The Temperance Movement

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The Temperance Movement occurred in the United States from the 19th to 20th century. The purpose of this movement was to encourage moderate consumption of alcohol or for complete abstinence. This movement was mostly sponsored by women and their children. It was also heard from preachers at the pulpit.

This movement began in Europe, most notably Ireland. It quickly spread throughout Europe and the United States. The first pledge of abstinence came from preachers, the most notable of whom was John Bartholomew Gough in the 1800’s.

The reasons for this movement were: alcohol was blamed for societies faults (including health problems, crime and destitution) and also the change in attitude of alcohol consumption. The two reasons listed above are intertwined and are basically one. Society’s attitude towards alcohol consumption changed due to its perceived ills such as severe health problems and crime. Society placed the blame on the consumption of alcohol and therefore it was looked down on.

Some of the most notable figures in this movement were: Susan B. Anthony, Frances E. Willard and Carry A. Nation. These women and thousands of other advocators did not achieve the goal of total abstinence but they did have many notable victories. These victories include: government regulation, instruction on alcoholism in school and an energized study on alcoholism.

The most notable event in this movement was the passing and ratification of the 18th Amendment which enacted prohibition. This amendment prohibited the manufacturing and sale of alcohol for common consumption. Although this amendment was later repealed (repealed in the 21st Amendment) it was a huge victory for the Temperance Movement. When prohibition was repealed the Temperance Movement lost its steam but they did have one more final victory. Alcoholics Anonymous was the last great victory for the Temperance movement. This organization is widespread and advocates total abstinence. They treat alcoholism as a...
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