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Temperance - Temperance As Ideal And Issue, Temperance Movements, Bibliography

consumption self modern meaning

In classical and medieval thought, temperance, or sōphrosynē, could signify one or more of a congeries of traits, such as moderation, self-knowledge, self-restraint, or independence. These virtues were to be cultivated by the individual. In modern history, however, the meaning of temperance has become narrowed to refer only to limits on the consumption of alcoholic beverages, whether those restrictions are placed by an individual upon his or her personal consumption or by the state upon the habits of those subject to its jurisdiction. The principal agency in accomplishing this change in meaning has been a set of social movements whose origins lie in the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation, but whose full flowering occurred in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Temperance movements have appeared in many societies, drawn upon diverse sources of support, pursued a variety of goals, and enjoyed widely varying degrees of success. In general, however, the temperance impulse in the modern world has been successful, whether its progress is measured by average levels of consumption or by preferences for less intoxicating forms of alcohol.

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