Prohibition Party

Last updated

Prohibition Party
Chairman Phil Collins
FoundedSeptember 1, 1869;150 years ago (September 1, 1869)
Ideology Temperance
Paleoconservatism
Christian democracy
Green conservatism
Political position Economic: Center-left to left-wing
Social: Right-wing
ColorsBlue, red, white
Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
Seats in the House
0 / 435
Governorships
0 / 50
State Upper Houses
0 / 1,921
State Lower Houses
0 / 5,411
Website
www.prohibitionparty.org

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.

Contents

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. [1] 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. [2]

History

National Prohibition Convention, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1892 National Prohibition Convention 1892.jpg
National Prohibition Convention, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1892

Foundation

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. [3]

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. [4] The party was the first to accept women as members and gave those who attended full delegate rights. [5] [6] 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. [7] [8] The organization was referred to as either the National Prohibition Party or the Prohibition Reform Party.

Early

On December 9, 1871, a national convention was called to occur on February 22, 1872, to nominate a presidential and vice presidential candidate. [9] 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. [10] 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. [11] [12] [13]

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. [14] [15]

Rise

1884 National Prohibition Convention in Lafayette Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 1884 Prohibition Party Convention.png
1884 National Prohibition Convention in Lafayette Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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. [16] 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. [17]

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. [18] 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. [19]

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. [20] [21] 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. [22] 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. [23]

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. [24] [25] 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. [26] 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. [27]

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. [28]

Decline

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. [29]

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. [30] [31] [32] 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." [33] Hoover lost the election, but national prohibition was repealed in 1933, with the 21st Amendment during the Roosevelt administration.

Post World War II

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. [34]

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. [35]

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. [36] [37] 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, [38] while the Concerns of People Party allowed Amondson to run on its line against Dodge. [39] Amondson received 1,944 votes, nationwide, while Dodge garnered 140.

Prohibition presidential candidates home states.svg
States of residence of every Prohibition presidential nominee.
Prohibition Party ballot access (2016).svg
Prohibition ballot access during the 2016 presidential election.

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. [40] The fund pays approximately $8,000 per year, and during the schism these funds were divided between the factions. [41] Dodge died in 2007, allowing the dispute over the Pennock funds to finally be resolved in 2014. [42] The party is reported as having only "three dozen fee-paying members". [43]

In 2015, the party rejoined the board of the Coalition for Free and Open Elections and became a qualified political party in Mississippi. [44] [45] 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. [46] Bayes resigned as the nominee, accusing some party activists of sabotaging his run because they opposed his views. [47] Another telephone conference call was held in where Gammon was given the presidential nomination and Collins was given the vice presidential nomination. [48] 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. [49]

