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By Holly Berkley Fletcher

In the course of the 19th century, the yankee temperance stream underwent a visual, gendered shift in its management because it developed from a male-led circulate to 1 ruled through the ladies. although, this transition of management masked the complexity and variety of the temperance circulation. via an exam of the 2 icons of the circulate -- the self-made guy and the crusading lady -- Fletcher demonstrates the evolving which means and context of temperance and gender. Temperance turns into a narrative of ways the talk on racial and gender equality grew to become submerged in provider to a company, political company and the way men’s and women’s identities and services have been reconfigured in dating to one another and inside this transferring political and cultural panorama.

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Extra info for Gender and the American Temperance Movement of the Nineteenth Century (Studies in American Popular History and Culture)

Sample text

A temperance tract reminded them, “You are to become the mothers of our future heroes and statesmen. . You have the future of our beloved country in your hands. . [Do] not . . 59 For temperance reformers, though they sincerely believed mothers were paramount to their efforts, employing the family as a venue for their work partially solved the dilemma of assigning women a significant role. In the home women “could . . go hand in hand with [men] without the least impropriety,” and better still for the movement, “all the influence of other sex .

Mary, with “supernatural strength,” spent the entire night trying to shield her children from exposure. 64 Such stories dramatically contrasted male power and female dependence; the destruction of masculinity, either through the feminizing loss of livelihood or the dehumanizing loss of feeling, necessarily endangered female survival. The dichotomous portrayal of women, as victims and moral authorities, and the passive and circumscribed yet lauded and actively solicited role of women in the movement demonstrated how temperance served male gender identity as it related to that of women.

In temperance literature, it is clear that a primary motive behind agitating for the Maine Law was to address the problem of delinquent husbands. ” and entreating his readers to look closely into the American family: “There sits the young husband and father with her to whom he swore protection. The poison is in his veins. His wife is alarmed. But ah! ”91 The connection between prohibition and defending the existing familial order was made most explicit in the debate over the Maine Law in the New York legislature in 1853.

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