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Notes 1.17.08 - The Changing American Family •...

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1/17/2008 The Changing American Family Extraordinary changes have occurred in the American family over the course of American history. Historical Economical : structure and value. Transformation in women’s role. Demographics Immigration.
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Historical & Economical changes Pre industrial family (18 th century) Family as a self-sufficient agriculture unit. Producer & consumer of own goods & service (food, soap, medicine, and child-care). Families were large (extended network). Little privacy. Marriage – love & commitment NOT correlated. Husbands – patriarchal rule.
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Children Evil-born of original sin. Corporal punishment (abusive by today’s standard). Viewed as “Little Adults”. Difference in non-European cultures. American Indians. African American. Mexican American.
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American Indian Family structure & customs varied across Indian communities. Approximately 25% of North American tribes were matrilineal or traced their family descent trough the mother’s line rather than through the father’s line of a patrilineal pattern. Marriage & divorce patterns vary by group. Childhood was considered a happy time & parents were typically loving & kind. Most Indian societies has adolescent rites of passage including vision quests.
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Europeans colonists played a major role in destroying much of American Indian culture either through military slaughter or through introduction of disease.
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