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Prohibition History

               Prohibition History Film Clips

Bootleg Whiskey as Poisoner (Literary Digest, 1922)

A 1922 magazine article concerning the dangers of black market liquor in the United States during the Prohibition period (1919 - 1933):

"When you drink bootleg the chances are better than nine out of ten that you are drinking rank poison."

"This is not the statement issued either by Prohibitionists to discourage drinking, or by a Anti-Prohibitionist to show what Prohibition has brought us to. It is the conclusion of a large newspaper service, which had it's men in various parts of the country buy the 'ordinary mine-run of bootleg liquor', and then had the samples analyzed to get an idea of what a man's chances are of getting poisonous booze."

Click here to read about President Woodrow Wilson and his wish to re-write the post-war Prohibition restrictions.


Izzy Einstein: Prohibition Agent No. 1 (Literary Digest, 1922)

Here is an interview with Izzy Einstein (Isidor Einstein, 1880 1938): Prohibition agent and master of disguise:

"A day with Izzy would make a chameleon blush for lack of variation..."

"He prepared himself to move in high, low and medium circles - on the excellent theory that the taste for liquor and the desire to sell it are no respecters of persons - and in all those circles he has since been whirling with rapidity and a quick-change adeptness."


W.W. I and the Advancement of Prohibition (Literary Digest, 1916)

Since the earliest days of World War I, the European combatant nations made some adjustments in regard to the sale of alcohol and the hours in which pubs could operate. When the U.S. entered the war in April of 1917, Congress decided that they had better do the same - but they were far more harsh on the topic - closing bars entirely and outlawing all wines and spirits - except for their use in religious sacraments. In the attached article journalist gathered data from various newspapers that were located in states that were already dry in order to study how the experiment was proceeding.


Christianity vs. Prohibition (The North American Review, 1918)

Seeing that much of the momentum to prohibit the national sale, distribution and consumption of wine and spirits originated with a hardy chunk of the observant Christian community, the Reverend John Cole McKim decided to weigh in on the topic. McKim tended to believe that:

"Christ, being divine and consequently infallible, could not have erred. Since it is well known that Christ used wine Himself and gave it to others..."

He further opined:

"But to vote what one regards as a natural right shall be declared forever illegal, is cowardly, un-American, and un-Christian."


A Briton on American Prohibition (Current Opinion, 1921)

Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe (1865 - 1922) was an influential soul back in the day who owned a string of widely-read newspapers. Just months prior to his death, he spent some time stateside and drew some conclusions regarding American Prohibition which were noteworthy:

"While in our midst he made up his mind about Prohibition. In his opinion it is a failure... His reasons seem to be that he saw plenty of liquor everywhere he was entertained; that Prohibition encourages hypocrisy in the vision of the law, and that he did not like it anyhow... But America has taken it's stand and will stick to it."


The 1918 New York Elections (The Stars and Stripes, 1918)

By the time this short notice was seen on page one of THE STARS and STRIPES during the Spring of 1918, the political momentum was clearly on the side of the Prohibition advocates and the voters of many states had elected to go dry long before the Congress had decided to amend the Constitution. The 1918 election in New York between Wets and Drys was a close one and the eyes of the nation were watching. The headline read:


The deciding and unknown factor was the women of New York, who were permitted to vote in municipal elections.


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