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Temperance and Prohibition · ~ In America: A Historical Overview PAUL AARON and! DAVID MUSTO INTRODUCTION In a recent book review about marijuana' Albert Goldman (1979, p. 250) wrote: The only controls should be those that are imposed to protect the public from bogus or polluted merchandise. With the dreadful example of Prohibition before us, it seems nearly unthinkable that we should have done it again: taken some basic human craving and perverted it into a vast system of organized crime and social corruption. When will we learn that in a democracy it is for the people to tell the government, not for the government to tell the people. what makes them happy? This "dreadful example'' is now so firmly established that it has become a maxim of popular culture, a paradigm of bad social policy, and a ritual invocation of opponents of a variety of sumptuary laws. The record of the lath Amendment often has been read by libertarians as a morality tale. Detached and abstracted from their historically specific contexts and presented as a single crusade around which cranks and fanatics have clustered for 150 years, temperance and prohibition have been portrayed Paul Aaron, who was a consultant to the panel. is a graduate student at the Florence Heller School of Social Work Brandeis University. David Musto. a member of the panel. is at the Yale Child Study Center. Yale University. This work was supported in part by Alcohol. Drug Abuse. and Mental Health Admin- istration Grant DA-00037 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 127
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128 AARON and MUSTO as touchstones of bigotry. The lineage of reaction is traced straight from sin-obsessed Puritans, to evangelical extremists and Know-Nothings, to nativists and Klansmen, and most recently to McCarthyites and anti- abortionists. The record of efforts to restrict drinking is, of course, far too com- plicated to warrant such axiomatic disparagement. But despite impor- tant, recent scholarship, and scientific validation of arguments once ridiculed, claims established by dint of repetition have achieved a kind of incantatory truth and ultimately have been enshrined as pieces of political folk wisdom (Warner and Rossett 1975~.~ During the 1920s, partisan tracts featured titles like Prohibition Versus Civilization: Analyzing the Dry Psychosis and The Prohibition Mania: A Reply to Professor Irving Fisher and Others (Darrow and Yarros 1927, Barnes 1932~.2 Repeal institutionalized this propaganda and established an ideological legacy that historians came to inherit long after the battles had ended and the moral climate had cooled. As the antiliquor move- ment disappeared from the nation's political agenda, it also withered as a subject for research and study, not to reappear again until the early 1960s. Two books, Prohibition: The Era of Excess and Symbolic Cru- 'Warner and Rossett (1975), in their article "The Effects of Drinking on Off-Spring," revive a theory that postrepeal reaction rendered out of vogue. They observed that the moralizing tone of pre-Prohibition temperance writers caused Americans to discount previous work on parental drinking. They go on to say that recent renewed interest in the effect of maternal alcohol on offspring is an example of a common phenomenon that of an old and unfashionable idea being restored to respectability. Fetal alcohol syndrome, noted as the result of the gin epidemic in London (1720-1750), caused physicians to appeal to Parliament for control of the liquor industry; spirits were identified as a cause of "weak? feeble and distempered children" (Warner and Rossett 1975, p. 1396~. Lyman Beecher, who as early as the 1820s in the United States saw liquor as a race poison, wrote: "The free and universal use of intoxicating liquors for a few centuries cannot fail to bring down our race from the majestic, athletic forms of our Fathers, to the similitude of a despicable and puny race of men" (pp. 1401-1402~. In July 1979, the concept of drink-induced mental defects was given lurid endorsement in a television news magazine feature on fetal alcohol syndrome. 2 Harry Elmer Barnes's book Prohibition Versus Civilization (1932) is an especially rich compendium of diatribe and invective. Among the central propositions he presented were: The sense of the invidious at the root of the prohibitionist sentiment. "It is a common and natural trait," he argued "to hate those who are able to enjoy the good things of life from which we are excluded. The austere Puritans of modern vintage, usually cold, undeveloped, and desiccated personalities, shrink before the joyous intimacy promoted by even mild alcoholic indulgence. But we can hardly hate with good conscience things which we approve, even though we cannot enjoy or possess them. To allow the satisfying sentiment of envy and hatred full bloom we must find that the things denied us are bad and wicked. This saves us from the withering effects of overt and uncompensated envy
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Temperance and Prohibition in America 129 sade: Status Politics and the American Temperance Movement, made important contributions to this recovery. In Prohibition: The Era of Excess, Andrew Sinclair (1962) described the prohibitionist movement as a national St. Vitus's Dance.3 Employing both Freudian and neo-Marxist categories, he attempted to reveal the "aggressive prurience" behind the masks of religious zeal; he argued that dominant economic interests, anxious to distract the gaze of re- formers from the problem of the trusts, helped spread this "rural evan- gelical virus." Sinclair's portrayal of Prohibition as a florid outburst of a persistent, lurking paranoia backed by big business substituted in- dictment for objective examination. It represented a sophisticated car- icature that drew heavily on the stereotypes of earlier critics. Joseph Gusfield's (1963) book, Symbolic Crusade, constituted a fun- damental advance beyond the psychohistorical expose favored by Sin- clair. Gusfield treated efforts to curb drinking not as mass hysteria but rather as a middle-class movement designed to defend lost status. He rejected the view of temperance and prohibition as repositories of a Snopes-like aberration and reoriented the terms of discussion. His analy- and puts us in a frame of mind to go out and take these damnable things from our more fortunate contemporaries" (p. 32~. Prohibition as a hypocritical deceit. "A man may desire to cover up dubious economic transactions, hard bargains with widows on mortgages, cruelty in the domestic circle, sex delinquency, and what not. He finds a stern attitude towards drink a splendid alibi and art effective means of securing approval of the good people in the community" (p. 33~. Barnes also creates a rouges' gallery of "health cranks," "sadistic abnormals,', "com- mercial evangelists," "designing capitalists bent on the realization of 'Fordismus,"' "rac- ists," and "boot-laggers and racketeers" (p. 37~. 3 Sinclair's impugnings in Prohibition: The Era of Excess (1962) are often remarkably similar to the tales of horror told by antiprohibitionists in the 1920s: "With a terrible faith in equality," he observes, "the prohibitionists often wanted to suppress in society the sins they found in themselves" (pp. 2~27~. He quotes G. K. Chesterton approvingly: "When the Puritan or the modern Christian finds that his right hand offends him he not only cuts it off but sends an executioner with a chopper all down the street, chopping off the hands of all the men, women and children in the town. Then he has a curious feeling of com- radeship and of everyone being comfortably together." Sinclair goes on: "It was in this wish to extend their own repression to all society that the drys felt themselves most free from their constant inward struggle. Indeed, they defended their attacks on the personal liberty of other men by stating that they were bringing these men liberty for the first time. . . . Of course, in reality, the drys were trying to bring personal liberty to themselves, by externalizing their anguished struggles against their own weaknesses in their battle to reform the weaknesses of others. The conflict between conscience and lust, between superego and id, was transferred by the drys from their own bodies to the body politic of all America; and, in the ecstasy of that paranoia which Freud saw in all of us, they would have involved the whole earth" (pp. 2~27~.
