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American Families Essay

1282 words - 6 pages

Gail Sheely once said, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. And if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” The family, especially in America, is the epitome of this quote – the American family is always growing and changing (not always for the better) and finding new ways and ideas that are constantly redefining the word family. Over the past century, the structure of families has changed greatly. Also, the roles and responsibilities of the individual members of families have changed drastically. Perhaps receiving the biggest change is the morals and values that families observe.
What is the American Family ? In this day and age many external forces contribute to the structure of a family ...view middle of the document...

Socially, the family is the determining factor between what is acceptable and unacceptable because the family is where children are taught what is right and wrong. Also, families play a big role in the American Dream, when immigrants come over from oppressive mother countries they long to restart and the first logical step is to start a family. Perhaps the most important role of the family in the society is that families are training the next generation. The home is where children are taught morals and ethics and are trained to be members of society (Duda).
The early 1900’s were filled with ups and down that affected everyone on the national level all the way down to each individual family. As for the structure of the early 1900’s, it was turned on its head during the 1910’s with the First World War. This major event in American history took fathers and sons from many families. It also changed the role of the women from homemaker to factory worker. When the men returned and expected the women to return to being homemakers, the women answered back in the “Roaring Twenties” with major advances in women’s rights and women’s suffrage. Advances in entertainment like the first “talkie ”, the rise of baseball, and the first Mickey Mouse cartoon gave new opportunities to the family to bond together and become stronger (McHugh).
The goals of the families that stayed together in this time of independence and differentiation of gender roles did not waiver much. The goals of families in this time were upholding a strong since of community, strong morals, values, and ethics, and a strong since of unity within the family. The goals for the children in these families were to have them be prosperous in school and sports, go to college then get a job, and eventually settle down, get married, and have children of their own.
Though this was the opening of a new century, many problems for the not only the family but the nation as a whole. Inside the family, many issues turned the family on its head. World War 1 took any and all male leadership from families and put women into a factory setting that they had never been in before. As a result of the costly war and eventually the Great Depression put many families into an economic tailspin. On the national level, World War 1 was detrimental to some families, but strengthened the national picture of families under one goal of winning the war and patriotism. The Great Depression also tore families apart because of the poverty and homelessness it caused (McHugh).
The midcentury of the 1900’s was similar to the first third of the century in terms of being a roller coaster for the family. Again, another world war called all the males, and some females, into the eastern hemisphere to fight...

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