Discussion Point 1:
Throughout the 19th century, concern with the negative influence of alcohol on
society provided the impetus for a large number of temperance, reform, and
religious movements within the prevailing Victorian culture. Victorians often
linked alcohol to a variety of social ills, including poverty, crime, and unchaste
Lyman Beecher: Six Sermons on Intemperance (1828)
Beecher, the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was a famous social activist of the day who was
particularly concerned about the negative impact of alcohol on society. Here, in one of his most
cited orations, he argues strongly against intemperance and asserts that it is one of the most
destructive vices of mankind.
But of all the ways to hell, which the feet of deluded mortals tread, that of the intemperate is the
most dreary and terrific. The demand for artificial stimulus to supply the deficiencies of healthful
aliment, is like the rage of thirst, and the ravenous demand of famine. It is famine: for the
artificial excitement has become as essential now to strength and cheerfulness, as simple
nutrition once was. But nature, taught by habit to require what once she did not need, demands
gratification now with a decision inexorable as death, and to most men as irresistible. The denial
is a living death. The stomach, the head, the heart, and arteries, and veins, and every muscle, and
every nerve, feel the exhaustion, and the restless, unutterable wretchedness which puts out the
light of life, and curtains the heavens, and carpets the earth with sackcloth. All these varieties of
sinking nature, call upon the wretched man with trumpet tongue, to dispel this darkness, and
raise the ebbing tide of life, by the application of the cause which produced these woes, and after
a momentary alleviation will produce them again with deeper terrors, and more urgent
importunity; for the repetition, at each time renders the darkness deeper, and the torments of self-
denial more irresistible and intolerable. . . .
The results of national industry depend on the amount of well-directed intellectual and physical
power. But intemperance paralyses and prevents both these springs of human action.
In the inventory of national loss by intemperance, may be set down--the labor prevented by
indolence, by debility, by sickness, by quarrels and litigation, by gambling and idleness, by
mistakes and misdirected effort, by improvidence and wastefulness, and by the shortened date of
human life and activity. Little wastes in great establishments constantly occurring may defeat the
energies of a mighty capital. But where the intellectual and muscular energies are raised to the
working point daily by ardent spirits, until the agriculture, and commerce, and arts of a nation
move on by the power of artificial stimulus, that moral power cannot be maintained, which will
guaranty fidelity, and that physical power cannot be preserved and well directed, which will
ensure national prosperity. The nation whose immense enterprise is thrust forward by the
stimulus of ardent spirits, cannot ultimately escape debility and bankruptcy. . . .
The prospect of a destitute old age, or of a suffering family, no longer troubles the vicious
portion of our community. They drink up their daily earnings, and bless God for the poor-house,
and begin to look upon it as, of right, the drunkard's home, and contrive to arrive thither as early
as idleness and excess will give them a passport to this sinecure of vice. Thus is the insatiable
destroyer of industry marching through the land, rearing poor-houses, and augmenting taxation:
night and day, with sleepless activity, squandering property, cutting the sinews of industry,
undermining vigor, engendering disease, paralysing intellect, impairing moral principle, cutting
short the date of life, and rolling up a national debt, invisible, but real and terrific as the debt of
England: continually transferring larger and larger bodies of men, from the class of contributors
to the national income, to the class of worthless consumers. . . .
The effects of intemperance upon civil liberty may not be lightly passed over.
It is admitted that intelligence and virtue are the pillars of republican institutions, and that the
illumination of schools, and the moral power of religious institutions, are indispensable to
produce this intelligence and virtue.
But who are found so uniformly in the ranks of irreligion as the intemperate? Who like these
violate the Sabbath, and set their mouth against the heavens--neglecting the education of their
families--and corrupting their morals? Almost the entire amount of national ignorance and crime
is the offspring of intemperance. Throughout the land, the intemperate are hewing down the
pillars, and undermining the foundations of our national edifice. Legions have besieged it, and
upon every gate the battle-axe rings; and still the sentinels sleep. . . .