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130 AARON and MUSTO sis established a new standard of inquiry dispassionate, free from po- lemical shrillness, and motivated by the desire to explain rather than carp or debunk. Nonetheless, Gusfield's work was not primarily-directed toward explicating alcohol control as a thing in itself. "Issues like fluor- idation or domestic communism or temperance," he wrote, "may be seen to generate irrational emotions and excessive zeal if we fail to recognize them as symbolic rather than instrumental issues." As an example of what he termed "expressive politics," temperance "operates within an arena in which feelings, emotions, and affect are displaced and where action is for the sake of expression rather than for the sake of influencing or controlling the distribution of valued objects" (Gusfield 1963, pp. 11, 23~. Gusfield's approach provided a store of subtle insights, but its con- ceptual richness tended to overwhelm other investigative strategies. The explicit, self-identified concerns around which people in the antiliquor movement moblilized, the particular regulatory techniques that were experimented with, and the nature of their impact are all areas that, to a large extent, have lain historically fallow. The emphasis on the "ex- pressive" and on rationalization, projection, and displacement as key analytic tools has had the effect of distracting attention from the actual content of the movement and shifting the level of discourse from the literal to the figurative. Gusfield's influence is a mark of the power of his formulations. But the struggles that people waged in the past to regulate or proscribe alcohol do not necessarily have to be treated as a nexus of symptoms. Without denying the continued usefulness of Gusfield's concept of ex- pressive politics, it is necessary also to recognize the worth of comple- mentary models of investigation. If, as Room (1974, p.11) suggests, "Our chief aim is to open up the range of frameworks within which the prevention of alcohol problems is discussed," and if accomplishing this requires that we better understand how the governing images evolved around that which we orient our current strategies of remediation, then we must attempt to understand the antiliquor movement, both as a symbolic crusade and as a massive, sustained organizing effort with a highly developed set of tactics and coherent, tangible goals. Any attempt to discover a "usable past" in the history of American temperance and prohibition requires first that investigators abandon contemptuous reductionism and disenthrall themselves from lurid myths; this process has been largely accomplished, and scholars like Gusfield deserve respect and appreciation for breaking ground. Those, however, who seek to develop improved policy instruments around al- cohol use and abuse must be creative scavengers willing to approach prior efforts both as cultural artifacts and as a body of experience capable
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l emperance and Prohibition in America 131 of yielding valuable clues to the possibilities of regulation today. Through examination of how consumption patterns have changed and the basis for computing the social costs of drinking and through iden- tification of various tactics of control, their original settings, and the reasons for their relative success or failure, the historian can develop a perspective that elucidates the policy choices to be debated. THE COLONIAL PERIOD The colonists brought with them from Europe a high regard for alcoholic beverages. Distilled and fermented liquors were considered important and invigorating foods, whose restorative powers were a natural bless- ing. People in all regions and of all classes drank heavily. Wine and sugar were consumed at breakfast; at 11:00 and 4:00 workers broke for their "bitters"; cider and beer were drunk at lunch and toddies for supper and during the evening. Drinking was pervasive for a number of reasons. First, alcohol was regarded not primarily as an intoxicant but rather as a healthy, even medicinal substance with distinct curative and preventive properties. The ascribed benefits corresponded to the strength of the drink; "strong waters," that is, distilled liquor, had manifold uses, from killing pain, to fighting fatigue, to soothing indigestion, to warding off fever. Alcohol was also believed to be conducive to social as well as personal health. It played an essential part in rituals of conviviality and collective activity; barn railings, huskings, and the mustering of the militia were all occasions that helped associate drink with trust and reciprocity. Hired farm workers were supplied with spirits as part of their pay and generally drank with their employer. Stores left a barrel of whiskey or rum outside the door from which customers could take a dip. Alcoholic drinks were also popular as a substitute for water. Water was considered dangerous to drink and inhospitable and low class to serve to guests. It was weak and thin; when not impure and filled with sediment, it was disdained as lacking any nutritional value. Beer or wine or "ardent spririts" not only quenched the thirst but were also esteemed for being fortified. They transferred energy and endurance, attributes vital to the heavy manual labor demanded by an agricultural society. Official policy also endorsed consumption as trade in liquor provided an important source of revenue to the early colonists. Beginning in the 1630s, an ad valorem tax was levied on both imported wines and spirits and domestic products. The resulting monies were used to finance a wide range of local and provincial activities, from education in Con- necticut, to prison repair in Maryland. to military defense on the frontier (Krout 1925, p. 19)
