Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage.

Part Four. Economics, Education, and Crime. Chapters 17-21.

Chapter 17 (Richter and Ta) considers reports of cacao and chocolate in 18th and early 19th century Shipping News documents. Their analysis reveals how cacao and chocolate were transported from points of debarkation in South and Central America and the Caribbean to primary ports along the eastern seaboard of North America, especially Baltimore, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Chapter 18 (Richter and Ta) presents an economic analysis of 18th and early 19th century Price Current documents that established prices for cacao and chocolate in the major European and North American east coast cities. They report how the prices for these commodities fluctuated during periods of peace vs. hostilities and by transportation distance. Chapter 19 (Grivetti) summarizes information from 18th century almanacs, religious tracts, and primary school textbooks that included cacao-and chocolate-related homespun medical advice, recommendations for mental and personal improvement, morality tales, and spiritual instruction. Chapter 20 (Grivetti) analyzes a suite of English documents where defendants were tried for cacao-and chocolate-associated crimes that ranged from assault, to grand theft, to murder, and reviews the verdicts for relative fairness/consistency or lack thereof. Chapter 21 (Grivetti) continues the "dark side" theme of chocolate and presents selected criminal cases that involved cacao/chocolate-associated arson, blackmail, counterfeiting, murder, smuggling, and theft.

Chapter 19

 Author: Louis Grivetti

Title: "C" is For Chocolate. Chocolate and Cacao as Educational Themes in 18th Century North America.

More than 100 primary school textbooks, general almanacs, and religious tracts published in North America between 1758 and 1820 incorporate chocolate-related descriptions and imagery used to instruct readers on a wide diversity of topics. Drinking chocolate was widely popular throughout this period of North American history, and mention of cacao trees, production of cocoa, and manufactured chocolate were commonplace when teaching children or adults the themes associated with arithmetic, book-keeping systems, child-training, courtship, economic theory, ethics, geography, English, French, German, and Spanish grammar, homespun medical advice, mental and personal improvement, morality, philosophy, spelling, spiritual instruction, even zoonomia (the so-called laws of organic life). These books and tracts written by North America authors are linked through their inclusion of cacao-or chocolate-related discussions or examples. Inspection of the chocolate-related context, however, reveals that the various authors had quite different agendas and intents when incorporating chocolate images in their works as instructional tools. The texts examined may be clustered into four primary areas: 1) Those describing the geographical distribution of cacao trees, how cocoa beans were harvested and ultimately made into beverages, thereby providing primary school students with broader insights and understanding of global agriculture and foreign labor. 2) Textbooks that provided students with skills necessary for daily living and employment where chocolate-related examples were used to teach the elements of arithmetic, commodity barter-systems, book-keeping, even language/grammar skills. 3) Books that used chocolate related topics meant to provide parents with: skills on how to raise children with ethical values; illustrations that defined relationships between family members and servants; suggestions on how to approach courtship discussions with daughters; and spiritual instruction offered to guide families on living moral lives. 4) Still other books blended philosophy with medical-related caution.


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