See W. B. Hesseltine, The Rise and Fall of Third Parties (1948); H. P. Nash, Third Parties in American Politics (1959); J. Kobler, Ardent Spirits (1973).
The Prohibition Party is a political party in the United States best known for its historic opposition to the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages. The Party was an integral part of the temperance movement and, while never one of the nation's leading parties, it was an important force in US politics in the late 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. The party has declined dramatically since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Today, it 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."
At the same time, the party's 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, serving 1917-1921.
The party's greatest success was in 1919, with the passage of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. That Amendment outlawed the production, sale, transportation, import, and export of alcohol. The era during which alcohol was illegal in the USA is generally known as "Prohibition". The enactment of national prohibition took away the party's main issue, and the party declined in importance. The "Prohibition" era saw the rise of "Speakeasies" and bootleggers. Prohibition also triggered the rise of organized crime. By the start of the Great Depression, prohibition had become unpopular. National prohibition was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933. Its core cause having fallen into disfavor, the US Prohibition Party declined into insignificance.
Components of the Prohibition Party organizational structure are the Prohibition National Committee, the National Prohibition Foundation, the Partisan Prohibition Historical Society, the Prohibitionists’ Caucus, the Action!, and all state and local affiliates. Gene Amondson has been chairman of the Prohibition National Committee since 2005.
From 1977 to 1980, the party was called the National Statesman Party.
This secession by some eight members occurred under Earl Dodge. This occurred after a number of complaints concerning his leadership, his financial relationships with the party and its foundations, his refusal to accept new members due to fear they would vote against him, allegations of inadequate accounting and even of thievery. These have been published on the website of the majority and elsewhere and not disputed on the Dodge faction's website.
Dodge had seen the handwriting on the wall, when he won at the 1999 convention by only one vote, 9-8. In 2002, nine members signed a petition to call a special meeting under the bylaws.
Dodge saw that he no longer would have a majority vote. The precipitating factor in the secession was Dodge's excluding the majority from the 2003 Convention. Instead of holding the Convention mandated by Party Bylaws, Dodge instead convened an invitation-only "convention" consisting of eight people including Dodge and two of his daughters. To exclude disfavored members of the majority, Dodge held the pertinent meetings in his living room in Lakewood, CO, on June 12-13 of 2003.. Although there was no quorum as a majority of members were neither invited nor participated, this invitation-only meeting purported to be the "2003 convention" and purported to nominate Dodge for a sixth presidential candidacy. Dodge ordered the attendees to keep the low attendance secret. However, the majority soon learned of his action.
Don Webb, a member of the National Committee from Alabama, charged that the convention was irregularly called, in violation of the National Committee by-laws, and lacked a quorum. Other party members who had criticized Dodge's leadership and had sponsored the presidential bid of Gary Van Horn in 1999 followed the Party Bylaws and convened the party convention due in 2003, at Fairfield Glade, TN. This was done pursuant to the party by-laws September 5-6 of 2003. Dodge and his secessionists chose not to attend.
The convention as convened by the majority accepted new members, thus increased the size of the National Committee, elected Webb the national chairman. This convention of the historic Party, did not accept the new competing Dodge Party's nomination of Dodge for President. Dodge and his running mate Howard Lydick, having seceded with their some six supporters, did not accept the actions of the historic Party's Fairfield Glade convention. They continued to campaign for President and Vice President. They concealed from the public their having established and incorporated a different Party, their "National Prohibition Party." Instead, they filed their slate of Presidential Electors in Colorado still using, albeit without permission, the name of the historic Prohibition Party.
The historic Party decided in early February 2004 to run the national ticket of Gene C. Amondson for President and Leroy J. Pletten for Vice President. They filed as the Prohibition ticket in Louisiana (the first time the party had appeared on the ballot there since 1888). In Colorado, the Concerns of People Party allowed Amondson to run on its line against Dodge, which was considered at the time to be the "Prohibition Party primary" to settle the future of the party.
