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Social Fabric

Essay by   •  February 13, 2013  •  Essay  •  632 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,170 Views

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Whenever a society faces a great change, one element that faces change within said society is definitely its social fabric. The social fabric of a society is the social relationships between family members, between men and women, between races. It is also the basic beliefs and values of the community, and the way that society is organized. During the Revolutionary War, men were divided between those in favor of separation from Great Britain and those who considered such separation betrayal. People were separated, and many brought together, based on their beliefs and for a common cause. This is an example of change in social fabric. The Great Depression altered the American social fabric in the 1930's through many different aspects.

An alteration that was evident was the change in family relationships. Both marriage and birth rates declined during the Depression, common phenomenon during times of hardship, as people became depressed, and the cost of families became more than they could bear. Families in the 1930's handled the depression differently; family ties either strengthened or deteriorated. Due to the high unemployment at the time, many fathers who usually went out working spent more time with their children at home and some helped their wives out with cooking and house work. Outside entertainment was too expensive, so families would stay home and entertain one another with stories and just talking, creating a stronger bond between family members.

On the other hand, some family relationships worsened under the pressures to survive during the depression. Wives were sometimes scornful of husbands who came home empty handed or without a job. Parental authority decreased as there was less money to meet children's needs. Often teenagers would attain part time jobs and refused to go to school in order to help support their families. Some unemployed husbands became impatient when their children demanded attention, refused to help around the house, sulked, and took to drinking.

In association with family, gender issues also arose. As the 25% unemployment rate rose, it altered men's traditional role as the "bread winners." Women who attained jobs before their unemployed husbands gained a bigger sense of influence in their families. Criticism of working women expanded based on the idea that women took jobs from men. Many men lost their jobs as factories and mills closed down, as traditional areas of women employment, such as retail, were not hit as hard.

Attitudes towards foreigners worsened as people began to develop feelings of hostility. At some point, many Mexicans were deported back to Mexico, some who were illegal and a handful who were not. The justification of this action was that they were taking job opportunities and assistance that could have been offered to an American family. During the depression Americans became very insular and only concerned with themselves.

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