Based on a wealth of family papers, period images, and popular literature, this is the first book devoted to the broad history of sibling relations in America. Illuminating the evolution of the modern family system, Siblings shows how brothers and sisters have helped each other in the face of the dramatic political, economic, and cultural changes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The book illustrates how, in colonial America, sibling relations offered an egalitarian space to soften the challenges of the larger patriarchal family and society, whereas after the Revolution, in antebellum America, sibling relations provided order and authority in a more democratic nation. As Hemphill demonstrates, siblings function across all races as humanity's shock-absorbers as well as valued kin and keepers of memory. This wide-ranging book offers a new understanding of the relationship between families and history in an evolving world and a timely reminder of the role our siblings play in our own lives.