The temperance movement in the United States gained steam in the late 19th century, and by the early 20th century, many political candidates would be asked "Are you 'dry' or 'wet?'" This single issue led to the creation of the 18th Amendment in 1919, which effectively prohibited the manufacturing, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors. After fourteen years, the 21st Amendment was passed, and the country went back to imbibing beer and spirits (legally, anyway). This fine collection from the Brown University Library Center for Digital Scholarship brings together over 1,600 pieces of ephemera, such as broadsides and pamphlets, that document the quest to make prohibition a reality during this period in American history. First-time visitors may wish to start by reading the narrative essay titled "Temperance and Prohibition Era Propaganda: A Study in Rhetoric." Moving on, visitors can browse and search their way through this remarkable collection. Items of note include a 1913 informational handout titled "Abstainers have less sickness" and the 1928 Women's Christian Temperance Union publication "American Youth Under Prohibition."


  • Social Studies > General
  • Social Studies > United States History

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