Home Reference • American Revolution Reference Library Vol 1 Almanac by Barbara C Bigelow; Stacy A McConnell

American Revolution Reference Library Vol 1 Almanac by Barbara C Bigelow; Stacy A McConnell

By Barbara C Bigelow; Stacy A McConnell

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Suddenly, the British government was spending considerable sums of money in the colonies to outfit ships and to feed and clothe soldiers. As demand for goods soared, so did the demand for labor, and people flocked from various parts of the world to live and work in the colonies. Many of the poor laborers who journeyed to the New World to work for the newly rich had a hard time of it. FindThe People of the New World 11 ing year-round work was not guaranteed, and much time was spent moving from city to city, looking for seasonal work.

All the American colonies had printing presses by 1760, but Americans and their children continued to rely on England as the source for most of their books. A London publisher by the name of John Newberry (1713–1767) is said to have had the greatest influence on children’s literature in preRevolutionary America. He began publishing children’s books in the 1740s. Most of them were educational, with titles such as A Museum for Young Gentlemen and Ladies or A private tutor for little Masters and Misses (1750; a how-to book on proper behavior) and The Pretty Book for Children (1750; a guide to the English language).

Acquiring an air of good manners and breeding took years. Among the less wealthy, etiquette (pronounced ETT-uhkitt) books, which explained codes of behavior and courtesy, were popular reading. Those who wished to fit in among the wealthy went to tutors to learn proper speech, to acquire information on art and music, and to practice fencing (fighting with swords) and dancing. After the French and Indian War ended in 1763, more luxury goods were produced and consumed in America than ever before. These included the latest in clothing styles, ornate carriages with uniformed drivers, and fine houses furnished in mahogany wood and fine china.

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