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The Temperance Movement

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Published: Tue, 25 Apr 2017

Beginning in 1824 and going through 1828, Andrew Jackson was president. Jackson’s victory in the elections brought about the age of the common man. After the inauguration, there was a party held for everyone not just the high ranking government officials which really showed America how we had gone from an aristocracy to a democracy. The temperance movement is the reflection of democratization in America.

The temperance movement was mainly supported by women. These women were backed by churches. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League worked inflexibly to get the government to change the regulations on drinking. At first their strategy consisted on getting people to support them due to the moral implications; however, they changed their approach and campaigned for the use of social, educational, and political tactics to encourage government control of liquor. Liquor laws were passed due to their inexhaustible effort and backing from the churches. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Frances E. Williard, and Carry A. Nation helped to get government regulation on alcohol into effect, they got the study of alcoholism in effect, and the instruction on the harmful effects of alcohol to be implemented in school systems nationwide.

The temperance movement was not active in just the church. In many cities, including Trumbull, Ohio, temperance societies were being formed. Women in these societies claimed that since the men said that women were only suited for the home and to have children, that women should be allowed to help people who have been consumed by immoral acts to redeem themselves. Josephine Baterman, who was an editor, served as the first president for the Ohio Women’s Temperance Society. While America was making a shift from an economy based on agriculture to one of industry, the Temperance Society in Ohio experienced a high rate of growth. The members believed that homelessness, joblessness, and high crime rate came from alcohol abuse. They decided to take a stand and started marching in protest stopping at every saloon, approximately twenty in all, and demanded that the owners of the bars sign a pledge to not sell alcohol. This angered the government who passed a bill stating that these marches were not to be held again on the grounds that they held up traffic.

The Movement did not only remain at the lower levels of society. It migrated its way up from churches, to cities, and eventually to the representatives of the states themselves. In Georgia, a group attempted to get the residents to moderate the consumption of alcohol. While this group as a whole did not remain intact for long, a branch of it was present in Augusta for quite some time. 3 This branch had a hand in the nomination of a minister B. H. Overby on a platform of statewide prohibition. Also, Maine passed a liquor law that stated that the law authorized the destruction of intoxicating liquors when they are found in the possession of people who are selling them as a beverage. Governors from Connecticut and Oregon also held meetings on prohibition.

The temperance movement advocated abstinence and the banning of alcohol. Being backed by the church, the women were the majority of people who supported this movement. Up until this time, women did not really have any kind of role or affect in how the government ran itself or what laws were passed. As a result of the temperance movement, the eighteenth amendment was passed but it was later repealed by the twenty first amendment. The movement is still felt in society today in forms like Alcoholics Anonymous.

  1. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/1054.html
  2. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=560
  3. http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-828
  4. The Maine Law Advocate – http://chnm.gmu.edu/lostmuseum/lm/44/

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