 1 ; R o n a l d F l e t c h e r , p. 1 1 5 .
For d i s c u s s i o n of this t r e n d t h r o u g h o u t E u r o p e , s e e G o o d e , p p . 1 7 - 3 0 , 6 6 - 7 0 .
* G o o d e , p p . 3 1 - 3 5 ; T u r n e r , History of Courting, p. 69.
188 Youth a n d History

age of puberty a n d m e n a r c h e to d r o p four months per d e c a d e h a d


p r o d u c e d u n p r e c e d e n t e d levels of physical precocity. B o y s , w h o in
1900 had reached their full g r o w t h at 23, w e r e n o w fully mature at
17.^ In both countries, working-class males a n d females still t e n d e d
to enter sexual e x p e r i e n c e s o m e w h a t earlier than their middle-class
counterparts, but this gap in precocity w a s m u c h less m a r k e d than
earlier. K n o w l e d g e of sex had b e c o m e w i d e s p r e a d a m o n g both
groups long before puberty, a n d a m o n g middle-class y o u t h there
w a s little of the trauma of sexual a w a k e n i n g that w a s so frequent
a m o n g their n u m b e r 50 years earlier.^ Thanks largely to greater a c ­
cess to the supportive c o m p a n y of peers, t h e adjustment to sexual
maturation had lost its lonely, disturbing character."^
Biology w a s not the only determinant of this c h a n g e , for it seems
that schools, c h u r c h e s , a n d doctors w e r e b e c o m i n g s o m e w h a t m o r e
accepting of adolescent sexuality, h o w e v e r strongly moralistic might
be their p r o n o u n c e m e n t s o n the subject. T o d a y , the traditional anx­
iety is still plainly e v i d e n t , but t h e emphasis is n o w as m u c h o n p r e ­
venting socially undesirable c o n s e q u e n c e s of early sexual e x p e r i e n c e
as o n c o n d e m n i n g the act itself. N o t e s o n e perceptive s c h o o l b o y :
" B e f o r e w e left [school] the r e v e r e n d told us not to d o it; t h e doctor
told us h o w not to d o it; a n d the h e a d told us w h e r e not to d o it." ^
In any case, dating in the c o m p a n y of friends begins a m o n g English
w o r k i n g y o u t h at 13 or 14, w i t h the middle-class y o u t h starting only
slightly later. Schofield f o u n d that middle-class adolescents w e r e
m o r e likely to defer actual intercourse, relying longer o n petting;
but, again, these differences are not as p r o n o u n c e d as earlier. A m o n g
both classes the process of introduction to sexuality is strongly i n ­
fluenced by a romantic c o n c e p t i o n that tolerates intimacy only w h e n
affection is also present. Surveys s h o w that serious m o n o g a m o u s dat­
ing sets in at about 17 or 18 for all social strata, a n d that, by that
t i m e , a third of males a n d a quarter of females h a v e e x p e r i e n c e d
sexual intercourse.^ A m o n g all groups, promiscuity is relatively rare,
h o w e v e r . Partners in intercourse h a v e usually k n o w n o n e a n o t h e r for
s o m e period of t i m e a n d feel a strong sense of responsibility t o w a r d

^ S c h o f i e l d , p. 2 7 ; C o m f o r t , S e x in Society, pp. 100-101.


® S c h o f i e l d , p p . 4 4 - 4 5 ; M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozialstruktur, pp. 86-95.
^ M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozialstruktur, pp. 92-93; C o o d e , pp. 31-33; Mays,
V o t i n g Pretenders, pp. 114-124.
^ Q u o t e d in S c h o f i e l d , p. 87.
® S c h o f i e l d , p. 3 3 ; W i l l m o t t , p p . 5 4 - 5 8 . F o r a s u r v e y of a v a i l a b l e international
statistics, s e e B r o d e r i c k , C h a p t e r s 8 - 9 .
E n d o f A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h i n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 189

o n e another, the vast majority v i e w i n g sexual relations as a p r e l u d e


to marriage.i^
T h e romantic standard of " p e r m i s s i v e n e s s w i t h a f f e c t i o n " is also
reflected in the general d e c l i n e of m a l e use of prostitutes since W o r l d
W a r I. T h e custom of older persons introducing the y o u n g to sex no
longer holds either (if it e v e r d i d ) , a n d it w o u l d s e e m , if t h e statistics
o n the ages of marriage partners are any indication, that p e o p l e are
n o w m o r e likely to b e intimate w i t h persons of their o w n age g r o u p .
Even a m o n g the m i d d l e a n d u p p e r classes, w h e r e disparities in age
w e r e o n c e frequent, the pattern seems to b e for the informal p e e r
group to act as the central institution for introducing, e n c o u r a g i n g ,
and e v e n controlling relations b e t w e e n t h e sexes during t h e t e e n
y e a r s . i i A s Geoffrey G o r e r has pointed out, w h i l e moral attitudes
have c h a n g e d little, the locus of moral authority has shifted radically,
particularly for the m i d d l e class:^^

Earlier generations c o n s i d e r e d that ladies n e e d e d help in guarding


t h e i r c h a s t i t y ; t h e last t w o g e n e r a t i o n s h a v e p a s s e d t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y
to t h e y o u n g p e o p l e themselves. . . . W e are putting a greater w e i g h t
of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o n y o u n g girls t o d a y t h a n t h e y e v e r h a d t o b e a r i n
t h e past f o r t h e i r o w n sexual c o n d u c t .

O n e reason w h y middle-class parents h a v e relaxed control is t h e


fact that residental a n d scholastic segregation of various class groups
ensures that the peers w i l l b e of t h e s a m e class. Class lines a m o n g
the y o u n g are still so strong that persons of v e r y different b a c k g r o u n d
or education are not likely to m e e t . In this case, the control of t h e
y o u n g by the y o u n g has contributed to social stratification in the last
t w o d e c a d e s , a condition reflected by t h e fact that in 8 3 % of E n g ­
lish marriages, partners share either the s a m e social b a c k g r o u n d or
the same level of a c a d e m i c achievement.^^ W i t h respect to courtship,
t h e n , the habits of middle-class y o u t h h a v e m o v e d closer to those
of the w o r k i n g class without, h o w e v e r , bridging the barriers b e t w e e n
the social groups t h e m s e l v e s .
A g e of marriage has also d r o p p e d considerably since W o r l d W a r
II. In 1931 only 7 % of English males 15-24 years of age w e r e mar­
ried. In 1 9 5 1 , the proportion w a s 1 2 . 5 % a n d by 1957 it w a s 1 4 . 9 % .

^ " S c h o f i e l d , p. 7 5 ; N e i d h a r d t , Junge Generation, p. 8 5 .


" G o o d e , p. 4 0 .
" Q u o t e d in R o n a l d F l e t c h e r , p. 1 6 0 ; a l s o G o r e r , C h a p t e r 8.
^ R o n a l d F l e t c h e r , p. 1 1 1 .
790 Youth a n d History

For w o m e n of the same age-bracket, the percentages for the s a m e


years w e r e 1 4 % , 2 7 . 2 % , and 3 0 . 5 % , respectively.^^ This recovery of
youthful marriage is significant insofar as it demonstrates the trend
t o w a r d greater a u t o n o m y . It w a s most m a r k e d a m o n g the m i d d l e
classes, w h o s e n o r m of respectability had kept the average marriage
age very high until w e l l into the present century.^^ W h i l e it is still
true that y o u n g persons w h o are e n g a g e d in higher e d u c a t i o n post­
p o n e marriage longer than the nonstudent p o p u l a t i o n , there still
seems to be a c o n v e r g e n c e of class values that goes h a n d in hand
w i t h a s o c i e t y - w i d e redefinition of marriage. T h e spread of efficient
means of contraception a m o n g all social groups has m e a n t that sex­
ual intercourse, either inside or outside of marriage, no longer n e c e s ­
sarily means children. " M a r r i a g e has b e c o m e to a considerable ex­
tent a n d for a large proportion of the population a m e t h o d of setting
up a joint h o m e w i t h o u t necessarily increasing the size of family by
the addition of c h i l d r e n , " writes D a v i d M a r s h . M a r r i a g e has b e e n
separated from inheritance e v e n a m o n g the propertied classes, a n d
the conditions of e m p l o y m e n t for y o u n g professional m e n a n d
w o m e n have sufficiently i m p r o v e d since 1945, so that middle-class
p e o p l e can marry earlier w i t h o u t e n d a n g e r i n g their status, p o s t p o n ­
ing children to a point later in life w h e n they feel they can better
afford t h e m . This logical extension of the middle-class pattern of
family planning has b e e n further e n c o u r a g e d by the fact that many
educated w o m e n w i s h to c o n t i n u e their careers after marriage. W h i l e
the m o v e m e n t t o w a r d w o m e n ' s liberation has e n c o u r a g e d s o m e to
delay marriage or e v e n a b a n d o n it entirely, its effect w i t h respect to
the status of y o u t h has b e e n , nevertheless, to increase the a u t o n o m y
of y o u n g persons from the authority a n d control of their parents a n d ,
thus, to place t h e m in a position m o r e like that of the y o u t h of the
w o r k i n g classes.
In short, both e n d s of the period of middle-class a d o l e s c e n c e h a v e
b e e n blurred by changes relating to sexuality a n d marriage. T h e line
that had o n c e clearly separated the secondary student from the e l e ­
mentary school child has b e e n erased by earlier sexual maturation
and by the very fact that so m a n y children n o w go o n to s o m e kind
of further training, so that the profile of the o n c e exclusive group of
adolescent students is n o longer as sharply d e f i n e d as it o n c e h a d
b e e n . At the other e n d of a d o l e s c e n c e , t h e o n c e - c l e a r distinction

R o n a l d F l e t c h e r , p. 1 1 1 ; M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, pp. 80-81.


G o o d e , p p . 4 1 - 4 9 ; M a y s , Young Pretenders, pp. 130-138.
^« M a r s h , p. 3 5 .
E n d of A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h i n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 797

b e t w e e n school a n d university y o u t h has also broken d o w n for rea­


sons that will b e discussed later. In effect, a d o l e s c e n c e , w h i l e still
recognized in medical texts and psychological guides, is losing its
status as a separate stage of life a m o n g the v e r y class w i t h w h o m it
has b e e n previously associated.

II
As for the laboring classes, the p o s t - W o r l d W a r II period brought
changes associated w i t h the n e w levels of affluence that reinforced
s o m e family traditions a n d caused adjustments in others. C o m p a r i ­
son of h o u s e h o l d composition in Preston in the 1850s and in S w a n ­
sea in 1960 demonstrates w h a t effect e c o n o m i c and d e m o g r a p h i c
change has had on the general p o p u l a t i o n . ( S e e T a b l e 7.)

