Changes in American Society in the Last 100 Years

The last 100 years have recorded numerous social changes that have both been influenced by the family unit and that have changed the structure of the family as a whole. The First and Second World Wars introduced several social elements into everyday life. The fact that men had to go to war meant that women had to go into industries to maintain the economy. This led to an increase in the number of employed women in the US and also all other countries that were participating in the war. This affected the family in two ways. First, women were no longer viewed as housewives, and the population started appreciating their valuable input. For instance, Eleanor Roosevelt pushed for the inclusion of care services under the Community Facilities Act of 1942 to allow women to work better. Debatably, this set precedents for better work-life balance for women.

Secondly, colonization led to the realization of various social changes all over the world. Durokifa and Ijeoma explain that the ability to invade and own land and people meant power. Therefore, many developed countries sought to colonize as many nations as possible to increase their perceived strength. One example of a social change resulting from colonization is racism and the bias treatment of people based on their skin color. Indeed, slavery had already been used to discriminate against people of darker skin, but colonization moved this bias from the “Caucasian” lands to Africa, and an example can be used to explain further. South Africa was predominately an African nation until the Dutch settled there. The rise of apartheid proved that foreigners could invade a country and discriminate against the locals. Notably, this can be linked to the xenophobia that is recorded in South Africa. The family unit was also affected by colonization as there were numerous cases of interracial marriages.

Thirdly, the invention of the internet, technological advancements, and work-life balance also led to different social changes. The internet changed the way people interacted with one another and their view of the world. The premise suggests that it opened up people to different cultures around the world. Collins and Halverson explain that innovations such as social media allowed people who had never interacted with other cultures to develop a different view of themselves and others around them based on their engagements online. Indeed, the internet and technology, in general, were influenced by the family unit as more employees sought proper work-life balance. Indeed, the innovations allowed people to work more efficiently and also encouraged alternative working arrangements such as working from home. Arguably, the internet led to more innovations that affect the family unit, eLearning, or long-distance education. Thus, more students can join internationally acclaimed universities and study online instead of traveling to different countries. This has allowed families to remain together at the same time, also acquire knowledge from preferred universities and other institutions of higher learning.

Besides, the gay movement led to the eventual acceptance of gay marriages in America. Fejes notes that before the gay movements in the early 20th century, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community had no rights and were even killed because of their sexual preferences. These campaigns changed how the family unit was viewed today, and the LGBTQ community is allowed to marry and have children. The children can be adopted or had naturally due to options such as surrogacy and insemination. It is important to note that the family, as a social unit, also pushed for the acknowledgment of the LGBTQ community. Parents became keen on their children’s interests, whereas, initially, many parents did not accept LGBTQ, more became concerned with the happiness of their children, which led to the acceptance of the same.

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