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132 AARON and MUSTO People drank, too, because alcohol was readily available. Although domestic production of gin, rum, or whiskey did not commence until the latter part of the 17th century, fruit brandies and especially cider were native beverages of daily consumption. Alcoholic drink was a staple that individual farmers created from local stuffs; people wanted it be- cause they thought liquor was good for them and because they connected its production and consumption with traditional forms of civility. To brew ale or press cider were activities that supplied a valuable food, helped domesticate a natural wilderness, and helped restore a sense of continuity with a distant mother land. Drunkenness was condemned and punished, but only as an abuse of a God-given gift. Drink itself was not looked upon as culpable, any more than food deserved blame for the sin of gluttony. Excess was personal indiscretion. Although Georgia did attempt an initial ban on ardent spririts, the colonial period was otherwise notable for a loosely pragmatic approach to control (Krout 1925, pp. 57-58~. But while prag- matism reigned and strategies of regulation were improvised according to the distinctive conditions in each colony, there were basic models that could be found in all regions. Beyond sanctions for drunkenness, which ranged in severity from fines, to whipping, to the stocks, to ban- ishment, conventional mechanisms of control were: (1) limits on the hours that taverns could stay open, on the amount that customers could consume, and on the time that could be spent "tippling"; (2) prohibitions against serving slaves, indentured servants, debtors, or habitual drun- kards; (3) laws that proscribed certain activities in conjunction with public drinking (e.g., gambling or loud music were generally forbidden in taverns); and (4) requirements that taverns provide lodging and food, and that retailers sell only for home consumption not small amounts to be drunk on the premises. Although acceptable patterns of consumption were thus set forth in law, informal social controls played a much more significant role than legislation. Throughout the colonial period, legislatures delegated to boards of selectmen or county courts the authority to grant tavernAi- censes. Since the bodies holding this power were composed of,the so- cially prominent, it naturally developed that licenses were issued to men of similar station. This arrangement proceeded less *om the wish to maintain a class monopoly on a lucrative trade than from a deep sense of civic obligation with which the clergy and the leading men of property were imbued. As a community institution a place that provided the amenities of life to travelers as well as a comfortable setting for local recreation the tavern was a resource whose administration had to be both moral and efficient. The proprietor was expected not only to dis- pense food, drink, and hospitality, but also to monitor behavior by
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Temperance and Prohibition in America 133 relying on the deference and respect accorded his social position to keep customers in check. In return for such a responsible oversight, the inn- keeper was often granted an exclusive operating right within a particular area; franchise was awarded, or sometimes imposed, for maintaining this service along crucial thoroughfares or adjacent to key bridges. Tavern owners were often men of rank, as evidenced by the early records of Harvard University, where the names of students, listed by social position rather than alphabetically, showed that the son of an innkeeper preceded that of a clergyman (Krout 1925, p. 44~. It was often the case that leading citizens would conclude their public career, having served as town clerk, justice of the peace, or deputy to the General Court, by securing a license to run a public house. Men ha- bituated to moral surveillance could thus continue their scrutiny. There was always circumvention of rules, however, regulating the flow of liquor. Unauthorized sellers, for example, evaded the prohibition against keeping a tippling house by taking advantage of an ancient right of Englishmen to brew and sell without a license in brush houses at fair times. Thus, in Virginia, "divers loose and disorderly persons set up booths, arbours, and other public places where, not only the looser sort of people resort, get drunk, and commit many irregularities, but servants and Negroes are entertained, and encouraged to purloin their master's goods, for supporting their extravagancies" (Pearson and Hendricks 1967, p. 21~. Though slippage existed, the system of control did work. Drunkenness was inveighed against, but it had not become recognized as a serious social problem. As the 17th century came to a close, this "stable, conservative, well- regulated" system changed (Rorabaugh 1979, p. 29~. As large quantities of imported West Indian molasses began to arrive in New England, the domestic distilling trade burgeoned. Soon rum was being manufactured in large enough quantities to supplant French brandy in the triangular slave trade. As hard liquor achieved an increasingly central commercial role, "the public accorded it," Krout wrote "that approbation which attaches to most things indispensible to the world of business" (Krout 1925, p. 50~.4 But while leading citizens amassed fortunes from trading rum for Africans, a glut of alcohol began to erode the structure of class control by which drinking behavior had been regulated. As the price for rum plummeted (in 16 years the cost per gallon was cut almost in half), demand increased and violations of licensing laws became noto- 4 For another account of the commercial role liquor played in the dealings of fur traders and other merchants with North American Indians, see MacAndrew and Edgerton (1969~. These authors also argue that the Indian tribes had no exceptional natural urge toward drunkenness or alcohol consumption.
