Demon rum and saintly women: temperance fiction of the early nineteenth century
Although America was most famously temperate in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the temperance movement was not something created by the Women's Christian Temperance Union. The roots were men controlling men for economic advancement in pre-Revolutionary War America. The goal of temperance remained thus until speakers during the Second Great Awakening began preaching on the topic of temperance and calling on women to further the cause. Temperance became a woman's issue with women as the natural leaders of the movement because of the place women---as moral authorities---occupied in society. Literature written by women in the 1830s and 40s furthered the cause and helped women relate to the movement, using the accepted religious rhetoric and sentimental "womanly" emotionalism to convert new female activists. Religion empowered temperance, temperance empowered women, and women then used temperance and the new religious rhetoric to justify their cause and to further woman's entry into politics.