Late Phase 18601920

The Civil War, World War I, and the rapid demographic changes that accompanied immigration during this period contributed to the support of abstinence during the last phase of the temperance movements. Urban areas were expanding, factory towns were a reality, and there was an increase in the socializing at the end of the workday as well as at the end of the workweek; consequently there was an increase in the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Several temperance societies that emerged during this period included the active participation of women and children—since wives and children were often neglected or abused by drunken husbands and fathers. Irish-American Catholics formed the Catholic Total Abstention Union in 1872; the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was formed in 1874; and the Anti-Saloon League (ASL) emerged in 1896. These societies were able to mobilize tremendous support for abstinence, rather than mere moderation in the intake of alcoholic beverages. At this time, the ideology of the temperance movements centered upon the evil effects of all alcohol, espousing the view that alcohol had become the central problem in American life and that abstinence was the only solution for this problem.

The WCTU was founded in Cleveland in 1874 and emerged as the first mainstream organization in which women and children were systematically involved in the temperance movement. Annie Wittenmeyer, Frances Willard, and Carrie Nation provided this temperance-reform movement with creative and dynamic leadership. The WCTU—a crusade to shut down saloons and promote morality—took a radical stance, criticizing American institutions by aligning itself with the feminist movement, the Populist party, and Christian Socialism. Gusfield (1986) argues that, although, under the leadership of Frances Willard (1879-1898), the

WCTU was unsuccessful in establishing these alliances, it did achieve the following: It united the Populist and more conservative wings of the movement and it united the political forces of ''conservatism, progressivism, and radicalism in the same movement.'' In addition, the WCTU provided backing for Prohibitionist candidates, including workers for their campaigns as well as audiences to listen to their positions on alcohol use. The WCTU still exists, based in Evanston, Illinois, and lists about 100,000 members as of 1990.

By the late 1800s, coercive reform became the dominant theme of the temperance movement. In 1893, the ASL of Ohio was organized by Howard H. Russell, a Congregational minister and temperance activist. In 1895, this group combined with a similar group in the District of Columbia, establishing a national society in 1896. By the end of the 1800s, the ASL, which represented a skillful political leadership resource for the Prohibition movement, mobilized tremendous support for abstinence instead of just temperance. In 1896, the movement began to separate itself from a number of economic and social reforms, concentrating on the struggle of traditional rural Protestant society against developing urban systems and industrialization.

Part of the success of the ASL was its determination to remain a single-issue (prohibition) pressure group that cut across all political party lines; the ASL also maintained a strong relationship with the Protestant clergy. It always put its own issue first but worked peacefully with the major political parties and especially with legislators (Blocker, 1989). By 1912, local prohibition laws had been passed to render most of the South legally dry.

In 1917, a major event boosted the cause of national prohibition. The United States entered into World War I, which prompted the ASL to push for the suspension of the industrial distilling of alcohol (ethanol). Very shortly after the U.S. entry into the war, the selling of liquor near military bases and to servicemen in uniform was prohibited (Blocker, 1989). By 1918, the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had been proposed and the ASL had pushed prohibition through 33 state legislatures. Consequently, the Volstead Act—called Prohibition—was ratified on January 16, 1919. It went into effect one year later, on January 16, 1920, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages.

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