Thursday, September 15, 2011

American Attitudes About Domestic Violence Against Women in 1885

Note: The commonly promoted myth that domestic violence against women was tolerated by society and considered acceptable behavior is based on a hoax concocted in the 1980s. this 1885 article is one of countless documents that demonstrates that criminals were in the past regarded as criminals and were condemned for their crimes. As always, sociopaths act like sociopaths, regardless of race, class and “gender” and in 19th century America society was quite prepared to arrest and seek to end the careers of violent women (such as female serial killers and baby farmers) as well as violent men.


FULL TEXT: “The man who lays his hand upon a woman, save in the way of kindness, is a monster whom ‘twere gross flattery to call a coward.” When Shakespeare hurried off that sentiment he doubtless was getting to his work on some inhuman neighbor who was in the habit of beating his wife.

Whether or not such was the ease be struck the modern light in which the wife-beater is commonly regarded. In ancient history the wife-beater is alleged to have existed somewhat sparsely, however, but existed in sufficient abundance to furnish food for the whipping post. Cuts [“cut” “means illustration”] of the victim of his own temper picture a hard-looking man with a harder-looking face. But in each instance their forms fit the post as if made to order, and they seem to take their punishment like the pupils of the celebrated Squeers [character from Dickens’ novel Nicholas Nickelby], taking their diurnal dose of molasses and sulphur. In the modified forms of punishment dished ip to the wife-beater, the world appears to have advanced backwards. Instead of the sportive post and lash a sentence of confinement, usually limited to ninety days, is now the only remedy. So that the man who now lacks the minor ingredients of manhood and becomes so debased as to raise his hand to nature’s choicest gift, can carry out his desires to perfection and get off with a paltry fine or a few days’ imprisonment.

IN ST. PAUL the vicious practice of wife-beating is not very generally carried on, and the recording angel has never been called on to devote much attention to the St. Paul department of the ledger devoted to that class of offenders. They are in fact a rarity, so much so that they can be told off on the fingers. But there are a few here who bob up occasionally, pay their line and return to repeat the offense. Last Sunday seemed to be their day, so much so that no less than three were run in for the offense. Their appearance in the public station suggested the idea of a sketch of those most generally known. Inquiries led to the subjoined information about them.

An expert in this line lives on Jackson street, near the Omaha shops. His name is Patrick Murphy. Murphy is a man devoid of all heart. In fact it is doubt if the cavity where his heart ought to be could be found were he subjected to the test. He is a middle-aged man, but not old enough to know better. Possibly after serving a ninety days’ sentence in the workhouse he will reform. He does not confine his muscle to his wife, but beats the whole family. Like most men of his stamp, Murphy is addicted to drink, and it is while under the influence of liquor that he is most severe. He always gives the same excuse – that the whole family turns on him and he is compelled to beat them to save himself. But he strikes his household down as ruthlessly as a farmer docs thistles. He has served four full terms at the workhouse for as many beatings given to his wife, and is now working for the city on his fifth term.

IN WEST ST. PAUL there is a man named John Schneider who has the reputation of being a wife-beater, he has earned such reputation by the large number of times he has been before the municipal court on that charge. With each return of the robin, and each flight of the same, for that matter, his name has gone down on the criminal records for an unseemly attack on his wife. But in his case there are extenuating circumstances and excuses, if there can be excuses for a man abusing the woman he has sworn to love and cherish. Schneider is a German, and an industrious, hard-working man. He married in the old country and a few years ago came here to make a comfortable home for his wife and family. He left his wife and two children in Germany. After he was here for a few years he managed by hard work and economy to accumulate a few hundred dollars, and then he sent for his family. The expected happy meeting was somewhat marred when, instead of two little children, the woman was accompanied by three. From that time Schneider’s respect for his wife dwindled, and the quiet of a once happy household gave way occasionally to a brawl, the result of which would be a sound threshing for Mrs. Schneider. To make matters worse, the children have been brought up with the special understanding that it was their duty to abuse the father at every turn. Tired of such a home. Schneider finally left his wife to get along for herself, but each Saturday night regularly he would find one or two of the children coming around after some money. ways He always divided with them. His last encounter with his wife was on Sunday, when he got to drinking and went round to see her. The two quarreled, with the usual result. Schneider has paid in a neat aggregate as fines for heating his wife, the records showing that on one occasion he put up $100 for the offense.


