“Wilt Thou Send the Revenues down upon the Distillers” <i>A Political History of Prohibition, 1882–1908</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:
“Wilt Thou Send the Revenues down upon the Distillers” A Political History of Prohibition, 1882–1908

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At the end of the nineteenth century, it appeared that the campaign for statewide prohibition had run out of steam throughout the US. To renew interest in the issue, many temperance organizations decided to shift their strategy from advocating for statewide prohibition to campaigning for the enactment of local referenda that banned the sale of alcohol. Crusaders believed that these laws would bring their neighbors face-to-face with the obstinate saloon and eventually convince them to accept prohibition on a broader scale. However, it soon became clear to mountain highlanders that federal liquor taxation, local-option ordinances, and alcohol dispensaries were ineffective in solving the region's liquor problem. Although they were concerned that statewide prohibition would infringe on the rights of alcohol producers and destroy an important local industry, the highlanders finally acknowledged that it was the only viable solution. In May 1908, western North Carolina, which has often been depicted as the land of intemperance and moonshining, garnered the highest percentage of votes in favor of prohibition than anywhere else in the state.

Keywords: North Carolina; statewide prohibition; intemperance; moonshining; mountain reformers; federal liquor taxation; local-option; alcohol dispensary

Chapter.  9083 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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