TABLE 7

P e r c e n t a g e of H o u s e h o l d s w i t h K i n , L o d g e r s , a n d S e r v a n t s "

Kin Lodgers Servants

S w a n s e a 1960 10-13 <3 <3


Preston 1851 23 23 lO^*

" Figures f r o m M i c h a e l A n d e r s o n , " F a m i l y , H o u s e h o l d , a n d Industrial R e v ­


o l u t i o n , " p. 8 1 .
^ Includes apprentices.

T h e d e c l i n e in servants reflects, of course, the d i s a p p e a r a n c e of


live-in apprenticeship. Lodgers, t o o , are no longer present, because
w o r k i n g p e o p l e can n o w afford their o w n houses or flats. A m o n g
the kin resident in these households, there has b e e n a notable d r o p
in the category of "parentless c h i l d r e n , " both because declining m o r ­
tality rates h a v e cut the n u m b e r of orphans that o n c e w e r e a c c o m m o ­
dated by relatives a n d because the tradition of y o u n g p e o p l e m o v i n g
from the countryside to live w i t h families in the t o w n s has virtually
terminated. A l t h o u g h t h e t e n d e n c y is still for old p e o p l e to live w i t h
their married c h i l d r e n , the working-class h o m e has largely contracted
a r o u n d the nuclear family.
792 Youth a n d History

These are changes reflecting the final extension of l o w mortality


and l o w fertility to the lowest strata of society. T h e w e l f a r e state of
the twentieth century makes it less necessary for parents to rely o n
children as long-term security; a n d higher w a g e s h a v e r e d u c e d their
v a l u e as short-run e c o n o m i c assets as w e l l . T h e n o r m of the t w o -
child family is still alien to s o m e w o r k i n g families, but the c h a n g e
in attitude t o w a r d family planning is o b v i o u s . A M r . Florence told
interviewers in o n e L o n d o n survey:^'^

Fifty y e a r s a g o it w a s d i f f e r e n t . T h e y h a d m o r e c h i l d r e n t h a n t h e y
c o u l d a f f o r d . T h e p u b s w e r e o p e n all d a y , so f a r a s I c a n u n d e r s t a n d .
The man would spend all h i s m o n e y in t h e p u b , c o m e home, and
a b u s e h i s w i f e . T h e r e w a s n o b i r t h c o n t r o l in t h o s e d a y s , I k n o w , b u t
e v e n then there w e r e w a y s a n d m e a n s not to h a v e c h i l d r e n if y o u
d i d n ' t w a n t t o h a v e t h e m . A n d if t h e w o m a n c o m p l a i n e d , it w a s h o l d
y o u r noise a n d give h e r a n o t h e r baby, a n d that's t h e finish.

T h e relatively n e w t e n d e n c y a m o n g the l o w e r orders of the w o r k ­


ing class to plan their families reflects, as M r . Florence suggests, a
n e w relationship b e t w e e n husband a n d w i f e . T h e r e is greater c o n ­
cern on the part of the former for his h o m e responsibilities, i n c l u d ­
ing relieving his w i f e of s o m e of the burdens of child care. This n e w
c o m p a n i o n a t e style is, in part, a function of the n e w affluence; and
so is the t e n d e n c y to treat all children as e q u a l , regardless of their
order of birth. T h e days w h e n " y o u n g e r o n e s w e r e better off in every
w a y " are o v e r for all but the poorest families.^^ T h e eldest are no
longer forced out to w o r k and thus d e p r i v e d of chances for further
e d u c a t i o n . Studies of English working-class families s h o w that par­
ents have b e c o m e increasingly c o n c e r n e d in the past t w o d e c a d e s
w i t h planning each individual child's life chances. Like their social
superiors, they tend to w o r r y o v e r their children's education and
training, s h o w i n g a strong desire that they " d o w e l l " in s c h o o l .
T h e r e is also the c o n c e r n that the children get the right things w h i l e
g r o w i n g up, including not only the necessities of life such as f o o d
and clothing, but w h a t w e r e o n c e regarded as luxuries, entertainment
and travel.
Instances w h e r e families are d e p e n d e n t o n the earnings of their
children are relatively rare n o w , although coresident w o r k i n g c h i l -

Q u o t e d in W i l l m o t t a n d Y o u n g , p. 20.
^'Willmott and Young, pp. 180-85.
' ^ G o l d t h o r p e et al., pp. 130-133; o n G e r m a n working-class family attitudes to­
w a r d e d u c a t i o n , s e e N e i d h a r d t , Familie, pp. 64-67.
E n d o f A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h i n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 793

d r e n are e x p e c t e d to contribute part of their earnings to t h e family


kitty to pay for r o o m a n d b o a r d . C o r e s i d e n c y until marriage is almost
universal, there b e i n g m o r e r o o m at h o m e d u e to small families. In
fact, 9 0 % of English children in 1959 w e r e still living at h o m e t w o
years after leaving school.^o O n e is not surprised to find that, as the
working class has b e c o m e suburbanized a n d finds itself in more
spacious surroundings, leisure t i m e has b e c o m e increasingly family-
c e n t e r e d in the m a n n e r o n c e c o n f i n e d to the better-off.^i W h i l e par­
ents a n d children s p e n d a g o o d deal of t i m e together, y o u t h , n o n e ­
theless, still e n j o y a considerable f r e e d o m to c o m e a n d go as they
w i s h . W o r k i n g - c l a s s parents still s e e m to set f e w e r limitations o n
staying out at night than d o their middle-class counterparts, although
they, t o o , are likely to m a k e a sharp distinction b e t w e e n w h a t they
consider " r e s p e c t a b l e " as o p p o s e d to " r o u g h " b e h a v i o r o n the part
of the y o u n g . B y middle-class standards they m a y s e e m permissive,
but by their o w n norms of right a n d w r o n g they are relatively strict,
putting strong pressure o n their children to stay out of trouble.^^
All this w o u l d s e e m to indicate a c o n v e r g e n c e of class attitudes
t o w a r d y o u t h , but there remain important differences that should
not b e o v e r l o o k e d . W o r k i n g - c l a s s parents c o n t i n u e to expect their
children to m o v e o n to w o r k at an earlier a g e ; a n d their attitude
t o w a r d p r o l o n g e d schooling, a n d the d e p e n d e n c e that this involves,
remains very different f r o m that of the m i d d l e class. J o h n G o l d t h o r p e
a n d his colleagues h a v e c o n c l u d e d that working-class p e o p l e c o n ­
tinue to a p p r o a c h the school largely for the skills it offers a n d not,
as w i t h the m i d d l e class, as a source of social status or social c o n ­
trol

Parental concern that they [the children] should "do well" is


confined to a c h i e v e m e n t within the context of w o r k i n g - c l a s s values
a n d l i f e - s t y l e s — a s , f o r e x a m p l e , in b e c o m i n g e s t a b l i s h e d in a " t r a d e "
o r a " s t e a d y " j o b . A s p i r a t i o n s d o n o t e x t e n d t o l e v e l s of e d u c a t i o n o r
t y p e s of j o b s w h i c h w o u l d result in c h i l d r e n b e i n g t a k e n a w a y from
t h e i r f a m i l y a n d c o m m u n i t y in e i t h e r a g e o g r a p h i c a l o r s o c i a l s e n s e .

Parental attitudes are an important e l e m e n t in the t e n d e n c y of


working-class y o u t h to leave school earlier, e v e n t h o u g h w a g e s are

^ L o w n d e s , p. 3 0 1 .
M o g e y , p p . 57ff, 7 0 - 7 5 ; N e i d h a r d t , Familie, pp. 68-69.
^ G o l d t h o r p e e t a / . , 1 4 3 ; M o g e y , p p . 70ff; W i l l m o t t , p p . 1 5 8 - 1 6 1 .
G o l d t h o r p e ef a/., p. 119.
194 Youth a n d History

not n e e d e d at h o m e a n d the state pays for higher e d u c a t i o n . W o r k e r


families in both England a n d G e r m a n y place stronger v a l u e o n t e c h ­
nical education a n d regard the a c a d e m i c training that leads to u n i ­
versity entrance as either a less w o r t h y or a simply unrealistic g o a l .
Despite the apparent equality of opportunity offered by state-
financed e d u c a t i o n , there remains the s u s p i c i o n — a n d a justifiable
o n e — t h a t higher learning leads to a cultural separation from the
family itself, a n d thus the " l o s s " of a son or daughter.^^ H e n c e the
t e n d e n c y of m a n y working-class parents to e n c o u r a g e w o r k as o p ­
posed to s c h o o l . Strong emphasis o n k e e p i n g the family together,
w h i c h is also reflected in the t e n d e n c y of g r o w n children to settle
near their parents, finds further support in other agencies of w o r k ­
ing-class life, most notably a m o n g the p e e r group itself. T h e pres­
sure o n working-class boys by their o w n age mates to go along w i t h
the group a n d drop out of s c h o o l , is reflected in the observations
of o n e y o u n g L o n d o n e r .

T h e boys w h o didn't go to grammar school w e r e n ' t particularly


a g a i n s t y o u b e c a u s e t h e y d i d n ' t g o . B u t y o u f o u n d a b i g c h a n g e as
s o o n as t h e y left s c h o o l at t h e a g e of 1 5 . Y o u ' d still g o t a n o t h e r c o u p l e
of y e a r s t o d o a n d t h e y ' d s t a r t e d g o i n g t o w o r k , a n d f r o m t h e n o n
t h e r e w a s a d i f f e r e n c e . T h e y w e n t t o w o r k , t h e y m a d e t h e i r w a y in t h e
w o r l d , a n d y o u w e r e still at s c h o o l a n d t h e y t h o u g h t of y o u a s a k i n d
of l o w life. T h e y a l m o s t r e g a r d e d y o u as a cissy.

Pressures of paternity a n d fraternity for solidarity a n d against i n ­


dividual mobility are based, in part, o n a realistic assessment of the
difficulties of rising in a society w h i c h is still so strongly stratified in
terms of w e a l t h , culture, a n d influence. T h e p r o b l e m s of c l i m b i n g to
the higher professions w i t h o u t aid of family w e a l t h a n d c o n n e c t i o n s
are still v e r y marked in both G e r m a n y a n d England, despite the
spread of free education since 1 9 4 5 . I n G e r m a n y , working-class c h i l ­
dren m a k e up 5 % of university students; in England, their share is
2 5 % , but still reflective of e n o r m o u s inequalities. A n awareness
of these a n d a desire to maintain the collective values of family.

^On t h e p r o b l e m s of t h e s c h o l a r s h i p b o y a n d t h e u p w a r d l y m o b i l e in g e n e r a l ,
see Hoggart, Chapters 7-10.
Q u o t e d in W i l l m o t t , p. 9 5 .
^ F o r i n t e r n a t i o n a l f i g u r e s , s e e E d d i n g , p p . 3 8 2 - 3 9 1 ; N e i d h a r d t , junge Generation,
p. 38ff; M a r s h , p p . 2 1 8 - 2 1 9 .
E n d o f A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h i n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 195

n e i g h b o r h o o d , a n d class, are responsible for the continuing differ­


ences in the life cycles of the w o r k i n g a n d m i d d l e classes.
B e i n g less status- a n d c a r e e r - o r i e n t e d , working-class y o u t h are
m o r e likely to chafe at the restrictive nature of the school a n d to b e
less accepting of the deferred gratification than are their middle-class
peers. Their ideal is a w e l l - p a y i n g , steady j o b that w i l l permit early
attainment of adult status. Correspondingly, they tend to b e less loyal
to institutions like the s c h o o l , a n d m o r e d e v o t e d to their o w n kind,
particularly the peer group. M a l e s , in particular, find the c o m p a n y of
their o w n age-group m o r e fulfilling than clubs or sponsored recrea­
tional activity; and w h e r e sex segregation is reinforced by w o r k roles,
the m a l e peer group remains a primary unit of c o m m u n i t y life for the
m e n e v e n after they are married.^^ Ordinarily, h o w e v e r , the peer
group rarely retains the loyalty of its m e m b e r s after 18 or 19, by
w h i c h time they are actively e n g a g e d in courtship. Peer groups are a
major social institution of those years 13-18, during w h i c h time a b o y
is clearly not a child a n d yet has not entered fully into the adult w o r l d
of w o r k or pursuit of matrimony.
T h e activities of such p e e r groups are not directed against adult
institutions per se, but, in their search for recreation d u r i n g after-
school or after-work hours, group m e m b e r s often find themselves in
conflict w i t h those institutions. In this a n d other respects, the tradi­
tions of y o u t h associated w i t h the urban working-class peer group
have r e m a i n e d very m u c h alive in recent d e c a d e s . Differences in the
w a y s m i d d l e - a n d working-class y o u t h s p e n d leisure t i m e reflect dis­
parities in social and e c o n o m i c opportunity, and inequalities in a c ­
cess to higher education a n d desirable professions. A s long as this
gulf continues to exist, the function of the p e e r group as a s u p ­
portive agency of collective a n d individual goals is likely to go
unchallenged a n d , i n d e e d , m a y e v e n increase in importance as other
traditional points of contact a m o n g w o r k i n g m e n , such as the w o r k
place, b e c o m e increasingly depersonalized or inaccessible to those
still in school. In short, the trends of the past t w o decades have not
diminished the role of the peer group but have actually increased it.
It should b e n o t e d , h o w e v e r , that E u r o p e a n p e e r groups remain
small and loosely structured, w i t h o u t the authoritarian hierarchy of

^ In c o a l mining communities, peer groups c o n t i n u e to remain extraordinarily


s t r o n g . S e e D e n n i s et a/., p p . 2 2 1 - 2 2 7 . F o r less f o r m a l street c o r n e r s o c i e t i e s , s e e
M o g e y , p p . 54ff.
796 Youth a n d History

A m e r i c a n " g a n g s . " Boys in groups d o occasionally e n g a g e in c o l l e c ­


tive crimes of o n e sort or another, most of t h e m petty in character.
T h e chief purpose of their existence is social, a n d it is mainly in the
search for entertainment or " k i c k s " that misconduct occurs.'^*^ T h e
trend of j u v e n i l e d e l i n q u e n c y is m u c h the same as that trend n o t e d
in the previous chapter, w i t h the old territorially-based gangs giving
w a y to m o r e m o b i l e groups. M o t o r c y c l e s a n d cars have b e e n a d e ­
termining factor, part of the general affluence that has e n c o u r a g e d
peer groups to turn their collective energies to n e w interests. In Liv­
e r p o o l , for e x a m p l e , previously belligerent y o u t h gangs took up
music in the early 1960s, creating a n e w kind of solidarity that is n o w
associated w i t h " B e a t l e m a n i a . " Unfortunately, poorer b o y s , w i t h o u t
m o n e y for instruments or c o s t u m e , w e r e left b e h i n d by this d e v e l ­
o p m e n t . T h e y c o n t i n u e d to manifest the aggressiveness of the old
slum groups, w h i l e the m o r e fortunate of their peers turned to crea­
tive pursuits.--*
Recent research indicates that the traditional distinction b e t w e e n
" r e s p e c t a b l e " a n d " r o u g h " y o u t h has m o d e r a t e d s o m e w h a t , but not
yet d i s a p p e a r e d in either G e r m a n y or England. Large families, often
associated w i t h low i n c o m e a n d p o o r housing, c o n t i n u e to exist as d e ­
l i n q u e n c y - p r o d u c i n g pockets in both countries a n d , not surprisingly,
it is from these that criminal careers most often d e v e l o p . In an analy­
sis of the causes of c o n t e m p o r a r y j u v e n i l e c r i m e , w h i c h c o u l d just
as w e l l apply to any previous century, D. J . W e s t has w r i t t e n : " F r o m
the familiar conglomeration of social handicaps (labouring class, p o v ­
erty, o v e r c r o w d i n g , immigrant, Irish R o m a n C a t h o l i c , b a d neighbor­
h o o d , poor schooling, broken h o m e a n d large family) it seems futile
to single out any o n e as the p r i m e factor in the d e v e l o p m e n t of j u ­
venile d e l i n q u e n c y . " Thus, w h i l e the level of affluence and o p ­
portunity rises generally, relative inequality remains strongly p r o ­
n o u n c e d , not only b e t w e e n the u p p e r a n d l o w e r social strata but
w i t h i n the w o r k i n g class itself. D e s p i t e the fact that persistent y o u n g
offenders are but a tiny minority of their total a g e - g r o u p , their ex­
istence remains a challenge to the optimists w h o p e r c e i v e t h e past
t w o decades as an era of equality a m o n g Europe's y o u n g .

=^See W i l l m o t t , C h a p t e r 2 ; M a y s , Young Pretenders, pp. 27-28.


* W e s t , p p . 9 4 - 9 5 ; N e i d h a r d t , Junge Generation, pp. 74-78.
W e s t , p. 74.
End of Adolescence: Youth in the 19505 and 19605 197

III
Life cycles have been converging, but not to the point of creating
one common mold for either boyhood or girlhood. Indeed, as far as
official policy toward youth is concerned, the notion of a single
model of adolescence, a concept so strongly held in previous dec-
ades, has itself been giving way to greater diversity. Nowhere was
this more evident than in the middle-class youth movements; and,
by the mid-1960s, even the English Scouts were ready to drop "Boy"
from their standard as a concession to the changing times. An offi-
cial study, prompted by declining membership, justified the change
on the grounds that "the older boy or youth is most anxious to be
regarded as adult, and is inclined to avoid anything that causes him
to be classified with an age group lower than that to which he be-
longs." 31 Falling numbers also encouraged the Church Lads' Brigade
to reconsider its status as a drill-oriented, single-sex organization.
"It would be unrealistic in the prevailing moral and social climate,
to expect it to make a broad-front appeal to boys," Brigade leader-
ship concluded. 32 In Germany as well, old-fashioned youth groups
were in trouble by the end of the 1950s, not so much with youth
under 14 as with the age group 14-18, as the survey of the Oxford
Scouts, Table 8, illustrates.
Had it not been for the Cub membership, the movement would
have been in a great deal more trouble than it was. Organizations
for girls found it even more difficult to hold the attentions of mem-
bers 14 and older, one of the reasons that the Oxford City Youth
Committee decided as early as 1950 that the working girl could best
be served by "treating her, not so much as a youth club member but
as a young adult." 33 The whole approach to youth clubs was chang-
ing as churches gradually ceased to regard their facilities as recruit-
ing grounds for new members and the old objections to mixed-sex

at Publication/report, Chief Scout's Report, p. 14.


a2 Springhall, p. 143.
~ Ms. source E, Youth Committee, Min. Book, 1950.
198 Youth a n d History

TABLE 8

Membership in the Oxford Scouts, 194&-1966''

Cub
Scouts Scouts Scouts Total C u b s
Year 8-11 12-14 15-20 and Scouts

1946 516 701 294 1521


1956 714 696 164 1712
1966 764 653 131 1548

" C e n s u s of O x f o r d S c o u t A s s o c i a t i o n f o r t h e y e a r s 1 9 2 0 - 1 9 6 6 w a s m a d e a v a i l a b l e
t o m e b y M r . W . J . W i l l i s of O x f o r d . T h e a g g r e g a t e f i g u r e s a r e m y c o m p i l a t i o n .

organizations faded.^^ M o r e informal, " o p e n " arrangements w e r e b e ­


ing e x p e r i m e n t e d w i t h as E u r o p e a n y o u t h w o r k e r s began to adjust
to the habits of t h e y o u n g rather than insisting that t h e y o u n g adjust
to their standards. In 1960, Oxford's Y o u t h C o m m i t t e e w a s w i l l i n g
to r e c o m m e n d mixed clubs " e v e n though these are admittedly m o r e
difficult to r u n , " an effort at a c c o m m o d a t i o n o n their part that m a r k e d
a radical shift a w a y from the institutional imperatives of earlier d e c -
ades.^^
T h e old fear of unsupervised activity w a s disappearing a n d a m o r e
relaxed a t m o s p h e r e n o w characterized most y o u t h clubs, t h o u g h a
certain tension b e t w e e n the old a n d n e w generations of y o u t h w o r k ­
ers w a s e v i d e n t , as noted in the editorials that a p p e a r e d in O x f o r d ' s
y o u t h newsletter:^^

Though m a n y y o u t h l e a d e r s t e a c h t h e " p u b l i c s c h o o l " v i r t u e s of l o y ­


a l t y , i n i t i a t i v e , a n d s e n s e of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , f e w e n c o u r a g e m e m b e r s of
their organizations to think for themselves. S o scared are w e that boys
a n d girls w i l l b e c o m e " t e d d i f i e d , " p r o m i s c u o u s o r c o m m u n i s t , t h a t w e
try, o f t e n u n c o n s c i o u s l y , t o i m p o s e u p o n t h e m o u r o w n sets of v a l u e s ,
s o t h a t t h e y m a y " f i t i n t o " o u r s o c i e t y a n d t h u s n o t w i s h t o c h a n g e it.
Some of us t h e r e f o r e flag-wave with Palmerstonian abandon, others
ram personally held religious beliefs d o w n adolescent throats, while

' * B r e w , p p . 1 1 8 - 1 1 9 . I n c o n t r a s t , a s u r v e y of O x f o r d y o u t h t a k e n i n 1943 s h o w e d
little i n t e r e s t a n d e v e n a d e g r e e of h o s t i l i t y t o m i x e d g r o u p s . M s . s o u r c e I, C o l e
Papers, Oxford F i l e of t h e S o c i a l Reconstruction Survey, "Voluntary Services in
Oxford," prepared by C . Craven.
' ^ " S u r v e y of Y o u t h S e r v i c e s in O x f o r d , " a memorandum provided m e by M r .
F. S . G r e e n , p r e v i o u s l y of t h e O x f o r d Y o u t h S e r v i c e . ( I t a l i c s a r e m i n e . )
^ N e w s p a p e r / p e r i o d i c a l . Contact, J u l y 1957.
E n d of A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h I n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 799

w e ail p r e a c h a p u r e l y a r b i t r a r y d o c t r i n e of s e x u a l m o r a l i t y as a n i m ­
m u t a b l e c o d e of D i v i n e L a w . . . . M a n y still f e e l t h a t t h e c i n e m a is
v a g u e l y s i n f u l , a n d t h a t t h e t e l e v i s i o n is t h e r o o t of all e v i l . A n t i q u i t y
spells safety, h o w e v e r , a n d t h e o l d s t y l e c o u n t r y d a n c e is e n c o u r a g e d
in m a n y y o u t h g r o u p s , w h i l e j i v i n g , perhaps the true folk d a n c e of
t o d a y , is o f t e n f o r b i d d e n , f o r it is m o d e r n a n d t h e r e f o r e dangerous.

