Strauss–Howe Generational Theory - Timing of Generations and Turnings

Timing of Generations and Turnings

Generation Type Birth years Formative era
Late Medieval Saeculum
Arthurian Generation Hero (Civic) 1433–1460 (27) Unraveling: Retreat from France
Humanist Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1461–1482 (21) Crisis: War of the Roses
Reformation Saeculum (104)
Reformation Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1483–1511 (28) High: Tudor Renaissance
Reprisal Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1512–1540 (28) Awakening: Protestant Reformation
Elizabethan Generation Hero (Civic) 1541–1565 (24) Unraveling: Intolerance and Martyrdom
Parliamentary Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1566–1587 (21) Crisis: Armada Crisis
New World Saeculum (112)
Puritan Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1588–1617 (29) High: Merrie England
Cavalier Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1618–1647 (29) Awakening: Puritan Awakening
Glorious Generation Hero (Civic) 1648–1673 (25) Unraveling: Reaction and Restoration
Enlightenment Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1674–1700 (26) Crisis: King Philip's War/
Glorious Revolution
Revolutionary Saeculum (90)
Awakening Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1701–1723 (22) High: Augustan Age of Empire
Liberty Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1724–1741 (17) Awakening: Great Awakening
Republican Generation Hero (Civic) 1742–1766 (24) Unraveling: French and Indian War
Compromise Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1767–1791 (24) Crisis: American Revolution
Civil War Saeculum (67)
Transcendental Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1792–1821 (29) High: Era of Good Feeling
Gilded Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1822–1842 (20) Awakening: Transcendental Awakening
Hero (Civic)0
Progressive Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1843–1859 (16) Crisis: American Civil War
Great Power Saeculum (85)
Missionary Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1860–1882 (22) High: Reconstruction/Gilded Age
Lost Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1883–1900 (17) Awakening: Missionary Awakening
G.I. Generation Hero (Civic) 1901–1924 (23) Unraveling: World War I/Prohibition
Silent Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1925–1942 (17) Crisis: Great Depression/World War II
Millennial Saeculum (65+)
(Baby) Boom Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1943–1960 (17) High: Superpower America
"13th Generation"
Generation X1
Nomad (Reactive) 1961–1981 (20) Awakening: Consciousness Revolution
Millennial Generation2 Hero (Civic) 1982–2004 (22) Unraveling: Culture Wars, Postmodernism
Homeland Generation 34 Artist (Adaptive) 2005–???? Crisis: Global Financial Crisis, War on Terror

Note (0): According to the above chart, generational types have appeared in Anglo-American history in a fixed order for more than 500 years, with one hiccup in the Civil War Saeculum. The reasons for this is because according to the chart, the Civil War came about ten years too early; the adult generations allowed the worst aspects of their generational personalities to come through; and the Progressives grew up scarred rather than ennobled.

Note (1): Strauss and Howe use the name "13th Generation" instead of the more widely accepted "Generation X" in their book, which was published mere weeks before Douglas Coupland's Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture was. The generation is so numbered because it is the thirteenth generation alive since American Independence (counting back until Benjamin Franklin's).

Note (2): Although there is as yet no universally accepted name for this generation, "Millennials" is becoming widely accepted. Other names used in reference to it include Generation Y (as it is the generation following Generation X) and "The Net Generation." Another name "Generation Next" stems from a Pepsi-Cola corporation ad campaign featuring one symbol of Generation Y, the Spice Girls.

Note (3): New Silent Generation was a proposed holding name used by Howe and Strauss in their demographic history of America, Generations, to describe the generation whose birth years began somewhere in the early 2000s and the ending point will be around the early 2020s. Howe now refers to this generation (most likely currently being born) as the Homeland Generation.

Note (4): There is no consistent agreement among participants on the Fourth Turning message board that the War on Terror lies fully within a Crisis era. The absence of any attempt to constrict consumer spending through taxes or rationing and the tax cuts of the time suggest that any Crisis Era may have begun, if at all, later, as after Hurricane Katrina or the Financial Meltdown of 2008.

The basic length of both generations and turnings—about twenty years—derives from longstanding socially and biologically determined phases of life. This is the reason it has remained relatively constant over centuries. Some have argued that rapid increases in technology in recent decades are shortening the length of a generation. According to Strauss and Howe, however, this is not the case. As long as the transition to adulthood occurs around age 20, the transition to midlife around age 40, and the transition to old age around age 60, the basic length of both generations and turnings will remain the same.

In their book, The Fourth Turning, however, Strauss and Howe emphasize that the precise boundaries of generations and turnings are erratic. The generational rhythm is not like certain simple, inorganic cycles in physics or astronomy, where time and periodicity can be predicted to the second. Instead, it resembles the complex, organic cycles of biology, where basic intervals endure but precise timing is difficult to predict. Strauss and Howe compare the saecular rhythm to the four seasons, which inevitably occur in the same order, but with slightly varying timing. Just as winter may come sooner or later, and be more or less severe in any given year, the same is true of a Fourth Turning in any given saeculum.

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