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What led to Prohibition?

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Nationwide Prohibition came about as a result of the temperance movement. The temperance movement advocated for moderation in—and in its most extreme form, complete abstinence from the consumption of—alcohol (although actual Prohibition only banned the manufacture, transportation, and trade of alcohol, rather than its consumption). The temperance movement began amassing a following in the 1820s and ’30s, bolstered by the religious revivalism that was sweeping the nation at that time. The religious establishment continued to be central to the movement, as indicated by the fact that the Anti-Saloon League—which spearheaded the early 20th-century push for Prohibition on the local, state, and federal levels—received much of their support from Protestant evangelical congregations. A number of other forces lent their support to the movement as well, such as woman suffragists, who were anxious about the deteriorative effects alcohol had on the family unit, and industrialists, who were keen on increasing the efficiency of their workers.

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