Women's Christian Temperance Union Facts

Women's Christian Temperance Union Facts
The Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is an international women's organization that began in the United States in the late nineteenth century. Throughout its history, the WCTU has advocated for a number of issues that fall on both the left and right wings of the political spectrum. The WCTU originated on December 23, 1873 in Hillsboro, Ohio, but quickly spread to other countries as the International Women's Christian Temperance Movement. Although the WCTU originally advocated primarily for prohibition of alcohol, women's suffrage quickly became a major plank in its platform. Its membership and influenced peaked when its goals of prohibition and women's suffrage were made into law in the early twentieth century.
Interesting Women's Christian Temperance Union Facts:
Annie Wittenmyer was the WCTU's first president.
Although temperance is part of the WCTU's name, its original constitution called for the total prohibition of alcoholic beverages.
The WCTU became the International Women's Christian Temperance Movement (IWCTU) when chapters opened in Canada in 1874, New Zealand in 1887, Australia in 1889, and Sweden in 1900.
The IWCTU eventually opened chapters in thirty-six countries.
Among the WCTU's many tactics, members would often kneel and pray in front of taverns and saloons.
The WCTU was also against tobacco consumption, which was promoted by the sub-organization, the Department for the Overthrow of the Tobacco Habit.
The Union Signal was the quarterly publication of the WCTU.
The WCTU also took active stances against prostitution, child labor, and worker's rights in general.
The WCTU often adopted anti-immigrant rhetoric, blaming heavy drinking on European immigrants and European culture.
The membership of the WCTU was overwhelming Protestant and never had many Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian members, who often came from ethnic groups the WCTU considered prone to heavy drinking.
In 1879, Frances Willard became the second president of the WCTU and quickly began leading the organization into new political ventures, including: women's suffrage, labor reform, and other women's rights issue.
Like many of the other suffrage movements of the time, the WCTU argued that women were less prone to corruption than men and that by women voting government would become more honest and efficient.
After the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed prohibiting alcohol in 1919, the WCTU saw its numbers drastically reduced.
The passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave all adult American women the right to vote, further reduced the membership and importance of the WCTU.
During its height, the WCTU had hundreds of thousands members.
The WCTU was against the Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal in the United States and has worked with anti-abortion groups in a number of different countries.
Besides being against alcohol consumption, more recently the WCTU has taken a strong stance on illicit drug use, especially opioids.
There is still at least one WCTU chapter in every U.S. state.
As of 2012, there were about 5,000 members of the IWCTU.
Despite being a predominately Hindu nation, there was once a chapter of the IWCTU in India.
Some of the past notable members of the WCTU include: Carrie Nation, Ida B. Wise, and Anna Adams Gordon.


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