Deliver Us from Evil: an Interpretation of American Prohibition

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The 18th amendment was ratified by congress on January 16, 1919 in which the selling and distribution of “intoxicating liquors” was banned. That was the start of what many called the dry decade in the United States. Norman H. Clark’s Deliver Us from Evil: An Interpretation of American Prohibition illustrates the struggles to make the dry decade possible and the consequences that followed it. The 235 page text describes how the Anti-Saloon League was determined to make prohibition possible and the struggles they had to overcome. As well as what directly followed once it was a reality. Clark analyzes and critiques Prohibition not as a historical moment, but as a movement. This book is very well researched and a thorough bibliography is…show more content…
Clark writes of all these different groups that all had an effect towards the outlawing of the saloons. For example “in the 1880’s the WCTU began a campaigning for state laws which would make scientific temperance instruction mandatory in the public schools.” Clark brings to mind many of these groups who many did not know were political forces leading to the passage of the 18th amendment. With all the support of all the many different groups, the ASL felt they should step it up and abolish all the saloons throughout the country. Many people seem to think that prohibition was centered only in large cities such as Chicago. But Clark demonstrates that it wasn’t the case. Many states were implementing laws to abolish saloons and even becoming dry states before the 18th amendment was passed. Clark writes of how in Pomona CA, out of hundreds of saloons that existed only two survived. But even then they weren’t allowed to have seats to discourage clients from loitering to long. As well as only being able to sell liquor during certain hours. The fact that a local city was used as an example in the book made me realize that there was such wide support for this cause. Clark also demonstrates that many politicians who were considered “wet” agreed with the views of the ASL and their supports. Clark writes “London felt that the quality of life in America would improve measurably when the saloons were abolished, and he felt further

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