Y o u t h w a s at a transition point, a n d although there w a s m u c h re­


sistance to c h a n g e , middle-class o p i n i o n w a s clearly shifting t o w a r d
greater tolerance of diverse life cycles. " W e d e p l o r e the habit of
singling out the adolescent or 'teenager' as a separate and distinct
person with a particular p r o b l e m , " stated the Oxford Y o u t h C o m ­
mittee's 1960 report. " P e o p l e of all ages have their p r o b l e m s , and
the youth service is only o n e aspect of the provision by the c o m ­
munity for its o w n w e l l b e i n g . " ^" I n v o l v e m e n t in c o m m u n i t y affairs
w a s n o w e n c o u r a g e d , though exposure to politics w a s still v i e w e d
with alarm. T h e postwar W e s t G e r m a n youth service had officially
dedicated itself to the preparation of the y o u n g for participation in
d e m o c r a c y , but, like its English counterpart, carefully a v o i d e d par­
tisan involvement.'^^ A p p a r e n t l y , those youths w h o w e r e attracted to
leadership in official organizations also shared adult a p p r e h e n s i o n s ,
for w h e n the 18-year-old v o t e w a s considered at a national m e e t i n g
of English youth councils in 1964 it w a s v o t e d d o w n by a considerable
majority. O n e girl, speaking against the resolution, reflected the
m o o d of the m e m b e r s h i p w h e n she c o n t e n d e d that the current B e a -
tlemania s h o w e d youth " q u i t e unworthy of the h o n o u r . "
Beatlemania w a s , by origin, a working-class p h e n o m e n o n , a n d the
c o n t e m p t in w h i c h rock music and d a n c e w e r e held by m a n y club
m e m b e r s reflected a lingering class-consciousness o n the part of
those in charge. But w h i l e class differences w i t h i n the youth m o v e ­
ments r e m a i n e d e v i d e n t , the barriers that had previously d i v i d e d
adult youth w o r k e r s from those they sought to serve w e r e rapidly
dissipating, a trend that w a s reflected in the first-name basis that n o w
prevailed in m a n y c l u b s . T h e v a g u e m o o d of fear a n d hostility that

•"^^ " S u r v e y of Y o u t h S e r v i c e s in O x f o r d . " R e p o r t of C o m m i t t e e o n A g e of M a j o r i t y


( p u b l i c a t i o n / r e p o r t ) r e p o r t e d t h a t B r i t i s h y o u t h r e g a r d e d t h e m s e l v e s as a d u l t at a g e
17. W i l s o n , p. 7 2 .
^ P r o s s , p. 4 5 5 ; L a q u e u r , p p . 2 1 6 - 2 2 7 .
^ Q u o t e d in n e w s p a p e r / p e r i o d i c a l . Contact, M a y 1964. O n t h e g e n e r a l t e n d e n c y
t o w a r d c o n s e r v a t i s m , s e e M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, pp. 19-23; Marwick,
p p . 5 0 - 5 1 ; a n d A b r a m s a n d Little, p p . 95-110.
B r e w , p. 129.
200 Youth a n d History

had o n c e existed w a s apparently disappearing, mainly because y o u t h


w o r k w a s , m o r e than e v e r before, a professional matter.
T h e position of the m i d d l e classes, particularly the w h i t e - c o l l a r
groups, had stabilized in the postwar era. Pensions a n d tenure ar­
rangements protected managers, teachers, a n d civil servants against
the insecurities that had plagued that group during the first d e c a d e s
of the century.^^ T h e d e c l i n e of militant working-class m o v e m e n t s in
western E u r o p e a n countries also contributed to their p e a c e of m i n d ;
a n d , as C o l d W a r tensions a b a t e d , the n e e d to indoctrinate the y o u n g
w i t h the values of patriotism s e e m e d less pressing. E n d o w e d w i t h
greater w e a l t h and leisure than e v e r before, the groups from w h i c h
the caretaker elites had o n c e b e e n recruited began to w i t h d r a w into
a m o r e self-centered private existence. B y the e n d of the 1950s, m i d ­
dle-class y o u t h m o v e m e n t s w e r e h a v i n g trouble recruiting the v o l ­
unteers that had o n c e b e e n at their command.^^ fact that, since
1945, the proportion of married w o m e n at w o r k had increased c o n ­
siderably may also account for the disappearance of the lady v o l u n ­
teer; but, for w h a t e v e r reason, the m i d d l e class w a s leaving w o r k
w i t h youth to the professional, a c h a n g e that w a s b o u n d to alter the
nature of childsaving.^^
Even those organizations that still relied on voluntary w o r k e r s re­
flected these changes. A survey of English Scout leaders, c o n d u c t e d
in 1966, s h o w e d that 8 2 % had b e e n Scouts themselves. T h e major
reason they gave for volunteering w a s a sense of debt to the o r g a n i ­
zation, not the moral a n d patriotic zeal that had m o v e d an earlier
generation. A l t h o u g h two-thirds w e r e m i d d l e class a n d most had a
very high rate of church a t t e n d a n c e , they s e e m e d notably lacking in
missionary impulse a n d w e r e clearly m o r e interested in perpetuating
an organization d e v o t e d to e n j o y m e n t than serving as agents of s o ­
cialization.^^ In G e r m a n y , t o o , earlier purposes w e r e at such discount
that many w e r e n o w w o r r i e d that y o u t h w o r k might be suffering
from a surfeit of m a n a g e m e n t a n d a deficit of idealism.^^ T h e r e , it
w a s clear that t h e ideology as w e l l as the role of the caretaker h a d
altered drastically, a c c o u n t i n g , in part, for the n e w a n d m o r e tolerant
generational relations that w e r e apparent by 1960.

' O n t h e rise of t h e status of t e a c h e r s , s e e T r o p p ; and Baron and Tropp, pp.


545-554. For G e r m a n y , s e e S a m u e l a n d T h o m a s , C h a p t e r 4.
"Green, p. 1 1 ; a l s o publication/report. Youth Service in E n g l a n d and Wales,
pp. 1-7.
" M a r s h , pp. 134-135.
" Publication/report, Chief Scout's Report, pp. 279-284.
P r o s s , p. 4 5 9 .
E n d o f A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h i n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 201

R o w d y , disruptive b e h a v i o r w a s no less a p r o b l e m than before.


I n d e e d , during the 1950s there w a s g r o w i n g public c o n c e r n about
w h a t w a s t e r m e d " m i d d l e class d e l i n q u e n c y , " t h e misconduct of the
gilded y o u t h s e e m i n g suddenly to match that of the less fortunate in
extent a n d destructiveness. Y e t , the reaction of adults s e e m e d less
resentful a n d punitive, for there w a s less of the status anxiety that
had b e e n at the source of earlier tensions b e t w e e n y o u t h w o r k e r s
and those placed in their charge. A greater willingness to grant older
y o u t h the status of adults reflected an important c h a n g e in the self-
esteem of the y o u t h w o r k e r s t h e m s e l v e s , m a n y of w h o m w e r e n o w
trained specialists rather than volunteers. " O f f e r a d v i c e w h e n asked,
and not b e f o r e , " w a s the attitude of o n e of the n e w b r e e d ; " T r y to
be unshockable, a n d not automatically critical; a b o v e all, accept
y o u n g p e o p l e as they are a n d treat t h e m as e q u a l s . "

IV
T h e e m a n c i p a t i o n of y o u t h from its formerly d e p e n d e n t status par­
alleled its regaining of a measure of civil equality. In part, this w a s
d u e to military service required of males during the era of the C o l d
W a r . Duties must ultimately be r e w a r d e d by rights in a d e m o c r a t i c
society, a n d by the mid-1960s there w a s talk of o p e n i n g access to
political and civil rights to those of draft a g e . Introduction of the
18-year-old v o t e , w h i c h w a s a c c o m p l i s h e d in England in 1969 a n d
in G e r m a n y in 1970, w a s b o u n d to bring in its w a k e the abolition
of various limitations o n youthful drinking a n d entertainment. A l ­
though it is too early to tell w h e t h e r restrictions o n y o u n g e r age
groups will be progressively eliminated in the next d e c a d e , it seems
clear that y o u n g p e o p l e are m o r e a w a r e of their civil rights today
than they w e r e t w o decades earlier.^^
T h e position of the m o d e r n adolescent has b e e n o n e both of
privilege a n d deprivation. It w a s inevitable that in the current p e r i o d
of transition these contradictions w o u l d c o m e under criticism from

" Q u o t e d in n e w s p a p e r / p e r i o d i c a l . Contact, S e p t e m b e r 1968.


