Saturday, January 31, 2015

H. L. Mencken Was Right:

     Prohibition.
     There's so much to dislike.

18 comments:

Old 1811 said...

If you can find it, read a book called War in Illinois, about a bootlegging war between Charlie Birger and the Sheldon brothers in Southern Illinois in the early 20s. (It was published in 1977.)
One of the main players was a man named S. Glenn Young, who was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK was deputized by the Prohibition Bureau and conducted raids and made arrests. Fascinating book. Not a proud time in our history.

Bob said...

Interesting that, although the graphic shows a woman, they don't include feminists/proto-feminists/suffragists as a group that advocated prohibition. Carrie Nation and her hatchet was probably the face of prohibition to most people.

Roberta X said...

So, Bob, what about the stuff about "Progressives" and "women's suffrage," then?

It's in there -- and Carrie Nation was all over the exhibit.

Bob said...

Roberta - - I can only go by the illustration you chose to include with your post. If Carrie Nation is prominent in the rest of the exhibit, well and good, but she doesn't show up in what you posted. I was simply curious if the museum was minimizing the role played by women in the temperance movement out of political correctness, since Prohibition is today seen as a failure and example of Mrs. Grundy-ism.

Anonymous said...

The far right-hand side of the timeline shown is 1890, the year Carrie Nation entered the temperance movement. Her impact was outside the scope of the timeline shown.

Roberta X said...

Goodness, Bob, the two words I put in quotes were from that photo.

Roberta X said...

Make that three words.

Roberta X said...

Given the strong links between Temperance, women's suffrage and Prohibition, they'd have to attain Orwellian levels of historical revisionism to leave it out. I can assure that no one at the Indiana State Museum is up to hat level of effort.

Tam said...

"Carrie Nation and her hatchet was probably the face of prohibition to most people."

The WCTU got shoved out of the way when the menfolk decided to roll up their sleeves and get liquor banned. Carrie Nation was never more than a sideshow freak in the Prohibition movement compared to Billy Sunday, WJB, and Wayne Wheeler.

But, please, Bob, don't let facts shove aside your "Bitches, amirite?" narrative. ;)

D.W. Drang said...

Damned Wobblies...

;-)

Stretch said...

H.L. was an optimist.

Anonymous said...

A very good read on this is "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition", by Daniel Okrent, ISBN: 978-0-7432-7702-0. It is an excellent summation of the Temperance movement and the organizational skills of Wayne Wheeler.

Bob said...

I think you're assigning malice to me that wasn't intended, Tam. I was curious that, of the categories of alcohol opponents listed in the graphic - - Nativists, Populists, Progressives and Racists - - that women didn't have a category of their own, and were lumped in with the progressives, as Roberta has pointed out. I only have my high school history and some period reading to rely on regarding Prohibition, no systematic study, so perhaps I assigned more of a role to the women's temperance movement than it deserved.

Guffaw in AZ said...

Amen!

gfa

Roberta X said...

The WCTU tended to be the vanguard -- but the boys did the heavy lifting, as was the law and custom at the time.

docjim505 said...

If there was ever a historical example to illustrate why libertarianism is a pretty good basic poltical philosophy, Prohibition is it. Just look at all those people who basically agreed (though for different reasons) that, "I AM the boss of you!"

Then we turned right 'round and tried again with drugs. And, to a lesser extent, firearms.

It makes me question how man ever got past digging for grubs.

Roberta X said...

I blame the grub-digging committee.

markm said...

Two groups I don't see there: Baptists and Bootleggers. That was the coalition that kept Prohibition going in many locales for decades after the national repeal. The preachers had something to rant about and guilt their hungover parishioners into dropping more in the collection plate, and the bootleggers made profits.

OK, third group: Police. They benefited from jobs and graft. But at least they hadn't discovered the refinements of asset forfeiture that they now enjoy from the war on some drugs.