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|National Woman's Christian Temperance
The NWCTU initially worked to obtain pledges of total abstinence from alcohol, using education and example as their method. By 1875 it had expanded its mission to include tobacco and other drugs.
The movement to start such an organization had begun with the "Woman's Crusade" over the winter of 1873-74, during which bands of women succeeded in driving liquor out of 250 Ohio communities. Following this success several local woman's groups agreed to hold a preorganizational meeting at Chautauqua, New York, in the summer of 1874; it was during that meeting that the foundation of the NWCTU was laid. The NWCTUwas formally organized in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 18, 1874. Annie Wittenmyer was elected as its first president, Frances E. Willard as corresponding secretary, Mary Johnson as recording secretary, and Mary Ingham as treasurer.
With the election of Frances Willard as president in 1879, the NWCTU's mission was expanded to include a wide breadth of social issues. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union has since been instrumental in giving women an equal voice in divorce cases, formation of shelters for abused women and children, implementation of stiffer penalties for sexual crimes against women, and equal rights for women in the workplace. The Union was a founding member of the National Council for Women (1888) and the International Council of Women (1893), and a charter member of the United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations (1945)
NWCTU members proudly display one
of their favorite slogans.
NWCTU (WCTU) Presidents
1874-1879 Annie Wittenmyer
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This page was last updated on June 11, 2017.