* ' " M i i i t a n c e in H i g h S c h o o l s " ; W i l d e r m a n n a n d K a a s e ; W i l s o n , C h a p t e r s 6, 1 5 ;
A l t b a c h a n d Lipset, p p . 3 5 - 9 5 .
202 Youth a n d History

all points of v i e w , a n d n o w h e r e has this b e e n m o r e e v i d e n t than


w i t h respect to the judicial a n d penal systems affecting juveniles. In
Europe as w e l l as A m e r i c a , the c o n c e p t of the j u v e n i l e court has b e e n
severely c h a l l e n g e d , both by those w h o feel that its functions should
be assigned to social w e l f a r e agencies a n d those w h o think it pro­
vides too little protection to the child brought before the law. In
Britain, a g o v e r n m e n t w h i t e paper published in 1965 called for the
replacement of the j u v e n i l e court by family councils based o n m o d e l s
already existing in S c a n d i n a v i a n countries.^® In G e r m a n y , similar pro­
posals are being d e b a t e d , w i t h o p i n i o n f o r m i n g along lines similar
to those in Britain a n d America.^^ O n o n e side are those that feel that
the present courts, despite their w i d e discretionary p o w e r s , still
" c r i m i n a l i z e " the child a n d therefore inhibit the process of rehabili­
tation. A n o p p o s i n g point of v i e w is h e l d both by those moralists
w h o resist any attempt to replace traditional c o n c e p t s of p u n i s h m e n t ,
and by civil libertarians w h o feel that, w h i l e a judicial p r o c e e d i n g
may s o m e t i m e s b e insensitive, it at least provides the protection of
law that social w e l f a r e agencies d o not. T h e latter argue further that
the j u v e n i l e court should b e reformed to a l l o w minors the same civil
rights as are permitted to adults brought before the b e n c h , thereby
encouraging justice o n the part of the judges a n d civil responsibility
o n the part of the young.^^ This is the position taken by t h e U n i t e d
States S u p r e m e C o u r t in 1967 w h e n it ruled that " b e i n g a b o y d o e s
not justify a Kangaroo c o u r t . " Y e t , e v e n in the U n i t e d States, w h e r e
the m o v e m e n t to restore civil rights to minors seems most a d v a n c e d ,
the issue is still m u c h in flux.
The w a y j u v e n i l e justice is reformed w i l l have a p r o f o u n d effect
o n the treatment of y o u t h in reformatories, training schools, foster
h o m e s , a n d other institutions to w h i c h they are n o w c o m m i t t e d . T h e
trend in the past 20 years has b e e n t o w a r d the use of facilities located
in the c o m m u n i t y rather than sending the offender to a distant prison
or reformatory. In England about 8 5 % of those brought before the
court are dealt w i t h in a m a n n e r that d o e s not r e m o v e t h e m from
their families or neighborhoods.^^ E v e r y w h e r e , the family a n d the
c o m m u n i t y have regained s o m e of the status they lost to so-called

Boss, p p . 86-89.
S i m o n s o h n , p p . 2 3 - 2 8 ; Piatt, C h a p t e r 6; G r ü n h u t .
^ Boss, p p . 89-93.
" Piatt, p. 1 6 1 .
B o s s , p. 5 4 .
E n d o f A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h i n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 203

therapeutic facilities at the beginning of the century, for the p r o v e n


inefficiency of these "total institutions" in rehabilitation has e n c o u r ­
a g e d experimentation v^ith n e w , " o p e n " units, located so that y o u t h
may have access to a normal round of s c h o o l , j o b s , and friends, w i t h i n
a familiar setting.^^ Y o u n g e r children are rarely c o m m i t t e d e v e n to
these c o m m u n i t y centers, but instead are returned as soon as p o s ­
sible to their parents or foster h o m e s . Treatment of those over 16
had taken increasing advantage of probation d e v i c e s , a trend also
noticeable in the handling of adult offenders.
T h e d e c l i n e a n d , in s o m e cases, the actual closing of o l d e r j u v e n i l e
institutions reflects the general desegregation of y o u t h that has o c ­
curred o v e r the past 20 years. This has b e e n particularly noticeable
w i t h respect to the schools, w h i c h have retained, only w i t h the great­
est difficulty, the earlier isolation of scholastic culture. C o e d u c a t i o n
has b e e n extended o n both the secondary a n d university levels; stu­
dent g o v e r n m e n t has begun to deal w i t h real rather than artificial
issues; a n d there has b e e n a g r o w i n g civil rights agitation a m o n g
students at all levels, coinciding w i t h the social a n d racial integration
that has b e e n forced u p o n elite institutions in the past 20 years.
Perhaps the most d y n a m i c factor in this c h a n g e has b e e n w h a t
M i c h a e l Y o u n g has called the " r i s e of meritocracy," in a n d of itself
an elitist p h e n o m e n o n but o n e w h i c h has had profound implications
for the traditional age-grading. O n e British study in the mid-1960s
found that in o n e generation the pace of learning had b e e n s p e e d e d
up 2 4 % .^^ A n d partly as a result of this r e n e w e d emphasis o n p r e ­
cocity, the c o n c e p t i o n of prolonged a d o l e s c e n c e has c o m e under
increasing criticism. A s education has b e c o m e m o r e technical a n d
d e m a n d i n g , the socialization functions o n c e assigned to it have b e e n
d e - e m p h a s i z e d . B y 1960, e v e n England's cloistered boarding schools
w e r e reacting to the pressure of increasing c o m p e t i t i o n for univer­
sity entrance by making adjustments in the m o d e l of the w e l l -
rounded g e n t l e m a n . Study w a s replacing t h e so-called " c h a r a c t e r
b u i l d i n g " extracurricular activities to such an extent that it frightened
those c o m m i t t e d to the " b o y s w i l l b e b o y s " tradition. " I a m not
prepared to leave in this school boys w h o w o u l d a l l o w preparation
for university entrance to interfere w i t h monotorial a n d athletic o b ­
ligations. T h e y are here to learn to live balanced a n d responsible
lives, not to be c r a m m e d for university entrance at all c o s t s , " w a s

^ W e s t , p p . 267-285; Schaffstein, pp. 248-265.


" L o w n d e s , p. 3 1 3 .
204 Youth a n d History

the response of o n e conservative headmaster to the trends in sec­


ondary education.^^
Yet, most responsible educators w e r e m o r e ready to a c c e p t
c h a n g e , for at least half of t h e headmasters s u r v e y e d by Ian W e i n ­
berg indicated that the relationship b e t w e e n the closed c o m m u n i t y
of the school a n d the w i d e r w o r l d outside w a s n o w the most t r o u ­
bling p r o b l e m before them.^^ T h e close, paternal relationships b e ­
t w e e n students a n d teachers at both school and university level w e r e
b o u n d to be altered by specialization a n d professionalization, calling
into question the notion of in loco parentis that h a d for so long
justified a cloistered scholastic r e g i m e . In day schools, t o o , a c a d e m i c
d e m a n d s w e r e causing a reappraisal. Because u p w a r d mobility w a s
n o w m o r e than ever before d e p e n d e n t o n a c h i e v e m e n t , sports a n d
y o u t h organizations c o u l d no longer b e a l l o w e d to "interfere w i t h
school w o r k to such an extent that they j e o p a r d i z e these c h a n c e s . "
O f course, the same argument c o u l d b e used to support the w i t h ­
d r a w a l of y o u t h from the diverting w o r l d of adults, but during the
1960s it t e n d e d to w o r k against rather than for age segregation, at
least in those circles w h i c h most v a l u e d a c a d e m i c a c h i e v e m e n t for
its o w n sake, n a m e l y the m i d d l e classes.
T h e a c a d e m i c revolution paralleled e c o n o m i c changes that w e r e
w o r k i n g to integrate the y o u n g m o r e closely w i t h the w o r k i n g w o r l d .
A l t h o u g h there w a s m u c h d e b a t e a b o u t the quality of t h e jobs that
the postwar e c o n o m y offered y o u t h , there is little d o u b t that full
e m p l o y m e n t m e a n t m o r e a b u n d a n t , m o r e secure opportunity. T h e
p r o b l e m of boy labor as it had existed since the beginning of t h e
century virtually d i s a p p e a r e d as increasing n u m b e r s of w o r k i n g y o u t h
entered training programs that led to upgraded jobs a n d higher
w a g e s . " T h e sense of b e i n g sought after in e m p l o y m e n t is perhaps
m o r e important than a n y other c h a n g e in the actual nature of the
w o r k d o n e , a n d no d o u b t reinforces the teenager's feeling of i m ­
portance a n d i n d e p e n d e n c e , " reported o n e British inquiry in 1960.''^
O f course, the prospects at the top a n d m i d d l e rungs of the t e c h ­
nological ladder probably i m p r o v e d m o r e rapidly than those at the

^ W e i n b e r g , p. 1 8 3 . O n t h e G e r m a n s c h o o l s in t h e s a m e p e r i o d , s e e N e i d h a r d t ,
Junge Generation, pp. 34-37, 41-43; and Dahrendorf, pp. 312-329.
' ^ W e i n b e r g , p. 188.
" C o m m e n t of h e a d m a s t e r , q u o t e d f r o m n e w s p a p e r p e r i o d i c a l . Contact, July 1 9 6 1 ;
a l s o W e i n b e r g , p p . 1 9 0 - 1 9 1 . O n p r e s s u r e s at t h e u n i v e r s i t y l e v e l , s e e H a l s e y .
^Publication/report, Youth Service in England and Wales, p. 24; Neidhardt,
Junge Generation, pp. 50-51; M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, pp. 82-85.
E n d o f A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h i n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 205

very b o t t o m , leaving a legacy of inequality that s o m e observers b e ­


lieved w o u l d lead to an ultimate rebellion of t h e " l o s e r s " against t h e
unattainable a c h i e v e m e n t standards of bourgeois society.^-^ N e v e r ­
theless, t h e trend up through the 1960s s e e m e d to be t o w a r d greater
j o b satisfaction a n d general c o n t e n t m e n t a m o n g the vast majority of
w o r k i n g y o u t h , w i t h those l o w e r o n t h e e c o n o m i c scale b e i n g e v e n
m o r e accepting than those at t h e top.^" This w a s , in part, a reflection
of the u n p r e c e d e n t e d prosperity of t e e n a g e w o r k e r s , w h o s e gross
w a g e s had risen fourfold b e t w e e n 1938 a n d 1960. Studies s h o w e d
that youthful s p e n d i n g increased 100% in the s a m e p e r i o d , raising
the a g e - g r o u p ' s share of t h e c o n s u m e r market to about 5 % of t h e
total.61
Affluence w o r k e d in contradictory ways, however, encouraging
y o u t h to c o m p e t e for adult status e c o n o m i c a l l y , w h i l e at the s a m e
time making it profitable for adults to p r o d u c e fashions a n d enter­
tainment specifically d e s i g n e d to a p p e a l to y o u n g e r age groups.
S o m e observers thought they d e t e c t e d t h e exploitation of t h e y o u n g
by c o m m e r c i a l interests, a n d there w e r e those w h o criticized the n e w
c o n s u m e r i s m as a diversion of y o u t h f u l energies f r o m m o r e worthy
causes. Y e t , there is no e v i d e n c e that t h e y o u n g h a v e b e c o m e so
attached to the accoutrements of t h e so-called " y o u t h c u l t u r e " as
to isolate t h e m f r o m other, m o r e f u n d a m e n t a l , social a n d civil in­
terests. T o d a t e , there exist no countercultures c a p a b l e of sustaining
themselves apart from adult institutions and v a l u e s ; a n d since adults
are so d e e p l y i n v o l v e d in the music a n d fashions of the y o u n g , these
too s e e m to unite rather than separate t h e generations.^*^
N o w h e r e in E u r o p e or A m e r i c a is there v e r y m u c h e v i d e n c e of a
severe " g e n e r a t i o n g a p , " despite t h e student a n d w o r k e r upheavals
of t h e 1960s and 1970s. Studies of " y o u n g r e b e l s " indicate that, w h i l e
there is a certain d e g r e e of c h i l d - p a r e n t t e n s i o n , the major thrust of
youthful discontent is directed not at family but o u t w a r d , at social,
political, a n d a c a d e m i c institutions that are only indirectly identified
w i t h the o l d e r generation. Y o u n g p e o p l e a n d their parents are m o r e

