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American Family - Essay Example

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This essay dwells on the nature of an American family. It is stated here that the core element of the contemporary Western social system is the family. Notably, since its formulation in the 18th century, the USA has been a nation that has promoted nuclear families and overriding family values…
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American Family
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American Family The core element of the contemporary Western social system is the family. This is abundantly true in American society. Since its formulation in the 18th century, the United States has been a nation that has promoted nuclear families, marriage, and overriding family values. Within this social structure tax incentives have even been given to individuals that marry. While family remains a central aspect of American culture, it’s clear that family values have shifted over the last century. This essay considers the nature of the American family and examines whether it has become weaker over the years or just different. The 20th century saw perhaps the most rapid changes in family values American society has yet to experience. Towards the beginning of the century America was composed of a largely white European base, with ethnic minority contingents existing throughout the nation. Within this structure the American family was took on the stereotypical role of a husband that provided for their wife and children that emerged from this union. This came to be recognized as the American Dream. While for the early part of the 20th century this family structure existed, women progressively gained rights. Towards the 1960s the feminist movement was in full swing and this would have a corresponding effect on the structure of the American family. Perhaps the greatest change occurred in the relation between husband and wife. While previously men had been the primary financial providers, women increasingly took on this role. This subsequently resulted in increased leverage and social power being vested in the female. This leverage would be on to change the very nature of the family, as women would now have increased options in regards to divorce. Furthermore women were able to delay marriage and pursue their own careers. In these regards, the stereotypical ‘nuclear family’ definitely has changed over the years. Another major aspect of family change has been the influx of immigrants. While white Europeans, increasing amounts of South, had previously dominated the United States and African American citizens would further change the family structure. One of the primary changes that occurred in these regards was the expansion of the American family. Many South American families have large family structures, where cousins and grandparents remain close-knit. In these regards, the family structure would expand. In addition, shifting social trends would indicate that divorce was not as chastised as it had previously been. This would further result in splintered families, with one parent. Ultimately, it’s clear that family values have greatly changed over the years. In terms of becoming weaker or strong, this is understood in terms of the perspective of the individual involved. In many regards, families today are much more malleable and able to change; this demonstrates strength and flexibility. Still, one realizes that perhaps the core nuclear family, with limited divorce rates is perhaps a forever a lost aspect of American society. In these regards, the family has weakened. In conclusion, this essay has considered the nature of the American family. The essay demonstrated that the family structure has greatly changed over the years due to women’ rights, immigration, and changing social trends. Finally, it demonstrated that these changes have both strengthened and weakened the family structure. Read More
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