President Roosevelt signs the Beer Bill at a ceremony in the Cabinet Room. The Washington Post described Roosevelt’s signing of the Beer Bill as “a dramatic finale to that weird American epic” of Prohibition.

Notable Men of Prohibition

  • Prohibition saw the rise of several notable names. On the pro-prohibition side, names like Wayne Wheeler, Carrie Nation, and Billy Sunday gained fame for their efforts to outlaw alcohol. Meanwhile, on the anti-prohibition side, figures like Al Capone, Meyer Lansky and George Remus became infamous for their involvement in bootlegging and organized crime.

    Some of the major men of the Prohibition era included:

Eliot Ness

Portrait of Eliot Ness, Director of Cleveland Federal Alcohol Tax Bureau, formerly of the FBI. 07 Oct 1936, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Ness was an American law enforcement official who is best known for his work as the leader of a team of Prohibition agents known as the Untouchables. Ness was born on April 19, 1903, in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in a middle-class family. He attended the University of Chicago, where he studied business administration and worked as a salesman before joining the Bureau of Prohibition in 1927.

The Prohibition era in the United States, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, was marked by a nationwide ban on the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol. The prohibition was an attempt to combat the perceived social ills associated with alcohol consumption. However, the law was widely flouted, and organized crime syndicates took advantage of the lucrative black market for alcohol. Eliot Ness was tasked with combating these organized crime syndicates.

Ness quickly rose through the ranks of the Bureau of Prohibition and was appointed the special agent in charge of the Chicago division in 1929. He began to assemble a team of agents who were dedicated to fighting organized crime and corruption in Chicago. This team became known as the Untouchables because they were considered to be incorruptible.

Ness and the Untouchables worked to shut down speakeasies and breweries and to arrest bootleggers and other criminals involved in the illegal alcohol trade. They also worked to expose corrupt police officers and politicians who were in cahoots with the criminal underworld. In this role, Ness became determined to take down Al Capone, one of the most notorious gangsters of the era, who was running a large-scale bootlegging operation in Chicago. Ness assembled a team of agents who were known for their honesty and integrity, and together they became known as “The Untouchables” because they could not be bought or bribed by Capone or his associates.

Ness and his team carried out a number of successful raids on Capone’s operations, seizing large amounts of illegal alcohol and shutting down some of his breweries and distilleries. However, Capone remained elusive, and Ness was unable to get the evidence he needed to convict him of any major crimes. In 1931, Ness received a tip-off that Capone had hidden a large stash of money in a safe at a local hotel. Ness and his team raided the hotel and discovered the safe, which contained $200,000 in cash. This was a major blow to Capone’s operation, as it was a significant amount of money in those days. Ness continued to pursue Capone, and in 1932 he was finally able to get the evidence he needed to convict him of tax evasion. Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison and Ness became a national hero for his role in taking down one of the most notorious gangsters in American history. Ness’s work with the Untouchables made him a national celebrity, and he became the subject of numerous books, movies, and television shows.

In Cleveland, Ness again made headlines for his work to combat organized crime. He was credited with cleaning up the city’s police department and shutting down illegal gambling operations. He also oversaw the investigation of the notorious Cleveland Torso Murderer, a serial killer who was responsible for at least twelve murders in the city.  He resigned from the Bureau of Prohibition in 1936 and worked for several years as a consultant for the federal government before becoming the director of public safety for the city of Cleveland, Ohio, in 1938. He died on May 16, 1957, at the age of 54, from a heart attack.

While Ness is best known for his work with the Untouchables, he also made significant contributions to law enforcement and public safety in other capacities. He was a strong advocate for the use of scientific methods in criminal investigations and was one of the first law enforcement officials to use polygraph tests in investigations. He was also a pioneer in the field of traffic safety, working to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities through education and law enforcement.

Neal Dow

Neal Dow, daguerreotype

Neal Dow (1804-1897) was an American prohibitionist, politician, and social reformer who played a significant role in the temperance movement in the United States. Dow became an influential figure in the state’s political and social scene and became known as the “Father of Prohibition.”  Dow was born in Portland, Maine, in 1804, the  the son of a Quaker father and Congregationalist mother, growing up in a family that was deeply involved in the shipping industry. Dow’s early life was marked by tragedy, as he lost both of his parents by the time he was thirteen years old. Despite these hardships, he managed to attend Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, studying both classics and the law. He was admitted to the bar in 1828. However, he soon became disillusioned with the legal profession and turned his attention to politics and social reform. Dow was particularly influential in his home state of Maine, where he served as mayor of Portland from 1851 to 1852 and again from 1855 to 1856.

