The Temperance Movement Steps Leading Up To Prohibition

946 words - 4 pages

As the 1800's came to a close the calendar was not the only
thing which was changing. The tirn of the century also saw a radical
change in the ways in which Americans conducted their lives. No more
were people's lives based around farms in small rural neighborhoods.
Instead people moved into the cities, and factories started sprouting
up in every major urban area. However, the industrialization of
America also brought with it problems which hurt many Americans. The
People most hurt by these new problems called themselves the
Progressives. This new political group tried to "recapture" America by
attacking a myriad of political issues. These issues differed in
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These people, along with businessmen, tried to explain how alcohol
violated the theories of proper social life (Document E). Other groups
tried to show how alcohol would ruin the American way of life. As
pointed out in Documents R and S, women were demeaned by the
consumption of alcohol, and it threatened to destroy the family
structure. Documents A and B used threatening tactics in order to show
the destruction which alcohol brought to the American family, and
Document D showed how the social status of women would be destroyed
by alcohol.

Religion also played a big role in the push for temperance. In
Documents A and I people tried to show how God looked down on the
consumption of alcohol. These people claimed to be working for the
"common good" of mankind (Document S). Many people, however were more
concerned with political gain, than with the pursuit of public
morality. Document N shows how the liquor lobby was one of the
strongest lobbying groups of its time. These people worked hard to try
and influence legislation. One of the reasons they were able to have
such an effect was because of their superior organizational skills.
They therefore, according to Document O, were able to bring an
important message to the people with virtual ease. They portrayed
non-prohibitionists as evil people who did not deserve many rights,
and they tried to remove "Saloon domination" in matters of legislation
(Document G).

Along with the arguments prohibitionists used, it is also
interesting to note why certain groups distinguished themselves as the
driving forces towards temperance. Women were the major force behind
the temperance movement. The reason for this was because they were
afraid of the abuse, disease, and poverty which was brought on by
alcohol. Women were looking to preserve the purity of the American
family, and therefore...

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