On January 17th, 1920, the 18th Amendment was ratified, officially banning the commerce of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Without extreme lobbying and support from a group called the Anti-Saloon League (ASL), this amendment would have never been put into place. Led by a man names Wayne Wheeler, the ASL successfully gathered support from all scopes of American culture, by gaining footholds with both Democrats and rRepublicans, the Ku Klux Klan and the NAACP, and any other group that could benefit from the prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcohol across the nation.(PBS) The ASL also garnered support through various groups by connecting anti-German sentiment to alcoholic beverages, as the First World War was quickly gaining steam. The ASL used propaganda to steer Americans away from alcohol in many oner ways as well, but the war effort provided a large chunk of the public sentiment against alcohol. (PBS.org)
The above photo shows a typical example of some of the propaganda that came about as a result of the war. By convincing Americans to avoid alcohol, the ASL used this platform to steer Americans to support the war effort by cutting out alcohol, and concentrating efforts towards the war. Unlike many other groups, “the Anti-Saloon League was non-partisan; unlike the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), it did not discriminate against men.” (Postdam) As the WCTU and the ASL operated for different reasons, the main goal of each organization was similar. The ASL, however, was able to gain much more momentum and popularity, as the platform didn’t discriminate against race, or gender, creating a much more inclusive cause. Without this platform, the ASL may not have gathered the support necessary to actually ratify the 18th Amendment, or gain nearly the amount of support as they did. The ASL’s origins were associated with the Progressive era, and many Progressive leaders were involved in the movement. These interests were aligned, as the Progressives were mainly concerned with ore direct governmental control, and “was aimed at controlling the “interests” (liquor distillers) and their connections with venal and corrupt politicians in city, state, and national governments.” (log.gov) The ASL successfully lobbied the passing of the 18th amendment through non-partisan tactics, backed by the idea of governmental intervention of Progressives.