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Cover of Women's History Review

Women's History Review

Volume 17, Issue 2, Apr 2008
Pages 179-194

  • DOI: 10.1080/09612020701707159
  • Print ISSN: 0961-2025
  • Online ISSN: 1747-583X

The Abolitionist Struggle of Pastor Tommy Fallot: between social Christianity, feminism and secularism (1882–1893)

Tommy Fallot (1844–1904) is a little‐known figure in the history of French abolitionism; a recent discovery of private archives has made it possible to throw more light on his biography. This pioneer of social Christianity attempted to adapt abolitionism in France from the starting point of his Protestantism and his engagement with ‘la laïcité’—secularism. In 1882 he founded the Ligue française pour le relèvement de la moralité publique, in which he hoped, in vain, to unite the different currents of abolitionism. He was for many years very energetic in the cause, and his activism took a feminist direction, but he finally gave up the Ligue and devoted himself to the campaign against pornography. Despite his setbacks, it was through Fallot that the Protestant milieu became sensitised to women’s causes, and he marked out the first stages of a moderate feminist movement.