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One hundred twenty years ago, the Independent Order of Good Templars was the world's largest, most militant, and most evangelical organization hostile to alcoholic drink. Standing in the forefront of the international temperance movement, it was recognized worldwide as a potent social and moral force.

Temperance and Racism restores the Templars, now an almost forgotten footnote in American and British social history, to a position of prominence within the temperance movement. The group's ideology of universal membership made it unique among fraternal organizations in the late nineteenth century and led to pioneering efforts on behalf of equal rights for women.

Its policy toward African Americans was more ambiguous. Though a great many white Templars, especially those in Great Britain, rejected the extreme racism prevalent in the late nineteenth century, members in the American South did not. The decision to allow state lodges to rule on their membership eligibility led to the great schism of 1876-87. The break was mended only after British leaders compromised their ideals of universal brotherhood and sisterhood for the sake of the organization's international unity. Drawing on previously unused primary sources, David Fahey reveals much about racial attitudes and behavior in the late nineteenth century on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and on both sides of the Atlantic.

David M. Fahey, professor of history at Miami University (Ohio), is former president of the Alcohol and Temperance History Group. He is editor of The Black Lodge in White America.

"It is not only a valuable addition to the history of nineteen-century temperance but an original contribution to our understanding of post-Civil War race relations."—American Historical Review

"This study makes an important contribution to the literature on temperance, fraternal organizations and late nineteenth-century Anglo-American attitudes toward race."—American Studies

"A good overview of the interplay of universalist themes in the temperance movement with the forces of racism and nationalism."—Choice

"Adds considerably to an expanding genre of monographs that are reconsidering some previously ignored social sources of American culture, particularly in defining the relationship between masculine and feminine spheres."—Church History

"Provides new insights into this fraternal order, which has received very little attention from historians."—Contemporary Drug Problems

"Drawn from previously untapped sources that lie in British and American archives, Fahey's book illuminates a fresh aspect of African American history—the study of the black Templars."—Florida Historical Quarterly

"In rediscovering some remarkable and influential characters, Fahey has tapped a rich seam and for that he deserves our gratitude."—History

"Well crafted and clearly written. . . . Fahey's findings may change somewhat prevailing views about the nineteenth-century American temperance movement."—H-SHGAPE

"Fahey commands great respect for pulling a coherent story out of often fragmentary data."—Journal of American History

"Sheds needed light on this important and unique group. His internationalist approach provides many insights into the society, its inner workings, and its place in the history of temperance and fraternal organizations."—Journal of Mississippi History

"Fahey's well-researched and clearly written social and cultural history of the International Order of Good Templars largely succeeds in rescuing this important temperance organization from historical oblivion."—North Carolina Historical Review

"Fahey's study . . . is an important addition to the scholarship of fraternal societies, the temperance movement, women's history, and African American history."—Ohio History

"A useful and even important book which spans the fields of British and American history, and speaks to issues of racism, internationalism, voluntary organizations, fraternalism, the social life of blacks, and temperance reform."—Social History of Alcohol Review

"Fahey sets a task that would have daunted a less ambitious scholar: exploration of racial attitudes in an international context with the United States and Britain as the main stage."—Albion

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Independent Order of Good Templars, Race discrimination, Temperance


Social History

Temperance And Racism: John Bull, Johnny Reb, and the Good Templars
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