Temperance Reform
in the Early 19th Century

Primary Sources


Advice to Young Women and Young Men (1836)

Advice to Young Women and Young Men (1836)


To Young Women, - It has been thought by some, unnecessary to address the female sex, on the subject of temperance we think far otherwise. They are personally exposed to the danger of becoming intemperate. We know three ladies of highly respectable standing, who have during the last year died of intemperance. Their influence is great and we bespeak this for the temperance cause. It is the cause of purity, of holiness, of our country and of God. But above all, we address young ladies, that we may warn them of the danger of associating or connecting themselves with such as drink intoxicating drinks. Many an unsuspecting female has been led to her ruin by such drinks, and many a lovely woman had dragged out a miserable existence, with a drunken husband. Oh, the misery of such a union! What unkindness what abuse what brutality! Young women! Would you avoid such a fate look well to your associates. Touch not the fatal cup yourself give not your affections to any one, until you have every reasonable certainty that total abstinence from intoxicating drinks is his motto. To Young Men, - Young men are the hope of their country and the world. But can they be of service to their country or to the world, if they are intemperate? An intemperate ruler, or judge, or minister, or physician, or lawyer, or citizen of any class what greater curses can be inflicted on a community? Young men are the hope of their parents, and the desire of a child ought to be, to gladden the hearts of the authors of its existence to make their declining years peaceful to smooth their passage to the grave. But what sorrow will pierce their hearts, if you are intemperate. What bitterness will fill their souls if you walk in the paths of the drunkard! Young men look forward with beating hearts to the attainment of the favorite object of their ambition. But what will the possession be worth if you are intemperate? Wealth, honor, character, friends; all vanish before this fell destroyer. Young man, whomsoever you are, if you drink a drop of intoxicating liquor, you are in danger of contracting the fatal habit of intemperance. There is no safety, but in the practice of TOTAL ABSTINENCE.
From The Temperance Almanac by the New York State Temperance Society (Albany, 1836) Edited by the Museum Education Department at Old Sturbridge Village







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Last updated July 11, 2003