It was during his first term as mayor that Dow became increasingly concerned about the social and economic problems associated with alcohol consumption. He witnessed first hand the devastation caused by alcoholism, including poverty, domestic violence, and crime. Dow became convinced that the only way to address these problems was to prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol altogether. Also while serving as mayor, Dow made his greatest contribution to social reform by spearheading the passage of a statewide prohibition law, known as the Maine Law.

The Maine Law, which went into effect in 1851, was the first state law in the United States to prohibit the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. The law was controversial and sparked heated debates across the country, with supporters praising it as a victory for morality and temperance, and opponents decrying it as an infringement on personal liberty and an attack on the alcohol industry. Despite the controversy, the Maine Law was a resounding success, and it inspired other states to pass similar legislation. By 1855, twelve states had passed prohibition laws, and by the end of the century, over half of the states in the US had some form of alcohol prohibition.

Dow’s success in promoting temperance and social reform made him a national figure, and he became a prominent advocate for various causes, including women’s suffrage, abolitionism, and prison reform. He also played a key role in founding the Prohibition Party, which was dedicated to promoting temperance and prohibition. He was a member of the Free Soil Party, which opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories. He also served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1860, where he supported the nomination of Abraham Lincoln for president.

After the Civil War, Dow continued to be active in politics and social reform. He served as a member of the Maine State Legislature and was appointed as the U.S. consul to the Italian city of Genoa. He was also involved in the founding of the National Temperance Society and Publication House, which published literature in support of the temperance movement. He also became involved in national politics, serving as the Prohibition Party’s candidate for president in 1880. Although he did not win the election, Dow’s candidacy helped to raise awareness of the temperance movement and its goals. He continued to advocate for temperance until his death in 1897. 

Despite his many achievements, Dow’s legacy is somewhat complicated. While he was certainly a champion of social reform and an advocate for the rights of women and minorities, his approach to the issue of alcohol consumption has been criticized for its heavy-handedness. Critics argue that prohibition did more harm than good, leading to an increase in organized crime and the rise of dangerous black markets. However, his contributions to the cause of social reform cannot be denied, and his legacy continues to inspire and motivate those who seek to make the world a better place.

Rev. Dr. Lyman Beecher

Rev. Dr. Lyman Beecher photo by Mathew B. Brady

Rev. Dr. Lyman Beecher was a prominent American Presbyterian minister, theologian, and social reformer who lived from 1775 to 1863. He is considered one of the most influential religious leaders of the 19th century in the United States, and his work had a profound impact on the development of American theology, education, and social policy.

Beecher was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on October 12, 1775. He was the son of David Beecher, a blacksmith, and Esther Hawley Lyman, a descendant of one of the earliest Puritan settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and was the second of twelve children. Beecher grew up in a devoutly religious family and was educated at home by his mother until he entered Yale College at the age of 18. After graduating from Yale in 1797, Beecher studied theology at the Litchfield Law School and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1799. 

Beecher was a Congregationalist, a denomination that emerged in New England during the 17th century. Congregationalists believed that each local church should be independent and self-governing, with no hierarchy or central authority. Beecher was a staunch defender of this tradition and believed that it was the best way to preserve the freedom and autonomy of the church.

Beecher’s first pastorate was in East Hampton, Long Island, where he served from 1799 to 1810. He then moved to Litchfield, Connecticut, where he served as pastor of the Congregational Church from 1810 to 1826. During his time in Litchfield, Beecher became a leading figure in the revival movement known as the Second Great Awakening. He preached powerful sermons that emphasized the need for personal conversion and a deepening of religious faith. Beecher also served as president of Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1832.

Beecher, who would have no truck with “Sabbath-breakers, rum-selling, tippling folk, infidels and ruff-scuff,” and whose move in 1810 from East Hampton, long Island, to Litchfield, Connecticut, is accepted by some historians as the real and proper beginning of the temperance movement in America. Soon afterward Dr. Beecher began his famous series of six sermons against the evils of selling or drinking alcohol and insisted that  Drunkenness is a sin which excludes [one] from Heaven.

During his long career, Beecher was a tireless advocate for social reform and worked to promote temperance, abolition, and education. He was a vocal opponent of slavery and helped to found the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. His speeches and writings on the subject were influential in shaping public opinion and helping to bring about the end of slavery in the United States.

In addition to his work as a religious leader and social reformer, Beecher was also a prolific author and speaker. He wrote many books on theology and education, including “A Plea for the West” and “Lectures on Political Atheism.” His speeches and sermons were renowned for their power and eloquence, and he was a popular lecturer and public speaker throughout his career.

