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ERIC Number: ED265559
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Pages: 31
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Radical Press and the Beginning of the Birth Control Movement in the United States.
Goldstein, Cynthia
The American birth control movement was born among radicals, mostly socialist women, early in the twentieth century. Although some information about birth control had circulated in medical journals, books and advertising in the nineteenth century, the passage in 1873 of a federal obscenity law known as the Comstock law resulted in the absence of information about birth control in nonmedical media. Birth control proponents, such as William and Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman, then used and created their own publications by means of the radical press, which provided press coverage of birth control and the heroes and martyrs of the movement. A profound change in American attitudes toward birth control occurred in the early twentieth century. Late nineteenth century moral revulsion became disinterested acceptance. The true context of the movement received media attention only in the radical press, however. Progressivism, a product of Victorian values, did not go beyond those values. The progressive movement as inherently conservative in its attempts to make American institutions function properly served as a catalyst for the anarchistic rebellion of the birth control movement. The radical press recognized contraception as antagonistic to progressivism rather than accepting it as a delayed part or result of progressivism. That press perceived progressivism as dealing with only the symptoms, as opposed to the causes, of poverty. However, the radical press did function as both informer and persuader in its coverage of the birth control movement. (DF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States