The New Family

The industrial revolution lead to new powers for the market and the state, and reduced the control that the family and community had. Piece by piece the industrial revolution took apart what held a community together, essentially releasing people from its restraints. The court was used to settle disputes, local traditions were replaced, and the individual was created as an idea. People could buy what they wanted to, eat what they wanted to, work the kind of job they wanted to, and marry who they wanted to (p. 304-305). There was no longer any need to rely on the community to survive, as people once had to not all that long ago, now they could live without it. The market and state essentially took over the responsibilities of community, and became the safety net for the newly defined individuals. Just as people in the past would be in a rough situation without their communities, the individual is in danger without the state or the market to support it.

I think the role of historians going forward will be the same as ever, to study history. That being said, I think that the study of history will only become more important as we go forward, as the human race is accelerating rather than moving at a fixed rate. Technological advances are coming faster and faster, and world’s population continues to grow. Knowing how these advances and changes in our world have affected us will be a very important thing for a growing world. Furthermore, knowing our past may be a good way to know our trajectory, which could potentially help avoid disastrous situations.

(Page numbers might be offset since I used a PDF for the reading)