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Chicano-Latino Law Review





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Family law should be rooted in preserving and protecting intimate relationships; instead, it is rooted in preserving those domestic systems that created or expanded the economic empire of the "Founding Fathers," the white males of the colonial northeast. This northeastern colonial perspective continues to underpin most of the basic assumptions in family law. Concurrently, with the increased privatization of the cooperative virtues, Americans have developed an excessive preoccupation with self and a cult of consumerism.

Consumerism has driven American society toward increased individualism and narcissism. A by-product of the increased individual-consumer culture is the mistaken belief that our personal values and security depend on the things each of us has yet to acquire, rather than on our relationships with others. Traditional family law history views the modern era as a time when women moved "up" from the confines of the private sphere into the "egalitarian" public sphere. Many "minority" ethnic and racial groups offer a communal spirit to American culture. It is the call of the pilgrim church to infiltrate and humanize institutional structures: as prophet to confront and challenge power, as priest-mediator to seek solidarity, and as servant-king to minister to the needs of the marginalized.

Recommended Citation

Ana P. Novoa, American Family Law: History -- Whostory, 19 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 265 (1998).

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Family Law Commons