WOMENS CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT TIMELINE

2014 John E. Perkins — johnp [at] ktchange [dot] com

1604 King James I issues report calling smoking, "a custome loathsome to eye, hatefull to the nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the lungs and in the black stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible, Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomlesse." (TY: 98)
1794 Whiskey Rebellion sparked by a tax on whiskey put down by George Washington. Whiskey taxes viewed as regressive. (DC: 81)
1830 Anthony Benezet, a Quaker, worries about the effects of liquor on Indians and Negroes (DC: 81)
1850s Pre Civil War legislation leads to dramatic declines in drinking rates. (WT 4)
1852 Susan B. Anthony began first womens temperance society. (WT 5)
1858 Women pray nonviolently in saloons for 6 days and close all of them in Dixon, IL. (WT 16)
1869 Equal Rights Association splits over the issue of whether to combine [white] women voting with enfranchisement for Negro males. (WT: 59)
1870s Women had no legal rights and depended entirely on their husbands' promises and pledges of support. Husbands had property interest in their wives.
1873 Dr. Diocletian Lewis sparks women's temperance crusade with speech in Hillsboro, Ohio on December 23. Following that speech women went into bars and asked owners to sign a pledge to stop selling alcohol. If they were refused they remained there, praying and singing until he did. (WT 16)
1874 Womens Christian Temperance Union founded in Cleveland. Sixteen states, 135 women attend as members; 165 guests. Men excluded from membership and leadership.
1874 WCTU hopes that through moral suasion people will sign and honor a pledge of total abstinence from alcohol. Emphasis is put on religious conversion, Christian commitment, acknowledgement of sin and willingness to abandon evil ways. Also promotes education about the harm alcohol drinking causes in schools and Sunday schools. (WT: 37, 45)
1874-1879 Annie Wittenmyer president of WCTU.
1875 First votes on prohibition by communities-white men vote by ballot and white women by petition.
1876 Francis Willard, president of the WCTU, declares that [white] women need the vote to protect the home from damage caused by alcoholism among men. "Home protection" becomes a rallying point in the effort to secure women the vote. (WT: 58)
1879-1898 Frances Willard president of WCTU.
1880 WCTU takes up prison reform; separate facilities for children and women; building facilities for dependent and neglected children; sponsors the kindergarten movement in the US. (WT: 13)
1884 WCTU's Department for the Overthrow of the Tobacco Habit cites the health hazards of smoking and suggests the best way to make headway is with the young. WCTU petitions congress to limit the sale of cigarettes. (WT 109)
1889 Jane Addams begins Settlement Houses in Chicago after a similar effort there sponsored by the WCTU. (WT: 14)
1891 WCTU is at the height of its institutional development in Chicago. Publishes the largest women's newspaper in the world with a circulation of 100,000. Sponsors: two day nurseries, two Sunday schools, an industrial school, a mission that sheltered four thousand homeless or destitute women in a twelve-month period, a free medical dispensary that treated over sixteen hundred patients a year, a lodging house for men that provided temporary housing for over 50 thousand men and a low-cost restaurant. (HH 667)
1894 WCTU leads successful state campaigns to raise the age of consent. (WT 110)
1895 WCTU argues for the right to fresh air and advocates that smokers be permitted to smoke only in such places and ways as would not interfere "with the rights and freedoms of any other individual." (WT 109)
1900 One person out of every 116 worked in the alcohol trade; half a million directly. (WT 16)
1991 An estimate 26 million people use illicit drugs; 5 million enough to need treatment. (RD 6)
1994 I began to see drug policy as a resource for furthering values-of security, order, and participation-and staking claims-to material and political success, to public goods. Public policy is a means as a well as an end. Viewed in this way, the persistence of drug prohibition makes much more sense. Eliminating drug abuse is not the only item on the policy agenda that produces and sustains prohibitionist policies. This book argues that a "shadow agenda"—distinct from the declared action agenda of government and the broader agenda of times for public discussion, but profoundly influencing both of them-is a normal aspect of policy politics. It also explores the elements and impacts on the shadow agenda of current American drug policy a particularly dark and volatile one, with racial and generational conflicts, as well as prospects of political and material gain, feeding prohibitionist policies. Finally, my analysis concluded that overlooking or discounting the shadow agendas on public decisionmaking not only impedes progress in particular policy areas-in this case drugs-but also distracts citizens and policy makers from addressing other, perhaps even larger concerns. (RD 7-8).
1999 Some Chicago neighborhoods vote to restrict the sale of alcohol along particular streets or in specific types of stores. (All Things Considered, National Public Radio program aired 1/11/99)
Reference Abbreviations
DC Bakalar, James B. and Lester Grinspoon. (1984). Drug control in a free society. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press
HH Sklar, Kathryn Kish. (1985. Hull House in the 1890s: A Community of Women Reformers. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Summer 1985, 10, 4, 658-677.
PA Parker, Alison. (1997) Purifying America: Women, cultural reform and pro-censorship activism, 1873-1933, Urbana, IL: University of Chicago Press.
RD Gordon, Diana R. (1994). The return of the dangerous classes: Drug prohibition and policy politics. New York: W.W. Norton.
TY Buckley, Chistopher. (1994). Thank you for smoking. New York: Random House.
WT Bordin, Ruth. (1981). Women and temperance: The quest for power and liberty, 1873-1900. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

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