Guardians of Virtue: Salem Families in 1800

Guardians of Virtue: Salem Families in 1800

Guardians of Virtue: Salem Families in 1800

Guardians of Virtue: Salem Families in 1800

Excerpt

The Puritan family has received some attention in sociological and historical literature pertaining to the origins of American society. The aftermath of Puritanism, on the other hand, generally has been ignored, particularly by family sociologists. The tendency has been to focus rather upon the effects of urbanization and industrialization on family organization. In doing so, sociologists make the implicit assumption that the period immediately following the decline of Puritanism is of little theoretical significance.

This book suggests that the post-Puritan time period, about the time of the American Revolution, may provide some valuable insight into the relationship between religious ideas and subsequent social structures, especially the family and economic and political institutions. In particular, the study of the aftermath of Puritanism may produce data relevant to Max Weber's hypothesis regarding the influence of "the Protestant ethic" on "the spirit of capitalism." In addition, such an analysis of the post-Puritan society may fix guidelines for investigating ideological influences on family organization in contemporary society.

The study of the family in Salem, Massachusetts, would not have been possible but for the publications of the Essex Institute which cover the history of Essex County. This study relied heavily upon the Essex Institute Historical Collections, the diary of The Reverend William Bentley, and . . .

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