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The Family in Historical Perspective

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1 The Family in Historical Perspective
Marriages and Families: Changes, Choices, and Constraints Seventh Edition Nijole V. Benokraitis Chapter Three The Family in Historical Perspective

2 The Family in Historical Perspective
What has changed over the past 200+ years in America? What theories are reflected?

3 The Colonial Family How different were colonial families than families of today? They differed in social class, religious practices, and geographic location, but they weren’t much different in family roles and family structures.

4 The United States’ Family in History
Were there really any “good old days” where life was simpler and less complicated? Social scientists have been trying to determine if these eras actually existed for many people or for only an advantaged few. Did people really pull together after the Great Depression? Were the 1950s the golden era it is made to be in the mass media?

5 The Colonial Family Family Structure
The nuclear family was the most common family form in both England and the United States in the early settlements. Women were subordinate to men was a self-sufficient business provided schooling for children. provided a vocational institution. provided religious teaching (Also from community)

6 The Colonial Family Sexual Relations
The Puritans did not believe in premarital sex and tried to prevent it in several ways. Adultery for women was considered immoral and illegal, while adultery for men was generally ignored, a double standard we still see today.

7 Husbands and Wives Men were expected to look after the economic well-being of the family and women were to provide a supporting role. Women generally did not own businesses, had little access to credit, and were severely constrained in money matters.

8 Children’s Lives Many died before their first birthday (10-30%).
Dominated by the concepts of repression, religion, and respect. Puritans believed in original sin so children were inherently stubborn, willful, selfish, and corrupt. The entire community worked together to keep children in their place. Children were expected to be extraordinarily well behaved, obedient, and docile.

9 Social Class and Regional Differences
There were different social classes in early America: merchant class, or upper class artisan class or middle class. The laboring class, or working class

10 Early American Families from Non-European Cultures
Native Americans - 18 million Indians American Indians were enormously diverse. Family Structure varied from one Indian society to another. Polygamy was accepted in more than 20% of marriages in Indian communities. Approximately 25% of North American Indian tribes were matrilineal—decent & possessions traced through the mother’s line.

11 Early American Families from Non-European Cultures
African Americans—first as indentured servants in Jamestown in By the mid-1660s, the southern colonies had passed laws prohibiting blacks from testifying in court, owning property, making contracts, legally marrying, traveling without permission, etc.

12 Early American Families from Non-European Cultures
Slavery & the Family Family was affected by harsh working conditions, poverty, splitting families through slave sales, etc.

13 Early American Families from Non-European Cultures
Slavery was abolished in Many families set out to reunite. Former slaves were allowed to have legal marriages and many African families moved north to escape the prejudice held against them in the South.

14 Early American Families from Non-European Cultures
Mexican Americans - in 1848 the United States annexed territory in the West and Southwest that was originally part of Mexico. Most Mexicans became laborers. The loss of land was devastating to their culture.

15 Mexican Americans Mexican laborers were essential to the prosperity of the Southwestern businesses. Men and women both worked outside the home for menial wages. They were known for hard work with little wages.

16 Mexican Americans Mexican family life was characterized by familism—the family came before individual well-being. (collectivism) Compadrazgo - godparents were included in more co-parenting role.

17 Mexican Americans Women were the guardians of the family traditions.
Mexican men were usually the head of the household. Masculinity for these men was of the utmost importance—the concept of machismo. Dominance, assertiveness, pride, and sexual prowess

18 Industrialization The period between 1820 and 1930
Industrialization changed the American family in many ways. men became the breadwinners women stayed home to raise the children.

19 European Immigration & Industrialization
Economic stratified society: Upper class, middle class, & poor “Cult of domesticity” glorified women’s domestic roles—the world of the home became the world of the female. The upper and middle class could aspire to this way of life.

20 Other changes Romantic Love - More marriages were based on love and choice rather than practical, economic considerations;

21 Children and Adolescents
Fathers began to lose control over the lives of their children. Less economic tie. Pre-marital pregnancy shot up to 40% by the mid-eighteenth century. Perhaps the biggest change was that families started to view childhood as a discrete section of life and they treated children less as “miniature adults.”

22 The Impact of Immigration and Urbanization
Unskilled and semi-skilled labor that fueled emerging industries Immigrant families were certainly the poorest of the poor. Men and women immigrants tended to move into specific jobs. Harsh living & working conditions

23 The Modern Family Emerges
Because of all of the changes occurring in the United States, families changed as well. The companionate family was born. Companionate families were ones built on sexual attraction, compatibility, and personal happiness. Thus husbands and wives were not just economic units as they had been in the past, but the were dependent on each other for company and a sense of belonging.

24 The Great Depression On October 29, 1929, the U.S. stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. By the mid-1930s there were huge layoffs by manufacturers. The Great Depression affected every life in America. Often, men left their families in search of work, leaving the rest of the family with little or no resources. Many young women moved to cities to support their families. Women were more likely to be hired in factories, where they were paid less.

25 World War II Millions of women went to work for the first time outside the home to fill in for jobs that men had to leave behind to fight in the war.

26 Divorce Rates Divorce rates had been on the rise since 1940, but they increased dramatically at then end of the war. Some women found new economic independence and decided to end unhappy marriages.

27 The Golden Fifties Baby Boom Rush to the suburbs
Home ownership grew and construction of new homes skyrocketed. After WWII, women were no longer welcome in the workplace.

28 Portrait of 50s Woman

29 An Idyllic Decade? Were the 1950s really all we “remember” them to be or are those years largely a figment of our mass media? In fact, many families during the 50s still experienced severe racism. Child abuse and domestic violence were widespread but unrecognized. Open homosexuality was taboo. Many people—even those “happy” housewives—tried to escape their unhappy existences through alcohol and drugs.

30 Families Since the 1960s In the 1970s, families had lower birth rates and higher divorce rates compared with the 50s. Out-of-wedlock births, especially to teenage mothers, declined in the late 1990s and began to climb in 2006. Gender roles have changed dramatically since the 1950s—women have much greater opportunities by going to college and having a career. Families, though, are stressed by time constraints.

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