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Home > “The Benefits of a Mechanics’ Institute and the Blessing of Temperance”: Science and Temperance in 1840s Ireland.

Neswald, Elizabeth (2008) “The Benefits of a Mechanics’ Institute and the Blessing of Temperance”: Science and Temperance in 1840s Ireland. Social History of Alcohol and Drugs , 22 , (2) , pp. 209-227.

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In the 1840s the temperance movement swept through Ireland inspiring hundreds of thousands of Irish Catholics to take the total abstinence pledge. Simultaneously, this decade witnessed the proliferation of societies and institutions for the acquisition and dissemination of scientific and technological knowledge. Scientific and temperance movements developed a close relationship that took on a particular significance in this impoverished and deeply divided country. Not only were sobriety and scientific knowledge deemed to be the prerequisite for individual self improvement and prosperity. In conjunction with the movement for Repeal of the Union and with the more radical, nationalist Young Ireland movement, the combined economical and moral improvement that scientific and temperance movements strove to achieve was promoted as the potential foundation for building a peaceful, prosperous, non-sectarian and inclusive Irish nation.

 

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