Anti-Prohibition Organizations (Wet Groups) Repeal Organizations

In an effort to prevent ratification of the 18th Amendment, some activists had formed anti-Prohibition organizations. (The 18th Amendment established National Prohibition.)

        Overview

I.   Drys

II.  Wets

III. Prohibition Problems

IV.  Resources

Nevertheless, a majority of people supported National Prohibition (1920-1933) when it went into effect. They wanted it to be successful.

I. Drys

However, Prohibition quickly began creating serious problems. Therefore, Prohibition supporters (drys) wanted to de-emphasize the growing opposition to the Noble Experiment.

For example, Ella Boole, the president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) made a bold assertion to Congress. She said ‘I speak for the women of America.’ Thus, she implied that all women in the country agreed with the WCTU and supported Prohibition.

II. Wets

On the other hand anti-Prohibition (wet) U.S. Representative George Tinkham wanted to emphasize that many Americans strongly opposed it. So early during Prohibition (1922), he called Anti-Saloon League leader Wayne Wheeler to testify before a House committee.

There he compelled Wheeler to read aloud a list of anti-Prohibition organizations. There were already many. And opposition would grow over time. So did the number of groups favoring Repeal. They included the following.

III. Prohibition Problems

With the passage of time, the serious problems caused by Prohibition increased. Crime went up. Violence increased. Corruption spread. Deaths from toxic moonshine skyrocketed. Binge drinking became common. Tax revenues dropped. Criminal justice expenses rose. Respect for law declined. And the list went on.

The promises of Prohibition went unfilled. But the serious unintended consequences quickly grew. Opposition to Prohibition mushroomed. It culminated in Prohibition’s Repeal.

IV. Resources on anti-Prohibition organizations

Anti-Prohibition Organizations. In: Cherrington, E., et al (Eds.) Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem, v. 1. Westerville, OH: Am Issue, 1925, p. 175.

Association Opposed To National Prohibition To Go Into Politics.  Lewiston Daily Sun, Sept 8, 1919, p. 3.

Kyvig, D. Repealing National Prohibition. Chicago: U Chicago Press, 1979.

Okrent, D. Last Call. The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. NY: Scribner, 2010.

Rose, K. American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition. NY: NYU Press, 1997.