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112 Family Limitations
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Home Ragtime Articles of Interest 112 Family Limitations

112 Family Limitations

“He was astounded. On mothers bedside table was a volume entitled The Ladies Battle by Molly Elliot Seawell.  He found also a pamphlet on the subject of family limitation and the author was Emma Goldman, the anarchist revolutionary.”

Emma Goldman was an anarchist in the time period that Ragtime is based.  She was a political activist and wrote many speeches and pamphlets on anarchy and woman’s rights.  Margaret Sanger was also an anarchist in the same time period and although Ragtime says that Emma Goldman was the author of Family Limitation it was actually Sanger.  Goldman distributed these copies on her nationwide tour in 1915.

Family limitations was a pamphlet about contraceptives (along with other rights Sanger believed woman should have), which, during this time period was considered to be very controversial.  She also believed in contraceptives because during this time abortions were illegal and considered extremely morally wrong.  It was up to the husband when to have children or when not too and Sanger believed that that should be a woman's choice because it was the woman's body and child. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League which later became Planned Parenthood as it is still known today.  She toured the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa promoting her pamphlet as well as her views on similar topics.  Emma Goldman was one of her followers who brought these ideas to the United States and Spread them here.  She also happens to be the only one mentioned in Ragtime in connection with this pamphlet.

 

The Comstock Act made it illegal to send “contraceptive devices” or information regarding abortions in the mail.



Sources:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAgoldman.htm
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,988152,00.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sanger

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 14:26  

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