Start Date

18-4-2018 12:30 PM

End Date

18-4-2018 1:45 PM

Disciplines

Social History | United States History | Women's History

Subjects

Prostitution -- United States, Frontier and pioneer life -- West (U.S.), Women -- United States -- History, Women -- United States -- Social conditions

Abstract

During the late 1800s, the institution of prostitution flourished unlike ever before as America fulfilled its “Manifest Destiny.” Amidst predominantly male industries, women found prostitution a unique opportunity to survive in the developing and wild western society. The topic of this paper addresses these women, this under celebrated group, and their contribution to the development of the American West. This paper will argue that during the 19th century, prostitutes and madams contributed immensely to the economic, social, and legal developments of the Western Frontier. Brothels became integral for the economic discourse of businessmen. Their dually criminal and civil position in society was economically exploited by cities and courts, leading to the enlargement of institutions. Separate industries benefitted from the business prostitutes wrought and madams’ charitable contributions. Socially, their mere existence paved the way for the creation of future legislation and moral precedent across the country’s entirety.

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Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/24783

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Apr 18th, 12:30 PM Apr 18th, 1:45 PM

Women of the West: Prostitutes and Madams

During the late 1800s, the institution of prostitution flourished unlike ever before as America fulfilled its “Manifest Destiny.” Amidst predominantly male industries, women found prostitution a unique opportunity to survive in the developing and wild western society. The topic of this paper addresses these women, this under celebrated group, and their contribution to the development of the American West. This paper will argue that during the 19th century, prostitutes and madams contributed immensely to the economic, social, and legal developments of the Western Frontier. Brothels became integral for the economic discourse of businessmen. Their dually criminal and civil position in society was economically exploited by cities and courts, leading to the enlargement of institutions. Separate industries benefitted from the business prostitutes wrought and madams’ charitable contributions. Socially, their mere existence paved the way for the creation of future legislation and moral precedent across the country’s entirety.