Temperance is a Virtue Name. The three main theological virtues are, of course, Faith, Hope and Love. The four cardinal virtues are known as Prudence, Justice, Restraint/Temperance, and Fortitude/Courage. Later on in the 5th century the seven heavenly virtues were instituted into Christianity. They are known as: Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility. The religiously strict Puritans adopted many of the virtues as names for their baby daughters around the time of the Reformation. The most popular virtues bestowed as female names are Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence, Patience and, to a lesser extent, Chastity and Temperance. The word Temperance was developed in the mid 13th century, borrowed from the Anglo-French from the Latin “temperantia” meaning “moderation in action, self-control”. English speakers used the word in place of the Latin “abstinentia” (abstinence, self-restraint) and “continentia” (repressing) in that it referenced the (non) consumption of alcohol specifically. By the early 19th century, Temperance came to mean “abstinence from alcoholic drink.” Period. The regular usage of Temperance in connection with alcohol came just in time to English speakers of the United Kingdom who were about to embark on one of the first mass movements against alcoholic abuse. Advocating total abstinence in the UK, the term “teetotaling” entered the English lexicon for the first time (probably meaning T-total, i.e., total abstinence with a capital T). The movement was especially borne by and directed at working-class citizens in whose communities the “perils of drink” was most destructive. American citizens with a religious fervor and a zeal for morality followed soon thereafter with their own anti-alcohol Temperance movements. The American Temperance Society was formed in 1826 and Temperance activist finally managed to get the 18th Amendment passed in 1919 (known as Prohibition). Prohibition managed to legislate the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol, but it somehow missed the most important point: i.e., the purchase and consumption. Oopsie. Sounds like a big faux pas in the language of the law. Still, the 18th Amendment stood for 13 long years (1920-1933), all the while a black-market was created, speakeasies popped up across the American landscape and organized crime went gangbusters. In 1933 the 21st Amendment was passed to repeal the ill-fated 18th Amendment (the only U.S. Constitutional Amendment out of 27 which was passed for the sole purpose of repealing another Amendment). We hate to break it to you, but alcohol consumption dates back 9,000 years ago thanks to archeology evidence uncovered in the Far East (China) and Mesopotamia (Middle East). The ancient Hebrews state quite plainly in Proverbs 31:6-7 “Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.” The ancient Aztecs and other Native American Indians developed alcohol for its medicinal properties. Consumption of alcohol was pretty much a common daily practice among ancient Greeks and Romans. Hey, by the Middle Ages everyone was doin’ it! From a religious perspective, Temperance first developed as a concept of moderation rather than total abstinence, but at some point enough over-zealous practitioners confused the two ideas. If you’re an advocate of Temperance, then you’ll want to avoid these countries: Czech Republic, Ireland, France, Austria, Portugal, Germany, Russia and many of the Slavic nations (which, according to the World Health Organization, have the largest per capita alcohol consumption). The biggest teetotaling nations can be found in North Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia. In the U.S., the lowest alcohol-consuming state is Utah. Apparently the Muslims, Hindus and Mormons adhere to their own self-imposed rules better than the Christians. The again, the Gospel of John reminds us of the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), an oft-cited chapter in the New Testament that supports celebratory drinking. Considered one of Jesus’ first public miracles, the Messiah saves the day (and the wedding feast) by turning water into wine. Most people would agree that moderation is best, and so Temperance is really, at its very original core definition, not a bad idea. (Full disclosure: the author of this piece is currently drinking a nice Cabernet). Today, Temperance would be considered an out-dated virtue name, but it is showing a quiet hint of revival in the United States. The name, that is, not the concept.