Temperance Organizations & Groups of the U.S.

Temperance organizations or groups were very successful in bringing about National Prohibition in the U.S. (1920-1933).

Any successful social movement requires the concerted efforts of effective organizations. They guide the actions of dedicated individuals. Virtually all such groups fall into obscurity over time. This, in spite of their achievements.

Temperance Organizations Presented Alphabetically.

American Temperance Society (American Society for the Promotion of Temperance).

Temperance activists formed the American Society for the Promotion of Temperance in 1826. It soon shortened its name to the Society for the Promotion of Temperance. Most people call it the American Temperance Society. The formation of the Society marked the beginning of the first formal national temperance movement in the U.S.

American Temperance Union.

The American Temperance Union had an early beginningy. A group of temperance workers formed a national temperance group in 1826. Shortly thereafter, others organized a second national temperance group. The two groups merged in 1836 to form the American Temperance Union.

Anti-Saloon League.

The Anti-Saloon League was the leading group promoting National Prohibition in the U.S. Temperance supporters formed this non-partisan, single-issue, political pressure group in 1893. It was one of the most effective of temperance organizations.

Board of Temperance Strategy.

The Anti-Saloon League established the Board of Temperance Strategy. It was to coordinate resistance to the growing public demand for the repeal of National Prohibition. It consisted of representatives from 33 major anti-alcohol temperance organizations.

Cadets of Temperance.  

The Cadets of Temperance was officially the Independent Order of the Cadets of Temperance. The goal of forming it in 1846 was simple. It was to promote total abstinence from alcohol by boys aged between 12 and 18.

Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America.    

The American Temperance University opened in Harriman, Tennessee in 1893. In its second year of operation it had 345 students from 20 states. But it failed and closed in 1908.
The work of Father Mathew (Theobald Mathew) in the U.S. led to founding the Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America. The Union used moral suasion. But it did not oppose prohibition laws.

Church Temperance Society (Protestant Episcopal Church).

The Church Temperance Society. Officially the Temperance Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America. Church members formed it in 1881. The goal was to to promote temperance and eliminate the causes of intemperance.

Congressional Temperance Society.  

temperance organizationsTemperance Congressional leaders formed the Congressional Temperance Society in 1833 for members of Congress. They could be present or past members. The Society used logic, good example, and moral influence to advance temperance.

Flying Squadron of America.        

The Flying Squadron of America was an assemblage of temperance speakers and singers. Three teams of speakers, along with singers, visited every state. This was in 1914-1915.

Friends of Temperance.

Temperance supporters formed the Friends of Temperance in 1865. This was within a few months after the end of the Civil War. It required signing a pledge to totally abstain from all forms of alcohol.

Intercollegiate Prohibition Association.

The Intercollegiate Prohibition Association (IPA) was part of the World League Against Alcoholism. It began in 1901. Soon it was one of the largest college organizations in the U.S.

American temperance organizations

Defender of Prohibition

Ku Klux Klan (KKK).  

The Ku Klux Klan. One of the major supporters of Prohibition was the ‘second KKK’ (the KKK of the 1920s). Promoting and defending Georgia’s state-wide prohibition was its first major goal. It  later expanded that to  National Prohibition.

Ireland Knights of Father Mathew.  

The Knights of Father Mathew was a Catholic temperance society. Theobald Mathew (Father Mathew) formed it in 1838. The Knights promoted complete abstinence from all alcohol.

Lincoln-Lee Legion.  

Anti-Saloon League-founder Howard Hyde Russell established the Lincoln-Lee Legion in 1903. It promoted signing lifetime abstinence pledges by children. By 1925, over five million children had done so. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program currently uses the pledge concept.

Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance.

The Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance began in the Statehouse in Boston on February 5, 1813. It was the first temperance organization in the U.S.

Methodist Board of Temperance, Prohibition, and Public Morals.  

The Methodist Board of Temperance, Prohibition, and Public Morals was a powerful force in the temperance movement. Its founder, Clarence True Wilson, urged five-year in prison for anyone who purchased a pint of bootleg alcohol. He also said the government to send the marines to speakeasies and shoot anyone who refused to leave. It was one of the most powerful of all temperance organizations.

National Conference of Organizations Supporting the 18th Amendment.  

The National Conference of Organizations Supporting the 18th Amendment began in 1930. It was to counter the growing threat of Repeal. The Conference included 34 of the major temperance groups in the US.

Learn which Prohibition leader didn’t participate and the scandalous reason why not.

National Temperance Council.          

The National Temperance Council began in 1913. It coordinate the activities of the major the temperance groups in the U.S.

National Temperance Society and Publishing House.

The National Temperance Society and Publishing House began in 1865. During its first 60 years, it published over a billion pages of temperance material.

American temperance organizations

A camel – emblem of the Prohibition Party

Prohibition National Committee.

The Prohibition National Committee is the governing body of the Prohibition Party of the United States. The Prohibition National Committee has existed since the Party began in 1867.

Prohibition Party.  

An effort to establish prohibition led to creating the Prohibition Party in 1867. It was an important force in US politics during the late 1800s and the early decades of the 20th century. Also see Earl Dodge.

Royal Templars of Temperance.

An effort to close saloons on Sundays led to forming the Royal Templars of Temperance in 1870. It combined complete alcohol abstinence with life and disability insurance.

Scientific Temperance Federation.

The  Scientific Temperance Federation  engaged in a wide variety of activities to promote the temperance movement and prohibition. A major nation-wide project was an innovative ‘Education on Wheels’ project. It took temperance education directly to people at their homes and farms. Learn the secret that led to its formation.

Sons of Temperance.

Most people in the U.S. during the 1840s knew of the Sons of Temperance. This fraternal temperance organization had over 5,000 chapters. That included those in England, Ireland, and Australia.

Templars of Honor and Temperance.

Activists formed the Templars of Honor and Temperance in 1845 in the U.S. It currently exists in Scandinavia, where it promotes abstinence. There it’s “Tempel Riddare Orden.”

United Friends of Temperance.  

The United Friends of Temperance required members to sign an abstinence pledge. But the members didn’t agree about the length of the teetotal pledge. Some said it should be for life. Others said it be binding only so long as the person was a member.
American temperance organizations

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).  

Temperance activists organized the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in 1874. It was one of the most important of all temperance organizations. It was very powerful and effective in promoting prohibition. The WCTU is active today.

Woman’s New York State Temperance Society.  

The Woman’s New York State Temperance Society urged women married to ‘confirmed drunkards’ to divorce them. Living with them was a disservice ‘to the cause of humanity, and to the dignity of true womanhood.’

World League Against Alcoholism.    

Ernest Cherrington of the Anti-Saloon League led the founding of the World League Against Alcoholism. It worked with temperance groups in over fifty countries on six continents.

 

These were major temperance organizations. Now find out about some of the major temperance leaders. They had their eccentricities, quirks, secrets and scandals.

 

Suggested Readings on Temperance Organizations.

Asbury, H. The Great Illusion. NY: Greenwood, 1968.
Cashman, S. Prohibition. NY: Free Press, 1981.
Furnas, J. The Life and Times of the Late Demon Rum. NY: Punam’s, 1965.
Kobler, J. Ardent Spirits. NY: Putnam’s, 1973.
Krout, J. The Origins of Prohibition. NY: Knopf, 1925.
Sinclair, A. Prohibition. Boston: Little, Brown, 1962.