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Social Purity in the 19th Century

On June 9th, 2012, Posted by Author No Comments

social puritySocial Purity movement began in Britain in the 19th century and spread across the world to most countries that were ruled or influenced by the British societal life. The very seed of the social purity movement has been traced to the influence of a book written by Max Nordau that focussed on the theory of degeneration of the human race due to the influences of gambling, alcohol consumption and sex. There were also other factors such as the Contagious Disease Act that arose out of the fear of dreadful and at that time incurable diseases such as tertiary syphilis that were sexually transmitted.

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These and other similar concepts lead to the formation of a social movement that was also taken up by the church. Social purity became the general cultural, ethical, spiritual and political climate of the 19thcentury. Of course there are divergent and contrasting views regarding many of the concepts and theories put forward in this era. For instance, the feminists are of the view that the social purity movement was directed mainly against the women in the male dominated society following the patrilineal system. Max Nordau and later Lamarck believed that the continuous immoderation in habits such as gambling and alcoholism and profligate behaviour and other evils pointed out by the church can affect the neurological systems of the indulgers and can then affect those of their progeny too. This, they argued, would have a cascading effect on the future generations and lead ultimately to the complete destruction of all civilised societies. The main crux of the social purity was against sexual vices and the main targets of the purists were the prostitutes.

The social purity movement gave rise to a plethora of organisations that advocated social purity. Some of these organisations were connected to the Christian church such as the Church of England Purity Society. There were also other organisations like the Salvation Army, the White Cross League, the National Vigilance Association and so on. There are allegations that members of some of these organisations acted as moral police and beleaguered women and men whom they believed to be acting immorally.

History undergraduate students must be aware of the importance of Social Purity in the 19th Century and effects of this movement on the global society. Dissertation help on such subjects is available from our dissertation help team. Just click on the link to get assignment help on any topic or subject from our assignment writing service.



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