Sex among the Rabble: An Intimate History of Gender and

Sex among the Rabble: An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia, 1730-1830 (Published for the Omohundro Institute ... History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) [PDF / EPUB] Sex among the Rabble: An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia, 1730–1830 (Published for the Omohundro Institute ... History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) Placing sexual culture at the center of power relations in Revolutionary era Philadelphia Clare A Lyons uncovers a world where runaway wives challenged their husbands' patriarchal rights and where ser the Rabble: PDF ´ Placing sexual culture at the center of power relations in Revolutionary era Philadelphia Clare A Lyons uncovers a world where runaway wives challenged their husbands' patriarchal rights and where serial Sex among eBook ´ and casual sexual relationships were commonplace By reading popular representations of sex against actual behavior Lyons reveals the clash of among the Rabble: An Intimate PDF/EPUB or meanings given to sex and illuminates struggles to recast sexuality in among the Rabble: PDF/EPUB Â order to eliminate its subversive potential Sexuality became the vehicle for exploring currents of liberty freedom and individualism in the politics of everyday life among groups of early Americans typically excluded among the Rabble: An Intimate PDF/EPUB or from formal systems of governance women African Americans and poor classes of whites Lyons shows that men and women created a vibrant urban pleasure culture including the eroticization of print culture as eighteenth century readers became fascinated with stories of bastardy prostitution seduction and adultery In the post Revolutionary reaction white middle class men asserted their authority Lyons argues by creating a gender system that simultaneously allowed them the liberty of their passions constrained middle class women with virtue and projected licentiousness onto lower class whites and African AmericansLyons's analysis shows how class and racial divisions fostered new constructions of sexuality that served as a foundation for gender This gendering of sexuality in the new nation was integral to reconstituting social hierarchies and subordinating women and African Americans in the wake of the Revolution.


10 thoughts on “Sex among the Rabble: An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia, 1730-1830 (Published for the Omohundro Institute ... History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)

  1. says:

    When wedded Nell was brought to Bed She scream’d and roar’d with Pain; She’d rather die a Maid she said Was it to do again Pray have a little Patience Nell And say why now this Pother? Before your marriage you could tell What ‘twas to be a mother I’m the first to admit that I’m rather ignorant about the history of the United States I know the basics but then of course the American culture is so different to that of mine in the United Kingdom I put this down to the US being a large continent with so many diverse statesThe US is also a relatively young country and when one sees what it has happened during those years since independence in 1776 on 4 July wasn’t it July 2 or am I being pedantic?Anyway I’m digressing from ths book The reason why I decided to read this was because of the following comment made by Kris who lives and works in Philadelphia Hi Lynne It's excellent I taught it for the first time last week and my students loved it Fascinating well written and researched with a great variety of primary sources and lots of illustrations Definitely highly recommendedThe subject is particularly interesting plus I’m always taken with statisticsFirst of all though I want to thank William Penn for founding this city At one stage in his life this uaker lived at Penn in Bucks not too far from when I was living in Chorleywood Herts Memories are always so important aren’t they?I find the title of this book somewhat sensational but upon further reading this was actually the foundation of the book which “investigates the sexual culture created in Philadelphia and the intimate history of its people” There are delightful plates studded throughout mixed in with statistics covering a wide range of topics including for example a table discussing uaker Women’s Sexual Transgressions 1760 1779 I found it fascinating to see the offences listed which included Bastardy fornication premarital sex consanguineous marriage keeping bad company disorderly house and becoming dress There are also petitions discussing cause of action in divorce petitions etc Premarital sex was the norm as was bastardyThe poems are also delightful I hate the bottle and the glass But sigh for ev’ry pretty lass; My youthful blood don’t yet reuire A stimulus to warm desire; With natal heat and vigor bless’d The rapt’rous joys of loved possess’d I leave your dull phlegmatic souls To seek your bliss in flowing bowls; While I bow down at Venus’ shrine And they adore the god of wine A fascinating book that one can open at any page and find something of interest to read


  2. says:

