Through time immemorial men have come calling on women for the express purpose of starting a long term relationship with marriage as the end result. To do this they embarked on a ritual called courtship dating is what we call this ritual today.
Courtship or courting is a more formal form of dating and was only allowed under the strict supervision of the woman's parents. There were very strict rules to follow for the young man to be able to spend time with the young woman. This usually took place in the young woman's home.
It was unseemly for a young man to be seen in public with a young woman without a chaperon and consequences would result if he were caught. The young man would no longer be allowed to be an eligible suitor for the young woman and be banned from calling on her at her home.
None of that applies now, courtship was courtship dating is dating. The difference between them is as widespread as the difference between peanut butter and jelly. Although, both are equally important in finding someone to spend the rest of your life with.
Modern dating doesn't require the strict rules that courtship did so there isn't as much pressure on the couple to have the consent of the parents or the social background of each family. Anyone can date anyone they see fit.
There are some young men who will still take the traditional route when it comes to asking the young woman's father for her hand in marriage but this practice is not required or necessary for a marriage to take place. The young man mainly does it out of respect for the young woman's father and to show he has respect for the young woman in question.
Courtship was a means to ensuring the young woman's future and her father offered a dowry to the young man or his family when the wedding took place. Dating on the other hand does not always lead to marriage and may only be a source of entertainment for those involved to pass the time until the next date.
Social background and standing doesn't mean too much anymore unless you are the upper echelon of society's elite and arranged marriages are pretty much a thing of the past, especially in American culture. There are still some cultures around the world who arrange marriages for their children based on the wealth and social standing of their families. Love doesn't really have anything to do with it.
Some think that we should go back to that way of thinking and behaving, especially because the divorce rate is so high and has been for so long. Frankly, it would take some pressure off but then again not being able to pick who you are going to spend the rest of your life with is a little scary. Living a life without love would be such a shame. I am glad for the evolution of courtship dating.