Crusade against Drink in Victorian England

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9780312177775: Crusade against Drink in Victorian England

Drink, 'the curse of Britain', was sweeping the land, or so it seemed to many Englishmen in the early decades of the nineteenth century. They held it responsible for crime, poverty and many other ills of the rapidly industrializing towns. A 'moderation' temperance reform organized in 1829 largely under middle class auspices soon gave way to a radical commitment to total abstinence in a great variety of worker self-help groups. When these too failed to change the drinking habits of most Englishmen the temperance movement sought new alliances. In the 1870s and 1880s Gospel Temperance married temperance to revivalist religion. It received the support of both established and non-conformist churches, and millions 'took the pledge'. But many did not; and as religious enthusiasm faded the anti-drink forces shifted their attention to the political arena. After successfully pressuring the Liberal Party to adopt limited prohibition, they mounted a great but unsuccessful campaign in the 1895 election. With this defeat the anti-drink crusade disintegrated, leaving the dedicated teetotallers socially isolated in the safe haven of their drink-free subculture.

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Drink, the curse of Britain, was sweeping the land, or so it seemed to Englishmen in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Part One traces this early temperance reform from its original purpose of supporting moderate drinking to its adoption of total abstinence and then to the development of a prohibition movement. Part Two focuses on the great crusade to set up an 'England free from drink'.

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Shiman, Lilian Lewis
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ISBN 10: 0312177771 ISBN 13: 9780312177775
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Shiman, Lilian Lewis
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