Cup of salvation : race, religion, and anti-prohibition in Texas, 1885-1935.
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Payne, Brendan J., 1986-
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The movement for the legal prohibition of alcohol, or simply “prohibition,” has attracted scholarly attention for its wide-ranging impact on culture and politics. Prohibitionist “drys” overcame anti-prohibitionists “wets” to ratify the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment banned the alcohol trade in the United States and took effect from 1920 until its repeal thirteen years later in 1933, though many statewide or local prohibition laws began earlier and lasted longer. Most studies of alcohol prohibition and religion in the United States have focused on religion as promoting prohibition rather than opposing it. The interplay of prohibition and race has also received some attention, though studies have frequently treated racial and ethnic minorities as peripheral or helpless in the contest. This dissertation examines the interplay of religion, race, and anti-prohibition, using Texas as a case study. This study covers the main years of activity in Texas on the issue of prohibition, including the first statewide vote on the issue in 1887, the imposition of statewide prohibition in 1919, and the repeal of prohibition in 1935. Throughout this period, racial minorities tended to oppose prohibition and occasionally cast pivotal votes on the issue, particularly African, German, and Mexican Americans. A range of religious traditions, notions, and practices bolstered the anti-prohibition movement. Even for prohibition, race and religion played on both sides of a major culture war issue that reverberates today.