Wayne B. Wheeler

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Wayne Bidwell Wheeler was born on November 10, 1868, at Brookfield, Ohio. He attended common schools and enrolled at Oberlin College in 1890. Wheeler graduated from Oberlin in 1894, and he then enrolled in Western Reserve University, attaining his law degree in 1898.

Wheeler played an active role in the Ohio Anti-Saloon League. Like many Americans during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Wheeler feared the moral decline of society. He believed that Americans had lost touch with their religious beliefs and were wasting their lives away by engaging in sin, including the consumption of alcohol. Established in 1893 in Oberlin, Ohio, the Ohio Anti-Saloon League sought to prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol. Wheeler served as the group's secretary for its office in Columbus, Ohio. He eventually became the superintendent of League offices in Cleveland, Ohio, and upon attaining his law license, Wheeler was appointed the Ohio Anti-Saloon League's principal attorney. By 1901, Wheeler headed the entire organization.

Wheeler quickly rose to prominence in the national Anti-Saloon League as well. Wheeler prosecuted more than two thousand people for violating prohibition and liquor trafficking laws in Ohio. He also authored numerous anti-liquor bills. The Anti-Saloon League of America's leadership recruited Wheeler for a national leadership role. In 1917, Wheeler became chief counsel for the national group, and in 1919, he assumed control of the entire organization. He also was one of the chief proponents of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment prohibited the manufacturing, transportation, and sale of alcohol within the United States.

Wheeler died on September 5, 1927.

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