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In the past century, no institution has come under more sustained assault than the family. Radical feminists disparaged the traditional family as a remnant of patriarchy and a threat to autonomy and romantic love, allowing contemporary liberals to redefine the ends of marriage in terms of self-fulfillment and personal growth. While the findings of social science and the teachings of religion lend support to the family, we turn to the American Founders for a stronger, principled defense of traditional marriage and the family. The Founders understood that the family, with the commitment of marriage needed to sustain it, is uniquely equipped to educate and prepare individuals for the responsibilities of citizenship and is therefore critical to the success of the American experiment in self-government.

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This document was originally published by The Heritage Foundation in First Principles: Foundational Concepts to Guide Politics and Policy. This work is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical license. Details regarding the use of this work can be found at: