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American BloodThe Ends of the Family in American Literature, 1850-1900$
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Holly Jackson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199317042

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199317042.001.0001

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The Transformation of American Family Property in The House of the Seven Gables

The Transformation of American Family Property in The House of the Seven Gables

(p.25) Chapter 1 The Transformation of American Family Property in The House of the Seven Gables
American Blood

Holly Jackson

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with an overview of republican opposition to the generational transmission of property and status in early America, tracing the reform of inheritance in Revolutionary-era law, including Thomas Jefferson’s work to abolish entail and his theory of generational sovereignty, and the construction of race and national identity as symbolic estate or family property. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables (1851) illustrates the transition from an aristocratic family model rooted in real estate to the middle-class domestic family reliant on the symbolic property of racial whiteness, representing blood paradigms as a curse that haunts the nineteenth-century United States until it is disinfected, but ultimately reconstituted, by cross-class white marriage.

Keywords:   inheritance, republicanism, Jefferson, Thomas, generational sovereignty, entail, symbolic estate, blood, Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The House of the Seven Gables

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