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134 AARON and MUSTO rious (Rorabaugh 1979, p. 29~. As the regulations against the selling of drams by retailers were less frequently observed and as the services that taverns were required to provide shrunk from minimal to nonexistent, the enforcement capacity of local officials was overwhelmed. In Boston, surrendering to pervasive circumvention, officials expediently granted licenses to many of the violators. Operating permits, once awarded only after assessment of the character of the propsective tavernkeeper, were now dispensed pro forma, and their number increased from 72 in 1702 to 155 in 1732 (Rorabaugh 1979, p. 25~. By the middle of the 18th century, management as a moral guardi- anship and community service gave way to management as a business venture. The innkeeper had lost status; his son fell from rank at Harvard as the occupation as a whole was increasingly dominated by the common folk (Krout 1925, p. 45~. John Adams bemoaned the deterioration of control: "I was fired with a zeal," he wrote? "amounting to an enthu- siasm, against ardent spirits, the multiplication of taverns, retailers and dram shops and tippling houses. Grieved to the heart to see the number of idlers, thieves, sots and consumptive patients made for the use of physicians in these infamous seminaries, I applied to the court of ses- sions, procured a committee of inspection and inquiry, reduced the number of licensed houses, etc. But I only acquired the reputation of a hypocrite and an ambitious demagogue by it. The number of licensed houses was soon reinstated? drams, grogs, and setting were not dimin- ished, and remain to this day as deplorable as ever" (Kobler 1973, p. 31~. The futility that Adams felt in trying to curb this disorder was shared by other representatives of his class. The breakdown of tradi- tional controls and the social turmoil seen to proceed from it were associated with the increasing commercial exploitation of distilled liquor. Once a largely imported substance whose distribution was an aristocratic monopoly, it had become democratized by the end of the colonial pe- riod. Cheap rum from Boston and Providence widened the availability of hard liquor (90 proof, compared with the milder and less potent domestic fruit brandies). People drank more and did so in a context that was less strictly monitored than when taverns had been under the aegis of a proprietary civic elite. THE DECLINE OF AUTHORITY The Revolution accelerated the breakdown of class deference and my- thologized the public drinking place as a bastion of liberty of the common man. Indirectly, the war also helped to topple the domestic supremacy of rum and replace it with cheaper domestic whiskey. Because trade with the West Indies was disrupted, thereby cutting off the source of
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Temperance and Prohibition in America 135 rum, a need developed for a substitute hard liquor. Scotch-Irish settlers, arriving in America during this period, brought with them a tradition of pot still whiskey making. In 1789, the first Kentucky whiskey was made by a Baptist preacher named Elijah Cook; by 1810, the known distillers totaled 2,000 and the annual overall production was more than 2 million gallons (Roueche 1960, p. 424. The rum-producing states attempted to defend themselves against this encroachment. In 1783, Congress voted to help finance the central government by taxing imports; the ratification of this legislation was delayed until 1789 when the New England states, afraid that an excise on molasses would price rum out of the domestic market, suc- ceeded in having whiskey taxed at a level that maintained the preexisting ratios between the two drinks. The farmers of western Pennsylvania resisted this compromise, and their 2-year rebellion, during which tax collectors were tarred and feathered, was crushed only after President Washington (acting after Governor Mifflin refused to call out state mi- litia) occupied the region with 15,000 troops. The imposition of the tax did nothing, however, to stem the decline of rum and its displacement by whisky. Prices for rum had doubled during the 1780s. Annual imports fell from one gallon per capita in 1790 to less than one-half gallon by 1827 to below one-fifth gallon in 1850. The repeal of the whiskey tax in 1802 simply made the position of whiskey even more advantageous (Rorabaugh 1979' p. 684. The whiskey trade became an indispensible element in the economic expansion westward. H. F. Willkie, writing in 1947, noted: "There were no roads in the new territory and most of the trade was by packhorse. It cost more to transport a barrel of flour . . . than the flour would have sold for on the eastern markets. If the farmer converted the grain into whiskey, a horse, which would carry only four bushels in solid grain' could carry twenty-four bushels in liquid form. Practically every farmer, therefore, made whiskey. So universal was the practice that whiskey was the medium of exchange" (Roueche 1960, pp. 39-40~. Albert Gal- latin, drafting an appeal to Congress in 1792, wrote: "Distant from a permanent market, and separate from the Eastern coasts by mountains, we have no means of bringing the produce of our lands to sale either in grain or meal. We are therefore distillers by necessity, not choice" (Rorabaugh 1979, p. 54~. Though the estimates of the per-capita consumption vary, it is gen- erally agreed that, beginning at the turn of the 19th century, demand for distilled liquor exploded. In 1972, when the population was 4 million, domestic production was 5.2 million gallons and imports almost 6 million gallons more. Within the next 18 years, the number of distilleries in- creased 6 times; production tripled. According to the most conservative
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Temperance and Prohibition in America 171 The guiding assumptions for Catlin that spirits posed a greater threat than beer and wine and therefore required a more restrictive tax and that the liquor trade must not be run for private profit were tenets of the control position. In discussing the alcohol control movement it would be a mistake to exaggerate the degree of its influence in changing public opinion. As a theoretical concept, management of consumption was an approach set apart equally from Prohibition and laissez-faire; its stance was too sci- entific and too dispassionate to gain a following. While the AAPA incorporated in its membership those who made serious attempts to devise regulatory policies as alternatives to Prohibition, the movement for repeal mobilized its support primarily through the use of polemics and propaganda. Despite the earnest and objective inquiries of men like Catlin and Koren, such policy analysis had little impact on the immediate struggle. The battle lines were split between wet and drier, and ideological third parties were anathema. It must be understood, too, as the decade of the 1920s came to an end, that the forces favoring the maintenance of Prohibition were more than holding their own. The gradual displacement of one model of individual and social be- havior (virtue inherent in austerity and self-restraint) by another (virtue inherent in moderate consumption and easy-going compliance) did not constitute a sudden ideological transformation that swept away