Period 3

The Problem(s):

  • It is the turn of the century, and the brewing industry is one of the most successful industries in America.
  • Big breweries like Pabst and Anheuser-Busch started to open retailers called saloons.
  • These saloons started to proliferate. In most towns in America, there was one saloon for every 150 people.
  • Because of this competition, saloon owners started to offer cock-fighting, prostitution, and gambling to make extra profit.
  • People were shocked by this, and soon the common belief was that alcohol caused poverty and immorality.
  • Those who were pro-temperance but previously did not support prohibition became pro-prohibition.

The Solution(s):

  • The Eighteenth Amendment, outlawing the production, sale, and consumption of alcohol
  • Christian organizations like Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League published pro-temperance cartoons and propaganda
  • Temperance leaders either supported an educational campaign to end alcohol consumption or they wanted police to crack down on saloons and breweries. Neither was very successful because of a lack of funding or because leaders couldn’t get police officials to give a wholehearted effort.
  • Eventually, the Twenty-first Amendment was passed, overruling the Eighteenth Amendment.

The Image(s):

SaloonKeeperCartoonBoys.jpg external image abe-prohibition-poster.jpg
  • Both these cartoons suggest that saloon owners and breweries intentionally target children as potential customers, something that still goes on today.

external image prohibition.jpg
  • This is a picture from a newspaper of a prohibition agent sampling some of the alcohol from his latest raid. The caption reads "Sampling some of the 'real stuff' which was seized in a raid upon north side brewery"

The Primary Source(s):

"Somewhere in the Bible it is said: 'If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off.' I used to think the remedy somewhat radical. But to-day, being imbued with the wisdom of the prohibitionist, I have to acknowledge that, if the Bible in general, and that passage in it in particular, has a fault, it lies in its ultra-conservativeness. What? Merely cut off my own right hand if it offend me? What business have my neighbors to keep their right hands if I am not able to make mine behave itself ? Off with the lot of them! Let there be no right hands; then I am certain that mine won't land me in trouble." - Percy Andreae. The Prohibition Movement in its Broader Bearings upon Our Social, Commercial, and Religious Liberties.

"'Well, there's nothing to fighting,' he opened up, 'Just come out fast from your corner, hit the other fellow as hard as you can and hit him first. That's all there is to fighting.'
He laughed, then at once grew serious.
'What I should like to talk about is something else. Whiskey! There's the only fighter that ever really licked old John L. Jim Corbett, according to the record, knocked me out in New Orleans in 1892, but he only gave the finishing touches to what whiskey had already done to me. If I had met Jim Corbett before whiskey got me I'd have killed him. I stopped drinking long ago, but of course, too late. Too late for old John L., but not too late for millions of boys who are starting out to follow the same road. I desire to use the years of life which remain to me to warn these boys, to turn them back. John L. Sullivan, champion of the world, could not lick whiskey. What gives any one of them the notion that he can.'
I didn't wish to hear anything about temperance , but the famous scowl was in evidence and the red sparks about which I was telling you gleamed in the dark eyes. You would think twice about trying to stop John L. Sullivan, no matter what he was doing. I listened, therefore, while for the next twenty minutes, without a break, he paced up and down the room talking about whiskey. He talked with eloquence, too. Billy Sunday could have gotten ideas. He snorted and stroked his mustache. Once a small chair got in his way. He kicked it absently, without seeming to use much force, but the chair flew end over end all the way across the large room." - Interview between reporter Jerome Power and prizefighter John L. Sullivan from American Life Histories, 1936 - 1940

Now the temp'rance army's marching,
With the christian's armor on;
Love our motto, Christian Captain,
Prohibition is our song!
Yes, the temp'rance army's marching,
And will march forevermore,
And our triumph shall be sounded,
Round the world from shore to shore,
Marching on, Marching on forevermore,
And our triumph shall be sounded,
Round the world from shore to shore.
2. Now the temp'rance army's marching,
Firm and steady in our tread;
See! the mothers they are leading,
Marching boldly at the head.
3. Now the temp'rance army's marching,
Wives and Sisters in the throng;
Shouting, "Total Prohibition,"
As we bravely march along.

"The Temprance Army" from Music for the Nation, 1870 - 1885

The Citations: