The Life of American Families Essay Example


During the 1930’s America was self- supporting people who portrayed the standard social unit for our society. They were seeking help. Services were not just constrained to staying inside of the family home, but Americans have been going to the system and depending on cooperate organizations since the very beginning.   According to Coontz “People operated within a tight web of obligation, debt, dependence, “treating” and the calling in of favors” (Coontz, pg. 71).   People in the working-class category, this included blacks, native born white workers and immigrants this was the way they could survive in the society.  The way of life for this was hard, they had to rely on another way of assistance to make it. They needed help with aid to receive goods and the basic needs they needed to allow them to get through one day to the next. 

The way of life was not just centered on the poor families, but the ones that were labeled middle class as well. Affluent Americans were depending on the public for aid to get them by, they did not know how they were going to make it or even where they would get the help they needed. This is why the public aid was important to them. One myth talked about was that only people who depended on the public was those who were poor. Which isn’t true it is families in middle class that needed help from the public to get by. There were two different families that were viewed as “American independent” families. They were frontier family and suburban family. The frontier family was economic prosperity tied to being involved in the community than to belong involved in just one’s only family.  Then there is the suburban family that wanted government assistance, especially with the roles of homeownership. The suburban family had strong moral values and work ethic, which was taught uplift them by their bootstraps.  According to Coontz both families tie for the honor of being the most heavily subsidized in American history. (Coontz, pg. 73). The image of the self-reliant pioneer family has been taught to us by the little house on the Prairie books and television series. Which makes us believe that it’s the ideology family and how everyone wants their family to be. The most dramatic growth in government social expenditures are in programs such as social insurance, workers compensation, disability and Medicare programs. These programs were created to help the poor, but most of the benefits go the members of the white middle class, not the poor. According to Coontz “both the financial and family afflictions of Americans existed because government had abandoned traditions of self-reliance and adopted overly generous subsidy programs for the poor” (Cootnz, pg.80). With this statement the government is not properly giving away the services needed for the people who need them most. Some might believe that the poor people can take advanced of the system to get what they want from the government. 

Going from Americans being dependent with public assistance and needs, to men not being able to make decisions for their own families. According to Cootnz feminists and liberals expressed outrage at this “invasion of personal privacy and bodily integrity” (Cootnz, pg.123). this statement shows how other could come into your home and take control. The man did not have authorize to make decisions when it came to his own family. The New deal welfare legislation was mainly for private nuclear families with breadwinner husbands and homemaker wives. Women did not have no control or even have anything of their own, they would receive benefits through their husband, but if they did not last more than twenty years, they did not end up with any benefits at all. So, it was best for the women to make their relationship last so they could continue to receive the benefits from their husband.  Men had a goal to help receive wages that would help the m provide for their family’s needs. Women (single mothers) had to stop working full time to tend to the children. 

During the 1960’s the state was in control of a lot that families did, they also were in control of what they could not do. The state wanted to see whether the acts the society committed was constitutional or not. The acts ranged from many different topics from adults having sex to birth control to their privacy in their homes. In the article it shows how the government was looked upon or protect the privacy of Americans, not to take control over it. Over the year’s things have changed when it comes to the government. The myth of how families are supposed to look, and act are changing. Males and females’ roles are not like they use to be.

 

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