Shaping the Eighteenth Amendment

Shaping the Eighteenth Amendment: Temperance Reform, Legal Culture, and the Polity, 1880-1920

RICHARD F. HAMM
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 352
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9780807861875_hamm
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Shaping the Eighteenth Amendment
    Book Description:

    Richard Hamm examines prohibitionists' struggle for reform from the late nineteenth century to their great victory in securing passage of the Eighteenth Amendment. Because the prohibition movement was a quintessential reform effort, Hamm uses it as a case study to advance a general theory about the interaction between reformers and the state during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Most scholarship on prohibition focuses on its social context, but Hamm explores how the regulation of commerce and the federal tax structure molded the drys' crusade. Federalism gave the drys a restricted setting--individual states--as a proving ground for their proposals. But federal policies precipitated a series of crises in the states that the drys strove to overcome. According to Hamm, interaction with the federal government system helped to reshape prohibitionists' legal culture--that is, their ideas about what law was and how it could be used.A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

    eISBN: 978-0-8078-3800-6
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
    Richard F. Hamm
  4. INTRODUCTION: REFORMERS AND THE POLITY
    (pp. 1-16)

    On June 6,1900, in one of her first forays from Medicine Lodge, Carry Nation traveled to nearby Kiowa to attack saloons. This small Kansas town had at least three bars in operation despite the two-decade-old state ban on the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor. Singing her favorite hymn—“Who Hath Sorrow? Who Hath Woe?”—Nation wrecked the liquor-selling establishments. In one of the saloons she demolished, Nation saw what she later admitted was “a very strange thing.” In the midst of her destruction, she saw a vision of “Mr. McKinley, the President, sitting in an old fashion arm chair.”...

  5. PART 1. RADICALS AND THE POLITY
    • CHAPTER 1 THE RADICAL PROHIBITION MOVEMENT AND THE LIQUOR INDUSTRY
      (pp. 19-55)

      The American polity in the last quarter of the nineteenth century saw both the rebirth of the prohibition movement and the emergence of the manufacture and sale of liquor as one of the nation’s leading industries. Conflict between the two was inevitable. But the ideas of the prohibition movement, the qualities and actions of the drys’ opponents, and the nature of the polity channeled that conflict into certain courses. A radical temperance ideology with its allied Mosaic legal culture predominated within the temperance crusade in the last two decades of the century. The drys’ ideology and legal notions made it...

    • CHAPTER 2 LIQUOR AND INTERSTATE COMMERCE: COURT AND CONGRESS
      (pp. 56-91)

      The U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the federal inter-state commerce power shaped the course of the prohibition movement. In the late nineteenth century, as various states took a more active role in regulating the economy or promoting reforms, interests opposed to these policies sought to use the federal nature of the polity to offset their losses in the states. Opponents of reform and regulation turned to the federal courts—asking them to interpret the rules of the polity—to limit state policies. Thus, the brewers, after failing to establish a Fourteenth Amendment right to make liquor, turned to the federal...

    • CHAPTER 3 THE FEDERAL LIQUOR TAX AND THE RADICAL PROHIBITIONISTS
      (pp. 92-120)

      The federal internal revenue system was the notable exception to the limited nature of the federal government that characterized the late-nineteenth-century polity. Part of the federal revenue system, the liquor excise taxes, required the government to take an active role in economic and daily life. It also fostered a benign view of the liquor industries within the federal government. Thus, the first budding of the modern bureaucratic polity stood in the way of prohibition. From 1880 to about 1900, most prohibitionists denounced the federal liquor tax as a hindrance to temperance progress. This view of the tax reflected the dominance...

  6. PART 2. PRAGMATISTS AND THE POLITY
    • CHAPTER 4 THE TRANSFORMATION OF PROHIBITIONIST MEANS
      (pp. 123-154)

      For drys the 1880s and early 1890s marked an era of accomplishment and progress. Four states—Kansas (1880), Iowa (1884), North Dakota (1889), and South Dakota (1889)—joined Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire in the dry fold, bringing the total number of prohibition states to seven. The 1890 Wilson Act promised to protect these dry havens from the corruptions of their wet neighbors. The growth of the Prohibition party, which in the 1888 election received 150,957 votes, made it a political force. The WCTU grew into the largest women’s organization in the nation. At the same time the radical drys...

    • CHAPTER 5 THE LIQUOR TAX AND THE PRAGMATIC PROHIBITIONISTS
      (pp. 155-174)

      The policies of the Internal Revenue Office, a part of the emerging administrative state, angered all drys, but the actions drys took to remedy the problems created by the agency changed over time. Most drys, at least before 1900, hoped for abolition of the tax. When abolitionist-style solutions began to fare badly, prohibitionists developed proposals for using the tax system to achieve temperance goals. The rise of the Anti-Saloon League brought to the fore these alternatives for dealing with the liquor tax implicit in some prohibition circles. But the league, which had been constructed as an instrument to pressure political...

    • CHAPTER 6 INTERSTATE COMMERCE, PRAGMATIC PROHIBITIONISTS, AND FEDERAL POWER IN THE PROGRESSIVE ERA
      (pp. 175-202)

      In a number of rulings, delivered in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century, the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier to import liquor into prohibition states. The “state of courts” contributed to the creation of a thriving interstate liquor shipping industry. This industry soon filled the prohibition states with beer, wine, and hard liquor. In response the prohibitionists, eventually led by the Anti-Saloon League, sought state and national legislation to curtail this trade. Operating within the parameters set out in judicial doctrines, drys wrote many state laws that restricted interstate liquor...

    • CHAPTER 7 COMMERCE, PRAGMATIC PROHIBITIONISTS, AND CONGRESS
      (pp. 203-226)

      Before 1902 prohibitionists lacked much interest in attaining an interstate commerce law, but after 1903, reflecting the new realities of the polity, campaigns for a national law became central to the temperance movement. The passage of the 1909 COD Act and 1913 Webb-Kenyon Act, which regulated interstate liquor commerce, marked the political maturation of the prohibition movement. In Congress dry lobbyists, and the movement’s political power, overcame wet opposition and constitutional objections to their measures. But the legislative products varied in the emphasis on the active agency of the polity. The COD Act followed the common reform trend of an...

    • CHAPTER 8 A DRY NATION
      (pp. 227-255)

      In 1913 the Anti-Saloon League turned its attention to enacting a national constitutional prohibition amendment, but the process soon left the path that the league had planned. Using its organizational muscle and political clout, the league brought its drafted amendment to the floor of Congress. This first effort, the Hobson resolution, failed; and its demise revealed the limits of the leagues practical approach and the political indefensibility of a central-government system of national prohibition. Furthermore, the progress of state antiliquor laws and the prospect of achieving national prohibition reinvigorated the old absolutist ideology within the temperance movement. “Bone dry,” the...

  7. CONCLUSION: THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE POLITY TO REFORMS AND THE LEGACY OF CONCURRENT POWER DURING NATIONAL PROHIBITION
    (pp. 256-272)

    The radical prohibitionist ideology of the 1880s and 1890s generated a Mosaic view of law that did not provide practical solutions for the problems posed by the federal system. But by the advent of national prohibition, drys had changed their approach to legal issues. The legal environment pushed prohibitionists into adopting the idea of joint state and federal action against liquor. From the 1890s temperance advocates struggled to make the federal commerce power aid prohibition states. By 1917 the Reed Amendment to the Postal Appropriations Act had fully mobilized that power for the dry cause. The rise of the Anti-Saloon...

  8. SOURCES AND TEXTUAL CONVENTIONS
    (pp. 273-274)
  9. NOTES
    (pp. 275-336)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 337-342)