Prohibition

An important fact often omitted from discussions of prohibition is that most of the United States had adopted it locally before the American people adopted it as a national policy. Prohibition had advanced step by step from its adoption by Maine in 1851 to its adoption by Kentucky in 1919. Consequently, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States became effective in 1920, the sale of intoxicating liquor for beverage purposes was already prohibited in the District of Columbia, in thirtythree states, and in many parts of other states. In short, approximately seventy-two millions of the American people, and at least sixty-eight per cent of the entire population, were living then in "dry" territory. Consequently, prohibition was not in 1920 an untried experiment; it already had in this country an extensive history.

Another important fact deserving to be considered in all discussions of the present subject is that the United States Supreme Court has consistently and repeatedly upheld prohibitory legislation as resting on a sound basis in public policy. For in in one decision, given in 1917, this court said, "It must now be regarded as settled that, on account of their well-known noxious qualities and the extraordinary evils shown by experience commonly to be consequent upon their use, a state has power absolutely to prohibit manufacture, gift, purchase, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors, within its borders" (Crane V. Campbell, 245 U. S. Reports 304).

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Editorial
Running Our Race
May 14, 1932
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