Why was support for the temperance movement in the 1800s strong among women and employers?

1 Answer
May 28, 2016

Nobody wants a drunken husband or employee.


The temperence movement was not only a big deal in its own right, it was a feature of other national movements of the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

  • The Women's Suffrage movement, while primarily dedicated to getting the vote for women, advocated for victims of domestic abuse, and alcohol was a frequent factor.
  • The labor movement was in part a backlash against employers who felt entitled to control or strongly influence their workers' private lives, including alcohol consumption.
  • Many religious movements spawned by the Great Awakening and the Second Great awakening forbade alcohol, as did anti-immigrant groups.
    Anti-Catholic, -Irish and -German sentiment may have given root to these.

World War I gave the women's movement the opportunity to push the 18th and 19th Amendments (Prohibition and the women's vote) to the US constitution to ratification; enough men were away fighting the war that they couldn't prevent these borderline-popular causes from passing in their absence. As with many modern political compromises, you sometimes have to endire the bad with the good.