Prohibition

Prohibition may not truly be a “win” but the influence it had on the history of the United States in undeniable.  Prohibition, the movement to end the sale and consumption of alcohol in America, got its roots in Central Ohio. During the early eighteenth century, many U.S. citizens believed that Americans were living in an immoral manner. To address these concerns, temperance groups were established to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed in the country. Many Ohioans were part of these temperance groups and by the late 1800′s an Ohio coalition known as the Ohio Anti-Saloon League was formed. The organization begun in Oberlin, but headquarters were eventually relocated to Westerville. The Ohio Anti-Saloon League’s main goal was to enforce existing state alcohol laws and influence new laws that limited consumption. In 1895, the Ohio Anti-Saloon League merged with a similar group in Washington D.C. to create the Anti-Saloon League of America. The national organization focused on implementing a ban of alcohol for the entire country. The group’s support grew and included many prominent members such as oil entrepreneur John D. Rockefeller. In 1913, a convention was held in Columbus to announce the organization’s campaign to achieve national prohibition through a constitutional amendment. The group’s strategy was to bombard the U.S. Congress with letters and petitions demanding the illegalization of alcohol. The Anti-Saloon League of America also played off the outbreak of World War I. Many popular brewers were of German descent, and utilized patriotism to promote their cause. By 1919, the group succeeded and the Eighteenth Amendment, banning the sale and consumption of alcohol, had been ratified. Due to the fact that the Anti-Saloon League of America was headquartered in Westerville, the city earned the nickname, “the Dry Capital of the World”. Westerville was one of the first cities to prohibit the sale of alcohol in 1859. The city remained “dry” for over 140, but eventually began serving alcohol again in 2006.

 

 

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