Courtship in america dating in the 20th century

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Formally arranged marriage was never the dominant practice among most Americans, as it was among the European aristocracy and upper middle class, but informal arrangements existed which directed young people's desires toward suitable partners who remained within racial, class, and other boundaries.

Most young people did not have either the time or the privacy to engage widely in experimental activities, and the importance of chastity for women among respectable people meant that girls and young women did not venture very far on their own without adult chaperones.

These informal controls were able to adapt initially to the emergence in the nineteenth century of the ideal of romantic and to companionship as a replacement for patriarchy in marital values.

More challenging were the dramatic dislocations that accompanied the urban and industrial transformations of the second half of the nineteenth century.

Among the wealthy elite, well-orchestrated rituals surrounding elaborate debutante balls and coming-out ceremonies largely assured that family choices would continue to define the horizons of adolescents and young adults as they moved toward a season of courtship.

Last modified 03-Jun-2016 09:13