Starting in the late eighteenth century, the Second Great Awakening was an attempt by Protestants to revive religion. The movement began around 1790, and continued to grow as time went on. The people felt like they were straying from the path of God and it became a time of emphasis on personal piety over schooling and theology. It arose in several places and in several active forms. The religious movement brought reforms such as women’s rights, abolition, and temperance movements.
After the American Revolution, drinking was on the rise. There were many people during the Second Great Awakening, particularly religious enthusiasts and evangelicals, who thought drinking alcohol was a sin. They believed that it caused people to lose their faith in God and would corrupt America. Protestant groups, including Baptists, Evangelicals, and Methodists, joined together to condemn and reject the consumption of alcohol. Additionally, Protestants formed temperance societies that attracted religious as well as non-religious members.
Although there have been abstinence pledges in churches as early as 1800, the earliest temperance organizations were those founded at Saratoga, New York, in 1808 and in Massachusetts in 1813. The American Temperance Society was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1826 by Lyman Beecher and Justin Edwards. Beecher was a puritan minister in Connecticut, and in 1825, began lecturing against the use of liquor. Within 12 years the society had accumulated more than 8,000 local groups and over 1,500,000 members. While the popularity of the Temperance Society grew, Protestant churches began to promote temperance as well.
The goal of the Temperance Movement was to ban the sale, consumption, and distribution of alcohol. People believed that alcohol corrupts the family, disobeys God, and causes poverty, family violence, and other criminal activity. The temperance groups were filled by women who had endured the effects of alcohol on their husbands. Wives...