One of Beecher’s most important contributions to American theology was his emphasis on the importance of moral and social reform as an integral part of Christian faith. He believed that Christianity was not only a personal spiritual experience but also a social and political force that could be used to transform society and promote justice and equality.

Beecher’s ideas about education were also groundbreaking. He believed that education should be accessible to everyone, regardless of social class or background, and that it should be focused on developing moral character and practical skills rather than just intellectual knowledge. He was instrumental in the founding of many schools and colleges throughout the United States, including the American Education Society, which provided financial support to aspiring ministers.

Despite his many accomplishments, Beecher was not without controversy. His strong opinions on social and political issues often put him at odds with other religious leaders and political figures, and his support for abolition and temperance made him a target of criticism and ridicule. He was also accused of being too liberal in his theology and was often criticized by more conservative members of the Presbyterian Church.

Nevertheless, Beecher’s legacy as a religious leader, social reformer, and educator continues to be felt in the United States today. His ideas about the role of Christianity in promoting social justice and equality have inspired generations of activists and reformers, and his contributions to American theology and education have helped to shape the country’s intellectual and moral landscape.

Wayne Bidwell Wheeler

Wayne Bidwell Wheeler

Wayne Wheeler was an American lawyer and political activist who played a pivotal role in the passage of the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, which established Prohibition in the United States. Wheeler was the general counsel of the Anti-Saloon League (ASL), a powerful lobbying group that worked tirelessly to advance the temperance movement and secure the nationwide prohibition of alcohol.

Born on November 10, 1869, in Brookfield, Wisconsin, he was the son of a carpenter and a schoolteacher. He graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1894 and later received a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1898. Wheeler is best known for his leadership of the Anti-Saloon League (ASL), an organization that played a crucial role in the passage of the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States.

Wheeler began his career as a lawyer in Ohio, where he became involved in the temperance movement. In 1902, he was hired by the ASL as its general counsel, and he quickly rose through the ranks to become the organization’s executive secretary in 1904. As the head of the ASL, Wheeler worked tirelessly to promote the prohibition of alcohol, which he saw as a moral imperative and a way to protect American families from the dangers of alcoholism. Under Wheeler’s leadership, the ASL became one of the most powerful political organizations in the United States, with a membership that numbered in the millions. The organization used a variety of tactics to promote its agenda, including lobbying politicians, organizing grassroots campaigns, and publishing pamphlets and other materials that highlighted the negative effects of alcohol on society. Wheeler was a skilled orator and debater, and he often used his charisma and persuasive abilities to sway public opinion in favor of the ASL’s goals.

Wheeler’s most notable achievement came in 1919, when the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, establishing Prohibition in the United States.  The amendment made it illegal to produce, transport, or sell alcoholic beverages in the United States, and it remained in effect until it was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933. The amendment was the culmination of decades of work by the temperance movement, and it was a major victory for Wheeler and the ASL. However, the implementation of Prohibition proved to be more difficult than its advocates had anticipated, and it led to a host of unintended consequences, including the rise of organized crime, the proliferation of speakeasies and illegal drinking establishments, and a decline in tax revenue for the government.

Wheeler’s work on behalf of the ASL was instrumental in gaining public support for the prohibition movement and convincing lawmakers to take action on the issue. Despite these challenges, Wheeler remained a staunch defender of Prohibition, and he continued to work tirelessly to enforce the law and promote the temperance cause. He was a fierce opponent of the liquor industry, and he used his legal expertise to prosecute bootleggers and other violators of Prohibition.  Wheeler was not without his critics. Some accused him of using unethical or illegal tactics to advance his agenda, including bribery and coercion of lawmakers. Others argued that prohibition was an overreach of government power that did more harm than good, leading to the rise of organized crime and other negative consequences.

After the repeal of prohibition, Wheeler remained active in the temperance movement, working to promote other causes such as tobacco control and the regulation of alcohol advertising. He died in 1927 at the age of 57, but his legacy as a champion of the prohibition movement and a powerful political organizer continues to be felt in American politics today.

In conclusion, Wheeler was an influential figure in American politics during the early 20th century. As the leader of the Anti-Saloon League, he played a crucial role in the passage of the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the production, sale, and transport of alcoholic beverages in the United States. While his tactics and methods were controversial, there is no doubt that Wheeler was a skilled political organizer and a passionate advocate for his cause. His legacy continues to be felt in American politics today, and he remains a significant figure in the history of the temperance movement.

William Eugene “Pussyfoot” Johnson

William Eugene "Pussyfoot" Johnson 

William “Pussyfoot” Johnson was an American social activist and temperance reformer born on March 25, 1862, in Coventry, New York,  He was a well-known prohibition advocate during the early 20th century, famous for his unconventional methods of promoting abstinence from alcohol. He earned the nickname “Pussyfoot” for his gentle approach to the cause, which was a contrast to the more militant tactics of some other prohibitionists of his time.

