Repeal Leaders of Prohibition in the United States

Would there ever be a time when Prohibition would not be popular? And that Repeal leaders would emerge?

The vision of National Prohibition (1920-1933) was beautiful. Lower crime, poverty, violence, disease, and early death. There would be increased prosperity, health, and happiness.

Yet the vision promised by prohibitionists was only an illusion. Prohibition failed to reach any of its goals. Worse, it created serious problems.

As time passed, more and more people became disillusioned. They began calling for the revision or even the repeal of Prohibition. Pro-Prohibition groups fought the tide. Their efforts were futile. Voters finally rejected Prohibition by three to one.

List of Some Major Repeal Leaders

repeal leaders
Pauline Sabin, one of the major Repeal leaders.
    • Sewell Avery (head of Montgomery Ward).
    • Nicholas Murray Butler (diplomat and president of Columbia U).
    • Robert K. Cassatt (banker).
    • Joseph H. Chaote, Jr. (lawyer).
    • Fred G. Clark (president of oil and insurance firms).
    • Julian Codman (lawyer).
    • Henry H. Curran (prominent NYC politician).
    • Cleveland H. Dodge (a leader of Phelps Dodge Corp.)
    • Lammot du Pont II (head  of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for 22 years).
    • Pierre S. du Pont (head of the E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for five years. Later president of General Motors).
    • William Faulkner (writer).
    • Marshall Field III (founder, Chicago Sun).
    • M. Louise Gross (activist; prominent in Democratic Party).
    • Henry B. Joy (head of Packard Motor).
    • Robert R. McCormick (publisher of the Chicago Tribune).
    • John Campbell Merriam  (president of the Carnegie Institute).
    • Grayson Murphy (private banker; director).
    • Thomas W. Phillips, Jr. (businessman; active in Republican Party).
    • John J. Raskob (financier;  aGeneral Motors leader ).
    • Col. Ira Reeves (army; former federal prohibition enforcement official).
    • Pauline Sabin  (socialite and opinion leader).
    • Charles Scribner, III (publisher).
    • Jouett Shouse (publisher and political leader).
    • Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (head and chair of GM).
    • Captain William H. Stayton (naval officer).
    • James W. Wadsworth, Jr. (member U.S. House).
    • Matthew Woll (vice president of AFL-CIO).

These Repeal leaders all had high positions in Repeal organizations.

Repeal Leaders


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    • Gasper, L. The Movement for Repeal, 1926-1933. Bowling Green State U., 1949.
    • Graymont, B. Prohibition and Repeal. U. Chicago, 1959.
    • Leeman, R.  Rhetoric of Prohibition and Repeal. U. MD, 1982.
    • Schaller, T. The Case of Prohibition-Repeal. Yale U., 1997.
    • Weise, C.  The Political Economy of Prohibition and Repeal. Auburn U., 1998.