Support for Prohibition

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  • Support for Prohibition
    • Religious
      • Support for Prohibition grew in 1880s and '90s, especially among protestant churches and women's pressure groups
      • Protestant  churches called alcohol 'demon drink'
        • Alcohol associated with the devil and links with evil
      • Carrie Nation smashed up bars with an axe
      • Anti-Saloon League formed in 1893
        • Campaigned for states to prohibit the sale of alcohol
        • 26 out of 48 states were 'dry' by 1916
      • Groups went into local bars to sing hymns and try to convert customers
        • Believed saloons were the centre of the drink problem and many other social problems
    • Social and economic
      • Men were wasting away their wages in bars instead of spending it on their family
        • Wives and children left in poverty and with no food
      • Saloons were also a place of gambling, prostitution, and disease
      • Evangelicals saw the saloons as immoral
      • Links with drinking and domestic violence
        • Divorce rate rose to 4 per 1,000 in 1900
      • Many employers wanted their employees sober as drinking led to accidents at work
        • Drinking reduces efficiency at the work place
        • Rockefeller and Heinz against alcohol and supported Prohibition
    • World War One
      • Support for Prohibition increased during the war
      • Seen as wasteful to use grain to make alcohol rather than to feed soldiers
      • 1917 Level Act banned the use of grain to make alcohol
      • Fears that soldiers would get drunk and go with prostitutes
      • Drinking was also seen as a foreign problem
      • Catholics (e.g. the Irish and the Italians) were linked to excessive drinking and also weren't Old Stock Americans
      • Large brewers were German (e.g. Pabst and Leiber, and Ruppert) so supporting alcohol trade was seen as unpatriotic
    • Prohibition
      • Eighteenth Amendment introduced in January 1919
        • Woodrow Wilson in office
      • prohibited the "manufacture, sale, or transportation on intoxicating liquors"
        • October 1919 - Volstead Act defined 'intoxicating liquors' as drink with more than 0.5% alcohol


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