Attitudes toward Sex in Antebellum America

A Brief History with Documents

  • Authors
  • Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz

Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Introduction: Voices in the Sexual Conversation in Antebellum America

  3. The Documents

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 33-33
    2. Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
      Pages 35-123
    3. Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
      Pages 124-156
    4. Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
      Pages 157-159
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 166-181

About this book


The public discussion of sexuality in America first came about in the 1820s. Predictably, Americans diverged considerably on how to approach the controversial topic. Folk wisdom, current scientific beliefs, and the teachings of evangelical Christianity all shaped the antebellum conversation about the moral, social and physical implications of sex. In her introduction, Professor Horowitz takes American sexual history beyond the boundaries of the twentieth century and elucidates the complex issues surrounding nineteenth-century debates and dialogue. Helpful headnotes contextualize this colorful selection of hard-to-find documents, which includes medical articles, religious pamphlets, advertisements and propaganda, and popular literature. Contemporary illustrations, a chronology, and a bibliography foster students understanding of antebellum sexual knowledge.

Bibliographic information