Prohibition and the 18th Amendment

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Information about Prohibition and the 18th Amendment

Published on December 17, 2007

Author: Talya


Prohibition and the 18th Amendment:  Prohibition and the 18th Amendment Reviewing the Sources of Support and Opposition Anti-Saloon League:  Anti-Saloon League They denounced the saloon for "annually sending thousands of our youths to destruction, for corrupting politics, dissipating workmen's wages, leading astray 60,000 girls each year into lives of immorality and banishing children from school" (Odegard, 1928: 40-59). "Liquor is responsible for 19% of the divorces, 25% of the poverty, 25% of the insanity, 37% of the pauperism, 45% of child desertion, and 50% of the crime in this country," the League determined. "And this," it concluded , " is a very conservative estimate" (Odegard, 1928: 60). Who were the people fueling the movement?:  Who were the people fueling the movement? Largely middle class, rural, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant comprised the temperance movement and they confronted the urban and industrial communities head-on! Scientists:  Scientists Scientists began accumulating evidence of the effect of quantities of alcohol on the nervous system and general physical condition. The myth that alcohol consumption improved muscular power was exploded. The relationship between mental psychoses and alcohol was documented, and thus did the condemnation of alcohol as a poison assume scientific support. Finally, in 1915, whiskey and brandy were discreetly removed from the list of authoritative medicinal drugs contained in the United States Pharmacopoeia Businesses:  Businesses From the company's point of view, the saloon was often responsible for industrial injuries and absenteeism. Some believed that the drinking man demanded higher wages than his sober counterparts. The prospect of diverting patronage of the liquor industry to other products tantalized some industries. Thus the Welch Grape Juice Company advertised: Get the Welch Habit-It's one that won't get you! But not all businesses…:  But not all businesses… Of course, there were those whose livelihoods would be hurt by the success of the prohibition campaign. Among these were brewery workers, bartenders, glass workers, waiters, and musicians among others. Coming to America:  Coming to America Attitudes Toward Immigrants:  Attitudes Toward Immigrants One temperance spokesman, cited in Barker's "The Saloon Problem," vented these sentiments: The influx of foreigners into our urban centers, many of whom have liquor habits [sic], is a menace to good government. . . . [T] he foreign born population is largely under the social and political control of the saloon. If the cities keep up their rapid growth they will soon have the balance of political power in the nation and become storm centers of political life (Timberlake, 1963: 118). War on the Horizon:  War on the Horizon The United States Brewers Association misread the prevailing temper and associated itself with the German-American Alliance to oppose the temperance advocates and defend German culture in the United States. War on the Horizon:  War on the Horizon As the United States came closer to war, the antipathy which developed against the Central Powers was directed with equal force against brewers and tipplers (Furnas, 1968: 334-35) : Pro-Germanism is the only froth from the German's beer saloon. Our German Socialist Party and the German American Alliance are the spawn of the saloon. . . . Prohibition is the infallible submarine chaser Patriotism:  Patriotism The war gave the prohibition cause new ammunition. Literature depicted brewers and licensed retailers as treacherously stabbing American soldiers in the back. Raw materials and labor were being diverted from the war effort to an industry which debilitated the nation's capacity to defend itself. It was urged that wartime prohibition would stop the waste of grain and molasses and would remove a handicap on workers' efficiency. Slide18:  Liquor is a menace to patriotism because it puts beer before country," preached Prohibitionist Wayne Wheeler (Odegard, 1928: 72). The fact that names Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz broadcast their national origin only did further injury to their interests

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