Cadets of Temperance Promoted Total Abstinence

Cadets of Temperance. Officially, it was the Independent Order of the Cadets of Temperance. It was for males between the ages of 12 and 18. Wyndham H. Stokes of the Sons of Temperance formed the group in 1846.

Boys and young men of other ages and females were welcome as honorary members. It was independent of the Sons of Temperance. But three members of that order were necessary to form a Section of the Cadets of Temperance.

The order was to promote total abstinence from alcohol by boys. And to do so before they ‘could acquire a taste for alcohol.’ The Cadets were taught to discourage their parents from drinking. It also prohibited the use of tobacco and of profanity. The order required parental consent to join and charged monthly dues.

Over time, the Cadets also served as a mutual aid society. But a major attraction of the group for its members was probably elsewhere. Cadets wore colorful regalia during meeting. They used secret passwords. They had the ceremonies with pomp, singing, and camaraderie.

Cadets of Temperance

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Members could enjoy titles such as grand worthy archon. Past worthy archon. Grand worthy patron, Vice archon. Minister of Affairs. Even the title and role of Watchman was prized. In the The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the fictional Tom joined the Cadets of Temperance. He did so to wear the showy uniform. At one point in the story, hoped to wear his red sash to a funeral.

The Cadets of Temperance grew rapidly. By 1854 it was nation-wide. Sections were formed in Canada, England, and Ireland. And females were welcomed as full members.

In the U.S., the Cadets published a periodical, The Temperance Gazette. In Canada it published The Cadet.


Mills, B. The Temperance Manual: Containing a History of the Various Temperance Orders. Boston: C. Cooke, 1864.

Twain, M. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  Champaign, IL: Project Gutenberg, n.d.