The women’s rights and temperance movements


in History, Politics

Americans probably drank more in the nineteenth century than they had in the preceding century, and drunkenness was widespread. In reaction, by midcentury the temperance movement had become strong, much more pervasive than the movements for either blacks’ or women’s rights. Many advocates of temperance did not support blacks’ or women’s rights, but both abolitionists and feminists usually supported temperance. Advocates of women’s rights usually regarded drunkenness as a male practice which victimized women, subjecting them to cruel abuse. Because divorce was virtually impossible, a woman married to an abusive, alcoholic husband had little protection for herself or her children. Therefore, to advocates of women’s rights, the temperance movement was another radical reform, like women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery, for the protection and emancipation of women.

Mabee, Carleton. Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend. New York University Press, 1993. p. 194

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