Prohibition Party Chairman Toby Davis Founded 1869 Ideology Temperance Website prohibitionparty.org
Politics of the United States
The Prohibition Party (PRO) is a political party in the United States best known for its historic opposition to the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages. It is the oldest existing third party in the US. The party was an integral part of the temperance movement. While never one of the leading parties in the United States, it was an important force in the politics of the United States during the late 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. It has declined dramatically since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. The party earned only 643 votes in the 2008 presidential election. The Prohibition Party advocates a variety of socially conservative causes, including "stronger and more vigorous enforcement of laws against the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, against gambling, illegal drugs, pornography, and commercialized vice."
The Prohibition Party was founded in 1869. Its first National Committee Chairman was John Russell of Michigan. It succeeded in getting communities and also many counties in the states to outlaw the production and sale of intoxicating beverages.
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. Prohibitionist Sidney J. Catts was elected Governor of Florida in 1916.
The Prohibition Party's greatest success was in 1919, with the passage of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed the production, sale, transportation, import and export of alcohol. The era during which alcohol was illegal in the United States is generally known as "Prohibition".
During the Prohibition era, the Prohibition Party pressed for stricter enforcement of the prohibition laws. During the 1928 election, for example, it considered endorsing Republican Herbert Hoover rather than running its own candidate. However, by a 4–3 vote, its national executive committee voted to nominate their own candidate, William F. Varney, instead. They did this because they felt Hoover's stance on prohibition not strict enough. The Prohibition Party became even more critical of Hoover after he was elected President. By the 1932 election, party chairman David Leigh Colvin thundered that "The Republican wet plank [i.e. 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 anyway in 1933, with the 21st Amendment during the progressive Roosevelt administration.
The Prohibition Party has faded into obscurity since World War II. When it briefly changed its name to the "National Statesman Party" in 1977 (it would reverse the change in 1980), Time magazine suggested that it was "doubtful" that the name change would "hoist the party out of the category of political oddity."
The Prohibition Party has continued running presidential candidates every four years, but its vote totals have steadily dwindled. It last received more than 100,000 votes for president in 1948, and the 1976 election was the last time the party received more than 10,000 votes for president. In 2008, its presidential nominee received only 643 votes.
Secession of 2003
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. Dodge held a rival nominating convention in his living room in August 2003, attended by eight people, and was nominated as the president of this rival party.
In February 2004, Dodge's rivals nominated Gene C. Amondson for President. Neither the Dodge faction nor the Amondson faction recognized the other as legitimate. Amondson 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.
The death of Dodge in November 2007 left the Dodge faction without a presidential nominee. In the spring of 2008, the Dodge faction nominated Amondson for President, but they retained one of their own, Howard Lydick, as their vice presidential nominee.
In recent years, the two factions have been fighting over payments dedicated to the Prohibition Party by George Pennock in 1930. The fund pays approximately $8000 per year. To avoid litigation, the two separate parties agreed to divide the money, with the Amondson faction getting slightly over 50%.
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 1872 1st Comstock's Opera House, Columbus, Ohio Feb. 22, 1872 James Black (Pennsylvania) John Russell (Michigan) 2,100 1876 2nd Halle's Hall,
May 17, 1876 Green Clay Smith (Kentucky) Gideon T. Stewart (Ohio) 6,743 1880 3rd Halle's Hall, Cleveland June 17, 1880 Neal Dow (Maine) Henry Adams Thompson (Ohio) 9,674 1884 4th Lafayette Hall,
July 23–24, 1884 John P. St. John (Kansas) William Daniel (Maryland) 147,520 1888 5th Tomlinson Hall,
May 30–31, 1888 Clinton B. Fisk (New Jersey) John A. Brooks (Missouri) 249,813 1892 6th Music Hall,
June 29–30, 1892 John Bidwell (California) James B. Cranfill (Texas) 270,770 1896 7th Exposition Hall, Pittsburgh May 27–28, 1896 Joshua Levering (Maryland) Hale Johnson (Illinois) 125,072 [7th] Pittsburgh May 28, 1896 Charles Eugene Bentley (Nebraska) James H. Southgate (N. Car.) 19,363 1900 8th First Regiment Armory,
June 27–28, 1900 John G. Woolley (Illinois) Henry B. Metcalf (Rhode Island) 209,004 1904 9th Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis June 29 to
July 1, 1904
Silas C. Swallow (Pennsylvania) George W. Carroll (Texas) 258,596 1908 10th Memorial Hall, Columbus July 15–16, 1908 Eugene W. Chafin (Illinois) Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio) 252,821 1912 11th on a large temporary pier,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
