Colonial Families VS. Modern American Families

When comparing the Colonial families to modern American families there were numerous changes. In colonial families, the father was in charge of his family. “A man was to provide for his wife and children’s physical well being, making sure they were fed, clothed, and sheltered” Women would stay home and take care of the children. They would also cook and clean. Women also had to milk cows and work on the farm. The son’s would go to work with their fathers and the daughters would stay home and help their mother with their siblings. “When a woman married, she lost her legal identity she became one with her husband, her husband now represented her in all their social and legal dealings” “When the husband died the wife would be given one-third of his property, and the rest would pass to a male heir” Children received their basic education from their parents or if they were working as servants in another family’s home” (Cherlin p. 47).”” Parents and masters were required by law to teach reading to their children and young servants” (Cherlin p.47). According to Kari Terwilliger   statement the “common family structure was that of the conjugal family which consisted of a husband, a wife, and some children”. She also states that the colonial family encompassed the idea of the ‘’public family’’.

According to Courtney Davis she states that” very few families are multiple generational beyond parents and their children”. I disagree with her statement that few families are multigenerational beyond parents and their children. According to” The U.S. Census Bureau defines multigenerational families as those consisting of more than two generations living under the same roof” According to our text Multigenerational households are households in which at least three generations of family members reside” (Cherlin p.322).” In one national survey it was found that teenagers who lived with at least one grandparent in a multigenerational household were just as likely to graduate from high school and no more likely to smoke or drink than were children who lived with two married parents”(Cherlin p.322). “In 2000, 3.7 percent of households in the United States were multigenerational by 2010, multigenerational households increased to 4.0 percent” Growing up my grandmother lived with us. When my parents had to work my gram would babysit my sisters and brothers. She would also cook us dinner and clean the house.

Today both parents work unless one is sick or has a disability. Children go to school five days a week and play sports afterwards. Most children today don’t have chores to do, they play on the computer or they play video games. Children have it a lot easier now than they did back then. Most kids can ask their parents for money and their parents will just give it to them but back then they had to work for the money, it wasn’t just given to them. After they graduate they usually get a job or they go college. Nowadays Men and women both cook and clean the house and they are equal to one another the men don’t control the women. Growing up I had to chores every day after school. When I was old enough to get a job my parents made me get a job and help pay bills.

Back then when a “woman married, she lost her legal identity she became one with her husband, any property she had, any debts she incurred, and any money she might make belonged to her husband” When the husbands died the women would be given one third of his property. Nowadays when men and women get a divorce they split everything in half and they have to pay to get a divorce. My parents have been separated for 15 years and till this day they are still married and they both have new partners. According to Marquel Basile he states that “people get married in the spur of the moment and a lot of times it doesn’t end up successfully”. I agree with his statement because according to the “University of St. Augustine estimates that in the USA, 40% to 50% of all first marriages and 60% of second marriages end in divorce” to slide 11 on the PowerPoint “marriage bonds weakened and divorces were more common. I also agree with Samantha Martin’s statement that ” many people get married because they are having a child, or because they will make more money in their job if they are married, or because they will receive more assistance from the government if they have children or are married”. I think some people get married just to say they are married, or just to have a wedding.

In 2006, nearly one million U.S. marriages were dissolved, leaving 9.8% of the adult population divorced Back in the day” if a wife needed to leave an abusive husband, she would have to apply for a legal separation” “In her petition, she would have to find community members who would testify that she had done nothing to provoke her husband’s wrath and that she had always tried to be a submissive and obedient wife” Nowadays if you want to leave your husband or wife you have to file for a divorce by filling out papers and going to court.


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 Self Assessment- I earned a B for this blog because I quoted 3 separate posts from my class mates and used the PowerPoint. I also added in some of my own thoughts on the topic.



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