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Liquor in the Land of the Lost CauseSouthern White Evangelicals and the Prohibition Movement$
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Joe L. Coker

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780813124711

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813124711.001.0001

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“Distilled Damnation”

“Distilled Damnation”

Temperance before 1880

(p.13) Chapter One “Distilled Damnation”
Liquor in the Land of the Lost Cause

Joe L. Coker

University Press of Kentucky

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

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