Johnson’s early life was marked by tragedy, as his father died when he was just a boy. He left school early and worked odd jobs to support his family. Eventually, he moved to Kansas City, where he became involved in the temperance movement. He gained notoriety for his unique approach to the cause, which included dressing up in disguises and entering saloons to speak with patrons about the dangers of alcohol. He would often wear a fake beard, a wig, and glasses to conceal his identity.

Johnson believed that alcohol was a scourge on society and that its consumption was responsible for a wide range of social problems, including poverty, crime, and violence. He was particularly concerned about the impact of alcohol on women and children, and he frequently cited statistics on the number of domestic violence incidents and child abuse cases that were linked to alcohol abuse.

In 1907, Johnson became the superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of America in Kansas. His unique approach to the cause helped him gain attention and support from a wide range of people, including religious leaders, politicians, and ordinary citizens. He was often described as a persuasive and charismatic speaker, who was able to connect with people from all walks of life.

He quickly became a prominent figure in the league, known for his zealous advocacy of the cause. He was instrumental in the passage of the 18th Amendment, which banned the sale, transportation, and production of alcohol in the United States. One of Johnson’s most famous campaigns was the “clean-up week” in Topeka, Kansas, in 1909. He led a group of volunteers who went door-to-door in the city, asking residents to sign a pledge promising not to drink alcohol for a week. The campaign was a huge success, with thousands of people signing the pledge and many businesses agreeing to stop selling alcohol for the week.

After the passage of Prohibition in 1919, Johnson became known for his extreme tactics in enforcing the new laws. He would often dress up in disguises and raid speakeasies and other locations where alcohol was being illegally sold. He was also known to carry a large axe, which he would use to smash bottles of alcohol.

Johnson’s aggressive tactics earned him both praise and criticism. Supporters of Prohibition hailed him as a hero, while critics denounced him as a fanatic and a bully. Johnson himself relished in the controversy, often posing for photos with his axe and boasting of his exploits in the media. Johnson’s methods were not always well-received, however. He was frequently targeted by anti-prohibitionists, who saw him as a threat to their way of life. He was often physically attacked and had to be escorted by police officers for his own safety. Despite his efforts, Prohibition was largely unsuccessful in curbing alcohol consumption in the United States. The ban on alcohol led to the rise of organized crime, as bootleggers and other criminals took advantage of the high demand for illegal alcohol. Prohibition was also widely ignored by many Americans, who continued to drink and sell alcohol in defiance of the law.

In 1929, Johnson retired from his position as national superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League. Despite the opposition, Johnson continued to advocate for temperance throughout his life. He traveled extensively, speaking at rallies and meetings across the country. He also wrote several books on the subject, including “The Evolution of Prohibition in the United States” and “The Path of Prohibition.”

Johnson died on March 23, 1945, in Kansas City, Missouri, at the age of 82. He is remembered as a pioneer of the temperance movement and a tireless advocate for the cause of prohibition. His legacy lives on in the many organizations and individuals who continue to fight against alcohol abuse and its negative impact on society.

Andrew Volstead

Congressman Andrew Volstead of Minnesota

Andrew Volstead was an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1903 to 1923. He was born on October 31, 1860, in Kenyon, Minnesota, and died on January 20, 1947, in Granite Falls, Minnesota. Although Volstead served in Congress for 20 years, he is best known for sponsoring the National Prohibition Act, which became commonly known as the Volstead Act.

Volstead was born in Kenyon, Minnesota in 1860 to Norwegian immigrants, and his family was deeply involved in the Lutheran Church. Volstead was raised on a farm and received his education in local schools before attending St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and after completing his studies, he taught school for several years. In 1888, he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Granite Falls, Minnesota.

Volstead entered politics in 1893 when he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1893. In 1903, he was elected to the Minnesota Senate, and in 1908, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. During his time in Congress, Volstead was a staunch supporter of the temperance movement, which advocated for the prohibition of alcohol in the United States.

In 1917, Volstead introduced the National Prohibition Act, which was designed to enforce the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol in the United States. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment and defined what constituted illegal liquor. Volstead himself was not a teetotaler and did not believe in Prohibition as a moral issue. Instead, he saw it as a practical solution to a problem that he believed was damaging to American society. He argued that alcohol was responsible for many of the social problems of the time, including poverty, crime, and domestic violence. He also believed that Prohibition would be good for farmers, who would be able to use their grain to make industrial alcohol instead of alcoholic beverages.

