Chapter

Radical couples, 1850–1914

Ginger S. Frost

in Living In Sin

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780719077364
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700723 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719077364.003.0010
Radical couples, 1850–1914

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The working-class movement turned to trade unionism and its version of domesticity, and feminists concentrated on legal equality. The radical couples unions were under greater pressure because they tried to make a point with their lives. It is noted that the rationalists of the early nineteenth century had a long legacy of marital and gender reforms, tempered by the strict morality of the mid-Victorian years. Most feminists urged that women concentrate on marriage reforms rather than trying experiments, and those who discussed sexuality emphasised male aggression rather than women's freedom. The paradoxical influence of socialism and feminism is then addressed. Anarchism critiqued the power of the state as well as capitalism. When partners did practice sexual freedom, their relationships rarely survived. The freedom of free unions was contingent on a number of factors—class, gender, generation, and, most importantly, the success of the relationship.

Keywords: radical couples; trade unionism; legal equality; feminists; marriage reforms; socialism; feminism; anarchism; free unions; gender

Chapter.  14042 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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