Sunday, January 29, 2012


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Prohibition is the forbidding of alcohol by law. Organized efforts to limit the use of alcoholic beverages began in the United States during the 180’s. The misuse of alcohol was a problem throughout the country, including Kansas. Many religious people thought that drinking was morally wrong. Most of the people who wanted alcohol limited or banned were these types of people. People continued to have rallies and pass out pamphlets urging people to help try to ban alcohol. The first temperance legislation was passed in Massachusetts in 188. It was called the 15-gallon law. What this law did was prohibit the sale of alcohol in amounts of less than 15 gallons. This limited the sale of alcohol to the wealthy. In 1846 Maine passed the first state prohibition law. By the mid-1850s 1 states had laws similar to this, but by 186 all but Maine had repealed them. Two major temperance organizations were founded in the decade after the Civil War. The National Prohibition party was founded in 186 and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1874. WTCU and the Kansas Temperance Union were of the organizations that resided in Kansas. These groups passed out pamphlets, led rallies, and gave lectures about the harmful effects of alcohol. Women led a major role in the prohibition movement, even though they couldn’t vote. Partly because of the efforts of these groups, Kansans tried to regulate saloons. These efforts failed, so they amended their constitution in 1880 to ban the sale of liquor. Kansas was the first state to go through with such an amendment. Prohibition failed to dry up the flow of liquor though. The most successful areas for prohibition were small towns and rural areas, where most people favored prohibition. In the larger cities and areas where most people opposed prohibition, the illegal sale of alcohol continued In Wichita, southeast Kansas, and German communities prohibition was totally ignored. By 180, six states had also adopted a Prohibition. The strongest force behind the movement for national prohibition wasn’t the Prohibition party, WCTU or other groups such as that but it was the Anti-Saloon League, which was founded in 18. Unlike the Prohibition party, it didn’t put up candidates for public office. Instead it worked for or against Democratic and Republican candidates, depending on their attitude about drinking. In 10, the whole nation became dry after Congress approved a constitutional amendment. The start of prohibition totally went against the lifestyles of many people, most of them whom lived in large urban communities. This caused other sources to develop. Millions of people made their own home brew of wine, beer, or the popular bathtub gin, which was made from raw alcohol, water, and flavorings. For those who didn’t want to make their own, there were plenty of other ways to get alcohol. Illegal saloons called speakeasies soon developed in every city. They obtained their liquor supplies from a newly emerging business called organized crime. The old ethnic gangs found a new enterprise in smuggling liquor in the United States. Bootlegging, the illegal manufacturing and selling of alcohol, became so profitable that a whole new criminal empire emerged from it. The most famous name in crime back then was Al Capone, but each city had its own underworld leader. The government could never arrest these people because they had bought off the judges and law enforcement officers. Before Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected, Congress adopted a joint resolution proposing the 1st Amendment. Upon its ratification in December 1, the 18th Amendment was repealed, and prohibition came to an end. Although the rest of the nation repealed prohibition, Kansas decide to remain dry. They stayed dry all the way until 148, when they once again legalized the sale of alcohol. Liquor sale was still prohibited except in package liquor stores and private clubs. This law still exists in Kansas to this day.

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