A group of women kneeling on the sidewalk outside of J. C. Mader's Saloon in Bucyrus, Ohio during the Women's Temperance Crusade of 1873-1874. The women were protesting the sale of alcoholic beverages.
The issue of temperance was becoming more and more important to many Ohioans in the 1870s and 1880s. By the 1880s, state politicians began to pass legislation that attempted to control alcohol consumption in Ohio. The Republican Party was particularly sensitive to the pressures of temperance organizations, such as the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, during this era.
In 1883, Republicans took control of the state legislature and passed several laws that were related to alcohol consumption. One of these acts was the Pond Law, which placed a tax on saloons. In order to receive a liquor license, saloons had to pay a tax of between one hundred and three hundred dollars a year, depending on the community's population. In addition, the law required each saloon to pay a bond of one thousand dollars to guarantee payment of the tax. Within only two months after the law's passage, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that this law was unconstitutional.
The Republicans' stance on temperance was unpopular with immigrants in the state. The Democratic Party was able to use this dissatisfaction to gain control of state politics in the next election. Although there was growing support for temperance and for Prohibition, the majority of Ohioans did not support this movement during this era.
- Clark, Norman. Deliver Us from Evil: An Interpretation of American Prohibition. New York, NY: Norton, 1976.
- Kobler, John. Ardent Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York, NY: Putnam, 1973.
- Pegram, Thomas R. Battling Demon Rum: The Struggle for a Dry America, 1800-1933. N.p.: Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 1999.