Electoral history

Presidential campaigns

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
YearNo.Convention Site & CityDatesPresidential nomineeVice-Presidential nomineeVotesVotes %
1872 1stComstock's Opera House, Columbus, Ohio Feb. 22, 1872 James Black (Pennsylvania) John Russell (Michigan)5,6070.1
1876 2ndHalle's Hall,
Cleveland, Ohio
May 17, 1876 Green Clay Smith (Kentucky) Gideon T. Stewart (Ohio)6,9450.08
1880 3rdJune 17, 1880 Neal Dow (Maine) Henry Adams Thompson (Ohio)10,3640.11
1884 4thLafayette Hall,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
July 23–24, 1884 John P. St. John (Kansas) William Daniel (Maryland)147,4821.50
1888 5thTomlinson Hall,
Indianapolis, Indiana
May 30–31, 1888 Clinton B. Fisk (New Jersey) John A. Brooks (Missouri)249,8192.20
1892 6thMusic Hall,
Cincinnati, Ohio
June 29–30, 1892 John Bidwell (California) James B. Cranfill (Texas)270,8792.24
1896 7thExposition Hall, PittsburghMay 27–28, 1896 Joshua Levering (Maryland) Hale Johnson (Illinois)131,3120.94
[7th]PittsburghMay 28, 1896 Charles Eugene Bentley (Nebraska) James H. Southgate (N. Car.)13,9680.10
1900 8thFirst Regiment Armory,
Chicago, Illinois
June 27–28, 1900 John G. Woolley (Illinois) Henry B. Metcalf (Rhode Island)210,8641.51
[8th] Seth H. Ellis (Ohio)Samuel Nicholson5,6960.04
1904 9thTomlinson Hall, IndianapolisJune 29 to
July 1, 1904
Silas C. Swallow (Pennsylvania) George W. Carroll (Texas)259,1021.92
1908 10thMemorial Hall, ColumbusJuly 15–16, 1908 Eugene W. Chafin (Illinois) Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio)254,0871.71
1912 11thon a large temporary pier,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
July 10–12, 1912208,1561.38
1916 12th St. Paul, Minnesota July 19–21, 1916 J. Frank Hanly (Indiana)Rev. Dr. Ira Landrith (Tennessee)221,3021.19
1920 13th Lincoln, Nebraska July 21–22, 1920 Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio) D. Leigh Colvin (New York)188,7870.71
1924 14thMemorial Hall, ColumbusJune 4–6, 1924 Herman P. Faris (Missouri) Marie C. Brehm (California)55,9510.19
1928 15thHotel LaSalle, ChicagoJuly 10–12, 1928 William F. Varney (New York) James A. Edgerton 20,1010.05
[15th][California ticket] Herbert Hoover (California) Charles Curtis (Kansas)14,394
1932 16th Cadle Tabernacle,
Indianapolis
July 5–7, 1932 William D. Upshaw (Georgia) Frank S. Regan (Illinois)81,9050.21
1936 17thState Armory Building,
Niagara Falls, New York
May 5–7, 1936 D. Leigh Colvin (New York) Alvin York (Tennessee) (declined);
Claude A. Watson (California)
37,6590.08
1940 18thChicagoMay 8–10, 1940 Roger W. Babson (Mass.) Edgar V. Moorman (Illinois)57,9250.12
1944 19thIndianapolisNov. 10–12, 1943 Claude A. Watson (California)Floyd C. Carrier (Maryland) (withdrew);
Andrew N. Johnson (Kentucky)
74,7580.16
1948 20th Winona Lake, Indiana June 26–28, 1947 Dale H. Learn (Pennsylvania)103,7080.21
1952 21stIndianapolisNov. 13–15, 1951 Stuart Hamblen (California) Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois)73,4120.12
1956 22ndCamp Mack,
Milford, Indiana
Sept. 4–6, 1955 Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois) Herbert C. Holdridge (California) (withdrew);
Edwin M. Cooper (California)
41,9370.07
1960 23rdWestminster Hotel,
Winona Lake
Sept. 1–3, 1959 Rutherford Decker (Missouri) E. Harold Munn (Michigan)46,2030.07
1964 24thPick Congress Hotel,
Chicago
August 26–27, 1963 E. Harold Munn (Michigan)Mark R. Shaw (Massachusetts)23,2670.03
1968 25thYWCA, Detroit, Mich. June 28–29, 1968 Rolland E. Fisher (Kansas)15,1230.02
1972 26thNazarene Church Building,
Wichita, Kansas
June 24–25, 1971 Marshall E. Uncapher (Kansas)13,4970.02
1976 27thBeth Eden Baptist Church Bldg, Wheat Ridge, Colo. June 26–27, 1975 Benjamin C. Bubar (Maine) Earl F. Dodge (Colorado)15,9320.02
1980 28thMotel Birmingham,
Birmingham, Alabama
June 20–21, 19797,2060.01
1984 29th Mandan, North Dakota June 22–24, 1983 Earl Dodge (Colorado)Warren C. Martin (Kansas)4,2430.00
1988 30thHeritage House,
Springfield, Illinois
June 25–26, 1987 George Ormsby (Pennsylvania)8,0020.01
1992 31st Minneapolis, MinnesotaJune 24–26, 19919610.00
1996 32nd Denver, Colorado1995 Rachel Bubar Kelly (Maine)1,2980.00
2000 33rd Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania June 28–30, 1999 W. Dean Watkins (Arizona)2080.00
2004 34th Fairfield Glade, Tennessee February 1, 2004 Gene Amondson (Washington) Leroy Pletten (Michigan)1,9440.00
[34th] Lakewood, Colorado August 2003 Earl Dodge (Colorado) Howard Lydick (Texas)1400.00
2008 35thAdam's Mark Hotel,
Indianapolis
Sept. 13–14, 2007 Gene Amondson (Washington) Leroy Pletten (Michigan)6550.00
2012 36thHoliday Inn Express,
Cullman, Alabama
June 20–22, 2011 Jack Fellure (West Virginia) Toby Davis (Mississippi)5180.00
2016 37thConference call [50] [51] July 31, 2015 James Hedges (Pennsylvania)Bill Bayes (Mississippi)5,617 [52] 0.00
2020 38thConference call [53] August 24, 2019 Phil Collins (Nevada)Billy Joe Parker (Georgia)N/A

House

House electoral history
YearNumber of candidatesVotesChange
1938 268,499 (0.02%)Steady2.svg
1940 4862,504 (0.13%)Increase2.svg 0.11%
1942 2725,413 (0.09%)Decrease2.svg 0.04%
1944 5035,782 (0.08%)Decrease2.svg 0.01%
1946 4347,792 (0.14%)Increase2.svg 0.06%
1948 4232,648 (0.07%)Decrease2.svg 0.07%
1950 4234,761 (0.09%)Increase2.svg 0.02%
1952 4938,664 (0.07%)Decrease2.svg 0.02%
1954 178,591 (0.02%)Decrease2.svg 0.05%
1956 2012,298 (0.02%)Steady2.svg
1958 228,816 (0.02%)Steady2.svg
1960 244,841 (0.01%)Decrease2.svg 0.01%
1962 317,171 (0.03%)Increase2.svg 0.02%
1964 12,238 (0.00%)Decrease2.svg 0.03%
1966 00 (0.00%)Steady2.svg
1968 1351 (0.00%)Steady2.svg
1972 710,902 (0.02%)Increase2.svg 0.02%
1974 58,387 (0.02%)Steady2.svg
1976 33,141 (0.00%)Decrease2.svg 0.02%
1978 19,992 (0.02%)Increase2.svg 0.02%
1980 57,992 (0.01%)Decrease2.svg 0.01%
1982 11,724 (0.00%)Decrease2.svg 0.01%
1984 15,942 (0.01%)Increase2.svg 0.01%

Notable members

The Drunkard's Progress: A lithograph by Nathaniel Currier supporting the temperance movement, January 1846 The Drunkard's Progress - Color.jpg
The Drunkard's Progress: A lithograph by Nathaniel Currier supporting the temperance movement, January 1846

Platform

The Prohibition Party platform, as listed on the party's web site in 2018, includes the following points: [58]

Chairmen

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. [59]

Past chairmen

See also

Primary sources

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1880 Prohibition National Convention

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Further reading