American Temperance Movement Essay

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The desire to control alcohol consumption, or advocate temperance, has been a goal of humanity throughout countless periods of history. Many countries have had organized temperance movements, including Australia, Canada, Britain, Denmark, Poland, and of course, the United States. The American temperance movement was the most widespread reform movement of the 19th century, culminating in laws that completely banned the sale of all alcoholic beverages. The movement progressed from its humble local roots to nationwide organizations with millions of members and large amounts of political power. The growth of the temperance movement resulted from the changes in society between the original American settlers and the post-Revolutionary War…show more content…
When alcohol is integrated into a society, it is consumed in organized situations that adhere to community norms. Situations such as "family meals…weddings, funerals, ordinations, church raisings, court days, militia training days, corn husking, and haying all required ample amounts of alcohol" (Blocker 4). Alcohol was frequently brewed at home, making it a noncommercial, wholesome drink. The consumption also did not lead to a growing temperance movement because it was difficult to see the drunkards outside where they could be problem. At this point in American history, the drunkards were distributed in isolated farms instead of concentrated streets in cities and towns (Ezell 69 pg 169 of american temperance book). Alcohol was consumed among both women and men, children and adults, and in family or community environments, so it was not seen as an importunate issue within the colonies. If alcohol regulation was not an issue within the original colonies, then when and how did it begin and what caused it? Towards the end of the colonial period, people were beginning to understand the harmful effects of alcohol. In 1784, Benjamin Rush published An Inquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits Upon the Human Body and Mind, an incredibly influential pamphlet that presented his information on the detrimental effects of alcohol. In this pamphlet, Rush created a distinction between fermented beverages, which were used in the
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