The movement for prohibition was very successful and lasted from 1900-1919. This movement was taking place at the trailing end of the “progressive reform” period, and as such, prohibitionists based their campaign around recent popular opinions and beliefs, such as the empowerment of women. Less recent, but just as common at the time was Christian religion.
According to Jack S. Blocker’s book, Retreat from Reform, (documents J and K), the prohibition movement was led mainly by clergymen, business men, lawyers, and social workers from medium-sized towns. Rural areas and booming cities were not far behind. As clearly demonstrated by one Chicago minister, (Document I) clergymen often viciously damned drinkers, pounding them with insult after insult, and stating that only the sober would be delivered unto heaven. The main motives for these fellows to be preaching this was money. If clergymen convinced drinkers that they would be damned to hell, it would lead ex-drinkers to church, praying for forgiveness, and more importantly, putting money into the offering pan!
Another route that prohibitionists used to attack was through children. In an anti-saloon league poster appealing to women, (document B) it is shown that the percentage of “defective” children increases with the amount of alcohol that the father consumes. It is also plainly stated that alcoholism and nervous system defects go hand in hand. This tactic doubtlessly incited fear into the hearts of new mothers, and women who were hoping to have kids with drunken bastards or occasional drinkers.
In medicine, doctors began discouraging the usage of alcohol as a therapeutic measure because it was “detrimental to the human economy” (document C)
All of these mentioned were reputable sources that would have greatly influenced the population. I think that the motive for wanting to ban alcohol was sound, because it’s bad for you. America had a drinking problem and the majority of people wanted it...
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