American Fatherhood: A History

American Fatherhood: A History


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Explores the surprising diversity of fathers and fatherhood throughout American history and society

The nuclear family has been endlessly praised as the bedrock of American society, even though there has rarely been a time in history when a majority of Americans lived in such families. This book deconstructs the myth of the nuclear family by presenting the rich diversity of family lives in American history from the American Revolution to the twenty-first century. To tell this story, Jürgen Martschukat focuses on fathers and their relations to families and American society. Using biographical close-ups of twelve different characters, each embedded in historical context, American Fatherhood provides a much more realistic picture of how fatherhood has been performed within different kinds of families. Each protagonist covers a crucial period or event in American history, presents a different family constellation, and makes a different argument with regard to how American society is governed through the family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479892273
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 12/31/2019
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jürgen Martschukat is Professor of North American History at Erfurt University in Germany. This book was originally published in 2013 in German by Campus Verlag and won the OAH’s Willi Paul Adams Prize for the best book on American history published in a foreign language.

Petra Goedde is Director of Temple University’s Center for the Humanities (CHAT) and Associate Professor of History at Temple University. She is the author of GIs and Germans: Culture, Gender, and Foreign Relations, 1945-1949 (Yale 2003), co-editor of The Human Rights Revolution: An International History (Oxford 2012), and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of the Cold War (Oxford, 2013).

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Fathers and the New Republic, 1770-1840 7

2 Challenging Love, Marriage, and the Nuclear Family, 1820-1870 24

3 Slavery, Family, and Fatherhood, 1830-1860 45

4 Daughters, Fathers, and the Westward Movement, 1850-1880 64

5 Being a Father and a Soldier in the Civil War, 1861-1865 81

6 Bachelors in Urban America, 1870-1930 94

7 Immigrant Families in Urban America, 1880-1920 118

8 Indigenous and Modern Fathers, 1890-1950 141

9 Unemployed Fathers in the 1930s 165

10 Fatherhood in World War II and the Cold War, 1940-1960 182

11 Families, Fathers, and the Black Community, 1950-2010 200

12 Queer Parents and Fatherhood Movements, 1970-2010 224

Conclusion 243

Acknowledgments 247

Notes 249

Bibliography 285

Index 325

About the Author 341

About the Translator 343

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