Publication/report, Y o u t h S e r v i c e in E n g l a n d a n d W a l e s , p p . 2 6 - 2 7 ; Willmott,
p. 1 6 5 ; F y v e l ; a n d f o r g e n e r a l s u r v e y , s e e B o r d u a .
" " M u s g r o v e , Youth and Social Order, pp. 17-19; Neidhardt, Junge Generation,
p. 5 5 .
Publication/report, Youth S e r v i c e in E n g l a n d and Wales, p. 23; Musgrove,
Youth and Social Order, p. 8 4 ; N e i d h a r d t , Junge Generation, p. 5 5 .
"'Neidhardt, Junge Generation, p p . 64, 8 7 - 8 8 , 9 1 - 9 3 ; W i l l m o t t , p p . 155, 1 7 9 -
180; a n d S c h w a r t z a n d M a r t e n , p. 4 5 8 .
206 Youth a n d History

likely to b e united than d i v i d e d o n basic political a n d social issues,


tensions arising o v e r m e a n s rather than e n d s , a reflection of the
normal pace of historical c h a n g e rather than any intrafamilial disrup­
tion or severe hostility b e t w e e n groups o n the basis of age a l o n e .
In m a n y c o n t e m p o r a r y situations, the confrontation b e t w e e n y o u n g
and old is actually conflict b e t w e e n persons of differing class position
—students versus police, y o u n g w o r k e r s versus e m p l o y e r s . T h e r e f o r e ,
w e must b e careful not to mistake these events as e v i d e n c e of d e e p
generational divisions.

V
T h e political a n d social m o v e m e n t s that w e r e attracting t h e y o u n g
in the 1960s displayed a general t e n d e n c y to integrate y o u t h w i t h
the adult w o r l d , to propel t h e m into roles and concerns that called
for an a d v a n c e d level of a u t o n o m y a n d maturity. This w a s true not
only of the y o u n g French w o r k e r s w h o , in 1968, pushed their older
c o m r a d e s to strike, but also of those middle-class students w h o a c ­
tively participated in political m o v e m e n t s during the s a m e p e r i o d .
Even students w h o expressed their discontents by d r o p p i n g out a n d
j o i n i n g in various apolitical countercultural m o v e m e n t s w e r e d e m ­
onstrating a maturity that had b e e n rarer a m o n g previous m i d d l e -
class generations. T h e sects, c o m m u n e s , and b o h e m i a s of the past
t w o d e c a d e s recall m a n y features of their nineteenth-century p r e d ­
ecessors. S o m e h a v e perpetuated the authoritarian family motif, d e ­
claring themselves " c h i l d r e n " and submitting to surrogate " f a t h e r s "
and " m o t h e r s . " Extremes of masochism and sadism, reminiscent of
an earlier a g e , h a v e gained w i d e s p r e a d attention in the press a n d
television media. But w h i l e it is possible, as Lewis S . Feuer has d e m ­
onstrated, to find O e d i p a l t h e m e s reminiscent of the early n i n e -

O n t h e m y t h of t h e g e n e r a t i o n g a p , s e e M u s g r o v e , Y o u t h and Social Order,


p p . 8 0 - 8 1 ; N e i d h a r d t , Familie, pp. 31-39, 44-50; G o o d e , pp. 7 9 - 8 1 ; Baumert, pp.
1-14; Himmelweit, pp. 179-190; Metraux, pp. 204-228; Adelson; Abrams, pp.
175-190.
E n d of A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h i n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 207

teenth century in student m o v e m e n t s t o d a y , these should not o b ­


scure the relative maturity of the c o n t e m p o r a r y seekers w h o b e c o m e
i n v o l v e d , usually for short periods, in o n e or a n o t h e r of the political
or countercultural p h e n o m e n a of our time,^^ It should b e noted that
the extreme authoritarianism of early nineteenth-century c o m m u -
nalism is largely a b s e n t ; a n d furthermore, that these y o u n g p e o p l e
seem m u c h m o r e at ease w i t h their o w n sexuality, far less c o n c e r n e d
w i t h questions of masculinity a n d femininity, most of w h i c h they h a v e
already resolved in early t e e n a g e . T h e current insistence o n " d o y o u r
o w n t h i n g " is not c o n d u c i v e to building p e r m a n e n t utopia, a n d the
life expectancy of most c o m m u n e s a n d sects is relatively short by
nineteenth-century standards. O n the other h a n d , their experimental
nature is taken for granted, y o u t h using t h e m to facilitate their o w n
personal g r o w t h , submitting to collective d e m a n d s only to the d e ­
gree that these d o not interfere w i t h an already strongly d e v e l o p e d
sense of a u t o n o m y , privacy, and self-direction. Even w h i l e in revolt
against bourgeois society, communalists c o n t i n u e to reflect m i d d l e -
class values through their strong insistence o n individuality.^^
This is but o n e m o r e indication of the o b s o l e s c e n c e of a d o l e s ­
c e n c e , for the sons a n d daughters of the m i d d l e classes are n o w
entering into social a n d sexual maturity at a point in their lives that
w a s unthinkable a generation ago. " E m a n c i p a t i o n w i t h o u t p a t h o s , "
Hans Heinrich M u c h o w has called it, a stage of life no longer bur­
d e n e d by e m o t i o n a l or sexual turmoil. B y 15 or 16, middle-class
youths have d e v e l o p e d a psychological stability that w a s rare in
earlier generations of this strata. H a v i n g put personal tasks of d e ­
v e l o p m e n t b e h i n d t h e m by t h e t i m e t h e y reach t h e later stages of
secondary education or the first years of university, they are a b l e to
c o p e w i t h social a n d political questions that their forerunners gladly
left to adult authority. Thus t h e t e n d e n c y of both radicalism a n d
b o h e m i a n i s m of recent d e c a d e s to i n v o l v e y o u n g e r age groups than
e v e r before. T h e traditional distinction b e t w e e n the c o n f o r m i n g
school b o y a n d t h e radical university student breaks d o w n as the
older adolescent b e c o m e s indistinguishable from w h a t K e n n e t h

F e u e r , C h a p t e r s 1 , 8 - 9 . I n c o n t r a s t , s e e K e n i s t o n , Y o u n g Radicals. It is t h o s e
y o u t h w h o w e r e u n i n v o l v e d in a n y k i n d of m o v e m e n t w h o s e a d o l e s c e n c e , includ­
i n g d e p e n d e n c e a n d sexual i m m a t u r i t y , is m o s t d r a w n o u t . K e n i s t o n , Uncommitted.
Unfortunately there are no comparable s t u d i e s of c o m m i t t e d and uncommitted
European youth.
* ^ T h i s h i s t o r i c a l c o n t r a s t of A m e r i c a n c o m m u n e s is b a s e d o n K a n t e r .
208 Y o u t h a n d History

Keniston has identified as " p o s t - m o d e r n " youth.^^ " J u s t as making


a later stage of a d o l e s c e n c e available to large n u m b e r s of children
w a s an a c h i e v e m e n t of industrial society, so a post-adolescent stage
of y o u t h is beginning to b e m a d e available by post-industrial s o ­
c i e t y , " h e writes.^^ ( S e e Figure 7.) T h e pioneers at this n e w social

Adoles-
Modern Parenthood Retirenr^ent
Youth

Figure 7 P h a s e s of life in p o s t - i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y .

frontier are, of course, the privileged children of the e d u c a t e d and


w e l l - t o - d o , w h o , by virtue of their a c a d e m i c attainments, experience
a delay of full e c o n o m i c i n d e p e n d e n c e because of graduate training
into their m i d - a n d e v e n late twenties. H a v i n g already " d e v e l o p e d
a sense of inner identity; they h a v e demonstrated a capacity for w o r k ,
/ o v e , a n d play" long before they h a v e e n t e r e d into this student status,
h o w e v e r ; a n d , thus, in contrast to earlier generations w h o s e entry
into the w o r l d of w o r k w a s also infinitely p o s t p o n e d , they are already
fully adult in every sense but the e c o n o m i c — n a m e l y sexual, intellec­
tual, political.^^ T h e y remain " y o u n g " only in t h e sense that as stu­
dents they are not yet tied d o w n to the discipline of the w o r k - a - d a y
w o r l d a n d , therefore, have greater opportunity for the kind of social

^ M u c h o w , Sexualreife und Sozialstruktur, p. 4 9 ; N e i d h a r d t , Junge Generation, pp.


8 4 - 8 5 , 8 9 - 9 4 ; S c h o f i e l d , p p . 2 3 4 - 2 3 5 . T h i s is r e f l e c t e d in t h e p s y c h o l o g i c a l litera­
t u r e o n a d o l e s c e n c e , w h i c h p l a c e s less a n d less e m p h a s i s o n t h e crisis c h a r a c t e r of
that a g e ; M u u s s , p p . 4 9 - 5 5 , 177-185.
^ K e n i s t o n , Young Radicals, p. 264.
^ K e n i s t o n , Young Radicals, p. 260. S i m i l a r class b a s e is f o u n d i n G e r m a n y a n d
E n g l a n d . N e i d h a r d t , Junge Generation, pp. 78-84; Crouch.
E n d of A d o l e s c e n c e : Y o u t h i n t h e 1950s a n d 1960s 209

experimentation and political activism that has distinguished their


generation from previous ones.