Where is the city, town, or village, in which the laws are not openly violated, and where is the
magistracy that dares to carry into effect the laws against the vending or drinking of ardent
spirits? Here then an aristocracy of bad influence has already risen up, which bids defiance to
law, and threatens the extirpation of civil liberty. As intemperance increases, the power of
taxation will come more and more into the hands of men of intemperate habits and desperate
fortunes; of course the laws gradually will become subservient to the debtor, and less efficacious
in protecting the rights of property. This will be a vital stab to liberty--to the security of which
property is indispensable. For money is the sinew of war--and when those who hold the property
of a nation cannot be protected in their rights, they will change the form of government,
peaceably if they may, by violence if they must.
Abraham Lincoln: Temperance Address – February 22, 1842
Web version: http://www.assumption.edu/ahc/LincolnTemperanceAddress
This temperance lecture was delivered before the Springfield, IL Washington Temperance
Society. It touches on the growing success and popularity of the temperance movement, and
discusses the obstacles that lay ahead.
Although the Temperance cause has been in progress for near twenty years, it is apparent
to all, that it is, just now, being crowned with a degree of success, hitherto unparalleled.
The list of its friends is daily swelled by the additions of fifties, of hundreds, and of
For this new and splendid success, we heartily rejoice. That that success is so much
greater now than heretofore, is doubtless owing to rational causes; and if we would have it to
continue, we shall do well to enquire what those causes are. The warfare heretofore waged
against the demon of Intemperance, has, some how or other, been erroneous. Either the
champions engaged, or the tactics they adopted, have not been the most proper. These champions
for the most part, have been Preachers, Lawyers, and hired agents. Between these and the mass
of mankind, there is a want of approachability, if the term be admissible, partially at least, fatal
to their success. They are supposed to have no sympathy of feeling or interest, with those very
persons whom it is their object to convince and persuade.
And again, it is so easy and so common to ascribe motives to men of these classes, other
than those they profess to act upon. The preacher, it is said, advocates temperance because he is a
fanatic, and desires a union of Church and State; the lawyer, from his pride and vanity of hearing
himself speak; and the hired agent, for his salary. But when one, who has long been known as a
victim of intemperance, bursts the fetters that have bound him, and appears before his neighbors
"clothed, and in his right mind," a redeemed specimen of long lost humanity, and stands up with
tears of joy trembling in eyes, to tell of the miseries once endured, now to be endured no more
forever; of his once naked and starving children, now clad and fed comfortably; of a wife long
weighed down with woe, weeping, and a broken heart, now restored to health, happiness, and
renewed affection; and how easily it all is done, once it is resolved to be done; however simple
his language, there is a logic, and an eloquence in it, that few, with human feelings, can resist.
They cannot say that he desires a union of church and state, for he is not a church member; they
can not say he is vain of hearing himself speak, for his whole demeanor shows, he would gladly
avoid speaking at all; they cannot say he speaks for pay for he receives none, and asks for none.
Nor can his sincerity in any way be doubted; or his sympathy for those he would persuade to
imitate his example, be denied.
In my judgment, it is to the battles of this new class of champions that our late success is
greatly, perhaps chiefly, owing.
…Washingtonians greatly excel the temperance advocates of former times. Those whom
they desire to convince and persuade, are their old friends and companions. They know they are
not demons, nor even the worst of men. They know that generally, they are kind, generous and
charitable, even beyond the example of their more staid and sober neighbors. They are practical
philanthropists; and they glow with a generous and brotherly zeal, that mere theorizers are
incapable of feeling. Benevolence and charity possess their hearts entirely; and out of the
abundance of their hearts, their tongues give utterance. "Love through all their actions runs, and
all their words are mild." In this spirit they speak and act, and in the same, they are heard and
regarded. And when such is the temper of the advocate, and such of the audience, no good cause
can be unsuccessful.
…Another error, as it seems to me, into which the old reformers fell, was, the position
that all habitual drunkards were utterly incorrigible, and therefore, must be turned adrift, and
damned without remedy, in order that the grace of temperance might abound to the temperate
then, and to all mankind some hundred years thereafter.
…By the Washingtonians, this system of consigning the habitual drunkard to hopeless
ruin, is repudiated. They adopt a more enlarged philanthropy. They go for present as well as
future good. They labor for all now living, as well as all hereafter to live. They teach hope to
all—despair to none. As applying to their cause, they deny the doctrine of unpardonable sin. As
in Christianity it is taught, so in this they teach, that "While the lamp holds out to burn, The
vilest sinner may return."
