Dio Lewis And The Womens Crusade

Ironically, the direct origins of the movement in which women gained entry into the political arena can be traced back to a man—Dio Lewis. By the 1870s, Lewis, a trained homeopathic physician, had given up his practice of medicine to embark on a career as an educator and lecturer. In December 1873, Lewis's lecture circuit included the cities and small towns of Ohio and New York. In each of them, he agreed to deliver an additional lecture as well as his scheduled talk related to women's issues—the topic of his extra speech was the duty of Christian women in temperance work. As an immediate result of his temperance lectures, women in each of these cities organized and marched on saloons and liquor distributors. Praying and singing hymns, the women were able to convince many proprietors of alcohol establishments to pledge themselves to stop selling liquor.

This grass-roots movement, which came to be known as the Women's Crusade, quickly moved through Ohio and into neighboring states. Typically, the women of a community would call a meeting eliciting support from other women. After praying over their cause, they would organize their efforts, which included asking local ministers to preach on the topic of temperance. They also sought pledges of support from local political leaders. Finally, they would take to the streets, marching on distributors of liquor as they attempted to persuade them to cease their sales of alcohol.

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