VI
As the group most affected by the long era of a d o l e s c e n c e that
p r e c e d e d the 1960s, it is not surprising that middle-class y o u t h have
b e e n the ones most i n v o l v e d in the changes v^hich have altered t h e
conditions of d e p e n d e n c e and conformity characterizing the earlier
p e r i o d . T h e y have b e e n in the forefront of the N e w Left radical­
ism and countercultural activity of recent d e c a d e s , m o v e m e n t s of
liberation and protest that have had little apparent attraction for
w o r k i n g y o u t h of similar age groups. If the sons a n d daughters of
the w o r k i n g classes have b e e n less i n v o l v e d , it is at least partly b e ­
cause they have long b e e n in possession of the a u t o n o m y a n d
maturity for w h i c h those m o v e m e n t s have b e e n clamoring. T h e y
have t e n d e d to be d e t a c h e d f r o m , e v e n hostile t o w a r d , the m o r e
radical forms of middle-class e m a n c i p a t i o n , including b o h e m i a n i s m
and f e m i n i s m , precisely because their trajectory of social c h a n g e ,
w h i l e s e e m i n g to c o i n c i d e w i t h that of bourgeois y o u t h , has b e e n
very different in origins a n d direction.
W h i l e there has b e e n s o m e e v i d e n c e of c o n v e r g e n c e of the life
cycles and life styles of different classes in the past t w o d e c a d e s , it
is too early to tell w h e t h e r the traditional differences in y o u t h c u l ­
tures are really diminishing. Educational opportunity has reduced the
gap to s o m e d e g r e e , but the prolongation of e d u c a t i o n , and the n e w
forms of " p o s t - m o d e r n y o u t h " that this has p r o d u c e d , remain pri-
marly middle-class in composition a n d characteristic. It seems safe
to predict that as long as social a n d e c o n o m i c disparities c o n t i n u e ,
p r o n o u n c e d differences in class cultures of y o u t h w i l l persist as b e ­
fore. M i d d l e - c l a s s a n d working-class y o u t h will c o n t i n u e to m a k e
their o w n history in divergent w a y s , strongly affected by the striking
differences in status, culture, a n d e c o n o m i c opportunity that c o n ­
tinue to characterize all w e s t e r n societies. Therein lies the key to the
origins and sustaining force b e h i n d the various traditions of y o u t h
that w e have traced o v e r the past t w o centuries, as w e l l as clues to
t h e future of those traditions in the s e c o n d half of the t w e n t i e t h
century.
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Index

B e a t l e m a n i a , 199
B e g g a r w e d d i n g s , 46
Acton, W i l l i a m , 113-114
Bohemianism, 89-92
Adolescence
B o r n , S t e p h a n , 5 3 , 75
and adulthood, 182-183
Boy labor, 1 2 2 - 1 2 8 , 137, 2 0 4 , s e e also
c o n c e p t of, 5, 7, 9 5 , 9 8 , 1 0 2 - 1 0 4 , 1 3 3 -
Employment
134
Boy Scouts
d e c l i n e of, 1 9 0 - 1 9 1 , 2 0 1 - 2 0 9
c o m p o s i t i o n of, 147
d i s c o v e r y of, 9 9 - 1 0 5
G e r m a n , 149
l i t e r a t u r e of, 118
origins, 133, 143-147
psychology, 115-118
r e c e n t c h a n g e s , 1 9 7 - 1 9 8 , 200
s p r e a d of, 137, 1 5 6 - 1 5 8
B o y s ' B r i g a d e , 130, 145
A d u l t h o o d , c o n c e p t of, 183
B o y s ' c l u b m o v e m e n t , 140, 143
A g e d i s t r i b u t i o n , 1 1 , 39
B o y s ' m a g a z i n e s , 104
Apprenticeship
B r a u n , R u d o l f , 47
a b o l i t i o n of, 5 1 , 5 3 - 5 4
B r o w n , T o m , 116
d e c l i n e of, 4 9 , 100, 1 2 1 - 1 2 4
Brüderschaft, 4, 2 8 - 3 0
legislation, 20, 22
Bundling, 30-35
masters a n d apprentices, 5 0 - 5 1
Buonarroti, Filippo, 84-85
p r e i n d u s t r i a l , 5 - 9 , 17
Burschenschaften, 86-87
A r i e s , P h i l i p p e , 1 , 3 , 67
Aristocracy
E n g l i s h , 1 9 - 2 0 , 40
C o n t i n e n t a l , 1.9-20, 72 C a d e t c o r p s . 111
A r n o l d , T h o m a s , 105-108, 110 C a l e n d a r c u s t o m s , 3, 2 5 , 28, 6 3 , s e e also
Bank holiday. Feast of F o o l s , f o l k ­
Β lore, G u y Fawkes Night, Hiring days.
Bachelors, 21 M a y First, M u m m i n g , Pack Rag Day,
Baden-Pov^ell, Lord Robert, 145-147 Shrove
B a l l i o l B o y s ' C l u b , 144, 175 C a m b r i d g e U n i v e r s i t y , 26
B a n k h o l i d a y , 129 C a r b o n a r i , 85
Bataillons scolaires, 109 C a r p e n t e r , M a r y , 1 3 8 - 1 3 9 , 167

227
228 Index

Celibacy, 12-13 professional, 69-70


Charivari, 30-31 q u a l i t y of, 7 0 - 7 1
c h a n g i n g uses of, 3 3 , 4 5 , 65 Eldest c h i l d r e n , s e e children
Children Employment, 121-128, 204-205, see
d e a t h rate of, 1 2 , 39 also B o y l a b o r
e l d e s t , 19, 124, 192 of c h i l d r e n , 5 6 - 5 7 , 60
l a b o r of, 1 6 - 1 7 E n f a n t i n , B a r t h e l e m y P r o s p e r , 87
p r o p o r t i o n of p o p u l a t i o n , 1 1 Enfants-sans-souci, 25
younger, 1 3 - 1 5 , 18-20, 6 1 , 67-68, 72, E n g l i s h S c h o o l s I n q u i r y C o m m i s s i o n , 69,
74, 124, 192 7 1 , 100
C h u r c h L a d s ' B r i g a d e , 197
C l a i m i n g k i n , 1 7 - 1 8 , 57, 126
C o b b e t t , W i l l i a m , 43 Factory industrialization, 49-51
C o l e r i d g e , J . T , 105 Family
Compagnonnages, 22, 52, 56-57 c y c l e s of, 1 5 , 6 0 - 6 1
C o m p a n y o f G r i f f a r i n s , 33 economy, 15-16, 46-47, 56-57, 60-61
C o n s p i r a c i e s a n d y o u t h , 8 4 - 8 5 , s e e also l i m i t a t i o n of, 99, 1 1 9 , 136, 1 8 6 - 1 8 7
Sublime Maitres Parfaits preindustrial, 8
C o n v e r s i o n , 80ff role of t h e y o u n g , 1 0 - 1 2 , 15, 4 0 - 4 2 ,
Coresidency of parents and children, 58, 67
58ff, 1 0 1 , 193 F a z y , J a m e s , 37
C o r n a r d s , 34 Feast o f F o o l s , 2 5 - 2 6
C o r p o r a l p u n i s h m e n t , 9, 7 0 , 1 0 6 Fertility, 10-11, 1 5 , 19, 4 0 - 4 1 , 6 7 , 119,
Corps, 92 136, 1 9 2
C o u r t s h i p , 3 0 , 6 2 , 64, 1 2 9 - 1 3 0 , 187ff Fischer, Karl, 150-151
Folklore, 3, 96-97, s e e also Calendar
customs
D a u g h t e r s , 13ff, 18ff, 74, 99 F o u r i e r , C h a r l e s , 37, 4 1 , 8 8 - 8 9
D a v i s , N a t a l i e , 3 , 3 2 , 64 Fraternity
Delinquency s t u d e n t , 2 4 - 2 5 , 78
c a u s e s of, 1 7 7 - 1 8 2 , 196 village, 22, 28-31
in early nineteenth century, 62-63, Freemasonry
137 a p p e a l of, 77, 7 9 - 8 0
g r o w t h of, 1 7 3 - 1 7 6 organization, 78
statistics, 177 o r i g i n s of, 77
t r e a t m e n t of, 1 4 2 , 166 a n d s t u d e n t s , 78
v i e w s of, 1 7 1 - 1 7 2 , 2 0 1 F r i e d e n b e r g , Edgar Z . , 183, 185
d e M u s s e t , A l f r e d , 89, 91 Fries, J a k o b , 8 5 - 8 6
Der Jüngling, 73
D e w a l d , J o h a n n , 51
D i n g l e , A y l w a r d , 121 Gangs
D o m e s t i c industry, 4 6 - 4 9 c h a n g e s i n , 1 2 9 , 1 3 9 , 177, 1 7 9 , 1 9 5 -
196
c o m p o s i t i o n of, 6 2
Education, see also Thomas Arnold, f u n c t i o n s of, 6 2 - 6 4 , 66
Gymnasium, Public schools. School m e m b e r s , a g e s of, 62
a c c e l e r a t i o n of, 203 t r a d i t i o n s of, 6 3 - 6 4
a n d class, 138, 194 Generations
c o s t of, 6 7 , 1 9 4 conflict of, 19-20, 37, 47, 49, 145,
p r e i n d u s t r i a l , 5 - 6 , 2 1 , 24 205-207
Index 229

c o n t i n u i t y of, 1 0 1 , 2 0 5 - 2 0 7 Juvenile Organization Committee, 159-


Gesellenverbände, 23, 52-53 160
G i r l G u i d e s , 147
G o e t h e , J o h a n n W o l f g a n g v o n , 7 3 , 76, 79
G o r e r , G e o f f r e y , 189 K e n i s t o n , K e n n e t h , 208
G r a v e s , Robert, 113, 115-116 K e y , E l l e n , 1 3 3 , 143
G u y F a w k e s N i g h t , 6 5 , 9 5 , 129, 180 K i b b o Kift K i n d r e d , 146, 148
Gymnasium, 102, 117, 164, see also K i n g d o m of B a s o c h e , 25
Education K i n g s l e y , C h a r l e s , 111
Gymnastic societies, 85-86 Klöden, Friedrich v o n , 17-18

Η
Landsmannschaften, 2 5 , 78
Hainbund, 73
Laslett, P e t e r , 1 1
H a l l , G . S t a n l e y , 1 1 3 , 1 1 5 , 118, 173
L a t i n , 2 4 - 2 5 , 110
Hargrave, J o h n , 147-148
L e v e l l e r s , 20
Herrnhut, 80-81
Life c y c l e
H i l l , M a t t h e w D a v e n p o r t , 139
c o n t e m p o r a r y , 197, 208
H i r i n g d a y s , 27
in F l o r e n c e , 4
Hitler Jugend, 1 5 5 , 1 6 3 , 165
m i d d l e class, 207-209
r e s i s t a n c e t o , 165
preindustrial, 2, 4 - 5
Hobbes, Thomas, 9-10
w o r k i n g class, 128, 137, 209
H o b s b a w m , E r i c , 82
Life e x p e c t a n c y , 10, 1 5 , 40
H o m o e r o t i c i s m , 73, 113, 152
L o n d o n , 18
Homosexuality, 113-114
Household Louis X I I I , 9
L o w e r m i d d l e class, 1 1 8 - 1 1 9
c o m p o s i t i o n of, 5 8 - 5 9 , 1 9 1
r e c e n t c h a n g e s , 200
discipline, 21-22
in y o u t h w o r k , 1 6 8 - 1 6 9 , 200
size, 15
H u g h e s , T h o m a s , 74 Μ
H u n t , D a v i d , 12
M a c F a r l a n e , A l a n , 17
M a f e k i n g N i g h t , 96
Manning, Percy, 96-97
I l l e g i t i m a c y , 34 M a r r i a g e , s e e also Beggar weddings. Pro­
l l l u m i n a t i , 78
portion marrying
I n h e r i t a n c e , 1 2 - 1 5 , 4 3 - 4 4 , 190
a g e of, 1 5 , 4 6 , 1 1 3 , 1 3 1 , 137, 1 8 9 - 1 9 0
a n d m a r r i a g e , 4 6 - 4 7 , 190
preindustrial, 31
In loco parentis, 107, 204
M a r x , K a r l , 53
I n n s of C o u r t , 25
M a s c u l i n i t y , 1 1 1 , 178
I r e l a n d , 44
Masturbation, 114-115, 158-159
M a t u r a t i o n , 6 - 7 , 188, 190, 207
J M a y First, 9 6 , 1 2 9 , 180
Jahn, Friedrich L u d w i g , 85-86 M a y h e w , H e n r y , 3 5 , 62
jeunesse dorée, 3 8 , 84 Mazzini, Giuseppe, 37-38
J o u r n e y m e n , 5 1 , 54, s e e also Gesellen­ M e l a n c h t h o n , P h i l i p , 24
verbände, Compagnonnages M e n a r c h e , 7, 188
Jungdeutschlandbund, 143-144, 149, Mere Folie, 34
153, 1 6 1 Methodism, 81-82
Juvenile justice system, 156-157, 2 0 1 - a n d y o u t h , 82
203 M e t t r a y , 199
230 Index