support for the lath Amendment. For all the heavily funded organizing of the AAPA and for all the scandals involving both agents of the bureau and Anti-Saloon League members themselves (these latter exemplars of rec- titude became implicated in various shady transactions), Prohibition was still strong in 1928. In the election of that year, dry political candidates swept the field. Hoover was an overwhelming victor; 80 of 96 senators, 328 of 424 House members, and 43 of 48 governors elected were backers of the lath Amendment. The Wickersham Committee, appointed in 1928 to investigate the 18th Amendment, came out with a report that, while including minority opinions, nonetheless endorsed Prohibition and urged stronger enforcement. Even William Randolph Hearst, one of the principal opponents of Prohibition, as late as 1929, regarded repeal as out of the question. The prize-winning essay in the national contest sponsored by his papers proposed redefining beer as nonintoxicating; a more direct attack on the 18th Amendment was seen as political adventurism (Hearst 1929~. Prohibition was part of the Constitution and thus protected by an aura of the immutable. Breaking the law defied but did not overthrow official legitimacy. "Repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment is pure nonsense- thirteen states with a population less than half of New York state can
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172 AARON and MUSTO prevent repeal until Halley's Comet comes in," Clarence Darrow had observed (Dobyns 1940, p. 389~. But beyond this practical consideration, repeal involved an element of the blasphemous.~3 Economic collapse created the possibility for extreme and unprece- dented measures.~4 By 1930, the AAPA-backed referenda drives had produced victory for repudiation in nine states. The primary argument now made for repeal was no longer the demoralizing effects of Prohi- bition on civil liberties or class harmony; the end of the 18th Amendment was presented as the key to economic salvation. In the pamphlet Pro- hibition and the Deficit, the AAPA declared that "by the end of 1931 annual liquor tax collections since 1920, if national prohibition had not intervened, should have totalled practically eleven billion dollars. This money might have been used (if all other sources of revenue had been availed of) to reduce our 1931 indebtedness from $16,801,000,000 to $5,801,00D,000, If we continue our-estimate, by the end of 1933 we should have a balanced budget and a public debt of $7,306,000,000 instead of $20,341,000,000" (Dobyns 1940, p. 377~. Alcohol was now linked to a patriotic cause; just as Lincoln had turned to the liquor trade t3 Felix Frankfurter declared that "if the process by which this Amendment came into the Constitution is open to question, one can hardly dare contemplate the moral justification of some of the other amendments, or of the Constitution itself. Whether we like it or not, the 18th Amendment is!" (Frankfurter 1923, p. 193~. '4 Historians have debated the extent to which the Great Depression and New Deal constitute a fundamental break or turning point in the American experience. Degler has written that "as the Civil War represented a watershed in American thought, so the depression and its New Deal marked the crossing of a divide from which, it would seem, there could be no turning back." Louis Hacker uses the description of "the Third American Revolution," and Hofstader argues that a "drastic new departure in the history of Amer- ican reformism" was set in motion after 1929. On the other hand, Richard Kirkendall cautions against exaggerating the extent to which the changes produced during this period should be construed as a "divide," and emphasizes instead the important continuity with the past that the decade of the 1930s still maintained (Braeman et al. 1964, pp. 146, 148, et passim). But whether one holds with Kirkendall that the Great Depression simply accelerated "the rise of a collectivistic or organizational type of capitalism evident since the third quarter of the 19th century," or whether one is persuaded that some more fundamental cleavage took place, it seems clear that economic collapse did require people to take stock of a whole range of traditional beliefs and values. In the New Deal's pragmatic approach to reconstruction, and in the corresponding advent of the "guarantor state," the bulwarks of Prohibition disintegrated. The ideal of individual abstinence came to be perceived as wrongheaded and even cruel, an artifact of a discredited ideological system. As Gusfield puts it, "The Great Depression dissolved the magic power of the old symbols...." (Braeman et al. 1968, p. 305~; the sources for public disorder and misery so obviously transcended personal indulgence that the struggle against drink took on an almost ante- deluvian irrelevance.
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Temperance and Prohibition in America 173 in 1862 to finance the war effort, so too did Roosevelt campaign in 1932 on the promise to repeal the lath Amendment and revive an industry that could provide both jobs and tax revenue. Nine days after his in- auguration, Roosevelt sent before Congress a piece of legislation mod- ifying the Volstead Act and legalizing the sale of beer. During the summer of 1933, the administration stumped for repeal; with James Parley in charge of the effort, and the AAPA and WONPR providing organizational support, repeal was promoted as a key element of a recovery program. In a series of state elections to select delegates to conventions, the degree of shift in popular sentiment was measured. Michigan, which had a plurality of 207,000 for the 18th Amendment in 1919, voted for the 21st Amendment by 547,000; overall, repeal triumphed 3 to 1 (15 million to 4 million). The necessary 35 states ratified the amendment by December 1933, and what Roosevelt described as the "damnable affliction of Prohibition" came to an end (Blocker 1976, p.242~. EPILOGUE r ~ , While retreating from prohibition enforcement, the federal government retained responsibility to regulate the legitimate production of distilled spirits, wine, and beer and to prevent the illegal production of these products. These functions have been consolidated since 1972 in the Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATE). After repeal, most questions regarding alcohol devolved to the states. Seven continued with prohibition, though 5 of these declared beer to be non- intoxicating; 12 states decided to permit liquor, but only for home con- sumption; 29 states allowed liquor by the glass. Legislators vowed rit- ualistically to prevent the return of the saloon and exclude the liquor traffic from political influence. The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) laws that the states did adopt were designed in part to curb the most notorious abuses of the pre- Prohibition era. Restrictions were imposed on hours and days of sales in an effort to diminish the bar's seduction of the breadwinner from his domestic obligations. Sunday closings were observed; liquor could no longer be sold on election days: the "tied-house," blamed for inciting extreme forms of consumption behavior, was banned. Visibility require- ments were instituted; in some states they mandated that bars be open to public inspection, in others they kept the spectacle of the drinking act safely hidden from the eyes of children or decent citizens. These laws were full of conceptual confusion. On one hand, they embodied a ceremonial deference to those Americans sensitive to the
