Woman's World/Woman's Empire: The Woman's Christian Temperance Union in International Perspective, 1880-1930

By Ian Tyrrell | Go to book overview

3
The World's WCTU

Testing the Limits of Internationalism

Are women more inclined toward internationallism than men? This is a question that many interested in the issue of nuclear disarmament ask today, yet the question is not a new one. During the era of first-wave feminism, visionaries in the women's movement eyed the parochial national rivalries of their time and hoped for a better future. In certain respects, these dreams drew upon a common climate of opinion shared with men. The hopes for an international brotherhood of man were strongly voiced by sections of the trade union and socialist movements. But the position of women was, according to the feminist exponents of internationalism, quite different. They surmised that women would not repeat the mistakes of the past because their loyalties had been forged in a different social context. The granting of male suffrage had coincided with the rise of the modern nation state and had wedded the male population to irrational nationalist loyalties. But women had been exeluded from the developing political society of the nineteenth century and had forged different loyalties that reflected their own political experience.

Katharine Anthony, the feminist and novelist, put the point succinctly in her Feminism in Germany and Scandinavia in 1915. "The disfranchisement of a whole sex, a condition which has existed throughout the civilized world until a comparatively recent date, has bred in half the population an unconscious internationalism," she asserted. Anthony felt confident, moreover, that the subsequent integration of women into their respective national political communities would come too late "to inculcate in them the narrow views of citizenship" that had commonly accompanied the granting of suffrage to men. Women would, Anthony predicted, soon turn from their "unconscious internationalism of the past" to "the conscious internationalism of the future."1

Possibly because twentieth-century history has defied Anthony's sanguine expectations, her interpretation of the women's movement up to 1915 has

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Woman's World/Woman's Empire: The Woman's Christian Temperance Union in International Perspective, 1880-1930
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Origins of Temperance Internationalism 11
  • 3 - The World's Wctu 35
  • 4 - Bands of Ribbon White Around the World 62
  • 5 - In Dark Lands 81
  • 6 - Sisters, Mothers, and Brother-Hearted Men 114
  • 7 - Alcohol and Empire 146
  • 8 - Peace as A Way of Life 170
  • 9 - A Fatal Mistake? 191
  • 10 - Women, Suffrage, and Equality 221
  • 11 - Women and Equality 242
  • 12 - Prohibition and the Perils of Cultural Adaptation 255
  • Epilogue - Divergent Meanings of the World's Wctu 285
  • Appendix 291
  • Notes 295
  • Index 365
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