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Manhood Lost: Fallen Drunkards and Redeeming Women in the Nineteenth-Century United States

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In fiction, drama, poems, and pamphlets, nineteenth-century reformers told the familiar tale of the decent young man who fell victim to demon rum: Robbed of his manhood by his first drink, he slid inevitably into an abyss of despair and depravity. In its discounting of the importance of free will, argues Elaine Frantz Parsons, this story led to increased emphasis on enviro In fiction, drama, poems, and pamphlets, nineteenth-century reformers told the familiar tale of the decent young man who fell victim to demon rum: Robbed of his manhood by his first drink, he slid inevitably into an abyss of despair and depravity. In its discounting of the importance of free will, argues Elaine Frantz Parsons, this story led to increased emphasis on environmental influences as root causes of drunkenness, poverty, and moral corruption—thus inadvertently opening the door to state intervention in the form of Prohibition. Parsons also identifies the emergence of a complementary narrative of "female invasion"—womanhood as a moral force powerful enough to sway choice. As did many social reformers, women temperance advocates capitalized on notions of feminine virtue and domestic responsibilities to create a public role for themselves. Entering a distinctively male space—the saloon—to rescue fathers, brothers, and sons, women at the same time began to enter another male bastion—politics—again justifying their transgression in terms of rescuing the nation's manhood.


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In fiction, drama, poems, and pamphlets, nineteenth-century reformers told the familiar tale of the decent young man who fell victim to demon rum: Robbed of his manhood by his first drink, he slid inevitably into an abyss of despair and depravity. In its discounting of the importance of free will, argues Elaine Frantz Parsons, this story led to increased emphasis on enviro In fiction, drama, poems, and pamphlets, nineteenth-century reformers told the familiar tale of the decent young man who fell victim to demon rum: Robbed of his manhood by his first drink, he slid inevitably into an abyss of despair and depravity. In its discounting of the importance of free will, argues Elaine Frantz Parsons, this story led to increased emphasis on environmental influences as root causes of drunkenness, poverty, and moral corruption—thus inadvertently opening the door to state intervention in the form of Prohibition. Parsons also identifies the emergence of a complementary narrative of "female invasion"—womanhood as a moral force powerful enough to sway choice. As did many social reformers, women temperance advocates capitalized on notions of feminine virtue and domestic responsibilities to create a public role for themselves. Entering a distinctively male space—the saloon—to rescue fathers, brothers, and sons, women at the same time began to enter another male bastion—politics—again justifying their transgression in terms of rescuing the nation's manhood.

32 review for Manhood Lost: Fallen Drunkards and Redeeming Women in the Nineteenth-Century United States

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    A great effort to connect some of the narratives of the temperance movement to deeper conceptual and intellectual issues such as volition. I also appreciate the research efforts to give voice to underrepresented voices like women and immigrants. At times suffers from lumping too much together as if it weren't a highly heterogeneous and rapidly shifting movement.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marlissa

    This book was written by one of my professors at Duquesne University. It is a good book if you want to see what women went through while their husbands were out drinking.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Coy

    It can get repetitive, but the research is solid and Parsons provides some engaging insights.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Norquist

  6. 4 out of 5

    Salvador Avila

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarina

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan McGill

  10. 4 out of 5

    Megan Baxter

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  12. 5 out of 5

    Edward

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Thompson

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

  15. 4 out of 5

    Phil Weber

  16. 5 out of 5

    Monica

  17. 4 out of 5

    Justin Trakas

  18. 4 out of 5

    Becca LovesBrooklyn

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Bland

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laima

  21. 5 out of 5

    Haruna

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tim Williams

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jonathon Jones

  25. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  26. 5 out of 5

    Martine

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Wright

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Klaczynski

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katie Knorr

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  32. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

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