…On every hand we behold those, who but yesterday, were the chief of sinners, now the
chief apostles of the cause. Drunken devils are cast out by ones, by sevens, and by legions; and
their unfortunate victims, like the poor possessed, who was redeemed from his long and lonely
wanderings in the tombs, are publishing to the ends of the earth, how great things have been
done for them.
To these new champions, and this new system of tactics, our late success is mainly
owing; and to them we must chiefly look for the final consummation…But if it be true, as I have
insisted, that those who have suffered by intemperance personally, and have reformed, are the
most powerful and efficient instruments to push the reformation to ultimate success, it does not
follow, that those who have not suffered, have no part left them to perform. Whether or not the
world would be vastly benefitted by a total and final banishment from it of all intoxicating
drinks, seems to me not now to be an open question. Three-fourths of mankind confess the
affirmative with their tongues, and, I believe, all the rest acknowledge it in their hearts.
But it is said by some, that men will think and act for themselves; that none will disuse
spirits or any thing else, merely because his neighbors do; and that moral influence is not that
powerful engine contended for. Let us examine this. Let me ask the man who would maintain
this position most stiffly, what compensation he will accept to go to church some Sunday and sit
during the sermon with his wife‟s bonnet upon his head? Not a trifle, I‟ll venture. And why not?
There would be nothing irreligious in it: nothing immoral, nothing uncomfortable. Then why
not? Is it not because there would be something egregiously unfashionable in it? Then it is the
influence of fashion; and what is the influence of fashion, but the influence that other people‟s
actions have [on our own?] actions, the strong inclination each of us feels to do as we see all our
neighbors do? Nor is the influence of fashion confined to any particular thing or class of things.
It is just as strong on one subject as another. Let us make it as unfashionable to withhold our
names from the temperance pledge as for husbands to wear their wives bonnets to church, and
instances will be just as rare in the one case as the other.
"But," say some, "we are no drunkards; and we shall not acknowledge ourselves such by
joining a reformed drunkard‟s society, whatever our influence might be." Surely no Christian
will adhere to this objection. If they believe, as they profess, that Omnipotence condescended to
take on himself the form of sinful man, and, as such, to die an ignominious death for their sakes,
surely they will not refuse submission to the infinitely lesser condescension, for the temporal,
and perhaps eternal salvation, of a large, erring, and unfortunate class of their own fellow
creatures. Nor is the condescension very great.
…Happy day, when, all appetites controled, all passions subdued, all matters subjected,
mind, all conquering mind, shall live and move the monarch of the world. Glorious
consummation! Hail fall of Fury! Reign of Reason, all hail!
And when the victory shall be complete—when there shall be neither a slave nor a
drunkard on the earth—how proud the title of that Land, which may truly claim to be the birth-
place and the cradle of both those revolutions, that shall have ended in that victory.
Mrs. Jane C. Campbell : The Drunkard’s Home (1850)
Web version: http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/sentimnt/snesjccat.html
Mrs. E. Jessup Eames: The Temperance Home (1850)
Web version: http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/sentimnt/snesejeat.html
A.D. Fillmore: Tree of Temperance (1855)
A.D. Fillmore: Tree of Intemperance (Harper’s Weekly Cartoon) – 1855
Nativist Political Cartoon Depicting Drunk Irish Immigrants – 1882
A nativist view of the violent decades of the late 19th century. The strong arm of "Law and
Order", the policeman's club, protects the social order. The Graphic states: "It is better to use
this, however, than to allow the edifices to fall. The world cannot be allowed to return to a
condition of primeval chaos." Immigrants are blamed for all the vices of poverty.
Discussion Point 2:
By the early 20th century, the Progressive movement had advanced to the
point where the elimination of alcohol had become a realistic goal for
supporters. Temperance groups across the nations utilized tactics, both legal
and illegal, to promote their goals. Furthermore, many states, in fact, had
already enacted legislation banning the sale and consumption of alcohol
before the 18th Amendment.
Billy Sunday: Audio Clip
Web version: http://billysunday.org/audio/prohibition.wav
Audio clip is of Billy Sunday late in life speaking about prohibition in a newsreel.
