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  Chapter Ten:
 
POLITICS
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POLITICS

Social Attitudes

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The attitudes of Middletown adolescents toward social issues did not vary dramatically between 1924 and 1999.
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The 1924 survey of Middletown high school students by Robert and Helen Lynd included items designed to elicit their attitudes toward two basic social issues: the Protestant Ethic of unlimited personal responsibility, and economic inequality in the United States. Students were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statements: 

“It is entirely the fault of a man himself if he does not succeed.” 

“The fact that some people have so much more money than others shows that there is an unjust condition in this country that ought to be changed.” 

These items were repeated without change in the 1977 and 1999 replications of these surveys. As the chart shows, the percentage of Middletown adolescents agreeing with the Protestant Ethic remained level from 1924 to 1977 but increased from 1977 to 1999, while the proportion agreeing with action against economic inequality increased in each of the three surveys from 1924 to 1999.


Chapter 10 chart 5

Source Notes
Source Abbreviations

Middletown I, III, and IV, High School Survey, items 306 and 506.

 

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