Research effects of father absence



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This child was born in 1820. He was one of four children, the only boy. His father was one of the most famous inventors in U.S. history, who had built a gun manufacturing center in New Haven, Connecticut. New Haven was at that time poised on the edge of the Industrial Revolution. The entrepreneurial spirit of the manufacturing community was growing and energetic. Two of the child's uncles also were inventors and entrepreneurs. Family members and friends owned businesses and factories.

But then, when the child was four years old, his famous father died.

The child attended Yale University, and then Princeton. Upon graduating, at age 21, he took over the armory where his father once had made rifles. He retooled the armory, and began producing different kinds of weapons. Then he put his education to use in developing the business, branching out to the manufacture of handguns.

One of his biggest manufacturing coups was joining forces with a man named Samuel Colt to produce a revolver Colt had invented. To do so, he first had to invent and manufacture the machines to produce the revolvers.

Over a period of years, the business grew, and it became more sophisticated, applying the latest technology and business theories. Over the same period of time, the population of the city of New Haven also grew. Ultimately the child became a powerful and wealthy industrialist, and a noted inventor himself, like his father and uncles. He also built a water works company for the city, became influential in local and state politics as an early Republican, and was reknowned for his generosity as a philanthropist.

Undoubtedly, you've heard all about the remarkable inventor of the cotton gin. His only son inherited his talent for business innovation and invention, and parlayed the material inheritance he received from his father into America's industrial age, helping to build America's future world superiority in arms manufacturing. Did he require his father's parenting in order to become an achiever? Or were his accomplishments the result of other factors...

Eli Whitney, Jr., a boy from a "fatherless home."

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* The term "fatherless" is used in this series as it is in current research and policy rhetoric by the U.S. federal government, DHHS and the National Fatherhood Initiative, most U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood interest policy and lobbying groups.

"...Just add Dad, the magic ingredient. It's hard to know where wishful thinking becomes deliberate deception. But this argument, advanced by the fathers' rights movement, is like saying that, since Mercedes Benz owners make more money than people who drive Hyundais, you will become wealthy if you buy a Mercedes..." Mike Peterson



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