European society between the years 1500 and 1800 prove to be an interesting comparison to modern times, as can be seen in †George Huppert's work, After the Black Death. Some important aspects of this particular historical society bore both similarities and differences to contemporary populous. In comparing and contrasting certain features of Huppert's analysis, the reader can better understand the growth of society in the past five hundred years .
It is no question that the most important aspect of a person's life during this time period basically any event which involved the family. Family life in Europe was considerably different in comparison to other areas of the world at the time, but had many similiarities to the family picture in today's society. For example, marriages in urban areas were not arranged by the parents of the bride and groom, but by the couples themselves. Marriage was considered to be the most important event in one's life, and all members of the family attended, including even business partners. The women were usually in their early or middle-twenties when they married, and afterwards the couples usually moved out of the parents' homes to find a space of their own. The European couples even had an early form of population control, in which women waited past their teenage years to marry, and thus shorten the time available for conception. This method was a most primitive of birth/population control, but "...the most readily identifiable one" (13). As familiar as one would find these proceding traits, there were quite a number of differences in family tradition. Before children married, they were practically enslaved to work for either their parents or another richer hous...
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...oned, parents retired soon after their children married and passed their businesses on to them. Peasants worked their lands strenuously, and earned just enough to support themselves and their children. In the twenty-first century, one rarely sees work and family tied in so closely together, unless of course, it is a family business.
It is the differences of the past which help us to understand how far, or how little, society has progressed. By observing the similarities and contrasting various aspects of the ways of life in Europe during the 1500-1800's, one can more deeply consider the way life had been, and how far we have come in this world.
†George Huppert, After the Black Death (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998)
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