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Anti-Saloon League

ANTI-SALOON LEAGUE

ANTI-SALOON LEAGUE. An interdenominational Protestant organization dedicated to advancing prohibition through political means. Founded in 1893 by Rev. H. H. Russell at Oberlin College, the Ohio Anti-Saloon League is credited with being the first nonpartisan, single-issue interest group in modern American politics. The multiplication of Russell's "Ohio plan" in other states led to the creation of a national body in 1895. Using modern techniques of organization and persuasion, the league pushed for local option and state prohibition laws through legislation and by supporting dry candidates for office. Beginning in 1913, it led the successful fight for a constitutional amendment. As the effects of national prohibition became felt in the 1920s, the league came under increasing criticism. Revocation of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1933 ended its influence in American politics.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kerr, K. Austin. Organized for Prohibition: A New History of the Anti-Saloon League. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1985.

Odegard, Peter H. Pressure Politics: The Story of the Anti-Saloon League. New York: Columbia University Press, 1928. Re-print, New York: Octagon Books, 1966.

C. WyattEvans

See alsoProhibition ; Social Legislation ; Temperance Movement .

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Anti-Saloon League

Anti-Saloon League, U.S. organization working for prohibition of the sale of alcoholic liquors. Founded in 1893 as the Ohio Anti-Saloon League at Oberlin, Ohio, by representatives of temperance societies and evangelical Protestant churches, it came to wield great political influence. Vigorously led by James Cannon, Jr., a Methodist bishop, the League played an important role in securing the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment. Its influence waned, however, especially after the repeal (1933) of prohibition. From 1950 to 1964 it was called the National Temperance League; from then it has been known as the American Council on Alcohol Problems.

See P. H. Odegard, Pressure Politics: Story of the Anti-Saloon League (1928, repr. 1966); biography of Bishop Cannon by V. Dabney (1949).

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Wheeler, Wayne Bidwell

Wayne Bidwell Wheeler, 1869–1927, American prohibitionist and lawyer, b. Brookfield, Ohio. After his graduation (1898) from Western Reserve law school, he became increasingly important in the Ohio Anti-Saloon League. Under his direction the league opposed and helped to defeat the incumbent and antiprohibition governor of Ohio, Myron T. Herrick, in 1906. As attorney for the National Anti-Saloon League, Wheeler was prominent in the fight for prohibition legislation, notably the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution and the Volstead Act.

See biography by J. Steuart (1928, repr. 1970).

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