Prohibition Propaganda: The Extremists' Creations By: Sarah
    Why did people create such influential propaganda?   In order to fully understand the extremists’ actions, one should first take a look at where these extremists were coming from.  The Prohibitionists wanted to protect the values of the American family that they believed were being put into jeopardy by alcohol abuse.  It seemed to them that such abuse could be stopped with the restrictive law.  One journalist of the Christian Courier wrote that the typical "wet" was upset about Prohibition because he was:
                                             deprived of his liberties... the privilege of getting drunk... the
                                         honored privilege of beating and otherwise mistreating his wife
                                         and children and shooting his neighbor... the privilege of stealing
                                         his neighbor’s pocketbook, watch, automobile, and wife... the
                                         privilege of killing... blowing open safes and robbing banks... such
                                        glorious liberties. (McCarty, 24).
     The general view of the Prohibitionists is summarized well in this excerpt from a Baptist editorial about the Eighteenth Ammendment:  "There has never been a law passed in the United States that brought more prosperity or did more good than this provision of the Constitution, except, perhaps, the abolition of human slavery."(McCarty, 24).
     On the other hand, Anti-Prohibitionists wanted to protect the freedom of American citizens to drink alcohol, and to purchase it from honest merchants rather than criminals.  They felt that their freedom should not be restricted by "a law that truly patriotic, freedom-loving Americans (could) never be made to obey"(Prohibition Primer, 40).  It was written about Prohibitionists that:"As soon as there were enough of them, these Prohibitionists went into politics.  They tried, that is, to take over our government."(Primer, 20).   The general consensus of the extreme Anti-Prohibitionists was that "Prohibition (was) doing more harm to America than anything else in all her history."(Primer, 7).
     The extreme Prohibitionists created many posters that associated alcohol with the devil, and plastered them up everywhere for all to see.  They used images of starving children with slogans about daddy drinking all the money away, and character’s such as "King Alcohol" leading groups of drunken people to invoke disgust and pity in the general public.  Worst of all, they forced their views upon the impressionable minds of wide-eyed children.
     This verse was written for a Sunday school lesson to "raise a striking spector of personal anguish and family distress"(Clark, 3):
                                                               Shoeless over frozen ground
                                                               His wretched children go,
                                                               And away he staggers
                                                               To where the sound
                                                              Of drunken revel is ringing ‘round
                                                              To taste his cup of woe (Clark, 3).
     The Anti-Prohibitionists pumped out similar propaganda in support of their side.  One anonymous Anti-Prohibitionist author wrote a book about rebelling against Prohibition that was geared specifically toward children.  It almost served as a "how to" book, and was full of brain-washing suggestions.
                                          For instance, your mother and father probably have some old
                                    Prohibitionist friend who comes to your house occasionally.  Suppose
                                    some day, this old friend pats you on the head and chuckles: "I’ll bet
                                    this young man doesn’t believe in breaking the prohibition law while
                                    its a law of this country."  Then in your very politest voice you can
                                    say: "Mr. Robinson, I am terribly sorry to disagree with you, but I
                                    think mother and father are perfectly right in having whatever they
                                    want to drink at their own table, and when I grow up I expect to do
                                    exactly as they do."(Primer, 89).
     The chapter seven heading in this unbelievable book was "Why It Is Right To Disobey Prohibition"(Primer, 60).  Clearly the Anti-Prohibitionists were guilty of preying upon young and easily-influenced minds the same way the Prohibitionists were.
     Dishonesty and stretching of facts were used on both sides in desperation to force opinions on others, namely the next generation.  What effect did this have?  One author wrote in 1924, that "So much of what has been said and written concerning national prohibition is neither scientific nor accurate that the impartial investigator finds it difficult to form an estimate of the results achieved." (Beman, viii).  The consequence of the propaganda these extremists created is one that effects