|Cambridge University Press, Mar 31, 1981 - History - 335 pages, paperback
Mary P. Ryan
Focusing primarily on the middle class, this study delineates the social, intellectual and psychological transformation of the American family from 1780-1865. Examines the emergence of the privatized middle-class family with its sharp division of male and female roles. Ryan approaches early 19th century American religious revivals from the perspective of women's roles in the movement and comes up with a very different perspective from Johnson. She concludes that, instead of serving a negative role -- as a means by which the bourgeoisie controlled the proletariat -- the revivals were part of a larger change in the fabric of society in which "women of the middling sort" in particular were empowered in new ways both in society and in the family (p. 91). The Female Missionary Society and the Maternal Association took the lead in society in initiating the revivals, and once they had succeeded male organizations followed (p. 96). In assuming leadership of this movement, mothers also assumed responsibility for the salvation of their children and thereby instituted a new form of maternal child-rearing (p. 104) Thus are societal and familial structural changes intimately linked.