Home U.S. Coin Forum

The Year was 1840

CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,264 ✭✭✭✭✭

Above accurate pics by @robec

The Washingtonian movement (Washingtonians, Washingtonian Temperance Society or Washingtonian Total Abstinence Society) was a 19th-century temperance fellowship founded on Thursday, April 2, 1840, by six alcoholics (William Mitchell, David Hoss, Charles Anderson, George Steer, Bill M'Curdy, and Tom Campbell) at Chase's Tavern on Liberty Street in Baltimore, Maryland. The idea was that by relying on each other, sharing their alcoholic experiences, and creating an atmosphere of conviviality, they could keep each other sober. Total abstinence from alcohol (teetotalism) was their goal. The group taught sobriety and preceded Alcoholics Anonymous by almost a century. Members sought out other "drunkards" (the term alcoholic had not yet been created), told them their experiences with excessive alcohol use, and how the Society had helped them achieve sobriety. With the passage of time the Society became a prohibitionist organization in that it promoted the legal and mandatory prohibition of alcoholic beverages. The Society was the inspiration for Timothy Shay Arthur's Six Nights with the Washingtonians and his Ten Nights in a Bar-Room.

The Washingtonians differed from other organizations in the temperance movement in that they focused on the individual alcoholic rather than on society's greater relationship with liquor.[1] In the mid-19th century, a temperance movement was in full sway across the United States and temperance workers advanced their anti-alcohol views on every front. Public temperance meetings were frequent and the main thread was prohibition of alcohol and pledges of sobriety to be made by the individual.
Concurrent with this movement, a loose network of facilities both public and private offered treatment to drunkards. Referred to as inebriate asylums and reformatory homes, they included the New York State Inebriate Asylum, The Inebriate Home of Long Island, N.Y., the Home for Incurables in San Francisco, the Franklin Reformatory Home in Philadelphia and the Washingtonian Homes which opened in Boston and Chicago in 1857.

Washingtonians at their peak numbered in the tens of thousands, possibly as high as 600,000.[2] However, in the space of just a few years, this society almost disappeared because they became fragmented in their primary purpose, becoming involved with all manner of controversial social reforms including prohibition, sectarian religion, politics and abolition of slavery. It is believed that Abraham Lincoln attended and spoke at one of the great revivals, presumably not for treatment, but out of interest in various issues being discussed.[2]

The Washingtonians drifted away from their initial purpose of helping the individual alcoholic, and disagreements, infighting, and controversies over prohibition eventually destroyed the group. The Washingtonians became so thoroughly extinct that, some 50 years later in 1935 when William Griffith Wilson ("Bill") and Dr. Robert Smith ("Dr. Bob") joined together in forming Alcoholics Anonymous, neither of them had ever heard of the Washingtonians. Although comparisons are made between the Washingtonians and Alcoholics Anonymous, in some respects they have more in common with modern secular drug addiction recovery groups. The Washingtonians were so non-religious and non-spiritual that religious critics accused them of humanism heresy, i.e., in their terms, of "placing their own power above the power of God".[3]. (all from Wikipedia)

"Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"


  • CoinHoarderCoinHoarder Posts: 2,313 ✭✭✭✭✭

    1840-O 10c PCGS Good-6 (No Drapery) - New Orleans Mint

  • CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,264 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As I had hoped, there are some really nice examples in this thread! The later years saw several design changes that to me were not aesthetic improvements (such as larger letters and dates).

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
  • FloridafacelifterFloridafacelifter Posts: 1,055 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice piece- I quite enjoyed the history lesson, reminds me of a great book I highly recommend

    And the Ken Burns’ documentary as well!

  • Jzyskowski1Jzyskowski1 Posts: 6,651 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hey. Check it out.
    We’re running with the big dogs. Got this along time ago.
    Kinda nice having one of the old ones. We usually watch and enjoy but rarely participate. Thanks 😉🙀🦫

    🎶 shout shout, let it all out 🎶

  • logger7logger7 Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great coins, tumultuous election year between Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison. Politicians such as Daniel Webster went around and gave speeches even in the wilderness in 1840: https://gnat-tv.org/the-news-project-daniel-webster-on-the-kelley-stand/#:~:text=0 Daniel Webster, one of the foremost political,15,000 people came to hear his speech. 0

  • kazkaz Posts: 9,012 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In the 1840s, temperance, abolition of slavery, and women's rights were the big social causes. There were a number of "temperance houses," eating establishments that did not serve alcohol. For example, there was Green's Temperance House in New York. Unfortunately, there were many health "tonics" that were enthusiastically consumed by many temperance advocates (such as Drake's Plantation Bitters) which contained significant amounts of alcohol. Taking alcohol as a medicine was acceptable; drinking for pleasure was not.
    source: Bowers, Silver Dollars of the US, V. 1

  • Jzyskowski1Jzyskowski1 Posts: 6,651 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 26, 2022 8:26PM

    Beaver is beside himself.🦫. He thinks we’re the only ones with a half dime😉🙀🦫
    I assured him that you all had lots.
    He said let’s see em? Well gang?

    🎶 shout shout, let it all out 🎶

  • winestevenwinesteven Posts: 3,735 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LJenkins11 said:

    I can’t stop drooling!


    A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!!!

    My collecting “Pride & Joy” is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am strongly against any movement or organization that is against wine.... :o Thanks for the interesting history, and so glad temperance movements and prohibition failed. I'll drink to that... Wine, it is not just for breakfast anymore. :D;) Cheers, RickO

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file