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The American Temperance Society (ATS), also known as the American Society for the Promotion of Temperance, was a society established on February 13, 1826 in Boston, Massachusetts. Within five years there were 2,220 local chapters in the U.S. with 170,000 members who had taken a pledge to abstain from drinking distilled beverages. Within ten years, there were over 8,000 local groups and more than 1,250,000 members who had taken the pledge.
The society benefited from, and contributed to, a reform sentiment in much of the country promoting the abolition of slavery, expanding women's rights, temperance, and the improvement of society. Possibly because of its association with the abolitionist movement, the society was most successful in northern states.
After a while, temperance groups increasingly pressed for the mandatory prohibition of alcohol rather than for voluntary abstinence. The American Temperance Society was the first U.S. social movement organization to mobilize massive and national support for a specific reform cause. Their objective was to become the national clearinghouse on the topic of temperance. Within three years of its organization, ATS had spread across the country.
Most notable people
- Lyman Beecher Preacher and Co-Founder of the ATS.
- Dr. Justin Edwards Preacher and Co-Founder of ATS
- Rev. Joshua Leavitt Lawyer, editor, writer, publisher, first secretary of ATS.
- John Wheeler Leavitt served on the executive committee in 1836, NY businessman and founder of J. W. & R. Leavitt Company.
- American Temperance Union
- Prohibition in the United States
- Temperance movement
- Woman's Christian Temperance Union
- Volstead Act
- Young, Michael P. (2007). Bearing Witness against Sin: The Evangelical Birth of the American Social Movement. University of Chicago Press
- John L. Merrill, "The Bible and the American temperance movement: text, context and pretext," Harvard Theological Review 81, no. 2 (1988): 147.
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