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Why was a Law Against Making, Selling and Transporting Alcohol passed in 1919?

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Introduction

Why was a Law Against Making, Selling and Transporting Alcohol passed in 1919? Settlers within America tended to be idealistic bible-based Protestants wanting to build up a moral society in the new lands. However, in the early 1900's there was a lot of immigration into America from Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe. There was a large black population in the southern states that contributed to the variety of different cultures within America. America was a nation of small towns with close-minded opinions, which contributed to the discrimination of any cultures different to their own. Americans who had roots there for longer felt the different immigrant's traditions and morals were alien to their own. There were a number of states in America referred to as the "bible belt" located in the southern and south west of America, where there were an extensive amount of fundamentalists following their religious beliefs zealously. Kansas was a specific example of these states because it actually made alcohol illegal in 1880 before any national campaign had begun. Strong religious beliefs aimed towards alcohol and its effect on the drinker were the main issues behind the abhorrence of alcohol. They believed that it caused antisocial characteristics in people such as alcoholism, drunkenness that led to gambling and violence, disease, abuse of women and children, as well as sin. ...read more.

Middle

Carrie Nations made the NWCTU more notorious by her unrestrained method of protest involving: entering saloons and smashing the place up and because she was a woman the police wouldn't hold her for more than one night, so she could re-commit her offence without any hazardous conclusions. The consequence of the campaign was so enormous that the whole country heard about it, promoting their ideas. This meant that because of the liberal amount of publicity their views were given that it spread fast and states were prohibiting alcohol because of the gain in support. This campaign was boosted by the support of businessmen who started the Anti- Saloon League because they wanted sober, reliable workers in their businesses to increase production. Though many big cities were anti-temperance Henry Ford was a fanatic of the concept and he wanted sober, efficient workers; who would if they spent less money on drink; could then buy more cars; increasing his profits. He introduced the methods such as: sacking any drunken workers; a social services department to check his workers homes for alcohol; employed physical exercise and English lessons for any immigrant workers. Other industrialists copied Ford's tactics and prohibition became a national campaign. The Anti-Saloon League was more effective than the NWCTU because it was well organised; with monthly subscriptions; paid professional staff and effective use of propaganda that linked prohibition with freedom, equality and Christianity; press coverage encouraged support from other successful businessmen. ...read more.

Conclusion

Women were a large group of people who supported prohibition and because they had just gained the vote were now influential at election time. I conclude that the most important cause that led to a law against the making, selling and transporting of alcohol passed in 1919 was due to the obligation that the Politicians were placed under from the pressure of the campaigners for national "dryness". There was an almost definite certainty that they would be elected if they ran on the "dry" vote this affected the ultimate cause of their campaign slogans to solicit more votes. Politicians in Congress had the power to decide whether or not a law should be passed: if they didn't feel a lot of people supported the cause or that it just wouldn't work then ultimately they wouldn't have passsed it. This cause links other reasons to why it was politicians actually passed the law concerning prohibition. The two main campaigners the NWCTU and the Anti Saloon League influenced the Politicians decisions because they contained influential people whose opinions were valued because of their success in business and the immense amount of support that they seemed to hold, which would guarantee votes from "dry" people. However, this law wasn't successful because the majority of people who voted for it did not really endorse the entire scheme. They voted for a law against prohibition because it was principled and they didn't want to disagree with the rest of the community, who appeared to support the cause. Louise Dixon 62425 7066 ...read more.

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