Prohibition is the nation's greatest Santa Claus. F. SCOTT MCBRIDE
I don't believe in Santa Claus. ANONYMOUS CHILD, with probable wet tendencies
THE COMING of the Eighteenth Amendment and of the Volstead Act reversed the positions of wets and drys. The drys were no longer the attackers, but the defenders. All the crimes which were once attributed to the saloon were now fastened upon the speak-easy. Moreover, the new tone of business solidity and respectability of the wets made their propaganda more convincing. The reports of an organization such as the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment, whose 103 directors served on the boards of businesses, with 2,000,000 employees and assets of $40,000,000,000, could not be dismissed as mere propaganda. 1' These reports had all the weight of sound business behind them. Besides, the new pressure groups of the wets were, for the first time, not connected with the liquor trade. They were groups of wealthy private citizens who disliked national prohibition. 2 Thus their sayings seemed free from the taint of self-interest.
The exchange of propaganda between the drys and the wets during the twenties was incredible. In 1928, a visitor declared, "If there is less liquor consumed in the United States than elsewhere, in no country does liquor fill so large a place in the thought and talk of the average citizen."3 The drys had successfully cast their spell over the minds of everybody. Other social reforms died for lack of interest. The social legislation of the twenties is a ghastly lacuna between progressive and New Deal measures. People had little time for improving the distribution of wealth, pursuing corruption, curbing Big Business, or making democracy possible in an age of mass voting. They talked only of prohibition, until the monstrous delusion of the reform hung like a miasma over the mind of the nation.
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Publication information: Book title: Prohibition:The Era of Excess. Contributors: Andrew Sinclair - Author. Publisher: Little, Brown. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1962. Page number: 242.
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