Billy Sunday: On the Evils of Alcohol
Web version: http://www.amherst.edu/~aardoc/Atlanta_5_1.htm
Here Sunday emphasizes the negative impact of alcohol on society and the illogic of arguments
that support the sale of alcohol.
I am the sworn, eternal, uncompromising, irrevocable enemy of the liquor traffic. I ask no
quarter and I give none. I have drawn the sword in defense of God, home, wife, children and
native land, and I will never sheathe it until the undertaker pumps me full of embalming fluid,
and if my wife is alive, I think I shall call her to my bedside and say: “Nell, when, I am dead,
send for the butcher and skin me, and have my hide tanned and made into drum heads, and hire
men to go up and down the land and beat the drums and say, „My husband, “Bill” Sunday still
lives and gives the whiskey gang a run for its money.‟”
There isn‟t a man in American they hate worse than me, or lie about and vilify and slander
and do everything under heaven, my friends, that indecency can do. The people that they can‟t
browbeat, they will hire in every way they can. They set aside a hundred and fifty thousand
dollars just to spend fighting me all up and down the land, and I have put my fist under their
noses for twenty years, and I expect to keep on doing it as long as I breathe. . . .
The time has long since long gone by when there is any room or grounds for arguing the ill-
effect upon business and commerce and politics and morals, for that is admitted by all. There is
just one prime reason why the saloon hasn‟t been knocked into hell long ago, and whisky is all
right in its place, but that place is in hell just as quick as you can get it there.
Taxes Are Needed.
I am doing all in my power to put it back to the place from which it wriggled its infamous
carcass, and fastened itself around patient people. The one argument in favor of the saloon is that
the taxes from the saloon are needed.
You show me communities where they have none, where the taxation, my friends, is higher
than in communities where they have. Everybody with a scintilla of decency and brains knows
that it is the saloon that raises the rate of taxation in the country all over.
Seventy-five per cent of our idiots came from intemperate parents, and there are more insane
people in the United States, made insane by drink, than there are students in the universities and
colleges. One out of every three hundred and eighty-three in Pennsylvania in 1911 were either in
the insane asylum or the home for feeble-minded, and New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and
Illinois are the worst whisky-dominated, whisky-damned and whisky-controlled states in the
Union; and there is no state in the Union where the liquor interests are more strongly allied and
entrenched than they are in the state of New York.
In Kansas (and they haven‟t had saloons for nearly forty years) there were eighty-one
counties out of a hundred and five, that did not have an insane man or woman in the county, and
there are fifty-four counties that did not have a feeble-minded boy or girl in the county. I have
these figures from Governor Capper, who sent them to me. Eighty per cent of our paupers are
whiskey-made paupers. In Kansas there is one pauper for every three thousand of the population
and there are thirty-two counties in Kansas that have abandoned their poor farms, and they are no
There are only eight hundred and ninety-eight in the entire state that are supported by the
people in the state. Eighty-two per cent of the crimes committed are by men while under the
influence of drink. Ninety per cent of our adult criminals are drinking men.
Good Record In Kansas.
In Kansas there are sixty-five counties out of a hundred and five counties that did not have a
prisoner in the county jail in 1915, and one out of ninety-five in Pennsylvania in 1911, was in
prison, some time during the year. There are some counties in Kansas where they haven‟t called
a grand jury to try a criminal case in ten years and there are ninety-six counties in the state
without an inebriate in the counties, and she has two hundred and forty million dollars on deposit
in her banks, and during the financial panic, when old New York was on the financial rocks, old
backwoods, prohibition Kansas sent fifty-five million dollars down there to keep them out of the
Kansas sends more boys and girls to school, proportionate to the population, than any other
state in the union, and less than 2 per cent of the population cannot read or write. There are forty
counties in the state that didn‟t send a prisoner to the penitentiary last year. Logan county jail, for
two years, has been empty of prisoners and last year they used it for a corn crib. And there is an
automobile for every fourth family in the entire state.
The prisoners‟ rate in Kansas is one per one thousand of the population, and 37 per cent of the
prisoners in the penitentiary do not belong in the state of Kansas. They came from other states
and committed their crimes and were incarcerated. They were not born in Kansas, and they are
not Kansas boys.
