Temperance Movement, an organized effort against the sale and use of alcoholic beverages. The temperance movement in the United States, at first dedicated to the promotion of moderation in drinking, began during the late 1700's and early 1800's. By 1826, when the American Temperance Society was founded, the movement had become national in scope. Its chief objective soon changed from moderation to total abstinence from intoxicating drinks. This principle was formally adopted at the 1836 national convention of temperance organizations.
After the Civil War, the goal of the temperance crusaders became prohibition by law of the sale of alcoholic beverages. A national political party, the Prohibition party, was established in 1869 to work toward this goal. Also important to the movement were the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), founded in 1874, and the Anti-Saloon League, founded in 1895. The crusade against alcohol was dramatized by Carry Nation, who became famous at the turn of the century for wrecking saloons with a hatchet.
After sponsoring a number of statewide prohibition laws, the temperance movement secured its greatest triumph with the adoption of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which introduced nationwide prohibition in 1920. In 1933, when national prohibition was repealed by the 21st Amendment, the temperance movement returned to the goal of prohibition on the state and local levels.
The American Health and Temperance Society, founded in 1826, has about 625,000 members. The International Health and Temperance Association, founded in 1947, has about 650,000. They seek to educate the public about the dangers of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and narcotics. Headquarters of both organizations are in Silver Spring, Maryland. The American Council on Alcohol Problems, an outgrowth of the Anti-Saloon League, is a federation of state interchurch organizations advocating the use of legislation and education to prevent alcoholism. Headquarters are in Birmingham, Alabama. The American Council on Alcoholism, founded in 1953, is a coalition of local, state, regional, and national groups and individuals working to end alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Headquarters are in Baltimore, Maryland.