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Prohibition, the Constitution, and States' Rights$
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Sean Beienburg

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226631943

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226632278.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

Alcohol and Liberalism

Alcohol and Liberalism

Before National Prohibition

(p.8) Chapter Two Alcohol and Liberalism
Prohibition, the Constitution, and States' Rights

Sean Beienburg

University of Chicago Press

Before national prohibition could be implemented, completing the evolution from voluntary temperance to nationwide policy, its defenders had to reconcile the restriction of alcohol with some of the key ideological elements of American political thought. This meant that, although John Stuart Mill had long ago derided the "Maine Law" establishing prohibition, prohibitionists justified the suppression of alcohol as compatible with freedom as understood within both liberalism and progressivism. Prohibition, far from being a narrow movement imposed by rural fundamentalists, drew on a wide base of support from a variety of reform movements, including urban anti-poverty opponents, black intellectuals seeking moral uplift and the enforcement of Reconstruction, and women’s and Christian (especially Protestant) activists, to say nothing of reinforcement from business and the commitment to white supremacy anchoring Southern politics.

Keywords:   prohibition, liberalism, progressivism, John Stuart Mill, American political thought, Maine Law, white supremacy, reform movements, temperance

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