“Distilled Damnation”

Joe L. Coker

in Liquor in the Land of the Lost Cause

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780813124711
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813134727 | DOI:
“Distilled Damnation”

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New England evangelicals launched the temperance movement in the early nineteenth century after observing a dramatic increase in alcohol consumption and occurrences of drunkenness that they said unleashed criminality and animal instincts in a man and took him beyond the control of reason. Questions also began to surface about whether alcoholic beverages provided any health benefits to man. While the movement gained more traction in the North, some historians say temperance advocates in the South struggled, owing mainly to the movement's close association with abolitionism as well as the region's lack of a market economy and distinct social patterns. It wasn't until the late 1820s that temperance societies emerged in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, led by Baptist and Methodist evangelicals who harped on the message that alcohol posed a threat to the individual, the family, and the community. After a lull in the mid-1840s, the temperance movement in the South experienced a resurgence in the 1880s, culminating in the twentieth-century experiment with nationwide prohibition.

Keywords: prohibition; antebellum temperance; alcohol consumption; Methodists; Baptists; evangelicals; abolitionism

Chapter.  9104 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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