July 10–12, 1912 Eugene W. Chafin (Illinois) Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio) 207,972 1916 12th St. Paul, Minnesota July 19–21, 1916 J. Frank Hanly (Indiana) Rev. Dr. Ira Landrith (Tennessee) 221,030 1920 13th Lincoln, Nebraska July 21–22, 1920 Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio) Dr. David Leigh Colvin (New York) 188,685 1924 14th Memorial Hall, Columbus June 4–6, 1924 Herman P. Faris (Missouri) Marie C. Brehm (California) 54,833 1928 15th Hotel LaSalle, Chicago July 10–12, 1928 William F. Varney (New York) James A. Edgerton 20,095 [15th] [California ticket] Herbert Hoover (California) Charles Curtis (Kansas) 14,394 1932 16th Candle Tabernacle,
July 5–7, 1932 William D. Upshaw (Georgia) Frank S. Regan (Illinois) 81,916 1936 17th State Armory Building,
Niagara Falls, New York
May 5–7, 1936 D. Leigh Colvin (New York) Alvin York (Tenn.) (declined);
Claude A. Watson (California)
37,668 1940 18th Chicago May 8–10, 1940 Roger W. Babson (Mass.) Edgar V. Moorman (Illinois) 58,743 1944 19th Indianapolis Nov. 10–12, 1943 Claude A. Watson (California) Floyd C. Carrier (Maryland) (withdrew);
Andrew Johnson (Kentucky)
74,735 1948 20th Winona Lake, Indiana June 26–28, 1947 Claude A. Watson (California) Dale H. Learn (Pennsylvania) 103,489 1952 21st Indianapolis Nov. 13–15, 1951 Stuart Hamblen (California) Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois) 73,413 1956 22nd Camp Mack,
Sept. 4–6, 1955 Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois) Herbert C. Holdridge (California) (withdrew);
Edwin M. Cooper (California)
41,937 1960 23rd Westminster Hotel,
Sept. 1–3, 1959 Rutherford Decker (Missouri) E. Harold Munn (Michigan) 46,193 1964 24th Pick Congress Hotel,
August 26–27, 1963 E. Harold Munn (Michigan) Mark R. Shaw (Massachusetts) 23,266 1968 25th YWCA, Detroit, Mich. June 28–29, 1968 E. Harold Munn (Michigan) Rolland E. Fisher (Kansas) 14,915 1972 26th Nazarene Church Building,
June 24–25, 1971 E. Harold Munn (Michigan) Marshall E. Uncapher (Kansas) 12,818 1976 27th Beth Eden Baptist Church Bldg, Wheat Ridge, Colo. June 26–27, 1975 Benjamin C. Bubar (Maine) Earl F. Dodge (Colorado) 15,934 1980 28th Motel Birmingham,
June 20–21, 1979 Benjamin C. Bubar (Maine) Earl F. Dodge (Colorado) 7,212 1984 29th Mandan, North Dakota June 22–24, 1983 Earl Dodge (Colorado) Warren C. Martin (Kansas) 4,242 1988 30th Heritage House,
June 25–26, 1987 Earl Dodge (Colorado) George Ormsby (Pennsylvania) 8,002 1992 31st Minneapolis, Minnesota June 24–26, 1991 Earl Dodge (Colorado) George Ormsby (Pennsylvania) 935 1996 32nd Denver, Colorado 1995 Earl Dodge (Colorado) Rachel Bubar Kelly (Maine) 1,298 2000 33rd Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania June 28–30, 1999 Earl Dodge (Colorado) W. Dean Watkins (Arizona) 208 2004 34th Fairfield Glade, Tennessee February 1, 2004 Gene Amondson (Washington) Leroy Pletten (Michigan) 1,944 [34th] Lakewood, Colorado August 2003 Earl Dodge (Colorado) Howard Lydick (Texas) 140 2008 35th Adams Mark Hotel,
Sept. 13–14, 2007 Gene Amondson (Washington) Leroy Pletten (Michigan) 643 2012 36th Holiday Inn Express,
June 20–22, 2011 Jack Fellure (West Virginia) Toby Davis (Mississippi)
- Sidney Johnston Catts – Governor of Florida (1917–1921)
- Charles Hiram Randall – California State Assemblyman (1911–12) and U.S. Representative from the 9th District of California (1915–21)
- Susanna M. Salter – Mayor of Argonia, Kansas (1887): the first female mayor in the United States
- James Hedges – Thompson Township, Pennsylvania, Tax Assessor (2002–2007): the first and only known Prohibition Party office holder of the 21st century
- ^ Party Platform
- ^ Prohibition Party National Committee - History
- ^ "National Affairs: Men of Principle". Time. September 10 1928. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,927759,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- ^ "National Affairs: In Cadle Tabernacle". Time. July 18 1932. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,753371,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- ^ "Americana: Time to Toast the Party?". Time. November 7 1977. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,947954,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- ^ Beyond Bush, Kerry & Nader Creative Loafing, October 13 2004
- ^ The National Prohibitionist, 6/2003, p. 1
- ^ CO US President Race Our Campaigns, November 2 2004
- ^ The National Prohibitionist, 11/2004, p. 1.
- ^ Earl F. Dodge Dies Ballot Access News, November 8 2007
- ^ Former Dodge Faction Endorses Gene Amondson Our Campaigns, February 29 2008
- ^ Internal Prohibition Party Battle Has Court Hearing on January 16 Ballot Access News, January 15 2007
- ^ Prohibition fight goes to court Ballot Access News, March 1 2006, Volume 21, Number 11
- ^ Prohibition Party Candidates
- James T. Havel, U.S. Presidential Candidates and the Elections (NYC: MacMillan Library Reference, 1996)
- S.B. Hinshaw, Ohio Elects the President: Our State's Role in Presidential Elections (Mansfield OH: Bookmasters, 1999)
- Prohibition Party website
- Prohibition Partisan Historical Society website
- Partisan prophets; a history of the Prohibition Party, 1854–1972, Roger C. Storms
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