The Marriage Problem: How Our Culture Has Weakened Families

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9780060935269: The Marriage Problem: How Our Culture Has Weakened Families

In his first major polemical work since The Moral Sense, distinguished criminologist and noted essayist James Q. Wilson tackles the root cause of civilization's decline - the collapse of traditional family life and family structure. James Wilson offers an alarming portrait of modern marriage and argues that we must reassess our values to preserve the strength of family in a culture in which divorce and single parenthood have become more widespread than ever. Wilson evaluates statistics that showcase the disturbing consequences of the rising instances of cohabitation versus marriage, and single parenthood, on children: Higher drop-out rates, higher rates of teen-age pregnancy, and a greater propensity for emotional problems, bad behaviour, drug use, and criminal activity. Wilson tackles the sensitive subjects of women's rights and African American slavery, detailing how these developments have had lasting, mostly negative effects on modern-day family structure. With a keen eye, he documents the history of government aid to single mothers, and how that support has led to an increasing number of illegitimate births.

Utilizing his knowledge of American history, Wilson argues that slavery created a maternally based African American society in which children and mothers learned not to rely on the presence or support of fathers. In addition to this candid analysis, Wilson points the way toward possible answers, admitting it will be a long, hard road to restoring the authority of marriage.

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