|Founded||September 1, 1869|
|Ideology|| Temperance |
|Political position||Economic: Center-left to left-wing |
|Colors||Blue, red, white|
|Seats in the Senate|
0 / 100
|Seats in the House|
0 / 435
0 / 50
|State Upper Houses|
0 / 1,921
|State Lower Houses|
0 / 5,411
The Prohibition Party (PRO) is a political party in the United States known for its historic opposition to the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages and as an integral part of the temperance movement. It is the oldest existing third party in the United States and the third longest active party.
Although it was never one of the leading parties in the United States, it was once an important force in the Third Party System during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The organization declined following the enactment of Prohibition in the United States, but saw a rise in vote totals following the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1933. However, following World War II it declined with 1948 being the last time its presidential candidate received over 100,000 votes and 1976 being the last time it received over 10,000 votes.
The party's platform has changed over its existence with its platforms throughout the 19th century supporting progressive and populist positions including women's suffrage, equal racial and gender rights, bimetallism, equal pay, and an income tax, but would sometimes only contain positions on alcoholic prohibition when the narrow guager faction wrote it.During the 20th century the platform became more socially conservative with anti-abortion and religious positions although it also supports environmental stewardship and free education.
In 1868 and 1869, branches of the International Organisation of Good Templars passed resolutions supporting the creation of a political party in favor of alcoholic prohibition. From July 29 to July 30, 1868, the sixth National Temperance Convention was held in Cleveland, Ohio and passed a resolution supporting temperance advocates to enter politics. On May 25, 1869, the Good Templars branch in Oswego, New York called a meeting to prepare for the creation of a political party in favor of prohibition. Jonathan H. Orne was chosen as chairman and Julius A. Spencer as secretary of the meeting and a committee was created consisting of John Russell, Daniel Wilkins, Julius A. Spencer, John N. Stearns, and James Black to organize a national party.
On September 1, 1869, almost five hundred delegates from twenty states and Washington, D.C. met in Farwell Hall, Chicago and John Russell was selected to serve as the temporary chairman and James Black serving as president of the convention.The party was the first to accept women as members and gave those who attended full delegate rights. Former anti-slavery activist Gerrit Smith, who had served in the House of Representatives from 1853 to 1854 and ran for president in 1848, 1856, 1860 with the Liberty Party nomination, served as a delegate from New York and gave a speech at the convention. The organization was referred to as either the National Prohibition Party or the Prohibition Reform Party.
On December 9, 1871, a national convention was called to occur on February 22, 1872, to nominate a presidential and vice presidential candidate.Chairman Simeon B. Chase, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, Gerrit Smith, former Portland Mayor Neal Dow, and John Russell were proposed as presidential nominees and Henry Fish, James Black, John Blackman, Secretary Gideon T. Stewart, Julius A. Spencer, and Stephen B. Ransom were proposed for the vice presidential nomination. James Black and John Russell were given the presidential and vice presidential nominations. The first platform of the organization created at the 1872 convention included support for alcoholic prohibition, the direct election of Senators, bimetallic currency, low tariffs, universal suffrage for both men and women of all races, and increase foreign immigration.
In 1876, the organization's name was changed to the National Prohibition Reform Party. However, in 1881, Frances Willard, R. W. Nelson, A. J. Jutkins, and George W. Bain formed the Home Protection Party, which was more pro-women's suffrage than the Prohibition Party, but later rejoined the party at the 1882 convention and the organization was renamed to the Prohibition Home Protection Party. However, at the 1884 national convention the organization was renamed to the National Prohibition Party.
In 1879, Frances Willard became the president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and although it had remained non-partisan in the 1876 and 1880 presidential elections Willard pushed for a resolution where the organization would pledge its support to whichever party would support alcoholic prohibition. Willard attempts in 1882 and 1883 were unsuccessful, but was successful in 1884 after her opponents left to join Judith Foster's rival Non-Partisan WCTU.During the 1884 presidential election the organization sent its resolution to the Republican, Democratic, Greenback, and Prohibition parties and only the Prohibition Party accepted. At the Woman's Christian Temperance Union's 1884 national convention in St. Louis the organization voted 195 to 48 in favor of supporting the Prohibition Party and would continue to support the Prohibition Party until Willard's death in 1898.
During 1884 election the party nominated John St. John, the former Republican governor of Kansas, who with the support from Willard and the WTCU saw the party 147,482 votes for 1.50% of the popular vote. However, the party was accused of spoiling the election due to Grover Cleveland's margin of victory over James G. Blaine in New York being less than John's vote total there.In 1888 the party's presidential nominee, Clinton B. Fisk, was accused of being a possible spoiler candidate that would prevent Benjamin Harrison from winning, but Harrison won the election although without winning the national popular vote.