Although Amondson won the de facto primary of 2004 by a margin of 1,944 to 140, the secession was not ended. The historic Prohibition Party, pursuant to the Party Bylaws mandating a biennial meeting, held its mid-term party conference in Bedford, PA, on June 15-16 of 2005 and elected Gene Amondson the party chairman, replacing Webb. It then accepted the party affiliates in Florida, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, gaining ballot status in Florida for 2008. It appears that the Dodge group, the new "National Prohibition Party," did not hold a mid-term conference. They evidently use their own different Bylaws, not the historic Party Bylaws.
In 2007, the two separate Parties held separate nominating conventions. The Dodge group again kept secret their low attendance, perhaps some three or so. The public was not invited.
In contrast, the historic Party welcomed the public, and had over ten times the attendance. The trustee of the George Pennock Fund initiated legal proceedings to determine which of the two competing parties (the historic 1869 Party, or the new 2003 Party) was the legal recipient of funds left to the party in the 1920s and 1930's. This litigation occurred when the new Dodge party that Dodge and his few supporters had established, sent letters to the trustee, alleging that the members of the historic Party had created a new and different Party! Dodge and his few supporters accused the historic Party of doing what they had in fact done, created a new Party.
Due to the brazenness of that Dodge claim, the trustee sought Court involvement. Dodge and his fellow secessionists refused to retract their accusation. This threatened substantial legal costs.
To avoid such substnatial litigation costs due to the expense of defending against Dodge's false accusation that the 2003 Party was the rightful claimant to funds from the 1920s - 1930's notwithstanding the written documentation alluding to the historic 1869 Party, the two separate Parties agreed to divide the money, with the historic Party getting slightly over 50%.
The death of Dodge in November 2007 left the new Party without a presidential nominee. Some party leaders attempted to end the secession, but were rebuffed. Amondson continues to be the chairman of the historic Prohibition Party.. In the spring of 2008, the new Party, Dodge's small group -- without a known meeting or vote and again excluding disfavored individuals -- purported to have nominated Amondson for President, but they retained Lydick as their VP nominee..
|Prohibition Party National Campaigns|
|Year||Convention||Site & City||Dates||Presidential nominee||VP nominee||Votes|
|1872||1st||Comstock's Opera House, Columbus OH||2/22/1872||James Black PA||John Russell MI||2,100|
|1876||2d||Halle's Hall, Cleveland OH||5/17/1876||Green Clay Smith KY||Gideon T. Stewart OH||6,743|
|1880||3d||Halle's Hall, Cleveland OH||6/17/1880||Neal Dow ME||Henry A. Thompson OH||9,674|
|1884||4th||Lafayette Hall, Pittsburgh PA||7/23-24/1884||John P. St. John KS||William Daniel MD||147,520|
|1888||5th||Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis IN||5/30-31/1888||Clinton B. Fisk NJ||John A. Brooks MO||249,813|
|1892||6th||Music Hall, Cincinnati OH||6/29-30/1892||John Bidwell CA||James B. Cranfill TX||270,770|
