M9188.8.131.52 | Advertisement for a Temperance campaign
Advertisement for a Temperance campaign
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
7.4 x 13.3 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords: advertisement (407) , Print (10661) , Sign and symbol (2669)
Keys to History
Prohibitionists wanted to use the power of the state to oblige Canadians, with or without their consent, to stay sober and work harder so as to improve their position in life. They succeeded in passing the Dunkin Act (1864) and later the Scott Act (1878), which allowed municipalities to prohibit the sale of alcohol. Nevertheless, some drinkers slipped through the net by going to do their drinking in those districts that had stayed «open». During the 1890s the prohibition movement had a resurgence that paralleled the push for social reform. In 1898 a nation-wide referendum failed to force the federal government to accede to reformists' demands.
This advertisement denounced the abuse of family income brought about by intemperance. A sober family man, it was thought, could offer his family a comfortable life. To achieve this goal, the prohibitionists encouraged both men and woman to « sign the (temperance) pledge ».
Illustrations of this type were found all across Canada at the time.
The print probably dates from the 1860s or 1870s. The prohibition movement organized awareness campaigns to induce the public to put pressure on government to have the production and sale of alcohol banned.
Women usually joined the movement for the same reasons as did men. Furthermore, they mobilized to combat what was considered in those days as a man's vice.