Prohibition in the United States

June 5, 1926

Report Outline
Tests of Sentiment on Modification
State Prohibition Referenda
Proposed National Prohibition Referendum
Local Option by Constitutional Amendment
Pending Amendments to Volstead Act
Congressional Alignments on Prohibition
Special Focus

In the Sixty-ninth Congress both houses are controlled by the drys. The Anti-Saloon League claims that three-fourths of the sitting members in both the House and the Senate were pledged in their election campaigns to support the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act, It is admitted that the dry ranks contain some members who might vote wet in a vital test, but not a sufficient number to make serious cuts in the dry majorities.

The maximum strength displayed by the wets in any prohibition test since the Volstead Act became a law was in the Sixty-seventh Congress, when 102 votes, including pairs, were registered in the House against the medicinal beer bill, and 26 negative votes, including pairs, were registered in the Senate. In the two ensuing congressional elections gains in both houses were claimed by the drys.

Present Prospects of Modification

The adoption of any liberalizing amendment to the Volstead Act would require 218 votes in the House and 49 votes in the Senate, or about double the voting strength displayed by the wets in the test on the medicinal beer bill in 1921. The submission to the States of any proposal for modification of the Eighteenth Amendment could be defeated by 146 dry votes in the House or 33 dry votes in the Senate. Once submitted, a new constitutional amendment on prohibition could be blocked by 200 negative votes in the upper houses of the legislatures of the thirteen smallest prohibition states.1

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 21, 1984  America's New Temperance Movement
Nov. 03, 1943  Liquor Supply and Control
Oct. 04, 1933  Liquor Control after Repeal
Feb. 02, 1933  Preparations for Prohibition Repeal
Aug. 11, 1932  Prohibition After the 1932 Elections
May 16, 1932  Prohibition in the 1932 Conventions
Sep. 25, 1931  Economic Effects of Prohibition Repeal
Feb. 25, 1931  The States and the Prohibition Amendment
Jan. 26, 1931  Validity of the Eighteenth Amendment
Oct. 15, 1930  The Liquor Problem in Politics
Sep. 02, 1929  Reorganization of Prohibition Enforcement
Oct. 31, 1928  Social and Economic Effects of Prohibition
Aug. 07, 1928  Liquor Control in the United States
Apr. 23, 1927  The Prohibition Issue in National Politics
Jun. 05, 1926  Prohibition in the United States
Apr. 21, 1926  Prohibition in Foreign Countries
Jan. 15, 1924  Four Years Under the Eighteenth Amendment