The temperance pledge came in many forms. It was always a promise
to be temperate in drinking, but sometimes alcoholic beverages were
allowed for medicinal purposes or on special days such as the 4th of July (a popular drinking holiday).
There was even a special womens pledge promising not to use
alcohol in cooking. People signed individual and group pledges swearing
never to drink again, but it is clear that the pledge was sometimes
made fairly casually especially by politicians hoping to win
dry votes. Personal pledges might be hung on the wall as a sign of
pride or as a reminder to keep the promise.
Jane E. Stebbins. Fifty Years History of
the Temperance Cause. Hartford: L. Stebbins, 1874.
American Temperance Union Pledge
We whose names are hereunto annexed, believing that the use of intoxicating
liquor, as a beverage, is not only needless, but hurtful to the social,
civil, and religious interests of men: that it tends to form intemperate
appetites and habits, and that while it is continued, the evils of
intemperance can never be done away: do therefore agree that we will
not use it or traffic in it: that we will not provide it as an article
of entertainment or for persons in our employment: and that in all
suitable ways, we will discountenance the use of it throughout the
Philadelphia Female Total Abstinence Society
Believing that the use of all intoxicating liquors both as a beverage,
and when mingled with food is injurious to the body and the mind,
and that the great prevalence of Intemperance in our Country calls
upon mothers and daughters to renounce the use of whatever maintains
the evil, the Members of this Society do agree entirely to abstain
from all intoxicating liquors as a beverage, and also not to use them
unnecessarily in domestic cookery, or traffic in them, and that in
all suitable ways they will discountenance their use in the community.
Pennsylvania Catholic Total Abstinence Society
I promise to abstain from ALL intoxicating drinks, except used medicinally
and by order of a medical man, and to discountenance the cause and
practice of intemperance.
Pledge for Children
I do hereby pledge myself to abstain entirely and
forever from the use of all intoxicating liquor as a drink.
Pledge of the Pennsylvania Society for Discouraging
the Use of Ardent Spirits
The subscribers, duly impressed with a sense of the numerous physical
and moral evils arising from intemperance, do hereby mutually pledge
themselves to abstain from the use of ardent spirits, except as a
medicine prescribed by a competent physician; recognizing WATER, as
the legitimate and most salutary drink for all men; and viewing drunkenness,
whether resulting from the use of ardent spirits, fermented or vinous
liquors, as equally reprehensible, and subjecting any signer of this
pledge to expulsion from this Association.