The Volstead Act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on October 28, 1919, and went into effect on January 16, 1920. The Act was immediately controversial and unpopular, and it quickly became apparent that it would be difficult to enforce. Bootleggers and speakeasies proliferated, and organized crime syndicates grew rich from the illegal sale of alcohol. The Volstead Act remained in effect until 1933, when it was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution. Although the Act was widely criticized for its role in creating a black market for alcohol and increasing organized crime, it remains a symbol of the temperance movement and the fight for prohibition in the United States. Despite the controversy surrounding the Volstead Act, Andrew Volstead remained popular in his home state of Minnesota. He was reelected to Congress six times before being defeated in the 1922 election. After leaving Congress, Volstead returned to his law practice in Granite Falls, Minnesota. He also served as a special counsel to the Minnesota Attorney General from 1924 to 1928.

In addition to the Volstead Act, Volstead was involved in a number of other significant pieces of legislation during his time in Congress. He was a champion of agricultural interests and was instrumental in passing the Smith-Lever Act, which created the Cooperative Extension Service to provide education and technical assistance to farmers. He also helped to pass the National Park Service Organic Act, which created the National Park Service to manage and protect the country’s national parks.

Volstead was known for his strict adherence to his principles and for his honesty and integrity. He was a deeply religious man and was a member of the Lutheran Church. He was married and had two children. In addition to his political career, Volstead was an active member of the Lutheran Church and a supporter of education. He served as a member of the board of trustees of St. Olaf College and was a founder of the Granite Falls Hospital Association. After leaving Congress, Volstead returned to Minnesota and resumed his law practice. He remained active in politics and was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1936. He died in Granite Falls, Minnesota in 1947, at the age of 86.

William Ashley “Billy” Sunday

Billy Sunday, ca. 1910.

Billy Sunday was an American athlete turned evangelist who played a significant role in the religious revivals that swept through the United States in the early 20th century. Sunday was born in Ames, Iowa, on November 19, 1862, to a poverty-stricken family, and his childhood was marked by hardship and struggle. His father died when he was just a few months old. His mother later remarried, and Sunday grew up in a strict Methodist household. He left home at the age of 15 to work as a farmhand, and later as a professional baseball player.

Sunday found success as a professional baseball player in the late 19th century, playing for a couple of teams. His career began in 1883 when he signed with the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs) as an outfielder. He played for the team for five seasons before being traded to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now the Pittsburgh Pirates) in 1888.  During his time with the Alleghenys, Sunday played primarily as a center fielder and was known for his speed and base-stealing ability. In 1890, he had a career-high batting average of .261, and he retired from baseball the following year due to a knee injury.

Sunday’s career in baseball ended in 1891 when he retired to pursue a career in evangelism. He had undergone a religious conversion while attending a revival meeting in Chicago, and he felt called to devote his life to spreading the gospel. Sunday’s career in baseball helped him develop a reputation as a charismatic and entertaining performer. Sunday began his preaching career as an assistant to evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman, and he quickly developed a following of his own. Sunday’s preaching style was energetic and dramatic, and he drew large crowds wherever he went. He was known for his powerful voice and his ability to use humor and storytelling to captivate his audience. Sunday’s sermons often focused on the themes of sin and salvation, and he urged his listeners to embrace a life of faith and righteousness. Sunday often used visual aids such as charts, graphs, and maps to illustrate his points, and he was known for his use of slogans and catchy phrases, such as “The Sawdust Trail” (a term for the path of conversion), “Hitting the Sawdust Trail” (to describe the act of conversion), and “Booze, Bibles, and Bullets” (to describe the vices that he believed were plaguing American society).

Sunday’s popularity grew throughout the early 1900s, and he became one of the most famous evangelists of his time. He preached in large cities and small towns across the country, and his revivals often lasted for weeks or even months. Sunday’s message of salvation resonated with many Americans, especially during a time of social and economic upheaval. Sunday was also known for his outspoken views on social issues. He was a vocal opponent of alcohol, and he often spoke out against the evils of drinking and drunkenness. Sunday was a prominent supporter of the temperance movement, which sought to outlaw the sale and consumption of alcohol. He believed that alcohol was a major contributor to crime and poverty, and he argued that prohibition was necessary to promote public morality and social order.

Sunday’s preaching career came to an end in the 1930s, and he died on November 6, 1935, in Chicago. Although he is often remembered today as a controversial figure, his impact on American society cannot be denied. He played a significant role in shaping the religious and moral landscape of his time, and his legacy continues to be felt today.

