Domestic Tyranny

The Making of American Social Policy against Family Violence from Colonial Times to the Present
Author: Elizabeth Pleck
Chronicling the rise and demise of legal, feminist, and medical campaigns against domestic violence from colonial times to the present
Paper – $23
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/2004
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About the Book

Elizabeth Pleck's Domestic Tyranny chronicles the rise and demise of legal, political, and medical campaigns against domestic violence from colonial times to the present. Based on in-depth research into court records, newspaper accounts, and autobiographies, this book argues that the single most consistent barrier to reform against domestic violence has been the Family Ideal--that is, ideas about family privacy, conjugal and parental rights, and family stability. This edition features a new introduction surveying the multinational and cultural themes now present in recent historical writing about family violence.

About the Author

Elizabeth Pleck is a professor of history, human and community development at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her two most recent books are Celebrating the Family: Ritual, Consumer Culture, and Ethnicity and (coauthored with Cele Otnes) Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding.


"The devastating consequences of the current ‘epidemic' of family violence makes Pleck's analysis all the more timely. Her thoroughly researched and carefully argued study should be required reading for all those concerned with the problem today."--Nancy Tomes, Science

"Domestic Tyranny is in every sense a pioneering work that not only raises provocative questions about the nature and scope of family violence but also probes the inherent difficulties in shaping remedies."--Norma Basch, Journal of American History