Uncle Sam's Family

Issues and Perspectives on American Demographic History

By Robert Wells

Subjects: American History
Paperback : 9780873959636, 196 pages, June 1985
Hardcover : 9780873959629, 196 pages, June 1985

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

List of Tables


1. Introduction: Understanding Our World

2. Revolutions in Childbearing in Nineteenth-Century America

3. Matters of Life and Death

4. Migration in American History

5. Demographic Change and Family Life in American History: Some Reflections

References and Readings



This work introduces readers to the basics of demographic history, touching on issues of interest to anyone concerned with understanding how we have come to live as we do and what the future may bring. It also focuses directly on matters of birth, death, and migration. Uncle Sam's Family shows readers why historians, and others, have become interested in these topics, how they are studied, and what are some of the most intriguing recent findings. This is done in non-technical language, with a number of figures and tables designed and selected to make the material easy to understand.

The book also examines how fundamental changes in family patterns have occurred in response to declining birth rates, increased longevity, and levels of immigration. Of special interest here is a chart (Figure 10), to help students understand how their own lives and the experiences of their families relate to some of the major trends in American history.

The text ranges beyond traditional sources of information about population, showing what can be learned from novels, contemporary language, political struggles, and discussions about the nature of family life.

Robert V. Wells is Professor of History at Union College