The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

Parents’ Roles

How did this change?

The poet Robert Bly illustrated it beautifully in The Sibling Society. Published in 1996, The Sibling Society convincingly demonstrates that Americans of the nineteenth century attempted to look older than they were and to emphasize the “old-fashioned” virtues of home, hearth, and thrift. Perhaps by the 1920s, the trend completely flipped, and Americans—from then until now—have attempted to look younger than they actually are and to portray the “new-fangled” excitements of travel, expensive living, and fun. Does this mean that our great-great-grandparents were better, or more worthy, individuals than we are? No, but their values were different from ours.


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