|1896||7th||Exposition Hall, Pittsburgh PA||5/27-28/1896||Joshua Levering MD||Hale Johnson IL||125,072|
|[7th]||Pittsburgh PA||5/28/1896||Charles E. Bentley NE||James H. Southgate NC||19,363|
|1900||8th||First Regiment Armory, Chicago IL||6/27/28/1900||John G. Woolley IL||Henry B. Metcalf RI||209,004|
|[8th]||Carnegie Lyceum, NYC NY||9/5/1900|| Donelson Caffery LA (declined); |
Edward M. Emerson MA
|Archibald M. Howe MA||342|
|1904||9th||Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis IN||6/29 to 7/1/1904||Silas C. Swallow PA||George W. Carroll TX||258,596|
|1908||10th||Memorial Hall, Columbus OH||7/15-16/1908||Eugene W. Chafin IL||Aaron S. Watkins OH||252,821|
|1912||11th||on a large temporary pier, Atlantic City NJ||7/10-12/1912||Eugene W. Chafin IL||Aaron S. Watkins OH||207,972|
|1916||12th||St. Paul MN||7/19-21/1916||J. Frank Hanly IN||Ira Landrith TN||221,030|
|1920||13th||Lincoln NE||7/21-22/1920||Aaron Watkins OH||D. Leigh Colvin NY||188,685|
|1924||14th||Memorial Hall, Columbus OH||6/4-6/1924||Herman P. Faris MO||Marie C. Brehm CA||54,833|
|1928||15th||Hotel LaSalle, Chicago IL||7/10-12/1928||William F. Varney NY||James A. Edgerton||20,095|
|[15th]||[California ticket]||Herbert Hoover CA||Charles Curtis KS||14,394|
|1932||16th||Candle Tabernacle, Indianapolis IN||7/5-7/1932||William D. Upshaw GA||Frank S. Regan IL||81,916|
|1936||17th||State Armory Building, Niagara Falls NY||5/5-7/1936||D. Leigh Colvin NY|| Alvin York TN (declined); |
Claude A. Watson CA
|1940||18th||Chicago IL||5/8-10/1940||Roger W. Babson MA||Edgar V. Moorman IL||58,743|
|1944||19th||Indianapolis IN||11/10-12/1943||Claude A. Watson CA|| Floyd C. Carrier MD (withdrew); |
Andrew Johnson KY
|1948||20th||Winona Lake IN||6/26-28/1947||Claude A. Watson CA||Dale H. Learn PA||103,489|
|1952||21st||Indianapolis IN||11/13-15/1951||Stuart Hamblen CA||Enoch A. Holtwick IL||73,413|
|1956||22d||Camp Mack, Milford IN||9/4-6/1955||Enoch A. Holtwick IL|| Herbert C. Holdridge CA (withdrew); |
Edwin M. Cooper CA
|1960||23d||Westminster Hotel, Winona Lake IN||9/1-3/1959||Rutherford Decker MO||E. Harold Munn MI||46,193|
|1964||24th||Pick Congress Hotel, Chicago IL||8/26-27/1963||E. Harold Munn MI||Mark R. Shaw MA||23,266|
|1968||25th||YWCA, Detroit MI||6/28-29/1968||E. Harold Munn MI||Rolland E. Fisher KS||14,915|
|1972||26th||Nazarene Church Building, Wichita KS||6/24-25/1971||E. Harold Munn MI||Marshall E. Uncapher KS||12,818|
|1976||27th||Beth Eden Baptist Church Building, Wheat Ridge CO||6/26-27/1975||Benjamin C. Bubar ME||Earl F. Dodge CO||15,934|
|1980||28th||Motel Birmingham, Birmingham AL||6/20-21/1979||Benjamin C. Bubar ME||Earl F. Dodge CO||7,212|
|1984||29th||Mandan ND||6/22-24/1983||Earl Dodge CO||Warren C. Martin KS||4,242|
|1988||30th||Heritage House, Springfield IL||6/25-26/1987||Earl Dodge CO||George Ormsby PA||8,002|
|1992||31st||Minneapolis MN||6/24-26/1991||Earl Dodge CO||George Ormsby PA||935|
|1996||32d||Denver CO||1995||Earl Dodge CO||Rachel Bubar Kelly||1,298|
|2000||33d||Bird in Hand PA||6/28-30/1999||Earl Dodge CO||W. Dean Watkins AZ||208|
|2004||34th||Fairfield Glade TN||2/1/2004||Gene Amondson AK||Leroy Pletten MI||1,944|
|2008||35th||Adams Mark Hotel, Indianapolis IN||9/13-14/2007||Gene Amondson AK||Leroy Pletten MI|