Crossover With Other Reform Movements

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Women's Prohibition Parade; Glendale, Kane County, Utah, 1917. Courtesy of Sherratt Library, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah.

The temperance movement was one of several reform movements underway during the antebellum and post-Civil War era in America, and at times the movements and their leaders united. The religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening occurred throughout the U.S. and was characterized by evangelical Protestant preachers who reached beyond the elite parishioners of New England to the less wealthy and less educated. Their hell-and-damnation sermons produced new denominations, communal societies and reform. The temperance, abolition, and women’s rights movements grew at this time; other reformers supported dietary reforms, restrictions on the use of tobacco, and dress reforms.

Women who would otherwise not speak out in public were empowered by their motivation to speak against the consumption of alcohol in order to protect their homes and family. This activism resulted in the entry of some into the political arena where they advocated as well for increased marital rights, universal suffrage, and abolition of slavery. Brewers and the liquor industry opposed giving the vote to women on economic grounds, believing that they would enact prohibition. Members of the reform movements differed in approach and philosophy and were far from united in thought or action.