In many ways, Sunday embodied the contradictions and complexities of American culture in the early 20th century. He was a product of his time, shaped by the social, economic, and political forces that were transforming the country. His preaching reflected the anxieties and aspirations of many Americans, who were struggling to make sense of a rapidly changing world. At the same time, Sunday’s legacy is marked by controversy and debate. His outspoken views on social issues, particularly his support for prohibition, have been criticized by many as simplistic and misguided. Some have accused him of promoting a narrow and intolerant version of Christianity, one that was at odds with the pluralistic and diverse society of modern America.

Ernest H. Cherrington

Ernest Cherrington © Westerville Public Library

Ernest Cherrington was an American writer, social activist, and prohibition advocate who was born on November 5, 1877, in Ashland, Ohio. He spent much of his life campaigning for the temperance movement and writing about alcohol and drug addiction, earning him recognition as one of the most influential advocates of the prohibition era in the United States. His tireless efforts to promote sobriety and clean living earned him a reputation as a passionate and effective public speaker, and he was respected by his peers as an expert on the dangers of alcoholism and drug abuse.

Cherrington attended Ohio University, where he received a degree in journalism in 1899. He then moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a journalist for several years. 

Cherrington began his career as a journalist, working for various newspapers in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including the Akron Beacon Journal, the Pittsburgh Dispatch, and the Pittsburgh Post. During this time, he became interested in the temperance movement and began writing articles about the dangers of alcohol and the need for prohibition. In 1903, he became the editor of the Christian Endeavor World, a popular magazine for young people that promoted sobriety and religious faith. In 1904, Cherrington was appointed as the National Secretary of the Anti-Saloon League of America (ASL), a powerful lobbying organization that sought to outlaw the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the United States. He quickly rose to prominence within the organization, becoming one of its most influential leaders and advocates. He traveled extensively throughout the country, speaking to large crowds and raising public awareness about the dangers of alcoholism and the benefits of prohibition.

In 1906, he became the editor of the national temperance magazine, The American Issue, and he remained in that position for nearly three decades. During his time as editor of The American Issue, Cherrington became one of the leading figures in the temperance movement. He was a passionate advocate for Prohibition, the nationwide ban on the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol that was in effect in the United States from 1920 to 1933. He believed that alcohol was a major cause of social problems such as poverty, crime, and domestic violence, and he argued that Prohibition was necessary to protect the public from these ills.

Cherrington’s work in the temperance movement was not limited to his role as editor of The American Issue. He was also a prolific author, writing numerous books on the subject of alcohol and its effects on society. His most famous book, “The Evolution of Prohibition in the United States,” was published in 1920, just as Prohibition was about to take effect. In this book, Cherrington traced the history of the temperance movement and the efforts of the ASL to outlaw alcohol, in the United States, from its beginnings in the early 19th century to the passage of the 18th Amendment, which established Prohibition and the efforts of the ASL to outlaw alcohol. The book was widely read and praised for its detailed research and comprehensive analysis of the prohibition movement.

Despite his fervent belief in Prohibition, Cherrington was not blind to its flaws. He recognized that the law was difficult to enforce, and he was critical of the corruption and violence that often accompanied efforts to enforce Prohibition. He also acknowledged that Prohibition was not a panacea for all of society’s ills, and that other social reforms were necessary to address the root causes of poverty, crime, and domestic violence. In addition to his work with the ASL, Cherrington was involved in a number of other social and political causes. He was a strong advocate for women’s suffrage and supported the efforts of the National American Woman Suffrage Association to secure voting rights for women. He was also a vocal opponent of child labor and worked with the National Child Labor Committee to raise awareness about the issue and push for legislative reform.

Cherrington remained an active and influential advocate for prohibition throughout his life, even after the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1933. He continued to write and speak on the subject of alcoholism and addiction, and his work helped to shape public opinion and policy on the issue for many years to come. He died on December 2, 1950, at the age of 73, but his legacy as a pioneering advocate for sobriety and social justice continues to inspire and influence people today.

Dr. Dio Lewis (Diocletian Lewis)

Dr. Dio Lewis (Diocletian Lewis)

Dr. Dio Lewis, also known as Diocletian Lewis, was an American physician, writer, and social reformer who lived during the 19th century. He was born on August 3, 1823, in Auburn, Maine, and died on August 23, 1886, in Lexington, Massachusetts. Dr. Lewis was a prominent figure in the movement for health reform, temperance, and women’s rights, and his contributions to these causes helped to shape American society during his lifetime and beyond.

