American Temperance Society

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The American Temperance Society (ATS), first known as the American Society for the Promotion of Temperance, was established in Boston, Massachusetts on February 13, 1826. The organization was co-founded by two Presbyterian ministers, Dr. Justin Edwards and the better-known Lyman Beecher. * Formation of the American Temperance Society marked the beginning of the first formal national temperance movement in the US. * The Temperance Movement was an organized effort during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to limit or outlaw the consumption and production of alcoholic beverages in the United States. * By the mid 1830s, more than 200,000 people belonged to this organization. The American Temperance Society published tracts and hired speakers to depict the negative effects of alcohol upon people.

Lyman Beecher was a prominent theologian, educator and reformer in the years before the American Civil War. * Lyman Beecher was a prominent theologian, educator and reformer in the years before the American Civil War. Beecher was born in 1775, in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale College in 1797 and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1799. He became a minister in Long Island, New York. In 1810, he accepted a position as minister in Litchfield, Connecticut. He became well known for his fiery sermons against intemperance and slavery. In 1826, he resigned his position in Litchfield and accepted a new one in Boston, Massachusetts. By this point, his reputation had spread across the United States. The church in Boston had more money to pay a minister of his standing. It also had a much larger congregation. In 1830, Beecher's church caught fire. A merchant who rented some rooms in the church stored whiskey in the basement. The whiskey somehow ignited. Beecher took this as a personal affront considering the sermons he delivered in the church's sanctuary against the evils of liquor.

Neal Dow, temperance reformer, born in Portland, Maine, 20 March 1804. He is of Quaker parentage, attended the Friends' academy in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and was trained in mercantile and manufacturing pursuits. He was chief engineer of the Portland fire department in 1839, and in 1851 and again in 1854 was elected mayor of the City. He became the champion of the project for the prohibition of the liquor traffic, which was first advocated by James Appleton in his report to the Maine legislature in 1837, and in various speeches while a member of that body. * Through Mr. Dow's efforts, while he was mayor, the Maine liquor law, prohibiting under severe penalties the sale of intoxicating beverages, was passed in 1851. After drafting the bill, which he called "A bill for the suppression of drinking houses and tippling shops," he submitted it to the principal friends of temperance in the City, but they all objected to its radical character, as certain to insure its defeat. It provided for the search of places where it was suspected that liquors intended for sale were kept, for the seizure, condemnation, and confiscation of such liquors, if found; and for the punishment of the persons keeping them by fine and imprisonment.

Maine Law of 1851, The law was forced into existence by the mayor of Portland, Neal S. Dow. Its passage prohibited the sale of alcohol except for medical or manufacturing purposes. By 1855, there were 12 states in the U.S who joined Maine in what became known as the "dry" states. And the states which allowed alcohol were dubbed "wet" states. - The act was very unpopular among many working class people and many immigrants. That is when opposition to the law turned deadly by June 2, 1855 in Portland, Maine. It was rumored that Neal S. Dow was keeping a vast supply of alcohol within the city while denying it to the citizens of Portland. He was then called the "Napoleon of Temperance," and to others, an unadulterated hypocrite. The alcohol which was allowed into Portland was supposed to be used...
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