Shaping the Eighteenth Amendment: Temperance Reform, Legal Culture, and the Polity, 1880-1920

By Richard F. Hamm | Go to book overview

COMMERCE, PRAGMATIC PROHIBITIONISTS, AND CONGRESS

CHAPTER 7

Before 1902 prohibitionists lacked much interest in attaining an interstate commerce law, but after 1903, reflecting the new realities of the polity, campaigns for a national law became central to the temperance movement. The passage of the 1909 COD Act and 1913 Webb-Kenyon Act, which regulated interstate liquor commerce, marked the political maturation of the prohibition movement. In Congress dry lobbyists, and the movement's political power, overcame wet opposition and constitutional objections to their measures. But the legislative products varied in the emphasis on the active agency of the polity. The COD Act followed the common reform trend of an active federal role, while the Webb-Kenyon Act continued in the path of limited federal assistance for state action, first set out in the Wilson Act of 1890.1

The WCTU's Margaret Dye Ellis and the Anti-Saloon League's Edwin C. Dinwiddie, the drys' lobbyists in Washington, played key roles in the long drive for legislation. Ellis and Dinwiddie cultivated legislators, kept the leadership and the rank and file of the temperance movement informed of

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