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Families: Evolving from pre-industrial times

Think about the stereotypical images of family life in the pre-industrial United States. How have these images been romanticized in the media and in elementary- and secondary-level textbooks and historical fiction? Give examples of how we are led to believe that eighteenth and nineteenth century family life was better than contemporary family life. How do romanticized images of preindustrial society compare to what you have read in the textbook and in the article by Stephanie Coontz? What are the implications of portraying colonial America as "the good old days?

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Pre-industrial US times were times where workers were treated as machines, there were more families, and the family structure was much different than it is today. During those times, fathers worked either on the farm or outside of the home, while mothers leaned more toward staying home and caring for the family and children. You are correct in your interpretation that we seem to believe that those times were much better and that family life was ...

Solution Summary

This article discusses the stereotypes and images of families from the pre-industrial United States era until now. Many text books and historians view those times as ideal for American history and the family, but this article argues that though times have changed, the early years may not have been "better" per se.