Arguments against temperance
People were against the temperance movement becasue they felt it was restricting and unfair. They argued that the movement was unnecessary because only minority of people abused alcohol, the movement is unnecessary. People believed that the temperance movement hurt the economy by restricting the sale of alcohol, hurting many business owners. They also argued that it was wrong to pass legislation prohibiting the sale of alcohol because those laws are unconstitutional in the alcohol businesses.
Opposers of the Temperacnce Movement believed that the legislative action violated their rights to "enjoy the fruits of the Earth". When New York tried to pass a "Maine Law" in favor of temperance, people responded by presenting "Reasons of Remonstrance" to the state legislature in 1852. The remonstrance declared,
"We believe it to be our natural, primary, and irrevocable right to use the fruits of the earth, whether naturally produced, or artificially prepared, both for meat and for drink, at our own personal discretion and responsibility.... We regard the proposed law as the audacious and fanatical project of certain conventional associations, known as temperance or total abstinence societies. We believe that these societies have justly incurred the indignation, and the political resistance and hostility of every enlightened freeman of the land, as the instigators and abettors of a despotic usurpation, more degrading to the dignity of a free people, and more atrocious in its political character than any which history records."
Critics also protested against the right of states to pass laws restricting the sale of alcohol. They claimed these laws unconstitutional because they violated businessmen's rights, as they government had no control over what could and could not be sold. At an antitemperance meeting in Ohio on March 18, 1874, German brewers drafted a resolution stating, "That it is the duty of all citizens to see that their fellow-citizens are protected in their vocation, and also the duty of the State to protect its citizens against interference with business." The German brewers claimed that the by passing such laws, the states are violating the constitution, so the Temperance Movement should not be in action.
Minortity abusive drinkers
People who opposed the temperance movement believed it was unfair to restrict everybodys drinking if only some abused alcohol. They blamed the want for the temperance movement on Irish and German immagrants, who were believed to be heavy drinkers. Temperance critics also claimed that alcohol played a role in social events, and depriving people of alcohol was hurting social lives and skills of people during these times. Among other reasons, the New York remonstrance opposed the Maine Law for New York, "Because we believe, that the accustomed beverages of civilized men, interdicted and rendered unobtainable by this threatened law, are essential to the health and comfort, the social enjoyment, and the beneficial intercourse of a large number of persons in every community, and who now use them unobjectionably, and worthily for these desirable purposes." The New York remonstrance claimed that it was unfair to punish everyone for the irresponsiblity of some people.
opposition of all alcohol
Some people were in support of the Temperance Movement, but disagreed with it severity. They argued that limiting only consumption of distilled spirits would solve many social issues caused by alcohol. An 1873 article in Manufacturer and Builder, titled "What Must We Drink," favored this view point.
"many fanatics in this country, who make no distinction between fermented and distilled beverages. They condemn wine, a beverage made of grape-juice, in
which Christ himself indulged not alone, but even commanded its use at the communion-table; they condemn also the use of beer, while statistics prove it to be a blessing to those nations for which it has become a national beverage, by their perfection in the art of preparing it."
The article claimed that wine and beer should not be banned because they are important drinks in societies. The article discussed how wine was a symbol of religion, and Christ drank it so it should not be banned. It also discussed that beer was the national beverage of many nations as they perfected preparing it, and taking away a national symbol would be an extreme action and unfair.