The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and those women who sympathized with their cause during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, are well-known for their fight to implement prohibition. But little to no attention has been given to the nearly half a million women who eventually organized, wrote letters, and spoke out against the eighteenth amendment. While only a handful of women spoke out against prohibition before women were given the right to vote, one of the most influential—Abigail Scott Duniway—combined her anti-prohibition campaign with her campaign for women’s suffrage. The majority of the half a million prohibition reform supporters came directly after the nineteenth amendment was passed. Once women recognized themselves as political individuals, they refused to accept infringements on their personal liberties. These women were members of the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform, founded in 1929 and disbanded in 1933. These women were often labeled drunks and political puppets of their husbands. But they saw the power in their numbers when it came to vote for a new president, one who would favor reform or shy from it. And their cause was successful. All of these ideas are also illustrated by the well-known Chicago Tribune political cartoonist John T. McCutcheon. His focus on the changing times brings to life the intense shifts in the culture of Chicago.
Erika Bremer, ’04 Davenport, IA
Majors: English and History
Sponsor: Catherine Stewart