Last Updated 21 Apr 2020

American Agricultural Family History

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The Family in History as we would hear perhaps from old folks who are still living in some rural areas is a picture of husband and wife and kids living simply outside urban area. According to Arlene Skolnick, “throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, well over 90 percent of the American family lived in small rural communities” (Skolnick 79) and every one is busy as all members of the family work be it in the farm, or in a shop, or maybe in the home.

In Skolnick’s comparative study of the families then and now, she only noticed slight difference and this is in terms of size of family members. She noted that a “typical house hold in the 1790 included about 5. 6 members compared to about 3. 5 today” (Skolnick 79). During this period, married women were usually home maker specially those who belong to middle class family, but poor married young women and widows worked in the factories. Mara Dunleavy noted that during the early 1800s adult female role include the responsibility to have children and to care for them.

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She also had to take care of the house under her husband’s supervision. Also, she is expected by her husband in farm or garden labor. The husband on the other hand is responsible for the financial needs of the family. During this period, most men had farm or were working as farm laborers or what ever skill that got them employed. The husbands were also responsible to support and defend his family, and are expected to be strong, independent and reliable. They were to work in the field and to market his farm product.

The married women role of running the household and to care for children were indeed a full time job as it also includes cleaning the house, preparing and cooking the foods, bottling and canning the produce of the farm, and provides for all the need of the husband and the children as well. Children had also their own role. They were taught these roles at their young age particularly how to farm for the boys and how they could provide for in their families in the future. Children were also sent to school and were taught the basic academic subject as higher education was available during this time.

Girls on the other hand, were taught the household chores and some basic education, but higher educations were not available for women until 1837. Dunleavy pointed out that even when higher education were opened for women in 1837 but it only offered limited degree not enough to provide them career alternatives, rather they were taught how to be a good wives and mothers. Arlene Skolnick pointed out that “differences between the American family in colonial times and today are not at all stark; the similarities are striking” (Skolnick 79).

But these similarities could maybe only apply in the social climate of both periods. Indeed there is a striking contrasts in the roles those men, women and children that they are now doing and the roles that family members had assumed during the colonial times. How Have Things Change Skolnick noted that during the civil war period American attitudes toward the family had profoundly changed. The reason for this is the gradual transformation of America into an urban, industrial society during the early decade of the 19th century.

Skolnick further noted that in 1820, “less than eight percent of the population lived in cities but by 1860 it rose to twenty percent and by 1900, that figure had doubled. But the benefit of industrialization did not immediately affect the structure of the family” (Skolnick 80) However, there was a decline in the size of the family though most of the social condition remained about the same. But the industrialization had a lasting effect on the family as the whole members don’t have to work as independent workers. Men can work in the offices and factories while wives concentrate in the house to take care of the children now going to school.

Mara Dunleavy contends that during the twentieth century, women’s role gradually moved into male dominated labor force and the home became a meeting place mainly for the family to gather together. According to Clarence Roberts, during the industrial revolution period men worked too far from their home and were usually tucked away in offices or factories (Roberts). Men became the bread winner to a great extent of the family while women left in charge of the children and the home. Roberts pointed out that this was thought to have helped destroy the equalitarian position of women in the family.

During this period too, Roberts noted that children could now help earn for their families as they could work in factories even with out the approval of their elders. Roberts further noted that home training and instruction was now replace by formal education in public school and work in the factories. Dunleavy pointed out in his article published on line entitled “How Changing Sex Roles Have Affected the Family Unity in the United Stated,” that during the World War II there was a large shortage of men. Because of this shortage, women took the vacancies as men were sent abroad to join the war.

Women took active roles in the male dominated work traditionally. Since then, women’s roles broaden and some began making careers outside of their homes for themselves. Since then up to now, more changes had taken place although children still work but authorities see to it that it would not hinder their education, thus making work schedule only on Saturdays. How Have They Remained the Same? There is no doubt that everything about the family life had changed to a great extent. The traditional family had also changed and even affected by this change because of the women’s quest for equality with men.

Many things reflect great changes in the family life since the 1800s. Perhaps the only thing that has not significantly change is the social climate which still features almost the same social condition. Early premarital pregnancies, abortion, marrying age, premarital sex, and divorce were just some of the issues of the past that still ring in the present society. It was in this area that Arlene Skolnick noted that there was striking similarities between the families of the past and the families of the present. Why do you Think that something have Changed Over time?

There were indeed some things that had changed over time in the lives of the families in history. One of these things is, with the rise of industrialization men went to urban cities to seek for work in factories or offices for their families. Their farm lives were suddenly left behind, and the duties of the wives had changed from equally working with men in the farm to just manage the home and to take care of their children. This change went over time that women found themselves already in the situation, before they realize their utter dependence on their husband.

The reason for this is nothing else than economic. Men sees the opportunity for economic advancement which their farm lives could hardly provide. Family relationships particularly extended families have changed over time as every one had the opportunity to work. The once conjugal work of the disappeared and was replace by men as bread winner of the family. Children too have had experienced changed over time as they were now income earners too. All these changes were hue mainly to the economic opportunity bought by the advent of industrialization and the men’s desire to improve their family lives.

Work Cited Dunleavy, Mara. “How Changing Sex Roles Have Affected the Family Unit in the United States. ” Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. http://www. yale. edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1982/6/82. 06. 09. x. html Roberts, Clarence Jr. “The Changing Family: How Changes in the Family Reflect Social and Economic Changes in Society. ” Yale-New Haven teachers Institute. Vol. 4, 2007 http://www. yale. edu/ynhti/curriculum/guides/1990/4/90. 04. 08. x. html Skolnick, Arlene. “The Paradox of Perfection”(given file)

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American Agricultural Family History. (2016, Jul 10). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/american-agricultural-family-history/

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