Way Back When
(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th Century as originally reported in past issues of the newspaper. These reprinted stories include their original headlines and spelling.)
March 4, 1896
(Note: Although the Women's Christian Temperance Union is best known for its crusades against alcohol, the organization had a much more extensive focus. Founded in Ohio in 1874, WCTU eventually grew to hundreds of thousands of chapters, some of which sprang up in this area. This reprint illustrates the wide-ranging goals of the group.)
Declaration of Principles, WCTU
We believe in the coming of His Kingdom, whose service is perfect freedom, because His laws, written in our members, as well as in nature and in grace, are perfect, converting the soul.
We believe in the gospel of the Golden Rule and that each man's habits of life should be an example safe and beneficent for every other man to follow.
We believe that God created both man and woman in His own image, and therefore we believe in one standard of purity for both men and women and in the equal right of all to hold opinions and to express the same in the home, on the platform, in the pulpit and at the ballot-box.
We believe in the prohibition of the liquor traffic, the opium and tobacco traffic, the gambling house and haunt of shame; we believe in a living wage: in an eight-hour day; in courts of conciliation—and arbitration; in justice as opposed to greed of gain; in "peace on earth and good will to men."
We therefore formulate and for ourselves adopt the following pledge, asking our sisters and brothers of a common danger, and a common hope, to make common cause with us in working its reasonable and helpful precepts into the practice of everyday life.
Pledge---I hereby solemnly promise God helping me, to abstain from all distilled, fermented, and malt liquors, including wine, beer and cider as a beverage, and to employ all proper means to discourage the use of and traffic in the same.
To confirm and enforce the rationale of this pledge we declare our purpose to educate the young; to form a better public sentiment; to reform as much as possible by religious, ethical and scientific means the drinking classes; to seek the transforming power of divine grace for ourselves and all for whom we work that they and we may willfully transcend no law of pure and wholesome living; and finally we pledge ourselves to labor and pray that all these principles, founded upon the gospel of Christ, may be worked out into the customs of society and the laws of the land.