Battling Demon Rum: The Struggle for a Dry America, 1800-1933

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Ivan R. Dee, 1998 - 207 pages
From roughly 1800 to the repeal of national prohibition in 1933, temperance reform was a powerful and revealing American social movement. Alcoholic drink had been a fixture of daily life from colonial times, and to many Americans the saloon became a symbol of freedom and egalitarianism--a fitting emblem for American democracy. But many men and women believed that alcohol had a destructive impact on American society and fostered personal and political deviancy. Thomas Pegram's narrative account of their fight to regulate alcohol traces the moral and political campaigns of the temperance advocates, and shows how their tactics and organization reflected changes in the nation's politics and social structure. Because political parties and government have historically resisted divisive moral reforms such as prohibition, Mr. Pegram notes the success of such initiatives indicates key moments of change--as with the adoption of national prohibition in 1919. But in this instance the failures of prohibition enforcement shaped the attitudes of politics and ever since, offering an example of the limits of government-enforced morals. Battling Demon Rum is an intriguing tale of social reform, expertly told. New in the American Ways Series.

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Battling demon rum: the struggle for a dry America, 1800-1933

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Pegram (history, Loyola Coll., Baltimore) has written the best short history available of the politics and practices of American temperance reform. With sensitivity to the changing social, cultural ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Thomas R. Pegram teaches American history at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. He has also written Partisans and Progressives.

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