National Conference of Organizations Supporting the 18th Amendment

National Conference of Organizations Supporting the 18th Amendment.

Opposition to National Prohibition that grew very strong by the late 1920s. In response, the National Temperance Council met in Washington, D.C., in 1930. It hoped to counter the threat it posed. The 34 organizations composing the National Temperance Council re-organized. They formed the National Conference of Organizations Supporting the 18th Amendment.

The organization included all the major temperance groups, including these.

Anti-Saloon League (ASL)

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)

World League Against Alcoholism

Flying Squadron Foundation

Woman’s National Committee for Law Enforcement

Board of Temperance, Prohibition & Public Morals

Bishop James Cannon

National Conference of Organizations Supporting the 18th AmendmentThe only major leader not in attendance was Bishop James Cannon Jr.  He was scandalized. He had been forced to defend himself before a Senate committee. The charges were financial corruption as a lobbyist. He also had to defend himself before the General Conference of the Methodist Church.  The charges were immoral sexual conduct. He had a sexual affair with his church secretary. Cannon was a married man. He also had to defend himself before a federal grand jury. The charges were conspiring to violate the Federal Corrupt Practices Act. He had illegally hoarded flour during WW I.

When he appeared before the Senate, Cannon used a crutch. It was said that he did not need it. It was viewed as a ploy for sympathy.

Clergy vs Laypeople

An unsuccessful attempt was made by lay members to be included in the leadership of the National Conference of Organizations Supporting the 18th Amendment. They wanted to be on equal terms with members of the clergy.

In executive session the leadership voted against any type or form of referendum on National Prohibition. It claimed this was “unauthorized, unconstitutional and unprecedented.” The Conference also opposed supporting the Prohibition Party or any other third party in the 1932 election.

More information on the  National Conference of Organizations Supporting the 18th Amendment exists. See “Dry Caucus,”  Time, Dec 22, 1930. Also “In Cadle Tabernacle,” Time, July 18, 1932. On-line and at some libraries.