The Death Of The Temperance Movement Essay

The Death Of The Temperance Movement Essay

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The state of Connecticut tried to reduce the amount of alcohol being consumed by its citizens because of the resulting impact it had on women. The discourse about alcohol consumption was changing, in the early 19th century the discussion about female drunkenness was focused on the damage it caused to the family. During this time temperance advocates acknowledged that both male and female drinking destroyed domestic happiness, but they kept their harshest critiques for women who consumed large amounts of alcohol. With the emergence of the idea of domesticity, which portrayed women as the fronts for virtue and the defenders of their homes and family, an ideological shift took place. Now drunkenness was viewed as a male-dominated vice that afflicted women and their families. The common image, that came to dominate temperance movement’s notions of gender by the 1830s, was one of a victimized women, whose husband was the cause of this victimization because of his drunkenness. It is important to note the success of the temperance movement’s in Connecticut because they were able to change the social discourse about drinking. This is one example, where the social conditions were in place and therefore a change was able to be made. Whether or not this helped to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed by men is still in question, but one could assume that changing the social discourse would have a least a minor impact on the rates of consumption.
Another example from England that attempted to reduce the consumption of alcohol, with little success, is with the use of informers and the multiple Gin Acts that were put in place. Informers played a central role in the legal system in early modern England, they were employed to help enforce u...

... middle of paper ... to why alcohol consumption rates remained high during this time period. In order to make any large reductions in the amount of alcohol consumed in any particular place the right social, culture, and economic settings need to be in place. Without all three settings, any policy adopted to reduce alcohol consumption could not be successful. Class differences and culture were the largest factors that contributed the alcohol consumption. As shown in England and Mexico City, those in the upper classes believed citizens in the lower classes were the cause for high rates of alcohol consumption. Without a change in societal views and beliefs the notion that citizens in the lower class consume more alcohol will always ring true. Once a society’s discourse on class structure and culture has changed, policies to reduce alcohol consumption can successfully be implemented.

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