The Temperance Movement Plays A Big Part In Prohibition
Temperance usually refers to seeking to inspire individuals to moderate use or to abstain from drinking alcohol. Some of the earliest Temperance movements were founded around 1813, including, the Connecticut Society for the Reformation of Morals, as well as, the Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance.
These movements blamed alcohol for many of the nation's problems, especially crime and murder. The taverns and saloons that sold it, were a social haven for mostly men only and thus viewed by many of the Temperance movement, mostly women, as places of evil.
Members of these movements were urged to, stop husbands from spending the family income on alcohol, as well as, preventing workplace accidents caused by drinking on the job.
These movements really started to catch on politically and in 1847, Maine became the first state to pass a prohibition law. By 1855, 12 more states had enacted prohibition legislation. They even formed their own political party in 1869, The National Prohibition Party. They backed their own candidates for local, state, as well as U.S. Congressional and Senate seats. This turned out to be very successful.
Of course they had their own "stars" as well. Women like, Francis Willard, president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She led the organization in being active, not only in the prohibition cause, but also working for a living wage, 8 hour day, women's suffrage, peace and other issues.
Possibly the most famous name of the movement was, Carry Nation. She began a 10-year campaign in 1899 against illegal saloons in Kansas, by destroying furniture and liquor containers with an ax.
To make a long story short, the efforts of these Temperance organizations paid off and on January 19, 1919, having been ratified by 36 states, the18th amendment passes and goes into effect on January 16, 1920. Prohibition would last nearly 14 years.
Tomorrow, we'll cover the so-called "loopholes" of this law.