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Prohibition Party
Chairman Rick Knox
Founded 1869; 149 years ago (1869)
"Ideology "Temperance
"Social conservatism
"Political position "Right-wing
Colors Blue, red, white
"Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
"Seats in the House
0 / 435
0 / 50
"State Upper Houses
0 / 1,921
"State Lower Houses
0 / 5,411

The Prohibition Party (PRO) is a "political party in the United States best known for its historic opposition to the sale or consumption of "alcoholic beverages. It is the oldest existing "third party in the US. The party was an integral part of the "temperance movement. While never one of the leading parties in the United States, it was once an important force in the "Third Party System during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It declined dramatically after the repeal of "Prohibition in 1933. The party received 518 votes in the "2012 presidential election[1] and 5,617 votes in the "2016 presidential election.[2]



National Prohibition Convention, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1892

The Prohibition Party was founded in 1869. Its first National Committee Chairman was "John Russell of Michigan.[3] It succeeded in getting communities and also many counties in the states to outlaw the production and sale of intoxicating beverages.

At the same time, its 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. Democrat "Sidney J. Catts of Florida, after losing a close Democratic primary, used the Prohibition line to win election as "Governor of Florida in 1916; he remained a Democrat.

The Prohibition Party's proudest moment came in 1919, with the passage of the "18th Amendment to the "United States Constitution, which outlawed the production, sale, transportation, import and export of alcohol. The era during which alcohol was illegal in the United States is known as ""Prohibition".

During the Prohibition era, the Prohibition Party pressed for stricter enforcement of the prohibition laws. During the 1928 election, for example, it considered endorsing Republican "Herbert Hoover rather than running its own candidate. However, by a 3/4 vote, its national executive committee voted to nominate its own candidate, William F. Varney, instead. They did this because they felt Hoover's stance on prohibition was not strict enough.[4] The Prohibition Party became even more critical of Hoover after he was elected President. By the 1932 election, party chairman "David Leigh Colvin thundered that "The Republican wet plank [i.e. supporting the repeal of Prohibition] means that Mr. Hoover is the most conspicuous turncoat since "Benedict Arnold."[5] Hoover lost the election, but national prohibition was repealed anyway in 1933, with the "21st Amendment during the Roosevelt administration.

Women and the Prohibition Party[edit]

The "19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, did not pass until 1920. Yet, in 1869, the Prohibition Party became the first to accept women as party members[6] and even gave women who attended its first national convention full delegate rights. This was the first time any party had afforded women this right.[7] These women "spoke from the floor, entered debates, introduced resolutions, and voted on the party platform".[8] Women's suffrage appeared on the Prohibition Party platform in 1872. In 1892, the platform included the idea of equal pay for equal work. "Delia L. Weatherby was an alternate delegate from the 4th congressional district of Kansas to the National Prohibition Convention in 1892, and also secured, the same year, for the second time by the same party, the nomination for the office of superintendent of public instruction in her own county. By contrast, women’s suffrage did not appear on the platform of either the Democratic or Republican platform until 1916. The "Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), which later became instrumental in the passage of the 18th Amendment, started out as the women’s branch of the Prohibition Party. It went on to become more influential than the party itself. It was "the largest women’s organization of the nineteenth century and the heart of the organized demand for prohibition and women’s rights as well as for prison and labor reform, for public support for neglected children, and for peace – in short for a transformed society dedicated to social justice".[7]

Some of the most important women involved in this movement were:


The Prohibition Party has faded into obscurity since World War II. When it briefly changed its name to the "National Statesman Party" in 1977 (it reversed the change in 1980), Time magazine suggested that it was "doubtful" that the name change would "hoist the party out of the category of political oddity".[15]

The Prohibition Party has continued running presidential candidates every four years, but its vote totals have steadily dwindled. It last received more than 100,000 votes for president in 1948, and the 1976 election was the last time the party received more than 10,000 votes.

The Prohibition Party experienced a schism in 2003, as the party's prior presidential candidate, "Earl Dodge, incorporated a rival party called the National Prohibition Party in Colorado.[16][17] An opposing faction nominated "Gene C. Amondson for President and filed under the Prohibition banner in Louisiana. Dodge ran under the name of the historic Prohibition Party in Colorado,[18] while the Concerns of People Party allowed Amondson to run on its line against Dodge.[19] Amondson received 1,944 votes, nationwide, while Dodge garnered 140.

