December 10th, 1913 — Over 4,000 Temperance movement and Prohibition supporters marched in Washington, demanding a new constitutional amendment banning alcohol consumption in the United States. A demonstration of this size had never been seen before.
They marched to the Capitol, where Congressman Richard Hobson from Alabama and Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas greeted them. The two introduced legislation to their respective chambers of Congress.
Ultimately, this first grassroots attempt to persuade legislators failed, but persistence pays off. The movement gained momentum with powerful forces like the Anti-Saloon League and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Letters, telegrams and petitions were flooding Congressmen and Senators with demands to push for a Prohibition amendment. Over time, more dry legislators were elected and support increased for the movement in Congress.
It took a number of years to finally reach their goal of a dry country, but they finally achieved it by the end of the decade. The Eighteenth Amendment was ratified on January 16th, 1919 and went into effect on January 17th, 1920. The grand experiment of national temperance had begun (we know how this story ends).
- If Walls Could Talk: Smith Commons (ghostsofdc.org)
- Meet Officer Sprinkle – Captured Geronimo, Bodyguard for Wilson and Prohibition Violator (ghostsofdc.org)
- prohibition (aimlesswithpurpose.wordpress.com)