Divorce in America: Historical Perspectives Analytical Essay by Nicky

Divorce in America: Historical Perspectives
Analysis of the reasons behind the prevalence of divorce in the United States.
# 128542 | 1,278 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Jul 27, 2010 in Economics (Micro) , Women Studies (Marriage) , Sociology (General)

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This paper focuses on the prevalence of divorce in the United States and the reasons behind the trend. The paper explains that although recent changes in cultural mores are often cited as the causative factors, according to at least two authors on the subject, the roots of U.S. divorce have a much longer historical precedent. By way of exploration, the paper compares the arguments and research shown in Stephanie Coontz's "The Origins of Modern Divorce" and Elaine Tyler May's "The Pressure to Provide: Class, Consumerism and Divorce in Urban American, 1880-1920." The paper's author admits feeling drawn to the statistical and numerical rigor of May's study, but is more convinced by Coontz, who considers the larger historical scope of marriage and divorce before formulating her argument. The paper concludes that greater reliance on quantitative data, Coontz could go a long way toward improving that argument and providing a valuable new and historical reading on the manifestation of divorce in America.

From the Paper:

"The end result of this change has been that marriage no longer performs the same role as a social stabilizer, and that men and women invest more of their personal identities and life goals in marriage. Thus, when the promise of love and affection do not necessarily materialize, the disillusionment can be so strong as to encourage higher incidences of divorce as individuals can no longer see other reasons to remain married.
"Whereas Coontz looks to ideology and changing attitudes to understand rising divorce rates, May examines somewhat more tangible and materialistic issues that had an effect on the institution. Specifically, May makes the case that the emergence of a more affluent society in the latter half o the 19th century and the early 20th century placed new stresses on the institution of marriage and, not coincidentally, parallels the skyrocketing divorce rates in this country (May 180). This point of view places the primary cause of rising divorce rates squarely on socioeconomic changes that were occurring in the United States around the turn of the last century. Paradoxically, many might believe that rising affluence would ease pressures on marriage and lead to a decrease in divorce rates. May, however, illustrates how this has not been the case."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Coontz, Stephanie. "The Origins of Modern Divorce." Family Process 46.1 (Mar. 2007): 7-16.
  • May, Elaine Tyler. "The Pressure to Provide: Class, Consumerism, and Divorce in Urban American, 1880-1920." Journal of Social History 12.2 (Winter 1978): 180-193.

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APA Format

Divorce in America: Historical Perspectives (2010, July 27) Retrieved December 09, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/divorce-in-america-historical-perspectives-128542/

MLA Format

"Divorce in America: Historical Perspectives" 27 July 2010. Web. 09 December. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/divorce-in-america-historical-perspectives-128542/>