The Great Illusion: An Informal History of Prohibition

By Herbert Asbury | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINE
"An Era of Clear Thinking and Clean Living"

The invitation to a non-denomination service in the Presbyterian Church at Hempstead, Long Island, on the night before the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect, said, "Let the church bells ring and let there be great rejoicing, for an enemy has been overthrown and victory crowns the forces of righteousness." As well as anything else that was said at the time, this expresses the attitude of the drys, and the state of bedazzlement into which the magnitude of their victory had thrown them. To a man the forces of righteousness were profoundly convinced that "they which sought the young child's life" were truly dead, and that Satan would never be powerful enough to resurrect them. They believed that the Volstead Act, and all other dry laws, could easily be enforced, and that the anti-prohibitionists and the liquor interests would live up to the highest traditions of American sportsmanship and gracefully accept the inevitable. There had been a liquor problem in America for more than two hundred years, but the voice of the people had at last spoken loudly in favor of prohibition; therefore the liquor problem no longer existed. Henceforth whiskey and rum and brandy and gin and beer and wine would be as if they had never been. "Now for an era of clear thinking and clean living!" jubilantly

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