From January to February, 1892, Willard met with representatives from the Farmers' Alliance, People's Party, National Reform Party, and the remainder of the Greenback Party in Chicago and St. Louis in an attempt to create a fusion presidential ticket, but the organizations were unable to agree to a platform.The People's Party would later fuse with the Democratic Party in the 1896 presidential election.
The party suffered a schism at the 1896 Prohibition convention between the narrow gauger faction which only supported having an alcoholic prohibition plank in the party's platform and the broad gauger faction which supported the addition of free silver and women's suffrage. After the narrow gaugers successfully chose the presidential ticket and the party platform the broad gaugers performed a walkout lead by former presidential nominee John St. John, Nebraska state chairman Charles Eugene Bentley, and suffragette Helen M. Gougar and created the breakaway National Party and nominated a rival ticket with Bentley as president and James H. Southgate as vice president.The Prohibition party ticket of Joshua Levering and Hale Johnson had the worst popular vote performance since Neal Dow's 10,364 votes in 1880, but still outperformed the National Party's 13,968 votes. Following the 1896 election most of the members of the National Party became disillusioned with party and returned to the Prohibition party, but those who remained reformed into the Union Reform Party and supported Seth H. Ellis and Samuel Nicholson during the 1900 presidential election.
At the same time, its ideology broadened to include aspects of progressivism. The party contributed to the third-party discussions of the 1910s and sent Charles H. Randall to the 64th, 65th and 66th Congresses as the representative of California's 9th congressional district. Democrat Sidney J. Catts of Florida, after losing a close Democratic primary, used the Prohibition line to win election as Governor of Florida in 1916; he remained a Democrat.
During the 1916 presidential election the party attempted to give its presidential nomination to former Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, but he rejected the offer via telegram.At the national convention the presidential nomination was given to former Indiana Governor Frank Hanly although an attempt to make his nomination unanimous was defeated by Eugene W. Chafin, who had served as the presidential nominee in 1908 and 1912, who had supported giving the nomination to former New York Governor William Sulzer. Virgil G. Hinshaw wrote to John M. Parker in an attempt to fuse the Prohibition and Progressive parties, but it failed and the Progressives did not nominate a presidential candidate and later disbanded.
On February 4, 1918, the Prohibition affiliate in California voted in favor of merging with the National Party, which was created by pro-war defectors from the Socialist Party of America in 1917.
On January 16, 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited "intoxicating liquors" in the United States, was ratified by the requisite number of states. Although it was suggested that the organization should be disbanded due to national alcoholic prohibition being achieved, the committee leaders changed the focus of the organization to supporting the enforcement of prohibition. In 1921, the organization petitioned to have any non-citizens that violated the Eighteenth Amendment to be deported and for citizens to lose their right to vote. At the 1924 national convention the party approved a platform with only two planks supporting religion in public schools and the assimilation of immigrants.
During the 1928 presidential election some members of the party, including Chairman D. Leigh Colvin and former presidential nominee Herman P. Faris, considered endorsing Republican Herbert Hoover rather than running a Prohibition candidate and risking spoiling the election and allowing Al Smith, who supported ending prohibition, to be elected. However, the party chose to nominate William F. Varney due to their feeling that Hoover was not strict enough on prohibition, although the affiliate in California gave Hoover an additional ballot line and in Pennsylvania the affiliate did not file presidential electors.However, the party became critical of Hoover after he was elected President and during the 1932 presidential election D. Leigh Colvin stated that "The Republican wet plank, supporting the repeal of Prohibition, means that Mr. Hoover is the most conspicuous turncoat since Benedict Arnold." Hoover lost the election, but national prohibition was repealed in 1933, with the 21st Amendment during the Roosevelt administration.
In 1950, Gerald Overholt was selected to be the party's chairman and at the time the party was $5,000 in debt and during the 1952 presidential election he and Stuart Hamblen, the presidential nominee, spent $70,000 and the party's debt was increased to $20,000. During the 1954 elections the affiliates in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Michigan lost their ballot access although the party remained successful in Kansas, where the Prohibition sheriff of Jewell County was reelected, and in California, where the attorney general nominee received over 200,000 votes.
In 1977, the party changed its name to the National Statesman Party, but Time magazine suggested that it was "doubtful" that the name change would "hoist the party out of the category of political oddity" and it changed its name back to the Prohibition Party in 1980.