One key area of disagreement between the factions was over who should control payments from a trust fund dedicated to the Prohibition Party by George Pennock in 1930.[20] The fund pays approximately $8,000 per year, and during the schism these funds were divided between the factions.[21] Dodge died in 2007, allowing the dispute over the Pennock funds to finally be resolved in 2014.[22] The party is reported as having only "three dozen fee-paying members".[23]

In the 2016 election, the party nominated "James Hedges. He qualified for the ballot in three states, Arkansas, Colorado, and Mississippi, and earned 5,514 votes.

Electoral history[edit]

Presidential campaigns[edit]

The Prohibition Party has nominated a candidate for president in every election since 1872, and is thus the longest-lived American political party after the Democrats and Republicans.

Prohibition Party National Conventions and Campaigns
Year No. Convention Site & City Dates Presidential nominee Vice-Presidential nominee Votes Votes %
"1872 1st Comstock's Opera House, "Columbus, Ohio Feb. 22, 1872 "James Black (Pennsylvania) "John Russell (Michigan) 5,607 0.1
"1876 2nd Halle's Hall,
"Cleveland, Ohio
May 17, 1876 "Green Clay Smith (Kentucky) "Gideon T. Stewart (Ohio) 6,945 0.08
"1880 3rd June 17, 1880 "Neal Dow (Maine) "Henry Adams Thompson (Ohio) 10,364 0.11
"1884 4th Lafayette Hall,
"Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
July 23–24, 1884 "John P. St. John (Kansas) "William Daniel (Maryland) 147,482 1.50
"1888 5th Tomlinson Hall,
"Indianapolis, Indiana
May 30–31, 1888 "Clinton B. Fisk (New Jersey) "John A. Brooks (Missouri) 249,819 2.20
"1892 6th Music Hall,
"Cincinnati, Ohio
June 29–30, 1892 "John Bidwell (California) "James B. Cranfill (Texas) 270,879 2.24
"1896 7th Exposition Hall, Pittsburgh May 27–28, 1896 "Joshua Levering (Maryland) "Hale Johnson (Illinois) 131,312 0.94
[7th] Pittsburgh May 28, 1896 "Charles Eugene Bentley (Nebraska) "James H. Southgate (N. Car.) 13,968 0.10
"1900 8th First Regiment Armory,
"Chicago, Illinois
June 27–28, 1900 "John G. Woolley (Illinois) "Henry B. Metcalf (Rhode Island) 210,864 1.51
"1904 9th Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis June 29 to
July 1, 1904
"Silas C. Swallow (Pennsylvania) "George W. Carroll (Texas) 259,102 1.92
"1908 10th Memorial Hall, Columbus July 15–16, 1908 "Eugene W. Chafin (Illinois) "Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio) 254,087 1.71
"1912 11th on a large temporary pier,
"Atlantic City, New Jersey
July 10–12, 1912 208,156 1.38
"1916 12th "St. Paul, Minnesota July 19–21, 1916 "J. Frank Hanly (Indiana) Rev. Dr. "Ira Landrith (Tennessee) 221,302 1.19
"1920 13th "Lincoln, Nebraska July 21–22, 1920 "Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio) "D. Leigh Colvin (New York) 188,787 0.71
"1924 14th Memorial Hall, Columbus June 4–6, 1924 "Herman P. Faris (Missouri) "Marie C. Brehm (California) 55,951 0.19
"1928 15th Hotel LaSalle, Chicago July 10–12, 1928 "William F. Varney (New York) "James A. Edgerton 20,101 0.05
[15th] [California ticket] "Herbert Hoover (California) "Charles Curtis (Kansas) 14,394
"1932 16th Cadle Tabernacle,
July 5–7, 1932 "William D. Upshaw (Georgia) Frank S. Regan (Illinois) 81,905 0.21
"1936 17th State Armory Building,
"Niagara Falls, New York
May 5–7, 1936 "D. Leigh Colvin (New York) Alvin York (Tenn.) (declined);
"Claude A. Watson (California)
37,659 0.08
"1940 18th Chicago May 8–10, 1940 "Roger W. Babson (Mass.) Edgar V. Moorman (Illinois) 57,925 0.12
"1944 19th Indianapolis Nov. 10–12, 1943 "Claude A. Watson (California) Floyd C. Carrier (Maryland) (withdrew);
"Andrew N. Johnson (Kentucky)
74,758 0.16
"1948 20th "Winona Lake, Indiana June 26–28, 1947 "Dale H. Learn (Pennsylvania) 103,708 0.21
"1952 21st Indianapolis Nov. 13–15, 1951 "Stuart Hamblen (California) "Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois) 73,412 0.12
"1956 22nd Camp Mack,
"Milford, Indiana
Sept. 4–6, 1955 "Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois) "Herbert C. Holdridge (California) (withdrew);
Edwin M. Cooper (California)
41,937 0.07
"1960 23rd Westminster Hotel,
Winona Lake
Sept. 1–3, 1959 "Rutherford Decker (Missouri) "E. Harold Munn (Michigan) 46,203 0.07
"1964 24th Pick Congress Hotel,
August 26–27, 1963 "E. Harold Munn (Michigan) Mark R. Shaw (Massachusetts) 23,267 0.03
"1968 25th YWCA, "Detroit, Mich. June 28–29, 1968 Rolland E. Fisher (Kansas) 15,123 0.02
"1972 26th Nazarene Church Building,
"Wichita, Kansas
June 24–25, 1971 Marshall E. Uncapher (Kansas) 13,497 0.02
"1976 27th Beth Eden Baptist Church Bldg, "Wheat Ridge, Colo. June 26–27, 1975 "Benjamin C. Bubar (Maine) "Earl F. Dodge (Colorado) 15,932 0.02
"1980 28th Motel Birmingham,
"Birmingham, Alabama
June 20–21, 1979 7,206 0.01
"1984 29th "Mandan, North Dakota June 22–24, 1983 "Earl Dodge (Colorado) Warren C. Martin (Kansas) 4,243 0.00
"1988 30th Heritage House,
"Springfield, Illinois
June 25–26, 1987 "George Ormsby (Pennsylvania) 8,002 0.01
"1992 31st "Minneapolis, Minnesota June 24–26, 1991 961 0.00
"1996 32nd "Denver, Colorado 1995 "Rachel Bubar Kelly (Maine) 1,298 0.00
"2000 33rd "Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania June 28–30, 1999 "W. Dean Watkins (Arizona) 208 0.00
"2004 34th "Fairfield Glade, Tennessee February 1, 2004 "Gene Amondson (Washington) "Leroy Pletten (Michigan) 1,944 0.00
[34th] "Lakewood, Colorado August 2003 "Earl Dodge (Colorado) Howard Lydick (Texas) 140 0.00
"2008 35th Adam's Mark Hotel,
Sept. 13–14, 2007 "Gene Amondson (Washington) "Leroy Pletten (Michigan) 655 0.00
"2012 36th Holiday Inn Express,
"Cullman, Alabama
June 20–22, 2011 "Jack Fellure (West Virginia) Toby Davis (Mississippi) 518 0.00
"2016 37th Conference call[24][25] July 31, 2015 "James Hedges (Pennsylvania) Bill Bayes (Mississippi) 5,617[26] 0.00

