The world changes in the blink of an eye. In the 21st century, we have the luxury of visiting scenes from history in books, film, and documents, with the safety and conveniences of modern life. Join me to examine the lives of our ancestors, imagine their experiences, and connect with their struggles and triumphs.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mercenary Marriages

Mercenary Marriages

I have heard of a case where a girl, earning $60 a month, resigned her position in order to marry a man whose salary was $40 a month, but such instances of devotion are rare, writes Francis M. Abbott in the Century. It is not college women alone, but women throughout the country, who are yearly looking less and less upon marriage as a means of support. I do not say that the majority of marriages in the past have been mercenary, but as women increase in financial independence the time may come when contracts of that sort may be eliminated altogether.

New England Farmer
Boston, Mass.
Saturday, June 12, 1896

*Gender ratios were skewed after the Civil War, as they were after most major conflicts until the late 1900s when military technology advanced and fewer men died in combat. Women often had to choose between a poor marriage prospect or remaining single. As the industrial revolution advanced and gender ratios recovered at the close of the 19th century, and as the feminist movement grew, women had more options, could support themselves, and could be more selective in courtship and marriage. This contributed to the introduction of the concept of dating and made courtship and marriage more competitive for men--until World War II.


1 comment:

  1. Interesting that the assumption seems to be marriage means leaving a job. No doubt this assumption wasn't unique to the author of the letter.