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Colonial Manners

    Children in the mid 1700s were taught manners at a very young age. Manners represented many things to people back then. Not only did it represent who you are, but it represented your family and your intellect, too. There were so many manners, it seemed like could have been manners for walking! The first President, George Washington, wrote a list of manners called The Exercise of a Schoolboy, and here are some exerts.

  1. Every action done in company, ought to be with some sign of respect, to those that are present.

  2. When in company, do not put your hands on any part of the body that is usually covered.

  3. Show nothing to your friend that may fright him.

  4. In the presence of others, do not sing to yourself with a humming noise, nor drum with your fingers or feet.

  5. If you cough, sneeze, sigh, or yawn, do it privately and not loud; and do not speak in your yawning, but put your hand before your face and turn aside.

    Mind you, I have translated these first 5 parts of 110. Many people back then used double negatives and spelled phonetically. Many of these manners seem like common sense (or hopefully you've been taught them), but not many people today do these simple things. As I said manners were taught at an early age, parents were also very strict in their teachings. There are some manners that he has listed that might seem silly, like when he writes "lift not one eyebrow higher than the other", but today's society has definitely changed.




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