Historical Perspectives on Marriage

Arland Thornton, William G. Axinn and Yu Xie

in Marriage and Cohabitation

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780226798660
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226798684 | DOI:
Historical Perspectives on Marriage

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This chapter is based on the premise that understanding the forces underlying marriage and cohabitation in the United States today is facilitated by knowledge of the historical roots of family life. Many features of the institutions of marriage and family in America today can be traced back hundreds and even thousands of years to the northwestern European past—and frequently appear in remarkably similar form. Other features of personal and family life in America today have changed dramatically over the centuries—often in surprising and little understood ways. The chapter provides an overview of the American Revolution and the establishment of the new republic at the end of the 1700s and beginning of the 1800s. It then discusses in general terms the role of families and marriage in social organization, the marriage and household system, parental involvement in courtship and marriage, sex and childbearing, and marital dissolution.

Keywords: marriage; cohabitation; United States; family; American Revolution; courtship; sex; childbearing; marital dissolution; social organization

Chapter.  20375 words. 

Subjects: Population and Demography

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