Richard Jackson is another chronic wife, or rather, woman-beater, as the woman he now lives with is not his lawful wife. He, however, abuses her the same as if she were his wife, and the same as he is said to have maltreated his lawfully-wedded spouse. Jackson is an Englishman by birth, but has been a resident of this country for several years. At the time of his first coming he brought a wife and one or two children, afterward increased to four. Owing to the cranky disposition of the man, life was a burden to the poor woman relieved only when he returned to England a few years ago. While he was in England he met an English girl into whose affections be ingratiated himself. Her name was Lizzie Craythorne. By ins happy representations of a land flowing with silk and money, he induced the girl to leave her home and come to America, where he promised to marry her. The promise was never fulfilled, but the poor girl, homeless, friendless and alone, consented to become his everything but name. They have lived together of late at 34 East Seventh street. But the woman has been shamefully abused by Jackson, and is to-day the withered frame of a once beautiful woman. Jackson has been before the a number of times. About four months ago he beat her because she would not give him some money she bad herself earned. She was then enceinte, claiming Jackson to be the father of her unborn babe. On Sunday last Jackson again became intoxicated and cruelly beat the woman. She appeared to court against him, the picture of with a young half-starved baby to her arms.

ANOTHER MAN (?) and probably the most vicious character of the lot is a cobbler known as John Gorman.

His wife resides on Conway street, but Gorman’s home is in the workhouse – at least he has spent much of his time there during the last few years. His cruelty to his wife on innumerable occasions has been such that the whip would have been too mild punishment for the brute, but, instead of appreciating her efforts to get along, Gorman has treated her like a dog. At one time Gorman had the job of scrubbing out the union depot at $25 per month. She was compelled to do the work after the business of the day had been concluded. While she was earning bread for the family, Gorman had been known time and again to go to the depot and demand money of her. If she refused he would knock her  down, possibly kick her and then walk off as if he bad done some noble act. And yet he has been permitted to roam at large, save the times he has been confined in the workhouse.

Tim Sullivan, who lives out on the Fort road, is a chronic wife-beater, who was before the municipal court yesterday for the same old action. The circumstances were peculiarly aggravating on this occasion, as Sullivan’s wife is confined to her bed from childbirth, and the fiend pounded her with his fists while she was prostrated in her sick bed. As the woman was unable to appear against him he escaped with a fine of $25 or a thirty days’ period in the workhouse.

[“Worthy Of The Post. - Brutes in Human Form Who Beat Their Better Halves in Pits of Anger. - Under the Mild Punishment Meted Out in Modern Times the Crime is Increasing. - Several of This Class That Have Figured In the St. Paul Courts. - Habitual Wife-Beaters – Drunkenness and Cruelty – The Wreckers of Homes.” Sunday Globe (St. Paul, Mn.), Aug. 30, 1885, p. 13]


• You have been told that before the rise of feminism in the 1960s that domestic violence against women was tolerated by society as acceptable behavior and was not taken seriously by police and the courts.

You have been lied to. The people who told you these lies were paid to tell them you. In most cases you paid your own money (taxes and tuition fees) to be lied to.

Here is one of countless pieces of evidence that demonstrate the truth.

• To see more eloquent, vivid evidence proving the lie and giving you the truth, see:

19th Century Intolerance Towards Domestic Violence

Treatment of Domestic Violence Against Women Before 1960this post collects cases classified by the form of punishment or sentencing (whether judicial or through community action)

No, the claim that laws created by males were for the benefit of males is false. Yes, the "Rule of Thumb" myth has been proven to be a marxist-feminist hoax, taking an ancient English common historical notation published in the 18th century and extrapolating it into unsupported claims that 18th and 20th century United States communities, courts and legislatures (laws on the books) were in agreement with the18th century historical notation (Blackstone).


“[O]nly since the 1970s has the criminal justice system begun to treat domestic violence as a serious crime, not as a private family matter.”

From the entry: “Domestic Violence” on

This claim has been proven to be false.


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