Until recently, historical study of the family as a separate institution has been neglected.1 It was customary to regard the family as an immobile institution, a fixed point, when all other institutions were in flux. We now recognize that the family has undergone considerable change over the centuries. Nor can these changes be reduced to the progressive decline of family cohesion before the onslaught of individualism, urbanization, and the modern mobile society. Actually, the family has undergone successive periods of contraction and growth in size and solidarity.
KeywordsMale Line Silver Plate Life Annuity Marriage Contract Patriarchal Family
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- 1.Since 1960, French scholars, led by Georges Duby, Robert Mandrou, and Philippe Aries, have initiated a new interest in the history of the family. See Joan Thirsk, “The Family,” Past and Present, XXVII (1964), 116–122. Much of our commentary here is based on this review article.Google Scholar
- 1.See D. V. Glass and D. E. C. Eversley, eds., Population in History (New York, 1965), especially the article by Louis Henry.Google Scholar