Posts filed under ‘Temperance/Prohibition’
“Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”
Abraham Lincoln (1809-65), U.S. President. Speech, 18 Dec. 1840, to Illinois House of Representatives
Last night, I attended the movie premier of “BEER WARS,” a self-styled documentary by filmmaker Anat Baron portraying the beer industry in America from the vantage of small artisanal brewers and specialty beer producers.
The goal of Prohibition was to eliminate, or reduce alcohol consumption to only for medicinal purposes. However, a significant rise in liquor consumption was associated with the on-set of Prohibition. The increase was likely caused by the proliferation of illegal (“bootlegged”) alcohol.
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 movement’s ranks were mostly filled by women who, with their children, had endured the effects of unbridled drinking by many of their menfolk. In fact, alcohol was blamed for many of society’s demerits, among them severe health problems, destitution and crime.
America’s entry into World War I made Prohibition seem patriotic since many breweries were owned by German Americans. Wayne Wheeler, lobbyist for the Anti-Saloon League, urged the federal government to investigate “a number of breweries around the country which are owned in part by alien enemies.”
The prohibition movement in general, and the Anti-Saloon League in particular, were effective in developing propaganda persuading Americans to support the dry cause. The cartoonist, Frank Beard, was a favorite of the Anti-Saloon League. Beard had an uncanny knack for capturing the essence of the dry propaganda message, and the League reprinted his cartoons in its own publications.