Organ of the Temperance Reform
In 1852, Caleb Clark launched the Organ of the Temperance Reform at Cincinnati, the seat of Hamilton County, Ohio. Samuel F. Cary, a significant leader and orator in the 19th century temperance movement who would later serve in the United States House of Representatives, was the paper’s editor. As its name indicates, the paper advocated for the legal prohibition of alcohol. It was also considered to be the leading Maine Law paper of the state. This 1851 law was one of the first in the United States to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages for anything but “medicinal, mechanical or manufacturing purposes.” According to its inaugural issue, the Organ “was designed especially for circulation in Ohio, and written with reference to this locality. The demand for it from other States is so great and constantly increasing, that Bro. Cary will re-write it, and adapt it to any latitude. In the course of ten days, any reasonable demand, from any quarter, will be promptly supplied.” Its establishment filled the void left by the suspension of the Western Fountain, a temperance paper that had served Cincinnati from 1846 to 1852, but closed due to a lack of patronage. The Organ’s mission was to “sustain the cause of Temperance and enforce its claims against all classes.”
The Organ printed a variety of items, including laws and related analysis; editorials; stories; poems; letters to the editor; local, state, and national news; and some advertisements. The paper also included general moral advice related to social and family life. Nearly all of the Organ’s content related to its mission to prohibit the consumption of alcohol, to advocate for Christian values and “good morals”, and to publish a journal appropriate for all to read. Though initially four pages, in 1853, the paper expanded to eight pages and changed its name slightly to the Ohio Organ, of the Temperance Reform. With this expansion came an increased amount of content and graphics. The masthead read “Eternal Hostility to the Liquor Traffic.”
During the 1853 Ohio gubernatorial election, the Organ supported Free Democratic (or Free Soil) candidate Samuel Lewis. The Free Democrats were the only political party to take a firm stance on the issue of prohibition. Democrats were split between rural supporters of the temperance movement and the immigrants and workers in the city who vehemently opposed it, while Whigs were hesitant to commit to either side of the issue. The paper ceased publication in January 1854 after announcing “its new dress, under the title of the ‘National Organ.’” Under its new name, the paper hoped to widen its circulation and become “one of the very best temperance journals in the country.” It is not known how long the National Temperance Organ was in publication.