The group was originally called the Lincoln Legion. But in 1912 it was renamed the Lincoln-Lee League. That was to make it more appealing to Southern children and their parents.
The Lincoln-Lee League’s three goals for members were these. (1) Abstaining from alcohol. (2) Promoting prohibition. (3) Being good church members.
Children who signed the pledge committed themselves to abstaining from alcohol for the rest of their lives. The pledge asserted that drinking alcohol “is productive of pauperism, degradation and crime….”1
Pledge signing drives were heavily promoted at churches and Sunday schools. Also at temperance meetings.
By 1925, over five million children had signed the total abstinence pledge cards.
The Lincoln-Lee Department was part of the Anti-Saloon League. It published a temperance magazine for those who had signed the pledge. It was the Uncle Sam Advocate.
The Department also published the Lincoln-Lee Legion Patriots Scorebook. Meetings of the group used this booklet. It provided a history of the League, a “response service,” songs for use at meetings, and a behavioral scorecard.
- Church attendance.
- Abstinence from tobacco.
- Recruiting new members.
- Sunday school attendance.
The pledge concept is currently used by the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. But its pledge numbers dwarf those of the Lincoln-Lee Legion.
- The National Prohibition Lincoln-Lee Program Book.
- Lincoln-Lee Legion. Westerville (OH) Pub Lib.
- Engs, R. (Ed.) The Progressive Era’s Health Reform Movements.
- Odegard, P. Pressure Politics: The Story of the Anti-Saloon League.
- American Bond Newsletter.
- Derby, G. Cyclopaedia of American Biography, p. 330.