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Lecture 9

Lecture 9

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Carleton University
HIST 3109
Roderick Phillips

Lecture 9 Tuesday, November 19, 2013 • Last class: anti-alcohol movement, policies that refleced the aims of the movement • Some argued for temperance (limited access), importance of personal reponsibily for drinking; others aimed for prohibition o Key difference is that prohibition is corrosive. The adoption of policy which has poer of state being organizd to prevent people from drinking alcohol o That’s different from personal decision to abstain, or putting limits on the access (making it more expensive) o All about coercion, marshalling resources of state to ensure people don’t drink o Restricting/forbidding production and distribution (sale) of alcohol o Two kinds of prohibition—the worse is the one that makes it criminal offense to consume alcohol (some Muslim countries), but we’re focusing on United states— slightly less corrosive, it’s prohibition on production but not consumption o It wasn’t illegal to consume alcohol in the United States during prohibition, but the expectation is that if it can’t be produced, it can’t be sold/exchanged, so people wouldn’t be able to drink. • Also prohibition in more places than United States o People tend to think about US when talking about it—US has made a bigger deal about it, American historians have made it a hinge point in American history. Lasted 1920-1933. o But there was Prohibition in Soviet Union, Scandinavian countries—they didn’t consider it major although it clearly affected major part of social life. It still hasn’t assume dthe kind of importance that it did for US. o But we need to put US Prohibition into a context—the context of Prohibition worldwide o Around the same time that US government imposed Prohibition on American citziens, Porhibiton was also enacted in Canada, parts of Mexico, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium. o This is the moment of Prohibition—1914-mid 1930s. Wave of Prohibition. o If you include parts of Africa where colonial powers iomposed prohibition upon the native peoples, and American native peoples, and Canadian native peoples, then this is fairly widespread movement o It was picke dup later in liberation and independence movements in Africa and parts of Asia o At the moment, Prohibition exists in a number of Muslim countries, and in some cases applied only to the native population (Saudi Arabia), whereas there’s tolerance for foreigners to do it in private o 3-5 states in India have Prohibition rules right now. Possibly Bujarat is one of them—to get alcohol, need to have a permit. Like Canada in 1960s! it’s attached permanently to a passport, gives permission to buy a certain amount on daily basis. But for the resident population, alcohol is not available. • Anyway, it’s main moment was 1914- mid1930s. • It’s also become important lesson for people o Historians and non-historians debate as to whether it was successful o In a sense, ti wasn’t because it was repealed  It was introduced by amendment to the constitution—difficult—needs to be signed on by majority of the states  There was an amendment in 1919 that introduced Porhibition  Another amendment to repeal the first amendment, to take Prohbition off  Important political events  Some say that Prohibition doesn’t work, therefore prohibition on marijuana/drugs/etc. also wont’ work because people always find a way around the rules, resist prohibition. That’s one of the lessons commonly drawn from it.  Very difficult to come to firm decision on wheterh it was successful. It was failure because it was repealed. On the other hand, some successes: reducing level of alcohol consumption.  Of course, we don’t know how much people drank during prohibiton because it was illegal, no one kept records  But we can estimate.  Best estimate is that alcohol consumption fell rapidly to around 30%, gradually throughout 1920s alcohol consumption rose (illegal) to about 70% of pre-Prohibition levels. So there’s a sense that Prohibitio may not have been successful in terms of being repealed, but it did lead to reduction in consumption.  Would consumption rates have continued to increase, or would enforcement have gotten better? We don’t know. But it’s one way of measuring the success. Drinking continued, but not at the same rate. Big shifts in what was drunk, where people drink, what kinds of people drank.  It becomes very interesting subject • There are certain similarities between, say, Russia and US in terms of patterns and enforcement. • RUSSIA o Complicated example o Alcohol’s been there for thousands of years, Russians have stereotype for being heavy drinkers o We have to be careful about these national stereotypes…very hard to know what he level of consumption actually was o We know NOW that it’s one of the higheth of the world, but that’s now. Hard to get a sense of consumption earlier in 20 century. o Problem: high level of domestic production. Home brewing and distilling. o That became more important during Prohibition. o Even outside of that, widespread domestic production of alcohol. That’s still true now in Russia and parts of southeastern Europe (Bulgaria—domestic production is probably twice that of commercial production) o The Russians had this reputation fo being heavy drinkers of vodka (distilled from grain) o When WWI broke out in August 1914 and Russians declared mobilization to fight the war, the Tsar decreed that alcohol would nto be produced or sold for duration of hostilities—early 1918. That was earlier than anyone else because Russia pulled out of the war. o Policy introduced in 1914 was based on same kinds of considerations as other countries fighting WWI introducing redstrictions—preserve military efficience (it interfered with efficiency), but on the homefront it would disrupt industrial efficiency. Munitions, armaments, transportation, uniforms, etc. that was needed had to be produced at home. By keeping alcohol away from workers, it was expected that work would be more reliable. o It was easy for Russian government to place restriction son vodka. 1914: state monopolgy on vodka. Controlled the production and sale of it—easy to control it. It was autocratic state, easier for Russian government to impose restrictions on alcohol than French/British government (there would be political repercussions, restrictions would be unpopular and that would affecte elections)—Russian government didn’t have to face the public. o It was a factor in the fall of imperial Russia… couldn’t maintain the standards and productivity needed to keep fighting the war, which is what pulled them out early. o The ban on alcohol during war was ignored by Russian troops—that’s the drift of all the reports from the front o Also, civilians found plenty—clandestine production of vodka quickly replaced legal supply o So drinking continued o Discovery of champagne on its way to St. Petersburg—shows that he aristocratic family probably continue dto drink o Anyway, this restriction brought imperial government into the same position as many socialist organizations—Bolsheviks, etc. rom end of 19 century-1914: they argued for prohibition because of teir ideological take on alcohol. They said it was used by capitalists to keep the workers docile, to dissuade form becoming politically active. o Many soalist organizations argued in favour of prohibition—major Marxist/socialist organizations like the Second International—adopted resolutiosn in favour of prohibiont in 1880s-1890s o So they both had this same policy o When Bolsheviks and lenin came to power in 191,7, one of their first acts was to reinforce prohibition o 1917: closded all distilleries and wineries. They weren’t actually producing, but they remained open ready to produce when the hostilities/war ended. But the Bolsheviks closed them. o Apointed commissar for struggle against alcoholism and gambling (seen as waste of wages, encouraged by capitalsits) o Red Army: alcoholism was among the offences punishable by death. o 1918: all existing stocks of alcohol declared propberty of state (ex. Wine cellar) o 700 warehouses in St. Petersburg used for storing alcohol, Tsar’s residence had cellar with alcohol valued in US $500. o The aim of these policies introduced by Bolsheviks was to introduce prohibition on permanent basis. The idea was produce non-drinking Soviet populationto contribute to making of new Soviet citizen (ideal was to produce a new citizen— moral, hardworking, patriotic, alturiostic, committed to Marxist ideology)—kepe in mind that 1914 prohibition was tempoerary o But drinking culture had long history in Russia, was iompossible to eradicate. This is true for anywhere- -difficult to eradicate anything as heavily embedded as drinking alcohol. o It was something done among workers- refusal to drink was interpreted as hostility. IN early Soviet factories, managers required vodka in order to train new workers for their jobs—was a means of exchange. o Soviet authorities could have taken pragmatic course (encouraged moderate drinking, tried to remove it from workplace, cut back on production, restricted hours of sale), but they insisted on strict abstinence and tried to apply that to citizens across the board. o Apparently Lenin himself drank wine, beer, and vodka. Possible that he portrayed himself as non-drinker to set the tone for other Soviet citizens. Hitler did the same thing, saying he abstained from meat, alcohol, and sex (dedicated to Germany without distractions)… We don’t know whether he was a drinker at this time or not. o IN addition to saying ti was bad for individual (health) and society (social disruption), the Soviet model of prohibition emphasized political dimension. Being drunk = counterrevolutionary. Not a godo Marxist. TRAITOR. o Soviet newspapers said that any worker who drank was committing crime against himself, family, production, and the state. No distinction between private and public life. o Gave the state a vested interest in the bodies of workers, the activities, a claim to regulate their diets. o On the factory floor, the situation was very different—we know form court procedings that in 1917-1921/22, there were many workers who arrive dto work drunk, many workers defended their customary right to drink. o Workers consume dthe illicit alcohol that was very pletiful on black market, treated the new revolutionary holidays the way they ddi under the Tsar (celebrations, heavy drinking), when they didn’t make their own they got it from illicit distilleries and illicit breweries. About 1/3 of rural households were making vodka (1920). In 1918, village in southwest Russia distilled the amount of grain that would have fed town of 12,000 people for a year. o Massive diversion of grain supplies into vodka o During the war, and immediately after. Keep in mind the Civil War was going on up to 1922/1923. This was war between Bolshevik government and anti- Bolshevik forces, aided by Americans, Canadians, other forces. Even though WWI ended in 1918, it continued in effect in Soviet Union for another five years. This is how the Soviet Union came into being- being invaded by other countries. It set the tone for Soviet attitudes and Soviet-foreign relations. o This diversion of grain supplies alarmed authorities- they blamed the kulaks (who wer elater blamed for collectivization and exiled into Siberia in 1930s, blamed for undermining prohibition policy—wealthy peasants) o We get a sense of the resistance—1922, more than half a million prosecutions for liquor crimes in Russian republic. Serious penalties. In 1918, penalty for making illicit alcohol was minimum 5 years imprisonment. o This policy of prohibition that began 1914 under imperial government, continued by Bolsheviks under 1917, began to be relaxed in 1921. About seven years of prohibition in Russia/Soviet Union. o That’s about half the period of US Porhibition. Shorter period, but still interesting. o What convinced Soviet government to relax prohibition was widespread resistence—people kept drinking and producing. And the Soviet state was missing out on tax revenues. o Normally would collect taxes on production, distribution, and consumption. If it’s all illicit, no taxes. o One of the prupose for relaxing it: generate tax revenues. New Soviet state that realized it had to industrialize quickly, wanted to modernize its armed forces too. Tax revenues were important. o 1921: government prermitted production and sale of wine. 1922: permitted production and sale of beer. 1923: low alcohol voda (20%). 1925: 40% vodka. o Al alcohol in the hands o the state—state monopoly o In reaction to the harm that alchol did, they built in also anti-alcohol campaings. Encouraging people not to drik. Educatino programs encouraging people not to drink (in the schools) o Period of prohibition in Russia/Soviet Union, seven years—half of US • American Prohibition—“The Noble Experiment” o National Prohibitoin (to distinguish from state prohibition) o States had prohibition before the national one o Map of the state of liquor laws in 1917, same year as US was entering WWI, a couple of years before amendment introduced prohibition. o States with prohibition are in white. (at least half). The ones with diagonal lines have “local option” (local counties could decide whether to go wet or dry)—about 1/5. In places lik Texas, these were the drier states. More than 50% of counties were dry. The draker ones like New Mexico—less than 50% were dry sothey had more salloons. The four in black are called the booze states—unrestricted alcohol as permitted. o Anyway, states with prohibition were everywhere. Stronger in southeast, also in the west. The states that were more likely to allow alcohol wer emo rein the northeast. o Still, by 1919, the required nmber of states had signed onto the amendment of the constitution. Congress passed the national prohibition amendment. o Whilhe amendment was being considered, Congrses passed Wartime Prohibition Act (passed on November 21, 1918,a fter the war…)—banned sal of intoxicating bethrages, effective July 1, 1919. Before that date, 46/48 states had ratified the 18 amendment which introduced national prohibition and ti came into effect January 1 1920. o All the act did was impose prohibition. They neded enabling act to say what was meant by alcohol, set out enforcement measures, set out any exceptions to prohibition. o It was known as the Volstead act—what gave the prohibition teeth. It really shocked people. They had expected that some low-alcohol (3-4%, ight beer) could be produced. But instead of allowing for