    This is an important book for understanding the history of women in the US It's an amazing work of history with great notes; it's probably not for a lay reader but even so give it a shot I came to this book interested in a very specific point in Philadelphia's historybut also as someone who has worked for victims' rights primarily women who were sexually victimized I can't emphasize enough how looking at this century of change in attitudes about sexuality and gender just in this one city can tell us about how mutable attitudes about sex and gender can be and how fast they can change Between 1730 and 1830 prevailing attitudes about extra marital sex from prostitution to adultery to seduction to bastardy to child support went from permissive and understanding to women as victims who had power to shape their lives to the typical fallen woman brought it on herself attitude that sadly still exists Philadelphia in the decades before the Revolution was liberal and rather practical in how it treated sex For example prostitution was rarely prosecuted divorce was relatively easy to obtain extra judicially but a divorce law did emerge later and there was an established bureaucracy for ensuring illegitimate children would be provided for Fallen women could go on with their lives and rejoin society In the early nineteenth century though all of this was changing as gendersex roles calcified Fallen women narratives generally ended in disease and death Women had fewer resources available to them to obtain support for their illegitimate children This understanding is the story we're already familiar withAlthough it is depressing reading what now seems like the inevitable march to AntebellumVictorian attitudes I came away from the book with renewed hope that a reverse trend back toward liberality compassion and understanding is possible too In the last thirty years so much has changed in the US and around the world At the end of a century just imagine how far we could go


  3. says:

    Exuberant and finely detailed portrait of the intimate relationships among the artisan and plebeian residents before and after the American Revolution documenting both a pleasure culture in which self divorce bastardy erotic literature and prostitution were when not out of hand a part of the city's fabric as well as the dramatic change in the early 19th century as new citizens of the Republic needed to be virtuous and knock off all that crazy threatening behavior


  4. says:

    45 ⭐️Excellent work


  5. says:

    Masterful analysis of an impressive amount of research


  6. says:

    Lyons went in so hard and I loved it


  7. says:

    Innovative research but fails to achieve what it is trying to argue It’s about women’s liberation than the actual power dynamics of the era and culture


  8. says:

    In Sex among the Rabble An Intimate History of Gender Power in the Age of Revolution Philadelphia 1730 1830 Clare A Lyon explores how Philadelphian society used the reconstruction of gender systems to organize and regulate power as a response to the altered perspective of gender provided by the Enlightenment 2 3 Specifically Lyon studies the subjugation of women and African Americans through sexuality Lyon navigates a wide area of early American cultural history with their gender relations and accepted sexual activities She then proceeds to explain how the normalization of these systems was used to disenfranchise women and separate by class and race With this argument Lyon intends to “fill a crucial gap in the history of sexuality in America” 4 She suggests that Philadelphia differs in gender relations than the longer established New England colonies and thus provides a uniue “history of gender sex and power” for early America 6 Lyon also points to her personal experiences in contemporary women’s rights movements as a motivation to “address the interwoven strands of racial gender and economic oppression evident in the sexual subordination of women” 395 While a direct link between the eighteenth and twenty first centuries would be tenuous Lyon does an excellent job of showing how normative sexuality can be a powerful subjugating force Sex among the Rabble primarily deals with issues of power Lyon touches on many forms of power and specifically those of interest to American historians economic political and the autonomy of individuals All of these ideas are threaded together with gender history Additionally Lyon studies the sexuality of subaltern groups While some might suggest this is a feminist work but such a suggestion would meet varying degrees of success Feminism itself would not lend well to her emphasis on African Americans and racial ineuity and her operating definition of the term “patriarchy” wouldn’t be consistent with other feminists Nevertheless Lyon draws ideas from feminism for example gender roles as a performed act rather than a biological certainty Lyon wields a wide variety of sources effectively She includes newspaper advertisements as de facto divorces stories from almanacs that relate cultural understanding as well as civic and court records that detail circumstances of specific events The amount of depth Lyon discovers in these sources inspires Beyond simply discovering and conveying these sources to the reader Lyon skillfully interprets the cultural relevance of each This use of cultural history is particularly apparent in her exposition of almanacs Freuently used by historians studying early America almanacs provide a wider cultural view than the circumstances of an isolated incident might In one case Lyon uses the first “explicitly bawdy poem” printed in a Philadelphian almanac to show the changing popular tastes 119 Sex among the Rabble begins in the middle of the eighteenth century The first part of three is devoted to exploring the “sexual terrain” of the period Primarily focusing on providing context for her argument Lyon delves into how Philadelphians understood and practiced gender She then continues to explore how this understanding grew wider The second part looks for the influence of the Enlightenment and revolutionary thought on gender relations Lyon argues that the ideas of the Enlightenment raised uestions concerning individual rights Further Lyon places Philadelphian gender relationships within the scope of the American Revolution Finally the third part of the book discusses the normalization of sexuality and the reassertion of a white male headed hierarchy Here she discusses the codification of sexuality and the development a “two tier system of sexuality which reinforced both class and racial divisions” 310 While Lyons has organized her book chronologically this is the result of organizing the book to show the transforming beliefs of a people group Sex among the Rabble should be reuired reading for every student of American history The wide variety of sources and Lyon’s deep insight into each spurs one to consider fresh approaches every field By narrowing her focus exclusively to Pennsylvania and its capital Philadelphia specifically Lyon is able to develop unyielding conclusions with wide implications Even so Lyon never oversteps her work and limits her claims to areas within her purview The result is a compelling work on power that brings sexuality to the forefront After on Lyon’s work sexuality should be considered in all cultural histories as an influential force in the distribution and denial power


