Within two generations, the primary reason that American children were deprived of a father shifted from a father's death to a woman's choice. That is, prior to the 1960s, the major cause of fatherlessness was the death of the father through illness or accident. After the 1960s, the children became deprived of fathers primarily because of women's decisions to petition for a divorce or to become a single parent mother. The path of the shift is examined, and the consequences writ small per child and writ large for the commonweal are examined.

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