North Dakota is a prohibition state. She came into the union sober, and out of a population of
five hundred thousand, she has only one hundred and seventy-five men in her penitentiary.
Montana, with three hundred and seventy-five thousand population, has over nine hundred
men in her penitentiary, whisky-soaked Montana, although they just voted it dry out there, to
take effect in 1918.
In Massachusetts for ten years the yearly average number of criminals was 32,699, and 95 per
cent, or 31,978 of them committed the crime while under the influence of liquor.
The Chicago Tribune kept track of the number of murder committed in saloons in this country
in ten years and there were 534,034.
This is not a religious question I am putting up to you, this is not a political question. It is a
question of decency and a question of sobriety—that‟s what it is. . . .
Last year it cost $600,000,000 to run the public schools of this country. We paid in pensions
to old soldiers $154,000,000. It cost to run the postoffice department $332,000,000. The army
and navy, $310,000,000. The wheat crop at $1 a bushel, $1,000,000,000. Gold and silver coined
last year, $34,000,000. It cost to run the universities and colleges $101,000,000. All of those item
make $2,531,000,000, and you subtract that from what the whisky business cost you and I can
pay all of those bills; I can run the government.
I can pay all of those bills with the money that the whisky business cost us last year and I will
have $826,000,000 left. Almost enough to give every man, woman and child in the United States
of America a ten dollar gold piece. . . .
Carrie Goes into the Slums and Offers a Helping Hand (Newspaper Report from the
Anaconda Standard) – Jan. 27, 1910
Web version: http://www.edheritage.org/1910/pridocs/carrienation.htm
This is a report of Carrie Nation bursting into Parlor Houses and resorts, wielding her axe, and
"Get out of my place; get out of my place. Here, you policeman, put this woman out of
here. I want these females who are raising a disturbance arrested and taken out of my house."
Almost crazed with anger, May Maloy, keeper of one of the big parlor houses on
Mercury street, just east of Main street, made a vigorous attack last night on Carrie Nation, just
after the latter had finished talking to the girls in the place.
For a moment it looked as if there would be an all-around rough house, for Carrie, in
spite of her 64 years, is a most vigorous old lady and when the Maloy woman attacked her she
started in at once to resist.
May Maloy had taken hold of the vigorous hatchet-wielder from behind and was trying to
push her out of the door. There would have been no need of this had it not been that a big crowd
was just at that moment trying to come in from the opposite direction and progress was blocked
May pushed and Carrie pushed and beyond the fact that Mrs. Nation's headgear was
disarranged, there was no damage done except to the feelings of the resort keeper.
Shortly after 10 o'clock Mrs. Nation started on her tour of Butte's redlight district. She
left the Grace Methodist church at Arizona and Second streets and, accompanied by Mrs. Currah
and three other members of the Women's Temperance Union and by two of the women leaders of
the Salvation Army, she walked up the Arizona street to Mercury and turned over to the A B C
Asks Girl to Reform
Entering the swinging doors of the terrace leading into that place, she spied a young
woman sitting in one of the small rooms just off from the terrace. Carrie started right in. The girl
was completely taken by surprise when she saw a motherly-looking old lady, with a genial face
and a regular grandmotherly air, come into her room. The Salvation Army lieutenants and the
women in the party walked in, too.
"My dear girl," said Carrie, putting her arm lovingly around the young girl's neck, "I'm
sorry to see you here. Does your mother know you are here? You are too good a girl to be
leading a life like this. Quit it. Quit it. We are coming down here to see you and to see and to
help you and not to do you any harm."
The girl had a sober look on her face. There was not the slightest sign that she resented
the words of Mrs. Nation. Some man outside, who had been attracted by the news that Mrs.
Nation had arrived, tried to make fun, but his effort fell flat.
In quick succession, Carrie visited three other places and gave the girls similar talks. She
appealed to them, for their mothers' sakes, to abandon the lives they were leading.
Watches Immoral Dance
By this time the news had spread throughout the block that Carrie Nation was at the A B
C, and a crowd of fully 500 men and women of the tenderloin district had poured in. As she
entered the anteroom leading to the dance hall, several girls in abbreviated dresses were smoking
cigarettes and were entertaining male companions. Carrie invited them, with a flourish, into the
dance hall. Just then the music struck up a waltz and in an instant about a dozen couples were out
on the floor dancing the waltz. They made a special effort to dance it in the most immodest
manner they could. As one couple went by the place where Mrs. Nation stood, she shouted in
tones that could be heard above the music:
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You man
there, I'm talking to you. What would you say if your mother could see you now, helping to drag
girls down to perdition?"
The crowd laughed, all but the man at whom the remark was directed. He scowled and
did not seem to enjoy in the least being reminded of his mother.
Finally, the music stopped and then Mrs. Nation spoke up. Her clear voice rang through
the big dance hall in a way that was startling. Not a disrespectful sound was uttered after that.
Young men and old stopped and listened, the girls who had crowded in from the cribs
had ceased to laugh. In all the history of the red light district no such scene as that had ever been
known. The lights shone brightly and reflected from the highly polished floor. Girls attired in
light evening costume contrasted strangely with the women who had accompanied Mrs. Nation.
Men who had come there to drink and carouse stopped to listen attentively.
Speech at A B C Dance Hall
"Girls and young men," said Mrs. Nation. "I want you to think tonight--think right now
about your mothers. Suppose they could look down here on this scene at this moment. Would
you want them to see you?
"And now you, young men, I want to say something to you. I've got just as much respect-
-yes, I've got more respect for these poor girls than I have for you. You know that most of you
wouldn't be seen on the streets walking with one of these girls. You would be ashamed to. And
yet you come down here and flatter them and spend your money on them and you know you
haven't a good word to say for them. You pretend to be respectable.
"And now, you girls, I want you to think of what I am saying. You know what I said to
these men is true. You know they wouldn't recognize you on the street, that they loathe and
despise you, and yet you don't resent it.
…"Oh, girls, quit it. Think what is ahead of you if you do not. There are so many suicides
in this life. You girls become hopeless and despondent but don't stop living this way and become
decent women. You can stop it"
Just at that moment Mrs. Nation spied a gray-haired and partly bald man sitting over at
one side and quick as a flash she turned on him.
Talks to Old Sinner
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You are old enough to be the father of most of
these girls. You ought to stop disgracing humanity in this way and helping bring girls down to a
life of shame."
Then, before the crowd realized it, she had vanished from the room into the barroom
adjoining. She nailed the bartender, a handsome young man.
"Young man, you ought not to be back of that bar," she declared in a way that for a
moment staggered the fellow. Then she became confidential. "Does your mother know you are
here?" she asked.
…"Do they pay the city and the police so much every month?" she asked.
"You had better ask them," replied the bartender.
Then she made a break for a couple of the girls who had followed her from the dance hall. One
of them, attired in a light gown of pink silk, tried to get away, but Carrie caught her.
…"And do you pay the police so much every month?" asked Carrie.
"Yes, we pay the city $10 every month," replied the girl.
That's all I want to know," said Carrie, and she started on rapidly and walked out on
Discussion Point 3:
Although the First World War temporarily distracted many Americans from
the cause of temperance, soon after the conclusion of hostilities loud cries
for eliminating alcohol arose again. Led by Republican congressmen, the
18th Amendment passed despite strong opposition from Catholic lawmakers.
Volstead Act - 1920
Web version: http://www.etsu.edu/cas/history/docs/volstead.htm
This is a transcription of the “War Prohibition Act.”
TO PROVIDE FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF WAR PROHIBITION.
The term "War Prohibition Act" used in this Act shall mean the provisions of any Act or
Acts prohibiting the sale and manufacture of intoxicating liquors until the conclusion of the
present war and thereafter until the termination of demobilization, the date of which shall be
determined and proclaimed by the President of the United States. The words "beer, wine, or
other intoxicating malt or vinous liquors" in the War Prohibition Act shall be hereafter construed
to mean any such beverages which contain one-half of 1 per centum or more of alcohol by
PROHIBITION OF INTOXICATING BEVERAGES.
SEC. 3. No person shall on or after the date when the eighteenth amendment to the
Constitution of the United States goes into effect, manufacture, sell, barter, transport import,
export, deliver, furnish or possess my intoxicating liquor except as authorized in this Act, and all
the provisions of this Act shall be liberally construed to the end that the use of intoxicating liquor
as a beverage may be prevented.
Liquor for non beverage purposes and wine or sacramental purposes may be
manufactured, purchased, sold, bartered transported, imported, exported, delivered, furnished
and possessed, but only as herein provided, and the commissioner may, upon application, is sue
permits therefor: Provided, That nothing| in this Act shall prohibit the purchase and sale of
warehouse receipts covering distilled spirits on deposit in Government bonded warehouses, and
no special tax liability shall attach to the business of purchasing and selling such warehouse
SEC. 6. No one shall manufacture, sell, purchase, transport, or prescribe any liquor
without first obtaining a permit from the commissioner so to do, except that a person may,
without a permit, purchase and use liquor for medicinal purposes when prescribed by a physician
as herein provided, and except that any person who in the opinion of the commissioner is
conducting a bona fide hospital or sanitarium engaged in the treatment of persons suffering from
alcoholism, may, under such rules, regulations, and conditions as the commissioner shall
prescribe, purchase and use, in accord once with the methods in use in such institution liquor, to
be administered to the patients of such institution under the direction of a duly qualified
physician employed by such institution.
…Nothing in this title shall be held to apply to the manufacture, sale, transportation,
importation , possession, or distribution of wine for sacramental purposes, or like religious
rites…No person to whom a permit may be issued to manufacture, transport, import, or sell
wines for sacramental purposes or like religious rites shall sell, barter, exchange, or furnish any
such to any person not a rabbi, minister of the gospel, priest, or an officer duly authorized for the
purpose by any church or congregation, nor to any such except upon an application duly
subscribed by him, which application, authenticated as regulations may prescribe, shall be filed
and preserved by the seller. The head of any conference or diocese or other ecclesiastical
jurisdiction may designate any rabbi, minister, or priest to supervise the manufacture of wine to
be used for the purposes and rites in this section mentioned, and the person so designated may, in
the discretion of the commissioner, be granted a permit to supervise such manufacture.
SEC. 7. No one but a physician holding a permit to prescribe liquor shall issue any
prescription for liquor. And no physician shall prescribe liquor unless after careful physical
examination of the person for whose use such prescription is sought…Not more than a pint of
spiritous liquor to be taken internally shad be prescribed for use by the same person within any
period of ten days and no prescription shall he filled more than once. Any pharmacist filling a
prescription shall at the time endorse upon it over his own signature the word "canceled,"
together with the date when the liquor was delivered, and then make the same a part of the record
that he is required to keep as herein provided....
SEC. 18. It shall be unlawful to advertise, manufacture, sell, or possess for sale any
utensil, contrivance, machine, preparation, compound, tablet, substance, formula direction,
recipe advertised, designed, or intended for use in the unlawful manufacture of intoxicating
SEC. 21. Any room, house, building, boat, vehicle, structure, or place where intoxicating
liquor is manufactured, sold, kept, or bartered in violation of this title, and all intoxicating liquor
and property kept and used in maintaining the same, is hereby declared to be a common
nuisance, and any person who maintains such a common nuisance shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than $1,000 or be imprisoned
for not more than one year, or both....
SEC. 25. It shall be unlawful to have or possess any liquor or property designed for the
manufacture of liquor intended for use in violating this title or which has been so used, and no
property rights shall exist in any such liquor or property.... No search warrant shall issue to
search any private dwelling occupied as such unless it is being used for the unlawful sale of
intoxicating liquor, or unless it is in part used for some business purposes such as a store, shop,
saloon, restaurant, hotel, or boarding house....
SEC. S3. After February 1, 1920, the possession of liquors by any person not legally
permitted under this title to possess liquor shall be prima facie evidence that such liquor is kept
for the purpose of being sold, bartered, exchanged, given away, furnished, or otherwise disposed
of in violation of the Provisions of this title.... But it shall not be unlawful to possess liquors in
one's private dwelling while the same is occupied and used by him as his dwelling only and such
liquor need not be reported, provided such liquors are for use only for the personal consumption
of the owner thereof and his family residing in such dwelling and of his bona fide guests when
entertained by him therein; and the burden of proof shall be upon the possessor in any action
concerning She same to prove that such liquor was lawfully acquired, possessed, and used....
Fiorella LaGuardia: on Prohibition – 1926
Web version: http://prohibition.osu.edu/laguardi.htm
Fiorella H. LaGuardia was a prominent New York City politician who served as mayor as well
as in the House of Representatives. An outspoken critic of prohibition, he testified to the policy's
It is impossible to tell whether prohibition is a good thing or a bad thing. It has never
been enforced in this country.
There may not be as much liquor in quantity consumed to-day as there was before
prohibition, but there is just as much alcohol.
At least 1,000,000 quarts of liquor is consumed each day in the United States. In my
opinion such an enormous traffic in liquor could not be carried on without the knowledge, if not
the connivance of the officials entrusted with the enforcement of the law. ...
I believe that the percentage of whisky drinkers in the United States now is greater than
in any other country of the world. Prohibition is responsible for that. ...
At least $1,000,000,000 a year is lost to the National Government and the several States
and counties in excise taxes. The liquor traffic is going on just the same. This amount goes into
the pockets of bootleggers and in the pockets of the public officials in the shape of graft....
I will concede that the saloon was odius but now we have delicatessen stores, pool rooms,
drug stores, millinery shops, private parlors, and 57 other varieties of speak-easies selling liquor
I have heard of $2,000 a year prohibition agents who run their own cars with liveried
It is common talk in my part of the country that from $7.50 to $12 a case is paid in graft
from the time the liquor leaves the 12-mile limit until it reaches the ultimate consumer. There
seems to be a varying market price for this service created by the degree of vigilance or the
degree of greed of the public officials in charge.
It is my calculation that at least a million dollars a day is paid in graft and corruption to
Federal, State, and local officers. Such a condition is not only intolerable, but it is demoralizing
and dangerous to organized government. ...
The Government even goes to the trouble to facilitate the financing end of the
bootlegging industry. In 1925, $286,950,000 more of $10,000 bills were issued than in 1920 and
$25,000,000 more of $5,000 bills were issued. What honest business man deals in $10,000 bills?
Surely these bills were not used to pay the salaries of ministers. The bootlegging industry has
created a demand for bills of large denominations, and the Treasury Department accommodates
The drys seemingly are afraid of the truth. Why not take inventory and ascertain the true
conditions. Let us not leave it to the charge of an antiprohibition organization, or to any other
private association, let us have an official survey and let the American people know what is
going on. A complete and honest and impartial survey would reveal incredible conditions,
corruption, crime, and an organized system of illicit traffic such as the world has never seen. ...
Statistics on Prohibition
Web version: http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-157.html
American Alcohol Consumption
Expenditure on Hard Liquor as Percentage of Alcohol Sales
Inmates in Sing Sing Federal Prison
Prohibition in Four Western Countries
United States Canada Australia and
1917 Prohibition as war measure 1917-1919 prohibition war measure The only alcohol-free area was
Canberra (1915-28), new capital of
1/1/1920 total Prohibition (manufacture; 1/1/1920 fed prohibition expires; liq Australia; no prohibition elsewhere
transportation; sale of intoxicating control returns to the provinces: allbut a number of state referendums on
beverages) after ratification by the states except Quebec adopt prohibition of total prohibition: West Australia
during 1919 of the 18th Amendment to retail sales. Manufacture and 1925; N. South Wales 1928; Victoria
the Constitution and the Volstead Act. international trade legal. Quebec 1930: all defeated.
loophole widely used + the Canadian
1933 Repeal of the Volstead Act decision to make all exports by Can In New Zealand, referendums on
cities to the US legal. Cooperation prohibition in all elections (1899-1928,
between the countries to control the N=8). All defeated but very close
border will come in the late 20s
In Jan 1921, Quebec creates the
Quebec Liquor Board (public
enterprise); in June 1921, British
Columbia replaced its prohibition by
creating regulatory BC Liquor Board;
all the other provinces follow
between 1923 and 1927 (the last one
Other Nations with Strong Temperance Movements:
Nations with Weak Temperance Movements