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Title: The temperance question in England, 1829-1869
Author: Harrison, Brian Howard
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1965
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Abstract:
The thesis seeks to steal only with a limited aspect of Engels' thesis on the relationship between drunkenness and industrialisation during the early 19th century - with the organisation, sources of support and leadership of the three liquor restrictionist campaigns before 1869 - the anti-spirits, teetotal, and prohibitionist movements. The attempt to solve the drink problem through the association of abstainers did not begun until the appearance of the anti-spirits movement in Britain in 1828-9. Although for centuries there had been individual abstainers, and even public campaigns against drunkenness, nobody had thought of founding a temperance society . Three recent social changes prepared the way for the early anti-spirits movement. Firstly, the gradual abandonment of drunkenness by fashionable society at least by the end of the 18th century, and the appearance of a sober labour aristocracy by the 1820s. Secondly,the sophistication after the late 18th century of techniques of public agitation; and thirdly the desire evinced by certain sections of society , partially pcvincial manufacturers and nonconformists, allied with labour aristocrats, for certain radical changes in the political and social system. The idea of anti-spirits association originated in America in the 1820s and soon reached Britain via the Anglo- American philanthropic network. Originating simultaneously in Glasgow with John Dunlop and in Belfast with Dr. John Edgar, the new movement soon spread to the North of England. By 1831 the British and Foreign Temperance Society had been established at Exeter Hall. In individual instances, religious zeal was the motivating force, but other factors seem to have made British society in the late 1820s receptive to temperance agitation. The suspicion that religious factors are not the only influences at work is suggested by two considerations: temperance was ardently recommended both by religious and irreligious opinion-formers, and the temperance movement appeared at the same time as many other pressures on working people to conserve their resources. Relevant factors seem to be the following. Taxation changes in the 1820s had prompted fears that a second "gin age" might be imminent; difficulties with the textile industries in the North seem to have increased the attractiveness of a movement which promised to extend the home market and discipline the work force. Manufacturers in the Northern cities showed some enthusiasm for the early anti-spirits movemaot. Thirdly, the cheapening and improved accessibility of non-intoxicating drinks made organised abstinence from intoxicants more feasible than at any earlier date. The first parliamentary inquiry into drunkenness was held in 1854, and although its recommendations were in many ways far-sighted, it was ridiculed by parliament and the press largely for two reasons: because of the unpopularity of its chairman, the radical J.S.Buckingham and of his associates on the committee - the Evangelicals. And secondly because the committee's long-term suggestions - notably prohibition - were mistaken for immediate recommendations, provincial society in the Northern industrial towns was more favourable than London opinion towards the committee and to its report.
Supervisor: Mathias, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.580723  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Alcoholism ; Prohibition ; Temperance ; Great Britain
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