Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation

Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation

Public Vows A History of Marriage and the Nation We commonly think of marriage as a private matter between two people a personal expression of love and commitment In this pioneering history Nancy F Cott demonstrates that marriage is and always has

  • Title: Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation
  • Author: Nancy F. Cott
  • ISBN: 9780674008755
  • Page: 333
  • Format: Paperback
  • We commonly think of marriage as a private matter between two people, a personal expression of love and commitment In this pioneering history, Nancy F Cott demonstrates that marriage is and always has been a public institution.From the founding of the United States to the present day, imperatives about the necessity of marriage and its proper form have been deeply embeddWe commonly think of marriage as a private matter between two people, a personal expression of love and commitment In this pioneering history, Nancy F Cott demonstrates that marriage is and always has been a public institution.From the founding of the United States to the present day, imperatives about the necessity of marriage and its proper form have been deeply embedded in national policy, law, and political rhetoric Legislators and judges have envisioned and enforced their preferred model of consensual, lifelong monogamy a model derived from Christian tenets and the English common law that posits the husband as provider and the wife as dependent In early confrontations with Native Americans, emancipated slaves, Mormon polygamists, and immigrant spouses, through the invention of the New Deal, federal income tax, and welfare programs, the federal government consistently influenced the shape of marriages And even the immense social and legal changes of the last third of the twentieth century have not unraveled official reliance on marriage as a pillar of the state By excluding some kinds of marriages and encouraging others, marital policies have helped to sculpt the nation s citizenry, as well as its moral and social standards, and have directly affected national understandings of gender roles and racial difference Public Vows is a panoramic view of marriage s political history, revealing the national government s profound role in our most private of choices No one who reads this book will think of marriage in the same way again.

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      Published :2019-06-13T12:35:43+00:00

    480 Comment

    Cott's Grounding of Modern Feminism impressed the heck out of me in grad school. I found this book somewhat disappointing in contrast to that earlier achievement. Still, I've given it 4 stars because it's lucid and powerful in its demonstration of the public character of the "private" marital realm. Among the books on this subject I've read, and there are quite a few, this one stands out in its attention to monogamy as integral to U.S. American conceptions of marriage. I'd have given it five sta [...]

    Some interesting history and a few parts definitely stick out as great, but overall it's written in too much of a numbingly dry fashion to be enjoyable on any level. This is (sadly) the kind of book that people are forced to read in school, which then turns them away from reading in general after school is finished.Would be best to use as a source for a paper, but certainly not great for a cover-to-cover read. Still, the history of marriage in America is humorous and sad, and this book will help [...]

    a fascinating study of the history of marriage in the us, with a special emphasis on the ways marriage has been socially and politically constructed as a means for gender and racial oppression.

    The coverage of the abolitionists vs. slaveowning advocates debate onthe brink of the civil war is interesting, as well as its relation tothe change of the views on marriage. All of us materialists know thatthe debate was a sideshow rather than the root cause of the conflictbetween North and South, and the abolitionists were scarcely paidattention to. However, it is interesting how both sides tried to usethe analogy of master-slave and husband-wife relation to theiradvantage. The slavery advocat [...]

    As a student in the Honors in the Major Program at UCF who chose the topic, "Women's Dynamic Role in the United States Government," I can say that this book, in great detail, discusses the many problems women have faced throughout not only America's existence, but also that of the institution of marriage. Most historical writers write with a "matter-of-fact," narrative-fact pattern hybrid. Cott, however, looks at multiple dimensions of the institution of marriage, while also discussing the multi [...]

    Ostensibly about the history of marriage in the US, this book actually spend a good deal of time touching on the path to citizenship of many races and nationalities of people through the nations history. Although it has only a brief version of each, it's definitely has made me want to read more on these topics. Now to attempt to find good books on the immediate post slavery era and the history of Japanese American immigration…I also found the section on Social Security and race very interestin [...]

    Generally well-written, but like most history books it uses a lots examples to make one essential point. In this case, the point is that marriage has been instrumental in shaping our ideas of citizenship in the United States. As such, the notion of marriage as either a religious or private institution is largely a fantasy, and Cott provides mountains of evidence to prove that changes to rules about marriage have been used to both maintain unequal power relations between men and women, and to sha [...]

    The writing is a little dry and the chapters are hard going as they're quite long. I felt like the author frequently digressed into territory that was only tangentially related to her primary subject. I learned a lot about immigration policy and slavery, but felt like she spent too much time on what was (admittedly very important but ultimately only) background information. Cott, like Barbara Ehrenreich, has a problem with class; Cott frequently implies that women didn't work before the 30s.Alte [...]

    If you're interesting in learning the history of the institution of marriage as it relates to American values, national events, and changing laws, I highly recommend this book. The reasons why I gave it four stars instead of five are due to Cott's poor treatment of the feminist movement--one I see as biased against feminism--and her lack of interest in divorce culture as it has shaped and influenced views on marriage. She, of course, includes both aspects in her discussion, but fails to outline [...]

    Immensely informative, and an easy read. Cott sums up a great deal of legal and cultural history, producing a generally clear narrative. The last chapter felt a bit truncated to me, and it also read like more of a polemic than the rest of the book; however, one of the challenges of history is how to cope with a lack of distance. This book is a great resource, and I only wish it were more up-to-date.

    Cott was called as an expert witness to the US Congress on the history of marriage in America. This book is the reason she went there. She asserts that marriage in America is a public institution, and she details the changes and challenges to marriage from the early days of settlement right up to the present. It is really interesting and provides a lot of insight on the current situation.

    Excellent perspective on how traditional marriage is not an institution preserved pure since antiquity, but rather a public construct, molded and shaped by social forces.

    A history of the fucked up way hetero/monogamous marriage became what people think is normal and natural.

    Interesting. It had just the information I was looking for regarding bi-racial marriages in the US at the turn of the century. I now understand why gay marriage is a difficult subject.

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