Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), organization that seeks to upgrade moral life, especially through abstinence from alcohol. The National WCTU of the United States was founded (1874) in Cleveland, Ohio, as a result of the Woman's Temperance Crusade that spread through the Midwest at that time. Frances Willard, the group's second president (1879–98), was responsible for the organization (1883) of the World WCTU, which now has branches in approximately 70 countries. The organization has worked for public education against the use of alcohol and for legislation to prohibit its sale. It has also supported research and education concerning tobacco, narcotics, and other potentially dangerous drugs. As of 1992, the National WCTU had 50,000 members. Its official organ is the weekly Union Signal.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.