Civilization Requires Prohibition: <i>The Beginning of the End for the Moonshiners, 1870–1882</i>

Bruce E. Stewart

in Moonshiners and Prohibitionists

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780813130002
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135670 | DOI:
Civilization Requires Prohibition: The Beginning of the End for the Moonshiners, 1870–1882

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During Reconstruction, moonshiners enjoyed a broad base of support from the townspeople who saw their resistance to federal liquor taxation as a just and worthy cause. But by the early 1880s, the attitude of many southerners toward temperance changed after they realized that a new industrial social order was necessary to achieve economic modernization. In western North Carolina, the temperance movement experienced a revival as highlanders embraced the New South rhetoric and the amenities of urban America. This time, moonshiners were seen as an unwanted remnant of the colonial past, rugged individuals who rejected modernity and promoted intemperance. Citizens increasingly began to see the Bureau of Internal Revenue as the defender of peace and legitimate enterprise rather than an oppressive tool of northern tyranny. Although a bill calling for statewide prohibition in North Carolina in 1881 failed to get enough votes, prohibitionists in the western part of the state saw this as a positive sign and continued to remain optimistic about their future.

Keywords: North Carolina; moonshiners; temperance movement; federal liquor taxation; prohibitionists; industrial revolution; Bureau of Internal Revenue

Chapter.  11439 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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