In the Mead-Freeman controversy, Derek Freeman argued that historical sources support his view that the traditional values of the Samoan system of institutionalized virginity (or taupou system) were preserved and reinforced throughout the colonial era. A closer examination of two sources used by Freeman, authored by Augustin Krämer and Newton A. Rowe, demonstrates that the taupou system, as well as many of the values and practices associated with it, were in decline during this period. This latter interpretation, favored by Margaret Mead, is also supported by Freeman's own postgraduate diploma thesis, a source hitherto unused in the controversy.

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