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The History of Marriage in America Research Papers

The history of marriage in America is a fascinating look at the civil and religious ceremony that has taken place since the very first days of the nation. Americans view on marriage has evolved over the years and can be explored from the view of various disciplines.

The evolution of the importance of marriage over the eras in America is very reflective as to why the country is struggling with the prospect of gay marriage – hence, the ever growing number of bans by states being ferociously challenged and litigated in the country’s courts – most recently, the U. S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on November 6, 2014, to uphold same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The judges joining in the majority opinion of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that it wasn’t the court’s role to define marriage as inclusive of gay couples in America – this decision must be left to American voters via its democratic process because the decision at hand requires a “fundamental change to such a fundamental social institution.” Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on the history of marriage that follows your guidelines.

History Marriage America

American Marriages

Between 1776 and 1850, American marriages were institution oriented – couples married in order to produce a union that increased each individual’s survival upon food production, shelter, and protection – the husband’s role was to provide food and shelter – the wife’s primary role was to bear and take care of the couple’s children, keep the home in order, and provide sex to her husband. If there was a fondness between the husband and the wife, this was a bonus factor, not a prerequisite. From 1850 through 1965, the American marriage became companion oriented – it was a union more focused on love and a fulfilling sex life – generated by a transition from rural to urban living. As American prospered and the country’s political and social institutions became more prominent, individuals had more socioeconomic opportunity to seek love and companionship from prospective married life. Beginning in 1965, American married couples have lived in the “era of self-expressive marriage” and seek marriage as a means of “self-discovery, self-esteem and personal growth” according to Finkle. Marriage has become more of an option for individuals to attain their personal achievements – it is no longer a necessary institution in today’s America.

Recognizing Abram Maslow’s 1940s hierarchy of needs model, the history of marriage in America reflects the needs of humans from their lowest to highest levels –

  1. Physiological well-being or the need for nourishment
  2. Need for safety
  3. Need for love and being a part of a union
  4. Need for esteem and self-realization.

Socioeconomic predicaments, as well as individual choices trending today, for example, a woman’s personal choice to marry a women and not a man, are taking precedent over the importance of building strength within traditional marriages and society’s desire to see same flourish.

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