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

By Ian Tyrrell | Go to book overview

6
Sisters, Mothers, and Brother-Hearted Men

The Family Ideology of the World's WCTU

Nothing is more calculated to bring out a latent spirit of humanitarianism than the problem of the refugee, yet nothing is equally likely to expose the contradictions of such benevolent impulses. In the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish forces had unleashed after 1894 a regime of barbarous atrocities against the subject Armenian people. Thereby they had created new opportunities for the conscience of women's emancipation. Alongside the wholesale slaughter of thousands went the destruction of farm crops, the burning and looting of villages, and the creation of a large refugee population. In the late summer of 1896, Willard and Somerset found themselves drawn irresistibly away from the pleasant prospect of a bicycling holiday in France toward these matters of more serious moment. Alarmed by the reports of the refugees' plight, they hastened to the port of Marseilles to see what they could do to help those Armenians arriving from the trouble spot.

In addition to ministering personally to the escaped victims, Willard launched an appeal "To the Christian Women of America" that encapsulated the terms of her endeavor and that gives us insights into the ideology of the WCTU's international work. Prominent in the rhetoric was the call to help wronged sisters, the helpless female victims of the Turks. The WCTU's response to the Armenian crisis was indeed generous, and both the terms of Willard's appeal and the strength of support for international relief among temperance women have prompted suggestions that in the Armenian refugee problem the essence of the WCTU's ideology of sisterhood was revealed.1

In the recent flowering of women's history, no issue has had so much written about it as this theme of sisterhood. Not only are the bonds of

-114-

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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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