Richard Hamm examines prohibitionists' struggle for reform from the
late nineteenth century to their great victory in securing passage
of the Eighteenth Amendment. Because the prohibition movement was a
quintessential reform effort, Hamm uses it as a case study to
advance a general theory about the interaction between reformers
and the state during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Most
scholarship on prohibition focuses on its social context, but Hamm
explores how the regulation of commerce and the federal tax
structure molded the drys' crusade. Federalism gave the drys a
restricted setting--individual states--as a proving ground for
their proposals. But federal policies precipitated a series of
crises in the states that the drys strove to overcome. According to
Hamm, interaction with the federal government system helped to
reshape prohibitionists' legal culture--that is, their ideas about
what law was and how it could be used.
Originally published in 1995.
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