By Jimmie Lewis Franklin

Prohibition begun in Oklahoma 13 years sooner than passage of the Volstead Act and didn't finish till twenty-six years after the remainder of the USA had declared the “noble experiment” to be a failure. whilst nation citizens repealed prohibition in April, 1959, they ended a fifty-two-year drought and disproved Will Rogers’ assertion that Oklahomans may vote dry so long as they can stagger to the polls.

What brought on this variation of perspective within the in basic terms nation ever to go into the Union with a prohibition clause in its structure? Professor Franklin sheds new gentle at the puzzle through describing the social forces that encouraged Oklahoma’s liquor laws.

When Indian Territory was once opened in April, 1889, a wave of homesteaders swept right into a nearly lawless land. in the course of the first chaotic years, saloons have been extra abundant than colleges and churchs, yet order used to be quickly validated and the saloons’ days have been numbered. The reform events that shattered American complacency in to the overdue 1800’s got here quick to the recent territory. A decade later statehood, the Anti-Saloon League and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union confirmed an organization carry in Oklahoma. Hatchet-wielding hold country arrange headquarters within the territorial capital of Guthrie, introduced in a printing press, and released her unstable Smasher’s Mail. bolstered through Bible-belt Protestantism, the temperance stream exerted a strong effect, an on November sixteen, 1907, the day ahead of statehood, gutters flowed with liquor as purchasers rid themselves in their soon-to-be-illegal stock.

In 1933, after a protracted, challenging fight, liquor advocates received passage of a degree legalizing 3.2 according to cent beer. Repeal, within the type of laws permitting package deal shops, got here in 1959. however the conflict nonetheless rages, now over the arguable query of liquor through the drink.

In addition to placing country liquor legislation in nationwide standpoint, this social and ancient account explains why any liquor query brings out the struggling with spirit in Oklahomans.

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Extra info for Born Sober: Prohibition in Oklahoma, 1907-59

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Long obscured by the Anti-Saloon League, the WCTU re­ entered the temperance limelight by urging upon the Gov­ ernor and the legislature a scientific prohibition-instruction measure. The president, Abbie Hillerman, who had worked untiringly at the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention, pre­ sented the bill to the House Prohibition Committee. The measure passed both houses with only one dissenting vote, and was subsequently signed by Governor Williams. 37 The fact that the legislature failed to pass more stringent enforcement statutes did not imply that the prohibition movement had lost its thrust.

21 The Governor's letter was for­ warded to Taft's attorney general, George Wickersham. In a letter to the President, a copy of which subsequently came to Haskell, Wickersham pointed out that efforts had been made to enact legislation designed to limit the introduction of in­ toxicating beverages into those states which forbade or re­ stricted their manufacture or sale. 22 The Attorney General noted that since the subject had been recently investigated, the administration had no intention of recommending any legislation to Congress.

Soon after statehood, state Attorney Gen­ eral West estimated that there were one thousand bootleggers in Oklahoma City, most of whom belonged to the Creekmore organization. When Oklahoma entered the Union in 1907, the "king" was already in the illicit liquor business at Sapulpa, Indian Territory. Under an agreement made with a Joplin, a leaflet distributed by the Local Option Committee, Special Collection on Prohibition, Oklahoma Historical Society. 20 Cherrington, ASL Yearbook, 1 9 1 1 , 149.

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