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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER 20 THE CHANING LIFE OF THE PEOPLE I. Marriage and the family A. Extended and nuclear families 1. The nuclear family, not the extended family, was most common in preindustrial western and central Europe. a. This conclusion is based on new studies of "parish registers." 2. Early marriage was not common prior to 1750, and many women (perhaps as much as half) never married at all. a. In a typical English village, women and men married at twentyseven. 3. Marriage was commonly delayed because of poverty and/or local law and tradition. B. Work away from home 1. Many boys left home to work as craftsmen or laborers. 2. Girls left to work as servants--where they often were physically and sexually mistreated. C. Premarital sex and community controls 1. Illegitimate children were not common in preindustrial society; premarital sex was common, but marriage usually followed. a. The traditional (openfield) village system was a check upon both illegitimacy and early marriage. b. Public action against domestic disputes and marital scandals was frequent-- often taking the form of degrading public rituals. 2. Birth control methods were primitive and undependable. a. Coitus interruptus was the most common form of birth control. D. New patterns of marriage and illegitimacy 1. Between about 1750 and 1850 the number of illegitimate births soared--in some places from 2 to 25 percent of all births. a. Fewer young women were abstaining from premarital intercourse and fewer young men were marrying the women they got pregnant. 2. One cause for this was that the growth of cottage industry (and later, the factory) resulted in people marrying earlier and for love. 3. Another cause was that more young villagers were moving to towns and cities where they were no longer subject to village controls. a. Low wages, inequality, and changing economic and social conditions made it difficult for women to acquire a marriage based on romance. II. Children and Education A. Childhood was dangerous because of adult indifference, neglect, and even abuse. B. Child care and nursing 1. Infant mortality was very high....
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