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The Temperance Movement

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The Temperance Movement

By: Nick Price

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The temperance movement was an international social movement that wanted to control the consumption of alcohol by the promotion of moderation or by complete abstinence of it. The temperance movement started as a church sponsored movement, that wanted people to quit drinking alcohol. People that supported the movement was mainly women and their children that saw the effects of drinking in the men of their lives. They saw that drinking cause a lot of social problems like crime and poverty.

The first temperance society in the Untied States was formed in Litchfield County, Connecticut, in 1789. It was created by prominent citizens that thought alcohol had hindered the conduct of their businesses. Later in 1813 in Massachusetts, the society's elites (clergymen, employers, and town officials) created the Massachusetts Society for the Suppression on Intemperance. They wanted to "suppress" the use of alcohol. They thought that it caused profaneness and gambling.

The reason for these two early temperance societies to form is because they saw that the newly opened lands of the states Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Kentucky could produce much more grain that could be used for the manufacturing of whiskey. That is just what happen and whiskey soon flooded the markets. There was enough whiskey that everyone 15 and older could have 6.6 to 7.1 gallons of whiskey.

In 1826 sixteen clergy and laypersons in Boston, formed the American Society for the Promotion of Temperance. This society sent out missionaries to preach abstinence from using distilled spirits ( also known as alcohol). Soon as the missionaries went from state to state, the American Temperance Society was form. The American Temperance Society used a effected system of state, county, and local auxiliaries, to gain a national influence. Contributions made from supporters help support agents of the American Temperance Society to visit every part of the country and set up more temperance groups. By 1831 there was over 2,200 known societies all over the country, the most being

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in the Middle Atlantic states that had over 900. They mainly aimed at the moderate drinker to totally stop drinking.

But the power of the American Temperance Society soon faded because of internal division and an a large opposition of the people. The 1837 panic and ensuing depression also help in the movement fading. But that was the end of the temperance movement, in 1840 a group of tipplers in Baltimore took a pledge of abstinence. The group soon began to call themselves Washingtonian and started to spread the temperance gospel. But instead of going after the moderate drinker, this group went after inebriates. But the group soon died out because of the lack of leadership and organization.

After the Washingtonians broke up, the Sons of Temperance was formed by some to the old members in 1842. This organization was different than all of the societies before them. They was a highly structured society that made their members paid dues and take a total abstinence pledge. They had their own secret handshakes, rituals,



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