  9. says:

    I enjoyed this read Clare Lyons drew upon newspaper clippings church and public records diaries etc to paint Philadelphia’s expansive sexual culture as women affirmed their rights during Pre Revolution Then she showed how their liberation helped marginalized them as undesirable women when white middle class men reasserted their male dominance while forging a new social racial gendered system Many of us were familiar with this argument and it was a sound one Clare employed social and cultural historical methodological approaches as she interpreted her primary sources She showed great skill at examining social nuances At times she overly stretched their meaning to make them neatly fit into her argument But it barely detracted from her overall thesis and gave a bit room to doubt I found this a good thing Also Clare overly repeated a lot of her conclusions and the book could have been shortened by at least 50 pages This repetition may be helpful for those readers who sometimes became so lost in details that they forgot a book’s general point Clare will keep you focusedOverall Sex Among the Rabble was an interesting read and a good start for anyone who wanted to study the dynamics of gender and class during America’s early modern period


  10. says:

    Here's the review I wrote for classIn Sex Among the Rabble Clare A Lyons argues that the sexually exploratory culture of pre Revolution Philadelphia disappeared as a new culture intent on preserving gender and class hierarchies replaced it In the new republic Philadelphians policed the sexuality of the lower class “rabble” while sexual permissiveness remained the province of the middling and upper classes The Revolutionary Period in which new political liberties accompanied the propagation of Enlightenment ideals about individual liberty and self determination saw Philadelphians challenging the rigidity of class and gender norms Before divorce was legal the practice of “self divorce” was common in which husbands advertised notices in newspapers of a wife’s “elopement” or of his severing of ties and refusal to incur a wife’s debt Women faced minor social or legal conseuences for leaving a husband or taking a lover Births out of wedlock grew common as men and women participated freely in nonmarital sex “Bawdyhouses” or brothels while not legal occupied an accepted place in society The popular conception of gender during this period was that the dynamic balance of an individual’s “humors” determined one’s masculinity or femininity Sexual lust was intrinsic to both men and women and its expression was healthy and desirable This is not to say that gender parity existed as masculine traits were clearly privileged and husbands exercised economic power though wives’ economic power was not insignificant As Philadelphians grappled with the implications of sexually empowered women toward the end of the 18th century into the beginning of the 19th century they turned to essentialized gender differences based on biology to cast men as lustful and women as virtuous Popular print culture began an effort to illustrate “proper power relations between men and women to counter the assertive independence of women in pre Revolutionary Philadelphia” 118 This served to rescue men’s privilege from the threat of sexually empowered women The new republic demanded individual virtue from its citizens and with this mindset Philadelphians began to police sexuality strictly The brunt of this negative attention fell disproportionately on women and those of the lower classes especially African Americans Religious organizations sought to reform prostitutes while the legal system punished them and spared their patrons Meanwhile extramarital sex began to be synonymous with prostitution as sexual exploration overall became viewed as deviant behavior indicative of one’s inferior character Institutions for poor single mothers like almshouses became grudging in their support as a punitive measure In reading the public record—such as the reporting of “bastardy” in almshouses—against the popular depictions of gender relations Lyons employs social and cultural history techniues to provide a trenchant account of the dynamism of gender and class hierarchies during a time of rapid change While the reader should hesitate to extrapolate too much from this study of Philadelphia which Lyons repeatedly reminds us was uniue among other cities of its time post Revolution ideas about sexuality class and gender resonate to this day Despite its conspicuous lack of information about homosexuality Sex Among the Rabble is a valuable contribution to an understanding of social hierarchy during the Revolutionary Period


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