About Quizzes

Women`s Christian Temperance Union

Temperance and prohibition are two reform terms often used synonymously, but initially they had separate meanings. Temperance originally referred to an effort to establish a temperate or responsible use of alcohol; drunkenness was regarded as a problem of the individual, not the liquid itself. Occasional and moderate drinking was acceptable to the reformers who supported this approach. Prohibition, on the other hand, called for total abstinence. Its supporters believed that alcohol dependence was addictive behavior. Even well-meaning individuals often lacked the discipline to drink responsibly. A total end to the production and consumption of alcohol, backed by law and the threat of punishment, was the only solution in the minds of these reform advocates. Following the Civil War, many temperance advocates realized that their position was not bringing about desired changes in society, so they adopted the total abstinence philosophy. The staging of small parades in towns targeted for abstinence campaigns became the favored reform approach. The expression "Going on the wagon" dates to this tactic. A wagon carrying a barrel of water — the approved drink — was the procession's focal point. Bystanders desiring to reform their habits were invited to climb "on the wagon" as a demonstration of their commitment.

See separate articles on Temperance and Prohibition.