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174 AARON and MUSTO morally fraught nature of alcohol use. But on the other, it was precisely this problem-oriented attitude toward alcohol that repeal had under- mined. The issues of public sensibility or public morality were inextric- ably linked to a discredited past; temperance, which once had denoted moderate use, now conjured up the image of prohibitionist fanaticism. The role of the state was to oversee orderly distribution rather than to curtail availability. A wariness of moral intervention was only one element in the position that the states assumed. Economics was another major factor. The ex- igencies of the fiscal crisis forced many commonwealths to turn to the beverage industry for help. Between 1933 and 1935, 15 states adopted monopoly systems; these states were broke and in order to stock their chains of stores had to buy on credit from the distillers. In Ohio in 1935 the Department of Liquor Control boasted that "without one cent of capital, the Department faced the problem of purchasing on credit a sufficient amount of liquor to supply Ohioans with safe, palatable, and legal liquor" (Harrison and Laine 1936, p. 119~. This dependency cre- ated a pattern whereby revenue rather than social control became the guiding concern; indebted to the industry and desperate to generate funds to help finance local government, states found themselves in the position of stimulating demand and participating in what only a few years before was still widely considered "the nefarious trade." The alliance between state government and the liquor industry pro- duced revenues that were often earmarked for special purposes; hos- pitals, schools, drought relief, and mothers' aid all received funds that served to heighten enthusiasm for sales. A trade magazine underscored the industry's own promotion of these benefits (Dobyns 1940, p. 4184. A little child is playing happily in the streets of a big city. With all the strength of a twelve-year-old, he throws the ball against the side of a building. It bounces off his hand on the rebound. Quickly the youth runs after the ball into the middle of the street. Brakes screech wildly. One anguished scream rends the air. Johnny lies unconscious beneath the wheels of a big truck, his two legs broken. Were it not for alcoholic beverages, Johnny might go through life a helpless cripple. Thanks to the revenue derived from liquor taxes, however, the state has been able to build and maintain a large hospital just for cases like this. And this is only one of the many splendid causes to which liquor revenue is put. Publicity has been often given in the past to the so-called evils of liquor while the sale has been, and is, attacked vigorously by varying numbers of drys. Small stress, on the other hand, is given to the enormous benefits derived from liquor taxes. However, the postrepeal rehabilitation of the liquor industry stemmed
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Temperance and Prohibition in America 175 from more than such putative public service. Not only did the manu- facturers of alcohol subsidize indirectly the general welfare, but they also produced a commodity that had become decontaminated. The ex- perience of the lath Amendment endowed drinking with a new prestige, both social and moral. Consumption was exhibited as a badge of tol- erance and civility. Conversely, efforts to regulate availability grew tainted; as Roosevelt had said in his repeal proclamation, the proper interventionist role of the government was limited to "educating every citizen towards temperance." Responsible individual behavior could be encouraged and even taught, but not imposed or coerced. After Pro- hibition, the problems associated with alcohol were seen more and more as ones of personal choice or personal disability. Today the emphasis on individual accountability and the distaste for vigorous governmental action appear more firmly enshrined than ever. Self-care and a corresponding antagonism toward a beneficient "Big Brother" have become tenets of a popular critique of the welfare state. Institutionalized altruism is increasingly perceived as counterproductive, the cause rather than the cure for the ills that afflict us. Overregulation is now a code phrase conjuring up an elaborate set of inept and self- righteous rules, impossible to enforce and corrosive in the sweep of their mandate. Citizens, it follows, are best protected by being left to their own devices. Of course, a basic education for living should be provided. ("Many of the same decision making mechanisms involved in deciding how to use alcohol will be involved in deciding how to drive a car, how to handle finances, when to get married, and how to plan for a future life," Chafetz writes t1974~.) But once such skills have been imparted, then their application depends on free, individual choice. Health has become conceptualized as a duty: "One has an obligation," Leon Kass writes, "to preserve one's own good health. The theory of a right to health flies in the face of good sense, serves to undermine personal responsibility, and in addition, places obligation where it can- not help but be unfulfillable." In this same context, John Knowles groups "sloth, gluttony, alcoholic intemperance, reckless driving, sexual frenzy and smoking" together as at-risk behaviors that people select as part of a personal life-style (Crawford 1978, pp.14-164. But while powerful, this concept that individuals are held accountable for themselves is still not unchallenged. An important countervailing theoretical perspective has emerged. The environmental movement, the antismoking campaign, the protests against atomic power, and the oil companies all have a collective view of hazards. For example, a growing contention is that pollution is so pervasive that individuals cannot avoid being exposed to its hazards.
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176 AARON and MUSTO The political configurations of this alliance are unclear. However, a concern for the social and physical ecology has already led some groups to develop sophisticated lobbying techniques and mobilize successful and massive campaigns of public education. Prohibition will certainly never return. Above and beyond the me- chanical problems of enforcement, it failed originally because it created no stabilizing vested interests. No reform movement can survive unless it is rooted in new institutions. But while extreme forms of controlling consumption of alcohol are utterly lacking in feasibility, there is the chance that state policy may once again assume a more interventionist role. The boundaries between personal and governmental responsibility constantly shift. Although a mass movement to curb drinking will never reemerge, one can conceive that new, extensive regulation of the liquor industry might be integrated into a paradigm of environmental safe- guards and corporate responsibility. Antialcohol organizing reached its pinnacle of influence during his- torical periods in which agitation against the plundering of the social and physical landscape was most intense. Efforts to curb