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A firm understanding of fatherhood in the present requires a deep appreciation of fatherhood in the past. To demonstrate what this proposition means, and to illustrate how complex fatherhood can be, I provide an overview of the social reconstruction of fatherhood in America between 1800 and 1960. It was during these 160 years that we see significant transformations in U.S. society and in the social institution of fatherhoodῌtransformations that continue to reverberate today. The history ofdoi:10.4234/jjoffamilysociology.19.2_87 fatcat:m2ezkjwk4bhfjnrsph2hnridqy