The American Female Moral Reform Society was one of the first ante-bellum reform movements to be founded and controlled by women. This paper examines the rhetoric of the society’s primary organ, The Advocate of Moral Reform, to discover how these women justified abandoning their traditional feminine roles to pursue social change. The analysis reveals that through skillful casuistic stretching of the feminine ideal, the women were able to justify non-traditional actions in the name of traditional values. In so doing, the movement also created a new feminist consciousness that recognized the essential victimage of all women and their power to instigate social change.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics