Lucy Stone - Temperance Movement

Temperance Movement

Stone affiliated with the temperance movement because it attracted a wide range of men and women who were willing to push for change in society. For Stone, temperance was a stepping-stone—it offered a compelling reason to give women further rights. Stone argued that a woman should be able to file for divorce if her husband was a drunkard. In this, Stone was more radical than Susan Anthony who proposed only a legal separation between an alcoholic man and his wife and children, to allow for the possibility of the husband's redemption and recovery. Stone also argued for property rights for women so that a man could not misuse the fruits of his wife's toil. Many years later, she recalled "If a woman earned a dollar by scrubbing, her husband had a right to take the dollar and go and get drunk with it and beat her afterwards. It was his dollar."

Women's rights activists in the temperance movement counted Stone firmly in their camp, though many felt more strongly about enacting anti-alcohol laws. Stone was asked to speak at and promote Temperance meetings because Stanton and Anthony were very interested in alcohol reform, and her best friend "Nettie" Brown, newly appointed pastor in the spring of 1853, was preaching against alcohol abuse. However, many male temperance activists were unwilling to allow women's rights activists to speak at their meetings—it was said they were "there expressly to disturb." The conflict soon came to a head.

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