From the late 1800's to the early 1900's, Prohibition was a part of everyone's life. Political candidates were won and lost by either promoting or demoting the right to consume alcohol. The Prohibition movement focused on completely removing alcohol from our society and bettering family life. Alcohol was to be used only for sacramental and medicinal purposes. Men and boys were being turned by alcohol into drunken wife beaters and thieving vandals. .
Prohibitionists tried to persuade Americans to join the bandwagon and stop the sale and production of alcohol. In the story "Bessie's Mother," by Mary Waddell, Bessie was a young girl who was being put up for adoption by her mother. Although the young girl's mother loved her dearly, she could not afford to take care of herself, let alone Bessie. Bessie's mother had been left widowed by her drunken husband. With no coal to keep warm, not enough food for breakfast, and no money for rent, there was nothing else for Bessie's mother to do. She was forced to give her daughter up for adoption. .
Alcohol ruined this family long before Bessie's father died. In the last years of her father's drunken life, he had wasted all of the family's money of booze. He was most likely ever able to even work due to being hung-over or still drunk. He didn't care for his family like a man should. Instead he drank himself to death, occasionally beating his wife and daughter. .
In this story, if it wasn't for a kind hearted woman named Mrs. Brown, Bessie, and her mother would have perished in the bitter winter. Mrs. Brown was a woman without children that wanted children and decided to adopt Bessie. The fact that Bessie would never see her mother again tore her up and she refused to go live with Mrs. Brown, until Mrs. Brown offered Bessie's mother a job as a cook so they could all live together, alcohol and worry free.
The story of Bessie's Mother was a compelling tale of the struggle of many families that were torn apart by the effects of alcohol during the early 1900's.