Temperance Movement

  • Introduction

    The Temperance Movement gained momentum and influence at the turn of the 19th-century when there was a rise in advocation for the prohibition of alcohol consumption in society. It emerged as a direct response to the perceived social and moral decay attributed to alcohol abuse.
  • Rise in temperance social groups

    Rise in temperance social groups
    Many organizations were formed in the early 19th-century dedicated to promoting temperance and reducing alcohol consumption in the United States. The American Temperance Society based in Boston, Massachusetts was just one of many organized efforts to address alcohol-related issues in American society.
  • Massachusetts Temperance Law

    Massachusetts Temperance Law
    Massachusetts passed a law that banned the sale of spirits that are less than 15 gallons. It was intended to prevent retail sale of liquor. Since people could only buy at least 15 gallons, only wealthy people were able to comply with the new law. Buyers found ways around the law and it was repealed two years later.
  • "Maine Law"

    "Maine Law"
    Maine implemented statewide prohibition on January 1, 1851, with the passage of the "Maine Law". This law prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages within the state. However, enforcement was challenging, and the law was eventually repealed in 1856.
  • The Independent Order of Good Templars

    The Independent Order of Good Templars
    This fraternal social organization promoted abstinence from alcohol and other drugs and participated in various activities and initiatives aimed at promoting sobriety, supporting individuals in recovery, and advocating for policies to reduce alcohol consumption and its negative effects on society.
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    Civil War

    The Civil War put a temporary end to early Temperance Movement efforts.
  • Prohibition Party

    Prohibition Party
    The Prohibition Party is the oldest minor U.S political party still existing. It was founded in 1869 to campaign for the prohibition of the manufacturing and sale of alcohol. It was organized in Cleveland where they also advocated for prison reform, universal suffrage, and other progressive movements. Support mainly came from rural and small towns. Peak influence came in the elections of 1888 and 1892.
  • Formation of the Women's Christian Temperance Union

    Formation of the Women's Christian Temperance Union
    The Women's Christian Temperance Union was founded in 1873 in Ohio. Led by activists such as Frances Willard, the WCTU played a significant role in advocating for temperance laws and promoting social reforms related to alcohol consumption. It became one of the largest and most influential women's organizations of the 19th century, shaping public opinion and policy on alcohol.
  • Anti-Saloon League

    Anti-Saloon League
    The Anti-Saloon was founded in Oberlin, Ohio. The political movement was one of the first in the U.S. They believed alcohol was a drug being pushed on consumers. The organization worked for public anti-alcohol sentiment and for enforcement and additions of anti-alcohol legislation using an anti-partisan approach. The League's motto was "The saloon must go." Local churches were used to spread this message and to attack local saloons.
  • 18th Amendment

    18th Amendment
    The 18th Amendment of the U.S Constitution made the production and sale of alcohol illegal. It passed both chambers of Congress becuase of societal links of alcohol with immorality, crime, and even the cause of World War I. The House Judiciary Committee formed the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act) to officially enforce Prohibition. These acts did not come with success due to bootlegging and speakeasies.
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    The Moonshine Era

    After Prohibition began in 1920, the market for moonshine flourished. Moonshine production started before the temperance movement, but its prevalence increased dramatically during Prohibition. People wanted ways to produce and obtain alcohol despite the law.
  • 21st Amendment

    21st Amendment
    The 21st Amendment, also known as the "Repeal of Prohibition" was the repeal of the 18th Amendment which had prohibited "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors". This left a large cultural impact on attitudes towards alcohol, government regulation, and personal freedoms.
  • Conclusion

    Abstinence from alcohol and the negative attitudes towards alcohol brought many people together in a movement that ultimately led to one of the most notorious amendments in United States history. The Temperance Movement made a lasting cultural impact that shaped the way alcohol regulation is handled today.