Liberty and Community:The Political Ideas of Nineteenth-Century Canadian Temperance Movements

  • Adam James Coombs University of British Columbia
Keywords: Temperance, Prohibition, Liberty, Canadian Politics


This paper examines the political philosophy of the Temperance Movement in Canada during the late nineteenth-century (1870-1898). Specifically, it focuses on the movement's ideas regarding the role prohibition legislation played in protecting both the community and individual liberty. The paper argues that temperance ideology in late nineteenth century Canada advocated for a democratic state which would act to promote the well-being of communities while simultaneously protecting and enhancing the liberty of the individual. This analysis is done by examining the published writings of two organizations, The Dominion Alliance for the Total Suppression of the Liquor Traffic and The Women's Christian Temperance Union, as well four prominent temperance activists.

Author Biography

Adam James Coombs, University of British Columbia
Adam Coombs is a MA student in history at the University of British Columbia. He is working with Michel Ducharme studying the political ideas of the 19th century temperance movement in Canada.