drinking emerged from broad- reformist sentiment. The relative obscurity today of any alcohol control movement may be deceptive. The conditions are present for a revival of widespread interest in the problems of alcohol. No one can predict if such a resurgence of popular concern will, in fact, develop, but the record of the past suggests that movements once thought safely interred do not always remain in their graves. A brief review of the shifting attitudes toward cigarette smoking dem- onstrates how quickly a substance once thought innocuous or even ben- eficial can be redefined as dangerous and deviant. (The material pre- sented here is a synopsis of Nuehring and Markle 1974, and Markle and Troyer 1979.) Cigarettes were brought back to America in the 1850s by tourists returning from England. Smoking was initially tolerated and even endorsed; rations of cigarettes provided to soliders during the Civil War were regarded as crucial to their well-being. By the 1870s, however, cigar manufacturers, wary of competition, attempted to discredit ciga- rette smoking. Lurid accusations were made: cigarettes were laced with opium and the paper bleached with arsenic; the content was derived from garbage and packaged by Chinese lepers. Transformed into a vice, cigarette smoking began to be taken up by the temperance movement; pledges against smoking and drinking were often made together by churchgoers. Cigarettes and drinking were attacked as an evil partner- ship threatening to undermine physical and moral health. Young people were considered especially vulnerable, and delinquency and school fail- ure were often traced directly to indulgence in these dirty and debili-
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Temperance and Prohibition in America 177 sating habits. So widespread was the association between smoking and antisocial behavior that 14 states passed prohibition laws against ciga- rettes during the period 1895 to 1914. For many of the same reasons that the lath Amendment was repealed and drinking returned to respectability, smoking also underwent a re- habilitation in public opinion. By 1927, the bans had all been overturned. By the 1930s, cigarettes were grouped with alcohol as aids to economic revival through their provision of important tax revenues. In addition, smoking along with drinking became raised to the status of the nor- mative. Nonsmokers, just like teetotalers, were suspect as antisocial eccentrics. By the late l950s, the discovery of the link between cancer and cig- arettes began to erode the legitimacy of smoking. But the identification of these risks was incorporated into an assimilative rather than coercive approach. Consumers were to be alerted; once sufficient information was provided, then presumably those smokers, or potential smokers, would abandon or avoid self-destructive behavior. These educative prin- ciples underlay congressional hearings held in 1957 on the hazards of smoking, the antismoking curricula adopted by public schools (Florida passed a law in 1965 requiring students be taught "the adverse health effects of cigarette smoking"), and the Federal Communications Com- mission's decision in 1967 to have warning labels attached to all pack- ages. Such initial efforts, though targeted at the consumer as opposed to the product, nonetheless aroused the deep concerns of a well-organized and powerful industry. Tobacco is the fifth largest cash crop for the entire United States and is probably the best investment of all farm products. The manufacturers have a lobbying arm, the Tobacco Insti- tute, which Senator Edward Kennedy called the most effective in all of Washington. Tobacco has significant alliances with other sectors of the economy (for example, the industry contributed $400 million to adver- tisers in 1977 alone) as well as major links to the federal government. Some $1.3 billion were added to the balance of payments through foreign sales in 1977, and $2.3 billion were paid in excise taxes during the same year. All of these resources, substantial in terms of both money and political capital, were mobilized to defend the position of the industry. Cigarette manufacturers made strenuous efforts to revamp their image. Compa- nies donated funds to a whole range of worthy civic causes, from book- mobiles in poor areas to the production of documentary films about American Indians. Contributions to cancer and heart disease drives were also made; the Tobacco Institute proclaimed that the industry as a whole
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178 AARON and MUSTO was committed to research into tobacco-related health issues, but em- phasized that "the answer to this unsolved problem cannot be side- stepped merely because an apparent statistical association has spot- lighted a convenient though probably innocent suspect" (Nuehring and Markle 1974, p. 523~. Going beyond disclaimers, the industry voluntarily imposed on itself new regulations that restricted appeals to youth. Despite these defensive maneuvers thrown up by the industry, the antismoking movement, far from being placated, has grown increasingly militant and prohibitionist since the middle 1960s. Changes in rhetoric reflect important shifts in the movement's operating premises. As Mar- kle and Troyer (1979) observe, attacks on smoking have taken on a distinctly coercive quality. Smokers, who before were appealed to as unenlightened, are now regarded as noxious. Their habit, once consid- ered a piece of personal behavior that should be voluntarily shed for the good of the smoker, has been redefined as an invasion of the rights of the nonsmoker that must be aggressively resisted. Gaining strength from a general upsurge in public concern for the environment, the an- tismoking movement has declared that freedom of choice, i.e., whether to smoke or not, is as spurious a privilege as that invoked by industrialists dumping pollutants into a river. From this sense that the common good necessarily takes precedence over perverse private satisfaction, stringent laws curtailing smoking have begun to be proposed. Federal regulatory agencies have taken positions in support of the movement, and initiatives on the state level have been widespread. In California, a proposition that would have relegated smoking to the confines of private homes was beaten back after the tobacco industry spent $5.6 million to defeat it. Although a number of parallels between the history of antismoking and antidrinking agitation present themselves, it is not the intention here to enumerate them or to suggest a pattern of rigid correspondence. What must be recognized, however, is that cigarettes once appeared as inviolate to such public discrediting as alcohol now seems to be. The tobacco industry was respectable and politically well connected; smoking was so well accepted in American life that opposition was tantamount to faddism or bigotry. The disintegration of this apparently solid struc- ture of legitimacy resulted from a convergence of forces; growing aware- ness of the hazards of smoking, rising concern about environmental contaminants, the emergence of a cultural style whereby individual pu- rity (the backpacker, the jogger, the natural-food eater) is defined as the feasible span of self-determination. The same constellation of elements may not coalesce in precisely the same way to form a revived antiliquor movement. We must be aware, nonetheless, that cycles of organized opposition to smoking and drinking
