During the Nineteenth Century, a reform agitation known as the prohibition movement began to gather momentum in the United States. Led chiefly by the Women's Christian Temperance Union and pushed also by the Prohibition Party, this movement grew only slowly until a general spirit of reform began to sweep the country at the end of the century. With the W.C.T.U. and the American Anti-Saloon League leading the fight during the Progressive Era, the tide of public opinion finally took form in the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, an amendment which forbade "the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors..." in this country.
The Eighteenth Amendment became effective on January 16, 1920. Less than fourteen years later, the Amendment was repealed. The dreams of most prohibitionists were but ashes. In the opinion of most Americans, the "noble experiment" had failed.
The story of prohibition on the national scene was reflected on a smaller scale in the State of Utah, but Utah deserves special study since it had a unique people. The predominant religion in Utah was that of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the so-called Mormon Church, which demands of its members total abstinance from alcoholic beverages if they are to be in full faith and fellowship. Significant, then, is the fact that when Utah adopted prohibition in 1917, sixty-three percent of its people were Mormons. Yet, when Utah repealed prohibition in 1933, the percentage of the population affiliated with this dominant faith was still sixty-three per cent.
The events leading to the adoption of prohibition in Utah have been adequately described by Bruce T. Dyer, and will be only reviewed here as background information. The emphasis in this study will be upon the events and forces leading to the repeal of prohibition in Utah and the adoption of the basic liquor control system which has been in effect in the state since 1935.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Skyles, George Harmon, "A Study of Forces and Events Leading to the Repeal of Prohibition and the Adoption of a Liquor Control System" (1962). Theses and Dissertations. 5113.
Liquor laws, Utah, Prohibition