Temperance Movement in the US

temperance movements

temperance movements, organized efforts to induce people to abstain—partially or completely—from alcoholic beverages. Such movements occurred in ancient times, but ceased until the wide use of distilled liquors in the modern period resulted in increasing drunkenness. The stirrings of temperance activity began in the 19th cent. in the United States, Great Britain, and the countries of N Europe, where drinking had greatly increased. Relying on personal appeal, such individuals as Father Theobald Mathew in Ireland and Great Britain and John Bartholomew Gough in the United States secured temperance pledges by preaching that moral degradation, ill health, poverty, and crime were the results of alcoholism. In 1808 a temperance group was formed in Saratoga, N.Y., and in the next few decades societies sprang up in other states and in the British Isles, Norway, and Sweden. International cooperation was begun in the latter half of the 19th cent., one of the most effective groups being the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), founded in 1874 in the United States. The WCTU and the strong Anti-Saloon League (founded in 1895 and now known as the American Council on Alcohol Problems) wielded significant political power in the United States and, turning from moral appeals for moderation and abstinence, demanded government control of liquor. Backed by church groups and some industrialists, they influenced the passage of many liquor laws and eventually succeeded in securing federal prohibition (1919–33). Among the outstanding women temperance workers of the period were Frances Elizabeth Willard, Susan B. Anthony, and Carry Nation. Among the effects of temperance agitation were the stimulation of interest in the scientific study of alcoholism, general instruction in the schools on the effects of alcohol, and government regulation. Unlike later temperance movements, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, these earlier movements did not view alcoholism as a disease and relied on government regulation and suppression of the liquor business to control the problem.

See J. A. Krout, The Origins of Prohibition (1925); H. Asbury, The Great Illusion (1950); J. R. Gusfield, Symbolic Crusade: Status Politics and the American Temperance Movement (1963); J. H. Bechtel, Temperance Selections (1893, repr. 1970).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Temperance Movement in the US: Selected full-text books and articles

Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City By Michael A. Lerner Harvard University Press, 2007
Water Drops from Women Writers: A Temperance Reader By Carol Mattingly Southern Illinois University Press, 2001
"No Whisky Amazons in the Tents of Israel": American Jews and the Gilded Age Temperance Movement By Davis, Marni American Jewish History, Vol. 94, No. 3, September 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Well-Tempered Women: Nineteenth-Century Temperance Rhetoric By Carol Mattingly Southern Illinois University Press, 1998
Lyrics and Borrowed Tunes of the American Temperance Movement By Paul D. Sanders; Paul D. Sanders University of Missouri Press, 2006
Frances Willard: A Biography By Ruth Bordin University of North Carolina Press, 1986
The City on the Hill: Temperance, Race, and Class in Turn-of-the-Century Pasadena By James, Michael E California History, Vol. 80, No. 4, Winter 2001
Cross Currents in the International Women's Movement, 1848-1948 By Patricia Ward D'Itri Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Frances Willard and the Women's Christian Temperance Union"
The Temperance Movement and Social Work By Murdach, Allison D Social Work, Vol. 54, No. 1, January 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Progressive Agent of Mischief: The Whiskey Ration and Temperance in the United States Army By Vargas, Mark A The Historian, Vol. 67, No. 2, Summer 2005
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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