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Cold Water Pledge insignia
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Up until the first quarter of the nineteenth century, most Americas drank alcohol on a regular basis, not believing it posed any moral or physiological problems. The first temperance movement emerged in New England as clergy began to equate drinking alcohol with sins like Sabbath breaking and blasphemy. In 1808 the first temperance society was formed, but it singled-out hard liquor, such as rum, as its only target. While it tried to persuade citizens to stop drinking hard liquor, it still condoned the use of wine, beer and hard cider. Reformers began using statistics to convince the citizenry of the evils of alcohol, and temperance rhetoric took on moralistic and patriotic arguments. Over time, the movement sought to eliminate all use of alcohol. In 1831 the large and influential American Temperance Union urged everyone to only drink cold water ? thereby taking a Cold Water Pledge. This insignia for the Massachusetts Temperance Union shows a public demonstration ? "The Cold Water Army" ? in the top motif, and a family drawing water from a well in the lower motif.
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