The Prohibition Party experienced a schism in 2003, as the party's prior presidential candidate, Earl Dodge, incorporated a rival party called the National Prohibition Party in Colorado.An opposing faction nominated Gene C. Amondson for President and filed under the Prohibition banner in Louisiana. Dodge ran under the name of the historic Prohibition Party in Colorado, while the Concerns of People Party allowed Amondson to run on its line against Dodge. Amondson received 1,944 votes, nationwide, while Dodge garnered 140.
One key area of disagreement between the factions was over who should control payments from a trust fund dedicated to the Prohibition Party by George Pennock in 1930.The fund pays approximately $8,000 per year, and during the schism these funds were divided between the factions. Dodge died in 2007, allowing the dispute over the Pennock funds to finally be resolved in 2014. The party is reported as having only "three dozen fee-paying members".
In 2015, the party rejoined the board of the Coalition for Free and Open Elections and became a qualified political party in Mississippi.In the 2016 election, the party nominated James Hedges and qualified for the ballot in three states, Arkansas, Colorado, and Mississippi, and earned 5,514 votes becoming the most successful Prohibition presidential candidate since 1988.
The party met via telephone conference in November, 2018 to nominate its 2020 presidential ticket. Bill Bayes of Mississippi, the vice presidential nominee during the 2016 presidential election, was given the nomination on the first ballot over Adam Seaman and Phil Collins. C.L. Gammon of Tennessee was given the vice presidential nomination without opposition.Bayes resigned as the nominee, accusing some party activists of sabotaging his run because they opposed his views. Another telephone conference call was held in where Gammon was given the presidential nomination and Collins was given the vice presidential nomination. However, Gammon withdrew from the nomination in August 2019, due to health problems, and another telephone conference was held that selected Collins for the presidential nomination and Billy Joe Parker for the vice presidential nomination.
The Prohibition Party has nominated a candidate for president in every election since 1872, and is thus the longest-lived American political party after the Democrats and Republicans.
|Prohibition Party National Conventions and Campaigns|
|Year||No.||Convention Site & City||Dates||Presidential nominee||Vice-Presidential nominee||Votes||Votes %|
|1872||1st||Comstock's Opera House, Columbus, Ohio||Feb. 22, 1872||James Black (Pennsylvania)||John Russell (Michigan)||5,607||0.1|
|May 17, 1876||Green Clay Smith (Kentucky)||Gideon T. Stewart (Ohio)||6,945||0.08|
|1880||3rd||June 17, 1880||Neal Dow (Maine)||Henry Adams Thompson (Ohio)||10,364||0.11|
|July 23–24, 1884||John P. St. John (Kansas)||William Daniel (Maryland)||147,482||1.50|
|May 30–31, 1888||Clinton B. Fisk (New Jersey)||John A. Brooks (Missouri)||249,819||2.20|
|June 29–30, 1892||John Bidwell (California)||James B. Cranfill (Texas)||270,879||2.24|
|1896||7th||Exposition Hall, Pittsburgh||May 27–28, 1896||Joshua Levering (Maryland)||Hale Johnson (Illinois)||131,312||0.94|
|[7th]||Pittsburgh||May 28, 1896||Charles Eugene Bentley (Nebraska)||James H. Southgate (N. Car.)||13,968||0.10|
|1900||8th||First Regiment Armory,|
|June 27–28, 1900||John G. Woolley (Illinois)||Henry B. Metcalf (Rhode Island)||210,864||1.51|
|[8th]||Seth H. Ellis (Ohio)||Samuel Nicholson||5,696||0.04|
|1904||9th||Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis||June 29 to|
July 1, 1904
|Silas C. Swallow (Pennsylvania)||George W. Carroll (Texas)||259,102||1.92|
|1908||10th||Memorial Hall, Columbus||July 15–16, 1908||Eugene W. Chafin (Illinois)||Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio)||254,087||1.71|
|1912||11th||on a large temporary pier,|
Atlantic City, New Jersey
|July 10–12, 1912||208,156||1.38|
|1916||12th||St. Paul, Minnesota||July 19–21, 1916||J. Frank Hanly (Indiana)||Rev. Dr. Ira Landrith (Tennessee)||221,302||1.19|
