File Name: family and civilization carle zimmerman .zip
Access options available:. Pages which deserve careful reading in view of current discussion of the relativt: merits of the " purely contemplative " and of the " mixed " life are those in which the author treats of the influence of infused contemplation on the perfect apostolic life and the life of reparation pp.
Carle C. Zimmerman
The most incisive guide to issues facing the American family today. An invaluable resource for anyone wishing to stay on the cutting edge of research on family trends. Download a PDF of this essay Exactly thirty years ago, I wrote and saw published my first substantive essay on the family crisis in modern America. There was, to be sure, much to be troubled about in My essay noted that the divorce rate had risen by percent between and , with the number of annual breakups reaching one million, and affecting well more than that many children each year.
The marriage rate remained reasonably high at However, the fertility rate births per 1, women, ages 15—44 had tumbled almost in half from the postwar high of Nearly 18 million children lived in one-parent homes during , up from 9 million in My essay noted the spate of expert attention given to these signs of family strain.
They shared common traits. They faulted the rigid American family model of a breadwinning father and husband married to an isolated, socially dependent housewife.
More broadly, they saw family breakup as the consequence of poverty, racial and sexual inequality, poor housing, unemployment, lack of transportation, and poor education. I was puzzled by these reports, unable to see the connection between effect and cause. For example, the percentage of children living below the poverty line had actually fallen during the s from 27 to 15 percent.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rates for white and black workers were at near record low levels during the same decade. How could poverty and unemployment be causes of the dramatic demographic shifts recorded? In addition, the proportion of married women in the labor market had been climbing steadily since , with an especially strong increase after At the same time, Medicaid and other new welfare programs had vastly expanded the social service network serving families.
But exactly the opposite happened. Composition of U. I focused on two alternate explanations. Marriages predicated mostly on sexual capability and erotic arousal prove fragile.
Parents abandon and adolescents reject all sense of lineage, which monogamy alone can provide. Those published before continue to view the middle-class family as the American norm. Those appearing after abandon normative concepts altogether. I saw few prospects at the time for changing the trajectory of social change. On further reflection over the next few years, however, I resolved that matters could be improved.
While the social sciences of the era were corrupted by political correctness, I was impressed by the number of honest and compelling research results still being reported. The common messages from this work were that:. I came to believe that if persuasively presented, such arguments—based on solid empirical evidence—could advance the public debate, convert skeptics, reinforce those in positions of influence already favorable to the natural family system, forge careful policies that respected family autonomy, and avoid the end predicted by Carle Zimmerman.
This conviction led to the creation of The Family in America as a monthly monograph series in , and especially to its New Research supplement.
In each issue, the latter featured abstracts of eight to ten new books or journal articles that elaborated on the three common findings cited above. Bryce Christensen, followed by Christopher Check, edited The Family in America for the first ten years; I have shouldered that task since Robert W. Patterson becomes editor with this issue. Of course, others of a similar persuasion joined in this campaign to alter the terms of public debate and to reconnect the shape of public policy to the authentic findings of social science.
The names of some of those persons are found on the editorial board of this journal. Importantly, some positive results have been recorded. One remarkable episode was the crafting of the final report of the National Commission on Children, entitled Beyond Rhetoric and issued in Created by Congress in late , the commission had thirty-six members: twelve appointed by the president; twelve by the speaker of the House; and twelve by the president pro tem of the Senate.
Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia chaired the panel. I was one of twelve presidential appointees, placed in an awkward minority position. Yet a core group of us resolved to place before the commission the evidence underscoring the importance of the intact two-parent family to the well being of children.
To our pleasant surprise, Senator Rockefeller proved to be a generous and fair chairman who did want to produce that rarest of products: a coherent, content-rich, bipartisan report backed by a unanimous vote. A recent article in The American Prospect summarizes the process and results:. The blue-ribbon commission has an inauspicious history in American public policy.
Most often, assembling a dozen or two bipartisan grandees to deliberate soberly about a problem is merely a way of evading a problem. But there are exceptions. Though it will probably pass unnoticed, Dec. But then a funny thing happened on the way to irrelevance. Almost every one of the recommendations became law. Children do best when they have the personal involvement and material support of a father and a mother and when both parents fulfill their responsibility to be loving providers.
There can be little doubt that having both parents living and working together in a stable marriage can shield children from a variety of risks.
