Temperance for Young Men and Women, Advice


Background Notes

Early nineteenth−century temperance advocates aimed many of their appeals directly at young people, trying to awaken them to the dangers and “untold misery” of intoxicating drinks. They also sought to motivate women—as wives and mothers—to influence men not to drink. As the temperance campaign became widespread, anti−drink appeals appeared both in special temperance publications, such as The Temperance Almanac, and in many newspapers and magazines, such as the New England Farmer.

Transcription of Primary Source

Excerpts from THE TEMPERANCE ALMANAC, 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 has dragged out a miserable existence, with a drunken husband. Oh, the misery, the untold misery of such a union! What unkindness—what abuse—what brutality! Young woman!—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.

Excerpt from the NEW ENGLAND FARMER.


A young lady will be very unsafe in marrying a young man who uses ardent spirits*, either temperately or intemperately, because more women have been rendered wretched on account of drunken husbands, than by any thing else.—When Lavinia and Laura and Margaret, were let by their husbands to Hymen’s* altar, their husbands only took a little. Lavinia was the mother of four children, when the sheriff sold the last bed she had, for her husband’s drams*. Laura had three lovely babes, when her husband was carried to jail, and she left without bed, bread or home. Margaret had two children, when she followed their sottish* and brutish father to an untimely grave, and she and her babes were cast upon the world pennyless. Beware young ladies of him who can drink a dram even in a week. Don’t marry a reformed drunkard, as a man hardly ever gets clear of this awful disease. If you want to be miserable—if you want babblings—if you want wounds without a cause—a husband with red eyes, marry a man who drinks, who takes a little, and you are more likely to have the above enjoyments than in marrying any other character. If a man cannot give up his dram, he can sacrifice the happiness or property of any woman by taking a little.


  • ardent spirits − distilled liquors, such as, rum or whiskey
  • dram − a small drink of intoxicating liquor
  • fell − terrible; cruel
  • Hymen − the Greek god of marriage
  • sottish − drunken; stupid and foolish from drinking too much alcohol

Curator Notes

Exact Title: 
“To Young Women” and “To Young Men”
The Temperance Almanac
New−York State Temperance Society
Packard and Van Benthuysen
Place of Publication: 
Old Sturbridge Village