The temperance movement was a reform movement in the early 19th century that advocated the removal of alcohol and alcoholism in American society. The movement was solidified with the creation of the American Temperance Society in 1826 and it steadily grew for the next two decades. In the 1830's Temperance split off into two groups, the original Temperance Society remained the same but a new niche of Temperance appeared, Teetotalism. Teetotalism called for the complete abstinence of alcohol and in 1838 the Teetotal Abstinence Society was created. The temperance movement tied directly in with the market revolution and new industrial America and it lead to the prohibition in the early 20th century.

Band of Hope Banner in the village of Constantine in Cornwall supporting temperance.

The two day convention consisted of speeches and activities, and included a procession that passed through William, Broad, Washington and Main Streets in Middletown. Had music and marchers who ranged from children to strangers to Wesleyan faculty and students. Attendees sand "Hurrah for Bright Water" and other temperance songs.


Moral thermometer of drinks. Shows the morality of each drink and how it affects the soul. It also has diseases accompanied with each level of morality. This was used to convince the people of the 19th century to join the Temperance movement


1) In what ways did the temperance movement influenced 19th century politics?

2) Do you believe the Temperance movement was a success? Why? If not what could have been done to be successful?

3) Who were the leaders of the Temperance movement?

4) How did the Temperance movement change the way we live today?

5) In what ways did the temperance movement reflect evangelist ideals?

Prior to the temperance movement, the act of teetotalism, which was more similar to the later movement of abolition of alcoholic beverages, had gained some minor influence with a few scattered practitioners. However, the temperance movement was the first major movement to do something about the moderation of alcohol. Much more a cultural movement rather than any political movement at the time, it primarily focused on the limitation of drinking and responsible consumption, suggesting that drinking alcohol should be limited to a specific day of the week or only reserved for formal occasions. This movement met some resistance, most notably amongst regular consumers of alcohol, alcoholics, and some brewmasters, as they argued that such movements would eventually lead to either their lack of business and subsequent bankruptcy, the fact that drinking alcohol was deeply ingrained within their culture and that to change such, you would have to rip the then American culture from the ground up and in its' place erect a  new one, or argued that drinking alcohol had negligible effects on one's well being, seeing as how humans had been doing it for centuries without noticeable effect. Even with such counterarguments, many such people restricted their consumption of alcohol, and the movement even had influence in creating the Church of Latter Day Saints, who believed purity was only attainable via prohibition of any and all worldly, bodily pleasures.

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