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Atlantic FamiliesLives and Letters in the Later Eighteenth Century$
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Sarah M. S. Pearsall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532995

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532995.001.0001

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The Repentant Son and the Unforgiving Father: Making a Man of Feeling, a Man of Credit

The Repentant Son and the Unforgiving Father: Making a Man of Feeling, a Man of Credit

Chapter:
(p.149) 5 The Repentant Son and the Unforgiving Father: Making a Man of Feeling, a Man of Credit
Source:
Atlantic Families
Author(s):

Sarah M. S. Pearsall (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532995.003.0007

This chapter, which focuses on Virginia and Scotland, looks at a rupture between a father and a prodigal son, over issues of sensibility and sentiment, but mainly over issues of credit, in the period immediately following the American Revolution. It seeks to understand why a father remained so furious at a son who died young that it was difficult for the son to obtain forgiveness, even in death. The importance of credit, in economic, political, and domestic terms, is central to this story. The chapter also sketches the ways that the social and political merged, so that a political background could significantly affect the way a father-son relationship played out. It corrects notions of rigid Loyalism or anxious patriarchy, and instead concentrates on the pressures of an Atlantic economic and credit system.

Keywords:   Virginia, Scotland, credit, father-son relations, American Revolution, Loyalism, patriarchy, sensibility, sentiment, prodigal son

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