Dr. Dio Lewis was the son of a prominent local physician and grew up in an environment that fostered his interest in medicine and health. He studied medicine at Harvard University and became a licensed physician in 1847. He soon became interested in health reform and began to advocate for a more natural approach to medicine, which included the use of fresh air, exercise, and a healthy diet. In 1856, he published a book called “Our Digestion: or, My Jolly Friend’s Secret,” which outlined his ideas about health and nutrition.

Dr. Lewis was also a vocal advocate for temperance, and he believed that alcohol was a major cause of many social problems, including poverty, crime, and violence. In 1863, he founded the Lewis Institute for the Study of Inebriety, which was dedicated to the study of alcoholism and the development of effective treatments for the disease. Dr. Lewis also spoke out against the use of tobacco and advocated for laws that would prohibit smoking in public places.

One of Dr. Lewis’s most important contributions to American society was his advocacy for women’s rights. He was a strong supporter of women’s suffrage and believed that women should have the same rights as men in all areas of life. In 1858, he founded the Boston Gymnasium for Women, which was one of the first institutions in the United States to offer physical education to women. Dr. Lewis believed that physical activity was essential to women’s health and well-being, and he saw it as a way to promote women’s independence and empowerment. Dr. Lewis’s work in health reform, temperance, and women’s rights was not without controversy, however. His ideas about health and nutrition were often dismissed as quackery by the medical establishment, and his advocacy for temperance and women’s rights was seen as radical by many. Nevertheless, Dr. Lewis was undeterred in his efforts, and he continued to speak out for what he believed was right.

During the Civil War, Dr. Lewis served as a medical examiner for the Union Army. He was stationed in Louisiana, where he witnessed the devastating effects of slavery and racism firsthand. After the war, he became involved in the movement for civil rights and worked to promote equal rights for all people, regardless of race or gender. In 1871, Dr. Lewis founded the American Society of Physical Education, which was dedicated to the promotion of physical education and the training of physical education teachers. He believed that physical education was essential to the development of the whole person and that it could help to promote health, discipline, and moral character.

Dr. Dio Lewis died in 1886, but his legacy lived on. His ideas about health and nutrition, temperance, and women’s rights helped to shape American society during the 19th century and beyond. He was a pioneer in the field of physical education and a champion of civil rights, and his contributions to these causes continue to be felt today. Dr. Dio Lewis was a remarkable figure in American history, whose work in health reform, temperance, women’s rights, and civil rights helped to shape the social and cultural landscape of the United States. He was a man ahead of his time, whose ideas about health and wellness, and the importance of physical education and women’s empowerment, were often controversial but ultimately influential. Dr. Lewis’s advocacy for health reform, temperance, and women’s rights were essential in paving the way for a healthier and more equitable society, and his efforts towards civil rights helped to promote equality and justice for all.

Sen. Morris Sheppard

Senator Morris Sheppard

Morris Sheppard was a prominent American politician who served as a United States Senator from Texas for nearly three decades, from 1913 until 1941. He was born on May 28, 1875, in Wheatville, Texas, and died on April 9, 1941, in Washington, D.C. Sheppard was educated at the University of Texas, where he earned a law degree in 1897. He went on to practice law in Texarkana and was elected to the Texas State Senate in 1902, where he served for ten years. In 1912, he was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, and he would be re-elected four more times. During his time in the Senate, Sheppard became known as a staunch supporter of prohibition, and he was one of the key architects of the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States. 

In 1917, Sheppard introduced the amendment to the Senate. In introducing the amendment, Senator Sheppard spoke passionately about the dangers of alcohol and the need to protect the nation from its harmful effects. He argued that alcohol was responsible for a wide range of social and economic problems, including crime, poverty, and family breakdown. He also pointed out that alcohol consumption was a major drain on the economy, with millions of dollars wasted each year on drink and related expenses.

Senator Sheppard’s speech was well-received by many Americans who shared his concerns about alcohol. They saw the 18th Amendment as a way to protect the country from the ravages of drink and to promote public health and welfare. However, there were also many opponents of the amendment, who argued that it was an infringement on personal freedom and a violation of individual rights. Despite these objections, the 18th Amendment was eventually passed by both houses of Congress and ratified by the requisite number of states. It took effect on January 16, 1920, ushering in an era of Prohibition that lasted until the amendment was repealed in 1933.

One of the key arguments that Senator Sheppard made in support of the 18th Amendment was that alcohol was a threat to the family and the home. He argued that drinking led to domestic violence, poverty, and other problems that undermined the stability of the family unit. He pointed out that women and children were especially vulnerable to the harm of alcohol, and that it was the duty of the government to protect them from its influence. Sheppard also argued that Prohibition would be good for the economy, creating new jobs and reducing the costs associated with alcohol-related problems. He claimed that the money saved by not drinking would be used for more productive purposes, such as investment in new businesses and infrastructure projects.

