“Your Government at Work”
In the story “The Outcast of Poker Flats” the author, Bret Harte, tells of a journey made in November 1850 by the town’s most recent outcast. The gambler, Mr. Oakhurst, a prostitute known as “Duchess,” her madam, “Mother Shipton,” and “Uncle Billy,” the town drunk and suspected thief. They were on their way to a neighboring town called Sandy Bar. Midway through the trip they were met by a young acquaintance of Mr. Oakhurst, Tom Simson and his fiancé Piney Woods. Piney knew Mr. Oakhurst because she used to wait tables at the Temperance House, where Mr. Oakhurst had frequented.
A Temperance House derived from the Temperance Movement. “The Temperance Movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries was an organized effort to encourage moderation in the consumption of intoxicating liquors or press for complete abstinence.”(“The Temperance Movement”). This was the origin of Prohibition. In the 1820's and 1830's, a wave of religious revivalism swept the U.S. Leading to increased calls for temperance, as well as other movements such as the aboliti...