Privacy, autonomy, and birth control in America, 1860-1900
Access to birth control became, controversially, protected by the “right to privacy” in 1965; a hundred years before, “procreation was a matter of public concern.” Yet, contradictorily and confusingly, Victorian women — and their bodies — were protected (and limited) by a powerful social division between private and public spheres.
Victorian domestic specialization and gender roles
As the Victorian version of separate spheres solidified in the mid-nineteenth century, the “idea of wifely sainthood gained ever more credence as housewives found themselves increasingly isolated from the male-operated world.”
No privacy in city life: what modern methods are bringing us to (1902)
“Is it possible,” asked the Chicago Tribune in 1902, “to be a private citizen in Chicago?”
Four useful analytic categories from science and technology studies
Science and technology studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary collection of analytic approaches. In his analysis of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Philip Doty pulls out four concepts from STS that he believes are particularly useful
Privacy can keep histories of abuse hidden from public view
Privacy can serve both to protect individuals and to shield abusers from public visibility.
Salus populi suprema lex: law and public health
It is unquestionable, that the legislature can confer police powers upon public officers, for the protection of the public health. The maxim salus populi suprema lex is the law of all courts and countries. The individual right sinks in the necessity to provide for the public good.
The National Anti-Monopoly League
There are times when certain conflicts of the 1880s and 1890s seem eerily similar to debates today — we are, it seems, both separated and united with our equivalents of a century and a quarter ago.
New-Fashioned Quarantine (from 1916)
One traditional method Hill discusses is quarantine — but Hill gives it a rational spin, characteristic of early twentieth century optimism and trust in science and expertise.
David Seipp on Themes of the Nineteenth-Century Rhetoric of Privacy
In his late 1970s work, The Right to Privacy in American History, David J. Seipp argues that the “unity of the privacy phenomenon” in the nineteenth century came not from a singleness of motive, but rather from “a unity of language” (Seipp 116).