“Some of Our Best Preachers Part Their Hair in the Middle”

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:
“Some of Our Best Preachers Part Their Hair in the Middle”

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Central to the southern evangelicals' prohibition campaign during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was the threat posed by liquor to southern white womanhood. Women were viewed as the most vulnerable victims of intemperance and served as the key justification for prohibition. However, women's participation in the movement extended beyond merely being vulnerable objects of pity used to manipulate the passions of the male electorate. Women's groups, particularly the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, worked hard to change public opinion about prohibition and to accomplish electoral and legislative victories for the movement by organizing prayer meetings, parades, and other similar activities. Southern evangelical support for the WCTU declined during the 1890s, when the organization began pushing for more radical reforms, such as women's suffrage, female preachers, and increased ecclesiastical rights for women, that threatened male dominance. Not until after a change in leadership and the resumption of a less threatening agenda would denominational support for the group return.

Keywords: evangelical prohibitionists; white womanhood; Temperance Union; denominational support; women's suffrage; ecclesiastical rights; female preachers

Chapter.  12400 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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