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FROM TEMPERANCE TO TOTAL ABSTINENCE
Between 1830 and 1840, most temperance organizations began to argue that the only way to prevent drunkenness was to eliminate the consumption of alcohol. The Temperance Society became the Abstinence Society. The Independent Order of Good Templars, the Sons of Temperance, the Templars of Honor and Temperance, the Anti-Saloon League, the National Prohibition Party and other groups were formed and grew rapidly (Blocker, 1985, pp. 67-72). With the passage of time, "The temperance societies became more and more extreme in the measures they championed" (McConnell, 1963, p. 569).
"Root beer" was a temperance product developed in the hope that it would replace beer in popularity... it did not.
(Goshen, C. E. Drinks, Drugs, and Do-Gooders. New York: Free Press, 1973, p. 14.)
While it began by advocating the temperate or moderate use of alcohol, the movement now insisted that no one should be permitted to drink any alcohol in any quantity. And it did so with religious fervor and increasing stridency (Royce, 1981, p. 40; Sheehan, 1984b, p. 73). Even when compared to the sophisticated use of mass media today, the temperance movement still rivals the best in terms of scope, commitment, and response (Wallack, 1981, p. 211):
No effort in our era at mass communications about alcohol comes close to matching the outpouring of materials for the mass audience by the temperance movement in the nineteenth century. For decades the American public was flooded with temperance pamphlets, temperance novels, temperance newspapers, temperance sermons, and temperance lectures-the longest sustained and perhaps the largest organized effort at mass communication about a social issue that the country has ever seen. (Room, 1977, p. 22)
The prohibition of alcohol by law became a major issue in every campaign from the national and state level, to those for school board members. The issue generated deep bitterness. "It is hard for us today to grasp how profoundly this controversy pervaded every facet of American life for a century.... Religious and political party affiliation were so intertwined with the prohibition issue, and feelings ran so high, that it became a rule of polite society not to allow them in conversation." (Royce, 1981, pp. 40-41).
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