Another argument that Senator Sheppard made in favor of Prohibition was that it would reduce crime and improve public safety. He argued that alcohol was a major cause of crime, including domestic violence, assault, and murder. He also pointed out that many other countries had already adopted Prohibition and had seen significant reductions in crime and other social problems as a result. While the 18th Amendment was initially popular, it quickly became clear that it was difficult to enforce and led to a rise in organized crime and the illegal production and distribution of alcohol. In 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and ending the era of Prohibition in the United States.

Sheppard was also a strong advocate for the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. Sheppard also sponsored several other major pieces of legislation, including the Sheppard-Towner Act, which provided federal funding for maternal and child healthcare, and the Jones-Connally Farm Relief Act, which provided aid to farmers during the Great Depression. He also supported legislation that aimed to provide relief for those affected by the Great Depression, including the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Social Security Act.

In addition to his political career, Sheppard was a devout Methodist and served as the chairman of the board of trustees of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He was also a noted author and wrote several books, including a history of the United States Senate and a biography of his father, who was also a prominent Texas politician. Sheppard was married to Lucille Sanderson, and they had three children together. He died in 1941 while still serving in the Senate and was buried in Texarkana. Today, the Morris Sheppard Dam and Lake, located in Texas, are named in his honor.

Purley Baker

Purley Baker

The Anti-Saloon League (ASL) was a powerful political force in the United States in the early 20th century, and one of its key leaders was Purley Albert Baker. Baker was spent most of his adult life working to advance the goals of the ASL. Baker was born in Liberty Township, Jackson County, Ohio, on April 10, 1858. At the age of 17, he attended a revival meeting in Williamsport and underwent a profound religious conversion, which led him to embrace the Methodist faith. After his conversion, Baker felt a strong desire to become a minister. He attended school in Xenia, Ohio, where he studied theology and honed his preaching skills. Baker was a gifted speaker and quickly developed a reputation as an eloquent and inspiring preacher.

The ASL was founded in 1893, and its main goal was to promote the temperance movement and advocate for the prohibition of alcohol. The League quickly became one of the most influential political organizations in the country, with a network of activists and lobbyists working to pass anti-alcohol laws at the local, state, and federal levels. Purley Baker joined the ASL in 1903, and he quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the organization’s most important leaders. He was a skilled orator and lobbyist, and he used his talents to advance the cause of prohibition across the country.

Baker was particularly effective at building alliances with other groups that supported prohibition, such as women’s suffrage organizations, religious groups, and labor unions. He recognized that the ASL needed to broaden its appeal beyond its core constituency of white, middle-class Protestants if it was going to succeed in its mission to make alcohol illegal. In 1908, Baker established the League’s Industrial Relations Department, marking a significant milestone in the history of labor relations in the United States. This department was established in response to the growing unrest among workers who were seeking better working conditions and fair wages. Reverend Baker recognized the need to address these concerns and saw the potential for an organization to promote good industrial relations between employers and employees.

The League’s Industrial Relations Department was established under the direction of S.S. Kresge, a dime store tycoon who had built a successful retail empire. Kresge was known for his progressive approach to business and his willingness to experiment with new ideas. He saw the potential in Reverend Baker’s vision and agreed to help fund and support the new department. One of Baker’s most notable accomplishments was working on the passage of the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol in the United States. This was a major victory for the ASL and other temperance advocates, and it remains one of the most significant pieces of social legislation in American history.

However, the 18th Amendment was not without its problems, and Prohibition quickly became a controversial and divisive issue. Many Americans continued to drink alcohol despite the ban, and illegal speakeasies and bootlegging operations proliferated across the country. Baker and other ASL leaders were aware of these problems, and they worked to address them by promoting stricter enforcement of the law and cracking down on organized crime. However, these efforts were largely unsuccessful, and Prohibition became increasingly unpopular as the decade wore on. Despite these setbacks, Baker remained a committed advocate for Prohibition until the end of his life. He continued to speak out in support of the ban on alcohol, even as it became clear that it was deeply unpopular with many Americans. He announced his resignation as general superintendent of the League on March 8, 1924, for reasons of ill health. He died at his home in Westerville, Ohio, on March 30.

In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and ending Prohibition. This was a major defeat for Baker and the ASL, and it marked the end of an era in American politics. However, the legacy of the ASL and its leaders like Purley Baker lives on today. The organization paved the way for other social and political movements that sought to advance progressive causes and promote social justice. And while Prohibition may have been a failure in the end, it remains a powerful symbol of the power of grassroots activism and the ability of ordinary citizens to effect change in their communities and their country.