The Reform Crusades
After America had established its own government, it also had to establish a new American culture. To improve its society and create a more stable culture it would need to undergo multiple changes. These changes were referred to as the reform crusades. Temperance supporting organizations were established limiting the amount of alcoholic liquors available to public. Religious leaders felt as though the public was beginning to lose interest in church so they began to travel across the frontier and preach to the people of the area. A women’s role in society became a more noticeable movement as women protested and held meetings all over the states. Education was changed to a more equal and organized learning experience for children. The reform crusades of the 19th century resulted in a number of positive revolutionary changes in the American culture.
One reform movement was the temperance movement. This movement of the 19th and 20th century was an efficient movement to moderate the intake of alcoholic beverages or end it completely. This large movement began because of the rapid changes occurring in America at the time. These included economic changes and urbanization, which resulted in increasing poverty among the population. The lack of money led to a drastic increase in alcoholic problems to those who suffered. In the early 19th century, protests of temperance began all over the country. These protests were directed toward alcoholics and businesses that sold alcoholic liquor. The main goal of the temperance movement was to limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages or in some cases ban it completely. Many citizens supported temperance because drunkenness was frowned upon in society. In an attempt to limit the number of drunks in the community, the people got the government to impose laws that would limit consumption. If these laws were not obeyed, then a fine would be given to the individual who had committed the crime. A large number people did not rely solely on the government to enforce temperance. They instead banded together and created large organizations to promote temperance in America. One of the first successful organizations formed was the American Temperance Society. The society was run and created by Presbyterian and Methodist religious leaders in 1826. Their main goal was to create an abstinence from whiskey. To enforce this they rallied many temperance supporters to their cause. They also held prayer meetings in places that forbid alcohol and protested in groups. Another important temperance society was the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. This society’s main focus was on neighborhood saloons and taverns. One member that greatly enforced the society’s temperance was Carrie Nation. She carried a hatchet with which she used to destroy whiskey bottles at saloons. These women used both peaceful methods and intimidation methods to enforce temperance. By the late 19th century, the temperance movement had greatly affected the United States. Laws were made by states that prohibited the manufacturing and sale of liquor. Maine was the first to do this in 1851, leading the way for twelve others to do the same. Having the law on its side, the temperance movement reached its peak in 1919 with the ratification of the 18th amendment. This amendment banned the manufacturing, sale, and transportation of alcohol. As a result, alcohol consumption in the United States had dropped severely. According to Ackerman, the annual per capita consumption of alcohol by person aged 15 and over fell from 7.1 gallons to 2.53 gallons. The temperance movement had a positive effect on American society because it unified the population and greatly limited the consumption of alcohol. At the same time, people in the frontier were gathering together and becoming members of the Protestant church. This movement was known as the Second Great Awakening. It...
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