Born 100 years ago this week, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. is known for his prize-winning books and his role as advisor and historian of the Kennedy administration. In the December 31, 1966, issue of the Post he offers “An Informal History of Love U.S.A.,” and concludes that our national pursuit of happiness has not led us to “an age of fulfillment.”
Schlesinger’s wide-ranging article shows how, despite stereotypes, our Puritan ancestors actually saw sex as natural and joyous. But by the mid twentieth century the pursuit of romance had become a chase after sensation, weakening the family structure.
Schlesinger’s insights were prophetic. When this article appeared, right before the “summer of love,” America’s divorce rate was about 10 percent. In the next decade, that would double.