How prohibition shaped America

Loathing of saloon culture was part of a generalised fear of social disintegration: the US was rapidly industrialising and urbanising; immigration was creating ghettoes in US cities, which were seen as potentially incendiary; labour militancy was increasing, as were African-American protests; socialist and anarchist agitation fanned the flames of urban discontent – and made rural, Protestant America fear for its country and its moral values.

The battle over prohibition was in many respects a fight between two Americas – old and new, rural and urban, Protestant and Catholic, rich and poor, established and immigrant – and in the end the emerging, urban ethos encapsulated in President Roosevelt’s New Deal won. Prohibition was a staging post on the route to a new America, but old America did not give up without a struggle.

From The Guardian.

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