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Being in favor of Prohibition in 1911 Tempe, Arizona


Let's time-travel back to Tempe, Arizona and find out why so many people were in favor of a movement that would sweep the country, the prohibition of alcohol.

Nowadays it seems ridiculous that this was even attempted. Anyone who knows anything about Prohibition in the United States knows that it was a complete failure. The unintended consequences of it were to encourage a type of lawlessness that the country had never known. It was a "noble experiment", but it became a huge mess. Everyone knows about that. Even I know that, even though I hadn't studied the history much. And it led me to the question: who was in favor of Prohibition, and why?

Since it's 1911, and we're in Tempe, I'm gonna say that we're living on a farm. Maybe we're a family who all works together. Up at daybreak, and tending to the chores. In 1911 chances are very good that if I were a young father I'd have the occasional glass of beer, and my wife and children would drink alcohol (yes, children, stay with me on this). We would have had a bottle of whiskey in the house which would be used for medicinal purposes - if I cut my arm, I'd pour a little on the cut, and pour some into myself to feel better. Whiskey would be rubbed on the baby's gums while teething. I would probably meet my friends at a saloon in town, and we'd talk about maybe going over to Glendale on Chicken Day.

From what I've learned, those were the type of people in favor of Prohibition. They would continue to have wine and beer, and even whiskey, as part of their lives. What they were opposed to was the abuse of the stuff. And it's really an attitude that I still see today. Alcohol abuse can be horrific, as any emergency doctor knows. It breaks up families, it destroys lives.

Drunken brawls, and shooting up the town, may seem quaint and historic now, but living in Tempe in 1911, that would have been the last thing that we would have wanted. As a farmer in Tempe, when my wife went into town to fetch bags of flour, the last thing I'd want to worry about was her having to step over some drunk lying in the mud on Mill Avenue. And since whiskey was so cheap, and so potent, there was a lot of that.

There were a lot of drugs that were becoming illegal around that time, including opium, and cocaine. Yes, it's true: Coca-cola really was originally made with cocaine. Alcohol was just seen as another drug that needed to be made illegal.

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