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This talk examines the role of domestic violence in shaping temperance reform and gender ideology. In July, 1815, Peter Lung, a Middletown, Connecticut laborer, argued fiercely with his wife, Lucy. Both were habitual drunkards and prone to violent confrontations, but on this occasion their quarrel ended tragically: Lucy died of numerous blows inflicted during the night. The publicity surrounding Peter's trial and his subsequent execution tells us much about changing public perceptions of drinking, violence, and gender in the early national United States. Published accounts minimized the importance of Mrs. Lung's intemperance to paint her as an innocent victim of her drunken husband's brutality. The Lung case pointed to a new, gendered understanding of drinking and domestic violence that emphasized male aggressiveness and female passivity.
Martin, Scott, "Violence, Gender, and Drinking in the Early National United States" (1999). ICS Fellow Lectures. 34.