The Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Alcohol, & Prohibition

by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.

One of the major supporters of National Prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. (1920-1933) was the anti-alcohol Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

Prohibitionists often advocated strong measures against those who did not comply with Prohibition. One suggested that the government distribute poisoned alcohol beverages through bootleggers (sellers of illegal alcohol) and acknowledged that several hundred thousand Americans would die as a result, but thought the cost well worth the enforcement of Prohibition. Others suggested that those who drank should be:

In the 1920s, over 25 percent of native-born men in the entire state of Indiana were official members of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan’s membership was many times larger than any of the popular veterans' organizations and was even larger than the Methodist church, the state's biggest Protestant denomination. And women‘s auxiliaries added even more members. 21

The anti-alcohol sentiment of the KKK (although not its methods) is now carried forward by a number of neo-temperance groups.

 

* Needles to say, the new Klan was also anti-African American, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant.

References and Readings

filed under: Prohibition

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