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Exhibition Join In: Voluntary Assocations in America

Thomas Sinclair (approximately 1805–1881), lithographer. This is to Certify that ... Was Duly Elected a Member of the Above Society on the . . . Day of . . . 184-, . . A Certificate of Membership for Temperance Societies. Philadelphia: Published by James Porter, ca. 1841. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (063.00.00)
Boston Temperance Association. Constitution of the Boston Temperance Association, Adopted March 1839. Boston, 1839. Rare Book and Special Collections, Division Library of Congress (064.00.00)

American Temperance Society

Founded in Boston in 1826 but national in scope, the American Temperance Society (ATS) brought together state and local temperance groups formed during a period of intense religious revival and social reform. Thousands joined temperance societies and used “moral suasion” to persuade potential adherents to abstain from alcohol and practice self-discipline. Membership in a temperance society required signing an abstinence pledge, which often included language or imagery related to protecting home and family life. By the 1850s the temperance movement successfully combined individual conversions, political pressure, and legislative measures.