Prohibition In America

1997 Words8 Pages
Within history, the Prohibition era within America is seen as a contemporary avenue for modern study, made popular for many reasons, whether the perceived glamour of the era, which championed the organised crime of the bootlegger and gangster culture; or the contemporary medical relationship the period has with modern debates surrounding forms of drug prohibition globally. However, despite the intrinsic link Temperance has with Prohibition in America, the breadth of its formal academic study is far smaller than that of Prohibition. Nevertheless, this literature review looks to identify the key themes and debates, presented by scholars, which surround the development of Temperance within 19th and 20th Century America. These themes are identified…show more content…
Where American Reformers: 1815-1860 highlights the importance of women in the later stages of the reform movements in America, Barbara Leslie Epstein, within Politics of Domesticity: Evangelism and Temperance in 19th Century America, provides a more focussed analysis of the role of women. In particular, Epstein considers role of women’s institutions at the time, such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, and their role when considering economic and cultural change. Epstein ability to link American history with Women’s history during this period is considered a significant strength of her study. The main thesis within Politics of Domesticity is that women adopted Temperance as a means to politically extend domestically nurtured values of the time. Furthermore, Epstein’s work is accurate in lining the role of women to other reform movements and issues during the time, such as Suffrage and Education and the positive effect marches and protest could have on influencing male behaviour. The role women played in the developing of education is also contributed to by Edward Behr (1996) within Prohibition: Thirteen Years that Changed America; however, Behr’s analysis of the role of women is rather more critical, in as much that whilst Behr acknowledges the success of the educational campaigns during this time, he also highlights the lack of scientific evidence supporting these…show more content…
Despite only focussing on the third wave of Temperance reform, the Progressive perspective is essential to the literature of Temperance as it highlights how the movement developed alongside other such issues of the era such as, suffrage, immigration, corruption and education, allowing a broader perspective, rather than seeing Temperance through a single issue periscope. Many scholars have written upon the Progressive era, however Richard Hofstadter (1963) offers the best example, when considering its ties to Temperance, within The Progressive Movement: 1900-1915. Hofstadter, a distinguished Historian and former Professor of American History at the University of Columbia and author of other significant work on the period, notably The Age of Reform (1955). Within his latter work, Hofstadter’s main premise concerning Temperance and Prohibition, is, as mentioned, that they should not be viewed as a stand alone movement, but rather should be understood through the role they played in Progression, which was reacting to the social, political and economical evils of the years preceding 1890. As such, Hofstadter’s analysis goes to explain why it was possible for such a small minority in society to enact such substantial change within America. Furthermore, despite sections of Hofstadter’s work being labelled as

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