(A Lithograph from the early years of Temperance showing the progression of Drunkenness, click for full picture.)
The temperance movement began very early on even before the United States had become the United States. Many religious groups believed alcohol was the devils drink and as such pushed for Temperance even prior to the American Revolution.
As the years went on throughout the veins of American History there was a progression of Temperance led primarily by women who believe that Alcohol had a undesirable effect on their men. By the late 1800's the temperance movement was being led by women temperance groups who had religious backgrounds as well.
When progressivism began to take hold in the early 1900's the temperance movement took an even stronger hold in the political realm. By 1919 prohibition had come about with the installment of the 18th amendment.
However all was not well. There were many people who disliked the law. Many went against it which brought about the implications of Organized crime and mobsters. There was also a spike in bootlegging and beer runners. With the banning of alcohol people still found ways to enjoy a drink. Speakeasies became a mainstay of urban areas named so because they needed to keep quiet as to not attract attention from police.
With so many problems arising from prohibition and the means to control it dwindling due to the Great Depression the 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st in 1933. However, the implications of Prohibition remained with organized crime becoming a mainstay of urban areas on the East coast.
All information courtesy of: http://prohibition.osu.edu/content/why_prohibition.cfm
All Images courtesy of Wikimedia