|1920||13th||Lincoln, Nebraska||July 21–22, 1920||Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio)||D. Leigh Colvin (New York)||188,787||0.71|
|1924||14th||Memorial Hall, Columbus||June 4–6, 1924||Herman P. Faris (Missouri)||Marie C. Brehm (California)||55,951||0.19|
|1928||15th||Hotel LaSalle, Chicago||July 10–12, 1928||William F. Varney (New York)||James A. Edgerton||20,101||0.05|
|[15th]||[California ticket]||Herbert Hoover (California)||Charles Curtis (Kansas)||14,394|
|1932||16th|| Cadle Tabernacle,|
|July 5–7, 1932||William D. Upshaw (Georgia)||Frank S. Regan (Illinois)||81,905||0.21|
|1936||17th||State Armory Building, |
Niagara Falls, New York
|May 5–7, 1936||D. Leigh Colvin (New York)|| Alvin York (Tennessee) (declined); |
Claude A. Watson (California)
|1940||18th||Chicago||May 8–10, 1940||Roger W. Babson (Mass.)||Edgar V. Moorman (Illinois)||57,925||0.12|
|1944||19th||Indianapolis||Nov. 10–12, 1943||Claude A. Watson (California)||Floyd C. Carrier (Maryland) (withdrew); |
Andrew N. Johnson (Kentucky)
|1948||20th||Winona Lake, Indiana||June 26–28, 1947||Dale H. Learn (Pennsylvania)||103,708||0.21|
|1952||21st||Indianapolis||Nov. 13–15, 1951||Stuart Hamblen (California)||Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois)||73,412||0.12|
|Sept. 4–6, 1955||Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois)|| Herbert C. Holdridge (California) (withdrew); |
Edwin M. Cooper (California)
|Sept. 1–3, 1959||Rutherford Decker (Missouri)||E. Harold Munn (Michigan)||46,203||0.07|
|1964||24th||Pick Congress Hotel,|
|August 26–27, 1963||E. Harold Munn (Michigan)||Mark R. Shaw (Massachusetts)||23,267||0.03|
|1968||25th||YWCA, Detroit, Mich.||June 28–29, 1968||Rolland E. Fisher (Kansas)||15,123||0.02|
|1972||26th||Nazarene Church Building,|
|June 24–25, 1971||Marshall E. Uncapher (Kansas)||13,497||0.02|
|1976||27th||Beth Eden Baptist Church Bldg, Wheat Ridge, Colo.||June 26–27, 1975||Benjamin C. Bubar (Maine)||Earl F. Dodge (Colorado)||15,932||0.02|
|June 20–21, 1979||7,206||0.01|
|1984||29th||Mandan, North Dakota||June 22–24, 1983||Earl Dodge (Colorado)||Warren C. Martin (Kansas)||4,243||0.00|
|June 25–26, 1987||George Ormsby (Pennsylvania)||8,002||0.01|
|1992||31st||Minneapolis, Minnesota||June 24–26, 1991||961||0.00|
|1996||32nd||Denver, Colorado||1995||Rachel Bubar Kelly (Maine)||1,298||0.00|
|2000||33rd||Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania||June 28–30, 1999||W. Dean Watkins (Arizona)||208||0.00|
|2004||34th||Fairfield Glade, Tennessee||February 1, 2004||Gene Amondson (Washington)||Leroy Pletten (Michigan)||1,944||0.00|
|[34th]||Lakewood, Colorado||August 2003||Earl Dodge (Colorado)||Howard Lydick (Texas)||140||0.00|
|2008||35th||Adam's Mark Hotel,|
|Sept. 13–14, 2007||Gene Amondson (Washington)||Leroy Pletten (Michigan)||655||0.00|
|2012||36th||Holiday Inn Express,|
|June 20–22, 2011||Jack Fellure (West Virginia)||Toby Davis (Mississippi)||518||0.00|
|2016||37th||Conference call||July 31, 2015||James Hedges (Pennsylvania)||Bill Bayes (Mississippi)||5,617||0.00|
|2020||38th||Conference call||August 24, 2019||Phil Collins (Nevada)||Billy Joe Parker (Georgia)||N/A|
The Prohibition Party platform, as listed on the party's web site in 2018, includes the following points:
In 1867, John Russell became the first chairman of the Prohibition party with Earl Dodge serving the longest for twenty four years and Gregory Seltzer serving the shortest for one year.
The 1832 United States presidential election was the 12th quadrennial presidential election, held from Friday, November 2, to Wednesday, December 5, 1832. It saw incumbent President Andrew Jackson, candidate of the Democratic Party, defeated Henry Clay, candidate of the National Republican Party.
The 1884 United States presidential election was the 25th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 4, 1884. It saw the first election of a Democrat as President of the United States since 1856. Governor Grover Cleveland of New York defeated Republican James G. Blaine of Maine. The election was set apart by unpleasant mudslinging and shameful allegations that eclipsed substantive issues, for example, civil administration change.
