Do you know which early American reform movement pushed for abolition, women’s rights, pacifism, and economic growth?
Today, Adam Shprintzen, Assistant Professor of History at Marywood University and author of The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921, takes us on a journey through the origins of vegetarianism and the Vegetarian reform movement in the United States.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode, Adam Shprintzen, Assistant Professor of History at Marywood University and author of The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921, takes us on a journey through the origins of vegetarianism and the Vegetarian reform movement in the United States.
During our conversation, Adam reveals how vegetarianism started as a lifestyle and evolved into a reform movement; Vegetarians’ ideas about how to affect “total social reform” in early American society; And, information about John Harvey Kellogg and his efforts to promote a vegetarian lifestyle through commercial products.
What You’ll Discover
- How Adam came to write about the history of vegetarianism in the United States
- How and when vegetarianism got its start in the United States
- The Bible Christians of Liverpool, England
- William Metcalfe and how he spread his vegetarian message through the printed word
- Differences between proto-vegetarians, vegetarians, and Vegetarians
- When vegetarianism as a religious movement transformed into Vegetarianism as a social movement
- The rise of physiologists
- Why physiologists promoted a vegetarian lifestyle
- The social reforms vegetarians sought to make in early American society
- Vegetarians’ ideas for total social reform
- How and why vegetarians supported abolitionism
- How and why vegetarianism promoted women’s rights
- How and why vegetarianism promoted pacifism
- Why vegetarian reformers thought vegetarianism was good for the economy
- The American Vegetarian Society and how it connected different groups with similar reform goals
- Sylvester Graham
- Are graham crackers Graham bread?
- How white bread was made during the 19th century
- Geographic location of vegetarians in the United States
- Resistance vegetarians met with throughout the north and south
- How pacifistic vegetarians coped during the Civil War
- Vegetarian settlement in Kansas
- John Harvey Kellogg and the Battle Creek System
- How and why the Battle Creek System commercialized vegetarianism
- The creation of meat substitutes like protose
- What protose looks like and tastes like
- What early vegetarians thought about how consumption of meat effected the body
- “Muscular vegetarianism”
- The 1907 University of Chicago football team and its vegetarian diet
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Adam Shprintzen
- Adam's Marywood University webpage
- Adam’s Website
- Twitter: @VegHistory
- The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921
Time Warp Question
In your opinion what might have happened if John Harvey Kellogg had not created his experimental kitchen and commercialized non-meat products? Do you think Vegetarianism would have faded away before the turn of the 20th century?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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Kellogg was important, but there were still significant vegetarian movements in the UK or Germany; and strong vegetarian traditions in China and India. So I think the loss of Kellogg would have diminished but not fundamentally changed vegetarian history.
My radio series, broadcast on London’s Resonance FM and available as a podcast from http://theVeganOption.org/ covers the full history of backstory of today’s vegetarian and vegan movements – starting in the ancient world and unfolding over 15 episodes. Kellogg will get a significant mention in one episode, but I think he might be outdone by Salford’s Joseph Brotherton.
I give our story the full public radio treatment – interviewing historical experts, bringing our story to life with actors, and visiting some of the places where the story unfolded. So it might be of interest.