M i d d l e class d e c l i n e of, 4 2 - 4 4
attitudes toward children, 67-69, 7 1 - e c o n o m y of, 1 6 - 1 7 , 4 6 - 4 8
72, 9 9 - 1 0 0 , 189 I r i s h , 44
attitudes t o w a r d e d u c a t i o n , 1 0 1 , 1 3 5 Peer group, 6 1 , 65, 187-189, 194-196
f a m i l y life, 6 7 - 6 8 , 9 9 , 117, 187, 190 P i e t i s m , 7 9 - 8 1 , 8 5 , s e e also Herrnhut
recent changes in, 200-202 a p p e a l of, t o y o u t h , 81
in y o u t h w o r k , 1 6 7 - 1 6 9 , 200 and c o m m u n a l living, 80-81
Migration P l a c e , F r a n c i s , 50
to A m e r i c a , 74 P o l i t i c a l s o c i a l i z a t i o n , see S o c i a l i z a t i o n
c h a n g i n g p a t t e r n s of, 48 P o p u l a t i o n , 1 2 - 1 3 , 3 9 , 44
to c i t i e s , 5 5 - 5 7 Post-Modern youth, 208-209
a n d e m i g r a n t s , a g e s of, 17, 55 P o v e r t y , 6 0 - 6 1 , 1 2 3 - 1 2 4 , 1 3 6 , 187
of y o u t h , 1 7 - 1 8 , 2 3 , 4 4 , 5 8 - 5 9 , 1 9 1 c y c l e of, 1 2 3 , 1 3 1
M i l l , J o h n S t u a r t , 39 P r e c o c i t y , 70, 7 5 , 1 0 2 - 1 0 4 , 188, 203
Misrule P r i m o g e n i t u r e , 1 2 - 1 3 , 4 1 , 74
A b b e y s of, 28, 3 1 - 3 3 Professions, 72, 7 5 - 7 6
L o r d s of, 27, 3 3 , 4 5 P r o p o r t i o n m a r r y i n g , 1 4 , 189
rituals of, 2 5 - 2 6 , 91 P r o s t i t u t i o n , 6 3 , 189
transformation of, 9 5 , 98, 116 Protective legislation, 156-157, 161-162
Morrison, William Douglas, 171-172 P u b e r t y , 6 - 7 , 1 1 2 , 188, 207
Mortality, 1 0 - 1 1 , 1 5 , 19, 3 9 - 4 0 , 66-67, rites, 7, 24
119, 1 3 1 , 136, 1 9 2 P u b l i c s c h o o l s , 2 1 , 68, 70, 1 0 2 - 1 0 4 , s e e
Muchow, H a n s H e i n r i c h , 1 8 5 , 187, 2 0 7 also T h o m a s A r n o l d a n d E d u c a t i o n ,
Mumming, 96-97 School
M u s g r o v e , F r a n k , 185 discipline in, 71,106
r e b e l l i o n s a g a i n s t , 71
Ν recent changes in, 203-204
Newsome, David, 106,116 r e f o r m of, 1 0 5 - 1 0 8
National Society for the Prevention
C r u e l t y t o C h i l d r e n , 156
of
Q
N o y e s , J o h n H u m p h r e y , 88 Q u a k e r i s m , 80

R
O
R a k e s , 34
O c c u l t , 79, 90
R e b e c c a riots, 4 5
O l d age, 5
Romanticism, 73-74
O n g , W a l t e r , 24
R o s i c r u c i a n s , 79
O x f o r d , C i t y of, 3
R o u s s e a u , J . J . , 1 2 , 67
O x f o r d High S c h o o l for B o y s , 169-170
Revolution
O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y , 9, 16, 24, 26, 103
of 1 7 8 9 , 83
a g e o f e n t r y t o , 1 6 , 7 5 , 103
of 1830, 54
Oxford Working Men's and Lad's In­
of 1848, 5 3 , 9 2 - 9 3 , 95
stitute, 140, 174
and youth, 83-85
R o w n t r e e , S e e b o h m , 136
R u g b y s c h o o l , 103, 105-107
P a c k R a g D a y , 27 R u g b y , T e n n e s s e e , 74
P a t r i a r c h y , 8, 20 R u s s e l l , C h a r l e s E. B . , 1 2 9 , 139, 143
d e c l i n e of, 4 2 - 4 3 , 1 0 1 , 1 8 7
Paul, Leslie, 147-148 S
Peasantry Saint Simonianism, 87-88
a t t i t u d e s of, t o w a r d c h i l d r e n , 1 4 - 1 9 S c h l e i e r m a c h e r , F r i e d r i c h , 85
Index 237

Schofield, Michael, 187-188 University


S c h o o l , s e e also P u b l i c s c h o o l s s t u d e n t s , a g e of, 9 , 1 0 3
a t t e n d a n c e , 6 3 , 125 contemporary, 194-195
h o s t i l i t y t o w a r d , 6 5 - 6 6 , 1 2 5 , 174 p r e i n d u s t r i a l , 6, 9, 24
l e n g t h of, 7 5 , 1 0 3 Urbanization, 56-58
P r u s s i a n , 70 U r w i c k , E. J . , 1 4 0 , 1 7 0
strikes a g a i n s t , 174 Utopianism, 87-89, 206-207
Schultz, C l e m e n s , 141
Service
as a p p r e n t i c e s h i p , 1 5 - 1 6 , 4 2 - 4 3 V a g a b o n d a g e , 20
d e c l i n e of, 58, 68 V o l u n t e e r s , 96
Settlement movement, 139
W
S e x r o l e s , 6, 104, 1 1 1 , 187, 198, 207, s e e
also Masculinity W a l k e r , M a c k , 53
Sexuality, 30, 35, 46, 62, 64, 113-114, Wander¡ahr, 2 3 , 5 1 , 58
158-159,188 Wandervogel, 133
S h r o v e , 29 c o m p o s i t i o n of, 154
S m i t h , W i l l i a m , 145 i d e a l s of, 1 5 2 - 1 5 3
S o c i a l D a r w i n i s m , 144 o r g a n i z a t i o n of, 1 5 1 - 1 5 3
Socialist youth movements, 148-149, o r i g i n s of, 1 4 9 - 1 5 0
1 6 1 , 163 p o l i t i c s of, 1 5 3 - 1 5 4
Socialization, political, 149, 163-164, a n d V ^ o r l d W a r I, 155
199-200 W e b e r , M a x , 111
Société joyeuse, see also Company of W e i s h a u p t , A d a m , 78
Griffarins, Cornards, Enfants-sans- Wesley, John, 81-82
souci, Kingdom of Basoche, Mere W i c h e r n , J o h a n n , 139
Folie, Misrule W i d o w e r s , 30
transformation of, 9 1 W i d o w s , 14, 30
S p i n s t e r s , 14, 2 1 W i k m a n , K. R o b e r t , 3 0 - 3 1
S p o r t , 3 5 , 1 0 9 - 1 1 1 , 204 W o o d c r a f t Folk, 147-148
S t o n e , L a w r e n c e , 17, 75 W o r k i n g class, 5 8 - 6 0
S t u b b s , P h i l i p , 27 attitudes toward children, 120-125,
Students 192-194
a n d fraternities, 2 3 , 1 1 2 attitudes toward e d u c a t i o n , 127, 1 3 5 ,
a n d f r e e m a s o n r y , 78 192-195
r a d i c a l , 86, 9 5 , 2 0 6 - 2 0 8 divisions within, 120-122
Sturm und Drang, 73, 152 family life, 120-121, 127, 130, 187,
Sublime Maitres Parfaits, 84-85 192, 1 9 4 - 1 9 5
S u i c i d e , 7 2 , 9 1 , 117 life c y c l e , 128
Swing rebellion, 44-45 W r i g l e y , E. Α . , 1 0 , 1 8

T h o m p s o n , E d w a r d P . , 3 2 , 82 Yelverton. Sergeant, 13-14


Tour de trance, 23, 52 Y o u n g E n g l a n d , 38
T o w n - g o w n riots, 96, 178, 180 Younger children, see Children
T r a d e u n i o n s , 33 Y o u n g E u r o p e , 37, 87
T r a m p i n g , 2 3 , 5 2 , 56, 125 Y o u n g G e r m a n y , 37, 53
Y o u n g M e n ' s Christian A s s o c i a t i o n , 111
U
Youth
U n c o n d i t i o n a l s , 86 in c h u r c h r i t u a l , 3 , 2 5 , 29
232 Index

d e f i n i t i o n of, 1 - 3 o r g a n i z a t i o n of, 2 9 - 3 0
f e s t i v a l s of, 3 , 8 3 - 8 4 in rural s o c i e t y , 4, 2 8 , 3 1 , 3 5
legal status of, 1 5 6 - 1 5 7 , 2 0 1 - 2 0 3 Youth work
a n d l e i s u r e , 130, 187, 205 c h a n g e s i n , 1 9 7 - 1 9 9 , 200
and revolution, 83-84 English, 159-160, 197-199
s e m i d e p e n d e n c e of, 8 - 9 G e r m a n , 161-163, 197-199
superfluity of, 1 6 - 2 1 , 67-68, 70, 9 9 , l e a d e r s of, 168
123-124 professionalization of, 2 0 0 - 2 0 1
Y o u t h g r o u p s , see also P e e r g r o u p w o m e n i n , 167
a g e c o m p o s i t i o n of, 28
c h a n g e s i n , in n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , 4 6 -
47
f u n c t i o n s of, 2 8 - 2 9 Zurich highlands, 46

Minat Terkait