The 1892 United States presidential election was the 27th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1892. In a rematch of the closely contested 1888 presidential election, former Democratic President Grover Cleveland defeated incumbent Republican President Benjamin Harrison. Cleveland's victory made him the first and to date only person in American history to be elected to a non-consecutive second presidential term. It was also the first of two times that an incumbent was defeated in two consecutive elections.
The Reform Party of the United States of America (RPUSA), generally known as the Reform Party USA or the Reform Party, is a political party in the United States, founded in 1995 by Ross Perot.
Eugene Wilder Chafin was an American politician and writer who served as the Prohibition Party's presidential candidate during the 1908 and 1912 presidential elections. He was active in local politics in Wisconsin, statewide elections in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Arizona, and campaigned throughout the United States and the world in favor of the prohibition of alcohol.
John Pierce St. John was the eighth Governor of Kansas and served as the Prohibition presidential nominee in 1884. Under his tenure as governor Kansas became the third state to enact a statewide prohibition of alcohol which would last until 1948 and remain in some form until 1987. After leaving elected office he maintained his position in the Prohibition party and remained active in the party's presidential politics and was a major figure in the party schism during the 1896 presidential election.
James Franklin Hanly was an American politician who served as a congressman from Indiana from 1895 until 1897, and was the 26th Governor of Indiana from 1905 to 1909. He was the founder of Hanly's Flying Squadron, which advocated prohibition nationally and played an important role in raising awareness about the effect of alcohol and arousing public support for prohibition.
James Black was an American temperance movement activist and a founder of the Prohibition Party. In 1872 Black was the first nominee of the Prohibition Party for President of the United States.
Joshua Levering was a prominent Baptist and a candidate for president of the United States in 1896. He was president of the trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, co-founder of the American Baptist Educational Society, and co-founder of the Layman's Missionary Movement.
William Daniel was an American politician from the state of Maryland. A lawyer, he was a noted prohibitionist and abolitionist. He served in both houses of the Maryland state legislature, first as a Whig, and later as a member of the American Party. Later, as a Republican, he was a member of the convention that wrote Maryland's constitution in 1864. He helped found the Maryland Temperance Alliance in 1872 and served as its president for twelve years. Daniel was the vice presidential nominee and running mate of John St. John on the Prohibition Party ticket in the presidential election of 1884. Placing third in the election that year, he continued his involvement with the cause of temperance until his death in 1897.
Marie Caroline Brehm was an American prohibitionist, suffragist, and politician. The Head of the suffrage department for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), she was a key figure in the Prohibition Party and Presbyterian Church, active in both local and national politics, and an advocate of reform laws. Twice she was appointed by the President to represent the United States at the World's Anti-Alcoholic Congress in Europe. Additionally, she was the first woman to run for the Vice President of the United States after the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote.
The Constitution Party, or the Christian Nationalist Party or America First Party in some states, was a loosely organized conservative third party in the United States that was primarily active in Texas, founded in 1952 to support General Douglas MacArthur for president and attempted to and drafted other prominent politicians for presidential elections.
The 1930 New York state election was held on November 4, 1930, to elect the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the State Comptroller, the Attorney General and a judge of the New York Court of Appeals, as well as all members of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.
Charles Eugene Bentley was an American politician who served as the presidential nominee of the National Party, an offshoot party created by the broad gaugers faction of the Prohibition Party, during the 1896 presidential election.
John Granville Woolley was an American politician, lawyer, and public speaker who served as the Prohibition Party's presidential candidate candidate in 1900.
James "Jim" Hedges is an American politician who served as the Tax Assessor for Thompson Township, Pennsylvania as the Prohibition Party's 2016 presidential nominee. He is currently the only member of the Prohibition Party to be elected to public office in the 21st century, and the first since 1959.
James Britton Cranfill was an American religious figure and prohibitionist who served as the Prohibition Party's vice presidential nominee in 1892.
The 1872 Prohibition National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at Comstock's Opera House, in Columbus, Ohio on February 22, 1872, to selected the presidential ticket for the 1872 presidential election. It was the first presidential nominating convention of the newly organized Prohibition Party and would continue nominating presidential candidates in every presidential election leading it to become the longest continuous third party in the United States.
The 1876 Prohibition National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at Halle's Hall, in Cleveland, Ohio on May 17, 1876, to select the Prohibition Party's presidential ticket for the 1876 presidential election.
The 1880 Prohibition National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at Halle's Hall, in Cleveland, Ohio on June 17, 1880, to select the Prohibition Party's presidential ticket for the 1880 presidential election.