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Fierce Communion

Fierce Communion

Family and Community in Early America

Helena M. Wall

ISBN 9780674299597

Publication date: 08/11/1995

Helena Wall shows what life was like in colonial America, a culture where individuals and family were subordinated to the demands of the community. Using local town, church, and especially court records from every colony, she examines the division of authority between family and community throughout colonial America.

Although this close relationship and its consequences for private life bred many tensions and conflicts, the premises and conditions of that interdependent association persisted even into the nineteenth century. Wall sketches the subsequent changes and outlines the new arrangements of family and community life as the colonies moved toward the formation of a new nation.


  • A fascinating foray into the private and communal lives of colonial Americans… The power of Fierce Communion…does not lie in its explication of the decline of early American communal life, but in the portrayal of its interrelated components.



  • Helena M. Wall is Associate Professor of History, Pomona College.

Book Details

  • 256 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press