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Temperance and Prohibition in America 179 have coincided, and that in the past, many of the same impulses inspired both. The times today are volatile, and one can easily imagine that "moral athleticism"—the term Gusfield applied to the temperance movement~ould once again have a broad appeal. REFERENCES Asbury, H. (1950) The Great illusion: An Informal History of Prohibition. New York: Doubleday. Astor, Lady (1923) The English law relating to the sale of intoxicating liquors. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 109(Sept.~:265-278. Bacon, M. K., Barry, H., and Child, I. L. (1965) A cross cultural study of drinking: II. Relations to other features of culture. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Sup- plement 3:29~8. Banks, A. L. (1917) Ammunition for the Final Drive on Booze. New York: Funk and Wagnall. Barnes, H. E. (1932) Prohibition Versus Civilization: Analyzing the Dry Psychosis. New York: Viking. Binkley, R. C. (1930) Responsible Drinking: A Discreet Inquiry and a Modest Proposal. New York: Vanguard. Blocker, J. S. (1976) Retreat from Reform. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. Braeman, J., Bremner, R., and Walters, E., eds. (1964) Change and Continuity in Twen- tieth-Century America. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. Braeman, J., Bremner, R., and Brody, D., eds. (1968) Change and Continuity in Twen- tieth-Century America: The 1920's. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. Catlin, E. G. (1932) Alternatives to prohibition. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 163(Sept.~:181-187. Chafetz, M. E. (1974) The prevention of alcoholism in the United States utilizing cultural and education forces. Preventive Medicine 3(Mar.~:5-10. Cherrington, E. H. (1920) Evolution of Prohibition in the United States of America. Westerville, Ohio: American Issue Press. Clark' N. H. (1976) Deliver Us From Evil: An Interpretation of American Prohibition. New York: Norton. Crawford, R. (1978) You are dangerous to your health. Social Policy 8~4~:10-20. Darrow, C., and Yarros, V. S. (1927) The Prohibition Mania: A Reply to Professor Irving Fisher and Others. New York: Boni and Liveright. Dobyns, F. (1940) The Amazing Story of Repeal: An Expose of the Power of Propaganda. Chicago: Willett, Clark & Co. Durkheim, E. (1972) Selected Writings. A. Giddens, ed. and trans. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edwards, J. (1847) Temperance Manual. New York: American Tract Society. Emerson, H. (1932) Prohibition and mortality and morbidity. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 163(Sept.):53-60. Feldman, H. (1927) Prohibition: Its Economic and industrial Aspects. New York: Ap- pleton. Filstead, W. J., ed. (1972) An Introduction to Deviance: Readings in the Process of Making Deviants. Chicago: Markham. Fisk, E. L. (1923) Relationship of alcohol to society and citizenship. Annals of the Amer- ican Academy of Political and Social Science 109(Sept.):1-14.
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180 AARON and MUSTO Frankfurter, F. (1923) A national policy for enforcement of Prohibition. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 109(Sept.~:193-195. Furnas, J. C. (1965) The Life and Times of the Late Demon Rum. New York: Putnam. Goldman, A. (1979) Grass Roots: Marijuana in America Today. New York: Harper & Row. Grant, E. A. (1932) The liquor traffic before the Eighteenth Amendment. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 163(Sept.~:1-9. Gusfield, J. (1963) Symbolic Crusade: Status Politics and the American Temperance Move- ment. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Harrison, L. V., and Laine' E. (1936) After Repeal: A Study of Liquor Control Admin- istration. New York: Harper. Hearst Temperance Contest Committee (1929) Temperance—or Prohibition? New York: J. J. Little and Ives Co. Kobler, J. (1973) Ardent Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Putnam. Koren, J. (1923) Inherent frailties of Prohibition. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 109(Sept.~:52-61. Krout, J. A. (1925) The Origins of Prohibition. New York: Knopf. Laseh, G. (1979) The Culture of Narcissism. New York: Norton. Levine, H. (1978) Discovery of addiction: Changing conceptions of habitual drunkenness in America. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 39~1~:143-174. Levine, H. (1979) The inventors of alcohol control: Alternatives to prohibition from the Committee of Fifty to the Rockefeller Commission. Draft manuscript, Social Research Group, School of Public Health, University of California' Berkeley. London, J. (1913) John Barleycorn. New York: Century. MaeAndrew, C., and Edgerton, R. B. (1969) Drunken Comportment: A Social Expla- nation. Chicago: Aldine. Markle, G., and Troyer, R. (1979) Smoke gets in your eyes: Cigarette smoking as deviant behavior. Social Problems 26~5~:612~23. Nuehring, E., and Markle, G. (1974) Nicotine and norms. Social Problems 21~2~:513-526. Pearson, C. C., and Hendricks, J. E. (1967) Liquor and Anti-Liquor in Virigina, 1916- 1919. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. Room, R. (1974) Governing images and the prevention of alcohol problems. Preventive Medicine 3~1~:11-23. Rorabaugh, W. J. (1979) The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition. New York: Oxford University Press. Rothman, D. (1971) The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic. Boston: Little, Brown. Roueehe, B. (1960) The Neutral Spirit: A Portrait of Alcohol. Boston: Little, Brown. Rush, B. (1814) An Inquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits upon the Human Body and Mind, 8th ea., with additions. Brookfield, Mass.: B. Merriam. Sinclair, A. (1962) Prohibition: The Era of Excess. Boston: Little, Brown. Sinclair, U. (1956) The Cup of Fury. Great Neck, N.Y.: Channel Press. Stayton, W. H. (1923) Our experiment in national Prohibition. What progress has it made? Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 109(Sept.~:26- 38. Stout, C. T. (1921) The Eighteenth Amendment. New York: Mitchell and Kennerly. Timberlake, J. H. (1963) Prohibition and the Progressive Movement, 1900-1920. Cam- bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Tomkins, F. W. (1923) Prohibition. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 109(Sept.~: 15-25.
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Temperance and Prohibition in America 181 U.S. Department of Commerce. (1923) Statistical Abstract of the United States 1922. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce. Van den Haag, E. (1975) Punishing Criminals: Concerning a Very Old and Painful Ques- tion. New York: Basic Books. Warburton, C. (1932) Prohibition and economic welfare. Annals of theAmerican Academy of Political and Social Science 163(Sept.~:89-97. Warner, R. H., and Rossett, H. L. (1975) The effects of drinking on offspring: An historical survey of the American and British literature. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 36~11~: 139541420. Woods, R. A. (1923) Notes about Prohibition from the background. Annals of the Amer- ican Academy of Political and Social Science 109(Sept.~:121-132.
Representative terms from entire chapter: