frances willard (good thing this isn’t for a grade)

13 Mar

My citations would NOT be appropriate.  OK, it may be a cut & paste job, but this is a really interesting history of an early feminist in honor of women’s history month.  Anyway, it might not be my own, and it might be in a jumble, but the biography is inspiring and educational all the same.  Check it out:

-Frances Willard was a radical social progressive who stood out against gender inequality and fought to give a voice to society’s disenfranchised.  She exposed the inherent hypocrisies of the status quo and forever changed accepted societal norms (2).

-the alcohol problem represented the powerlessness of American women. The crusade to stop alcohol was a protest by women of their lack of civil rights. In the late nineteenth century, women could not vote. In most August 2011 105states, married women were considered “dead to the law,” their identity subsumed under their husband’s. Men could take their wives’ pay but not vice-versa. Married women could not own property in most states, and men could not be prosecuted for wife abuse. As late as the year 1900, in 37 states a woman had no right to custody of her children in the case of divorce. When the WCTU began its work, the state-regulated “age of consent” was as low as seven, and prosecutions for rape were rare (3).

-Women in the United States were victims. The consumption of alcohol by the men of America, coupled with the The German by Laurel 009powerlessness of women, led to child and wife abuse and other oppressions of women. And liquor was truly a curse. In the late nineteenth century, there was one saloon for every 50 males over age 15 in working class sections. Most local political meetings were held in saloons from which women were excluded. The liquor trade held a disproportionate share of public offices and was involved in corruption, crime, and vote-buying. By the year 1900, one of every 116 Americans was employed in the liquor industry. Americans spent over a billion dollars on alcoholic beverages, $900 million on meat, $150 million on churches, and less than $200 million on public education (3).

-The women who fought to control liquor were opposing one of the most powerful, entrenched forces in American life. Alcoholic men spent their money on liquor and had no legal obligation to support their wives and children. In divorce, the same alcoholics were awarded the children. As the leader of the WCTU, in the forefront against the grave societal evils represented by liquor, Frances Willard became the most admired woman in America (3).

-in 1873-4: the so-called “Woman’s Crusade.” In Hillsboro, Ohio, in December of 1873, a group of Protestant winechurch women went to hear a temperance speaker. The women became so excited by the dangers of liquor portrayed in the speech that they stormed the local saloon with prayer and non-violent protest. Across the Midwest, normally quiet housewives began to march and to accost druggists, hotel owners, and saloon keepers and demand that they refuse to sell liquor. Women dropped to their knees for pray-ins at local saloons and refused to leave until the saloon shut down. Within three months, the women had driven liquor out of 250 villages and towns. Opened casks of liquor were poured down the streets. By the end of the Woman’s Crusade, over 900 communities in 31 states and territories had experienced it. Nationwide, 750 breweries were closed. Thousands of women felt empowered by the crusade, which was the first time many of them had taken a public stand for anything (3).

-Willard recognized, developed, and implemented the use of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) as a political organizing force (2).

-The WCTU quickly became the largest women’s organization in the United States, with local branches in most wine pic-niccommunities. It was the first national religious organization to be organized in the South after the Civil War. Its paper, the Union Signal, by 1890 was the largest woman’s paper in the world (3).

-She became the national president of the  Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1879, and remained president for 19 years (wiki).

-Under her leadership, the WCTU grew to be the largest non-secular organization of women in the 19th century (2).

-In their push to expose the evils of alcohol, Willard and other temperance reformers often depicted alcohol as a substance that incited black criminality, and implicitly made the argument that this was a serious problem requiring a serious cure.[ (wiki).

-National Prohibition has been interpreted as a cultural war between Protestants who were already well-Cool's b-day wknd 154established in North American and the newer Catholic and Jewish immigrants, who typically drank alcohol beverages as part of their cultures. In addition, Protestants tended to live in rural areas and towns whereas the newer immigrants tended to settle in large cities, thus creating another division. 5 WCTU membership included women from nearly every sector of American life, but consisted largely of lower-middle and middle-class women with strong ties to evangelical Protestant churches (5).

Although the WCTU had chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada with a very large membership, for years it did not accept Catholic, Jewish or African-American women or women who had not been born in North America. This reflected the cultural division conflict. When the WCTU began accepting African-American women, they were organized into separate chapter or unions. Black members tended to be teachers or other professional (5).

The WCTU was anxious to “Americanize” new immigrants, which meant to them, to persuade them to abstain from alcohol beverages. In the first two decades of the twentieth century much of its budget was spent on its center on Ellis Island in order to begin this “Americanization” process. The WCTU was especially concerned about the immigration of Irish and Germans and what it believed was the threat they posed to abstention and the promotion of prohibition (5).

-One WCTU leader expressed strong concern over “the enormous increase of immigrant population flooding us Easter 006from the old world, men and women who have brought to our shores and into our politics old world habits and ideas [favorable to alcohol]” and peppered her writing with references to this “undesirable immigration” and “these immigrant hordes.” (5).

The WCTU was not unique; the largely anti-foreign, anti-Catholic, anti-German and anti-Semitic nature of the temperance movement has been extensively documented. 7 The WCTU also supported eugenics. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) actively promoted Prohibition and its strict enforcement and many women belonged to both the WCTU and the KKK, sometimes holding leadership positions in both organizations(5).

-Her tireless efforts for women’s suffrage and prohibition included a fifty-day speaking tour in 1874, an average of 30,000 miles of travel a year, and an average of four hundred lectures a year for a ten-year period, mostly with her longtime companion Anna Adams Gordon. (wiki).

-Willard insisted that women must forgo the notion that they were the “weaker” sex and that dependence was their nature and must join the movement to improve society, stating “Politics is the place for woman (wiki).

-The WCTU pushed for women’s rights to vote specifically so that women could vote for the prohibition of liquor. Halloween 2013 006As an organization of church women, the WCTU persuaded the Protestant churches to get behind the women’s vote as a vehicle to push through temperance. Suffrage and temperance were seen as two pieces of the same issue: national prohibition was finally enacted in 1919, shortly before women received the vote (3).

-The WCTU has proposed, supported, and helped establish protection of women and children at home and work, stiffer penalties for sexual crimes against girls and women, traveler’s aid, police matrons, pure food and drug laws, legal aid, passive demonstrations, among many others (2).
-lesbian?

-“The loves of women for each other grow more numerous each day, and I have pondered much why these Vodka_and_Martinithings were. That so little should be said about them surprises me, for they are everywhere … In these days when any capable and careful woman can honorably earn her own support, there is no village that has not its examples of ‘two hearts in counsel,’ both of which are feminine.”  –Frances Willard, The Autobiography of an American Woman: Glimpses of Fifty Years, 1889 (wiki).

-To most modern historians, Willard is overtly identified as a lesbian,[17][18][19] while contemporary and slightly later accounts merely described her relationships, and her pattern of long-term domestic cohabitation with women, and allowed readers to draw their own conclusions.[20] Willard herself only ever formed long-term passionate relationships with women, and she stated as much in her autobiography.[21] (wiki).

-denounced prez candidate for Catholic religion (prohibition documentary).
-later became Catholic (prohibition documentary).

1) wikipedia

2)  http://www.franceswillardhouse.org/Frances_Willard.html

3)  http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/temperancewillard.htm

5)  http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/Controversies/Womans-Christian-Temperance-Union.html#.UyImbD9dWtM

 

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