The Fourth Turning is a Crisis. Old Artists (born 1925-1942) die, Prophets (born 1943-1960) enter Elderhood, Nomads (born 1961-1981) enter midlife, Heroes (born 1982-2004) enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Artists (born 2005-??) is born. This is an era in which America’s institutional life is torn down and rebuilt from the ground up—always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival. Civic authority revives, cultural expression finds a community purpose, and people begin to locate themselves as members of a larger group.
In every instance, Fourth Turnings have eventually become new “founding moments” in America’s history, refreshing and redefining the national identity. America’s most recent Fourth Turning began with the stock market crash of 1929 and climaxed with World War II. The generation that came of age during this Fourth Turning was the Hero archetype G.I. Generation (born 1901 to 1924), whose collective spirit and can-do optimism epitomized the mood of the era. Today’s Hero archetype youth, the Millennial Generation (born 1982 to 2004) show many traits similar to those of the G.I. youth, including rising civic engagement, improving behavior, and collective confidence.
A Fourth Turning is an era in when the availability of social order is low, but the demand for social order is high. Examples of earlier Fourth Turnings include the Civil War in the 1860s and the American Revolution in the 1770s—both periods of momentous crisis, when the identity of the nation hung in the balance.
|Moods of the Four Turnings|
|GENERATION ENTERING…||FIRST TURNING||SECOND TURNING||THIRD TURNING||FOURTH TURNING|
|GAP BETWEEN GENDER ROLES||Maximum||Narrowing||Minimum||Widening|
|SPECIAL PRIORITY||Maximum Community||Rising Individualism||Maximum Individualism||Rising Community|
|SENSE OF GREATEST NEED||Do What Works||Fix Inner World||Do What Feels Right||Fix Outer World|
|VISION OF FUTURE||Brightening||Euphoric||Darkening||Urgent|