As I will explain later, it appears to have had a positive effect on American fertility. These years also taught me lessons regarding the causes of family change. To begin with, I gained a much deeper appreciation for the lasting effects of the industrial revolution on family life.
To this day, issues surrounding gender roles, childcare, and elder care derive from the hunger of an industrial economy for specialized labor.
The industrial revolution also altered the nature of marriage, displacing the natural division of labor between husbands and wives in a productive home economy. Moreover, the market-based economy requires that ever more tasks once done within homes be transferred into the commercial sector, and it uses advertising to whet appetites for these new, industrially-produced products.
Taken together, these forces tend to leave family homes stripped of function, with husband-wife and even parent-child relationships subject to the bonds of emotion alone. The second lesson learned over the last three decades is the complicity of the state in family decay.
The U. Supreme Court, which prior to showed basic respect for marriage and family relationships, shifted toward a steady and hostile deconstruction of the natural family home. Connecticut stands in ever-sharper relief as a profound break in American history.
In , the Court ruled that fathers—even married fathers—had no rights relative to the life or death of their unborn children. State court decisions during the s e.
Marvin came close to equating non-marital cohabitation with marriage on questions of financial obligation. Another line of court decisions e. Levy v. Louisiana , Weber v. Some aspects of this family system worked very well and might be replicated in the future: federal tax policies that favored marriage and larger families; a broad culture of marriage that raised many new households into the middle class and served the interests of children; and an economic system that protected marriage.
Consequently, this family model proved to be a one-generation wonder, rooted in unique circumstances and unable to survive the challenges raised against it in the s. Marriage Rate Number of marriages per 1, unmarried women.
Viewed through a statistical lens, how does the family system in America in the first decade of the new millennium compare to its equivalent of thirty years ago? Relative to marriage, the trend lines are not healthy. The marriage rate has fallen from Even the absolute number of marriages has fallen from 2.
The median age at first marriage was still relatively low in By , the respective figures were 28 and In , Married-couple households composed 61 percent of all households in ; but 51 percent in , a bare majority.
Replacing marriage is living alone Relative to divorce, the good news is that the rate has fallen by 31 percent since , reaching 3. The bad news is that much of this decline can be attributed to the prior fall in the marriage rate. As an institution, we may conclude, marriage has experienced a sustained decline. During the s, the United States could be said to have had a culture of marriage. Turning to fertility, the picture is complex.
The absolute number of annual births has actually climbed by Meanwhile, the U. The TFR for whites has increased by 16 percent between and ; among African Americans, though, it has fallen by 5 percent. Hispanics who may be of any race recorded a TFR of 2. Estimated Median Age at First Marriage.
Source: U. Bureau of the Census. Births to Unwed Women. Moreover, 77 percent of these births occur to women more than 20 years of age. Contrary to popular and media misperceptions, these women have been increasingly more responsible for unwed births than their teenage sisters since at least , when their share of unwed births was 59 percent.
In brief, American fertility has recovered from the startling lows found in the s. Part of the explanation is the growing number of high-fertility Hispanics living in the United States.
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Thus religions institutionalize the quintessence of the basic mores. It is also a religious and legal-political institution. When a couple join in matrimony the biological mating has religious and political significance. The moral and political rights, obligations and duties of the couple and their issue are also altered. Family, Society, and Civilization intertwine through religious beliefs. This system of interrelationships explains why times such as the present see a concurrent weakening of faiths, family relations and public order.
Carle Zimmerman, Family and Civilization
Kenneth Morland, Family and Civilization. By Carle C. New York and London: Harper and Brothers, Most users should sign in with their email address.
In Family and Civilization, the distinguished Harvard sociologist Carle Zimmerman demonstrates the close and causal connections between the rise and fall of different types of families and the rise and fall of civilizations, particularly ancient Greece and Rome, medieval and modern Europe, and the United States. Zimmerman traces the evolution of family structure from tribes and clans to extended and large nuclear families to the smaller, often broken families of today. And he shows the consequences of each structure for the bearing and rearing of children, for religion, law, and everyday life, and for the fate of civilization itself.
His only rival for this label would be his friend, occasional coauthor, and colleague Pitirim Sorokin. Sorokin grew up in Russia, became a peasant revolutionary and a young minister in the brief Kerensky government, and barely survived the Bosheviks, choosing banishment in over a death sentence. They were teamed up at the University of Minnesota in to teach a seminar on rural sociology.