We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Temperance Movement?

By R. Anacan
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In the United States, the temperance movement was a social movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries that was dedicated to encouraging the reduction or elimination of the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the nation. The movement was comprised of a variety of social, political and religious groups that were united in their belief that the United States would be a better nation, in a variety of ways, if people refrained from drinking alcohol. The efforts of the movement resulted in the prohibition of alcohol between 1920 and 1933.

During the early 19th century, a growing segment of the American population believed that the population of the nation was negatively impacted by the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol consumption was seen by many as a destructive force that led to the disintegration of the family; caused problems in the workplace, unemployment, homelessness; and led to increased violence and crime. Religious leaders, who made up a large portion of the movement, also perceived alcohol use as a sinful activity that led to the moral decline of both churchgoers and American society as a whole.

The temperance movement initially began as an effort to encourage people to reduce or refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages, but over time, its emphasis expanded from discouraging the consumption of alcohol to advocating the prohibition of the sale, consumption, and production of alcohol through legislation. By the mid-1800s, a handful of states passed prohibition laws; although all of these states repealed those laws by the late 1860s. In the late 1800s, the movement regained prominence as groups such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League brought increased national attention to the issue of alcohol prohibition. Both of these organizations carried a significant amount of political clout and social influence and, along with other temperance groups, helped to elect candidates of both major political parties that supported the prohibition of alcohol in the United States.

The prohibition of alcohol was codified with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1919 and the passage of the Volstead Act in 1920. Unfortunately for advocates of the temperance movement, the prohibition of alcohol did not seem to create the positive results that were expected and, in fact, resulted in a host of unintended negative consequences. The chief of these was the rise in overall crime rates and organized crime activity. Organized crime enterprises, such as that headed by the infamous Al Capone in Chicago, Illinois, greatly profited through the selling of alcohol on the black market. Public sentiment in the United States turned against the prohibition of alcohol and the Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution was repealed with the ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution in 1933.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon145776 — On Jan 24, 2011

this helped me a lot. thanks! Going to get an A+ at school!

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.