that, or exempting beer and wine but targeting spirits, the act included all alcohol! Anything that was beverage alcohol. Industrial alcohol was accepted—different. o Alcoholic beverage: anything moe than 0.5% o De-alcoholized wine—even that has traces of alcohol but less than 0.5%. So basically that would be the only thing allowed. o The aim of prohibition was to put alcohol industry out of business. o Commercial breweries fell from 1300 in 1916 to zero. o Number of distilleries declined by 85%. The ones left lmade industrial alcohol. They made beverage alcohol for some of the exemptions. o 96-97% of liquor wholesalers went out of business. Some retailers continued to work by changing their business… o Economic effects staggering to individuals and the governemtn. Closure of these winers, breweries put tens out thousands out of work. The brewers, the people who drove the delivery trucks, glass manufacturers, etc. The alchol industry is part of broader set of industries, and all these employees were affected. o The few exceptions to prohibition:  Medical purpsoes  Religious purposes o Religious purposes:  Recognition that some religions (some Christian denomeninations) like Pentecostals, Catholics, etc. used wine int heir rituals and needed access to it  Although there was push from anti-alchol campaigners to get them to use grape juice instead. Two-wine theory—grape juice was the good references to win ein the Bible.  Also used in Jewish rituals. Kosher wine retail store, a guy carrying enough wine to get himt rhough a satyr.  Wine allowed for Christians, only for the clergy. Business in sacramental wine. o Medical uses:  Improtant to recognize the continuing belief that alcohol had therapeutic properties th  Belief in medicinal purposes of alchol declined in 19 century. Look at hospital records: amount being ordere ddeclined from 870s/1880s to WWI.  Also he emergence of patent medicines, appreciation of vitamins— alcohol lost its cache/appeal. WIh alchol, couldn’t do tests, blind tests with placebos. The benefits were said to be fairly general—good for digestion, heart, mental agility—can’t pin down.  Sense that the claism for medicinal benefits had declined  But in 1920s America, doctors still believed it was beneicial! surve y in 1921: 50,000 randomly selected physicians. 51%: infavour of prescribing whiskey to patients, 26% thought beer was a “necessary therapeutic agent”, smaller proportion argued for wine (odd because it had long therapeutic tradition since Greeks and Romans, digestion and stomach ailments)  But wine wasn’t consumed much in US. It was more about distilled spirits and beer.  One texas doctor told of the successful use in champagne in treating symptoms of scarlet fever, but not much in precise mathcin go fparticular alchols and particular ailments.  Anyway, doctors were gneralyl of the view that whiskey as medicine was fine but as beverage, unnecessary. In favour of prohibition (treating alchol as recreationgla beverage), but in favour of using it as therapeutic agent. Told of cases where patients deprived of alchol would suffer and die.  Pressure by doctors to allow beer as exception to the prohibition—only whiskey was allowed as exception but they pushed for beer and ti went to Supreme Court—they ruled that beer shold not eb prescribed by doctors.  So doctors did a U-turn in terms of their position. Before prohibition, in favour of it, saying lachol was not good as recreational beverage and this would deal with widespread damage on individuals and society. But once they wer ein situation regulated by government, state telling them what to presercribe to patients (beer, whiskey in some cases), they thoguth this was unbrearable interference with their freedom as doctors. Doctors by mid-1920s voted against prohibition. ON eo fthe first professions to switch their position on prohibition.  Pharmaists: another group not happy with prohibiton. They were essentially liquor retailers. Alcohol was par tof the stock and rade of pharmacies—many patent medicines, cough medicines have alcohol in them. They’d make medicine for people, had facilities to keep alcohol in place. It made sense that patient would go to pharmacy to get the alchol prescription. Pharmacists didn’t lke this, didn’t want to be alcohol retailers, so they resisted it. Btu they were persuaded to carry on. In fact, many of the pharmacists decided that it was in their own interest ot allow people to get their whiskey prescriptions because they’d want other things in the pharmacy.  Many people started pharmacies so they’d have access to this business.  Government passed regulations saying only 10% of revenue could coemf rom alchol prescriptions—to stop the people who started pharmacies just to sell alcohol.  It became common for people to get alcohol prescriptions under this exemption. o So the
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