Elected officials[edit]

The Drunkard's Progress: A lithograph by "Nathaniel Currier supporting the temperance movement, January 1846

See also[edit]

Primary sources[edit]


  1. ^ Federal Elections 2012: Election Results for the U.S. President, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington D.C., Federal Election Commission, July 2013.
  2. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/
  3. ^ "Our Campaigns - Container Detail Page". Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "National Affairs: Men of Principle". Time. September 10, 1928. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  5. ^ "National Affairs: In Cadle Tabernacle". Time. July 18, 1932. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  6. ^ "Give the Ladies a Chance: Gender and Partisanship in the Prohibition Party, 1869–1912". Journal of Women's History 2: 137
  7. ^ a b Gillespie, J. David. Challengers to Duopoly: Why Third Parties Matter in the American Two-Party System. 2012. p. 47
  8. ^ Andersen, Lisa M. F. 2011. "Give the Ladies a Chance: Gender and Partisanship in the Prohibition Party, 1869–1912". Journal of Women's History 2: 137
  9. ^ a b "Prohibitionists Historical Vote Record". Prohibitionists.org. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  10. ^ "Susanna Madora Salter - Kansapedia - Kansas Historical Society". KSHS. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  11. ^ Andersen, Lisa M. F. 2011. "Give the Ladies a Chance: Gender and Partisanship in the Prohibition Party, 1869–1912". Journal of Women's History 2: 143, 141.
  12. ^ Andersen, Lisa M. F. 2011. "Give the Ladies a Chance: Gender and Partisanship in the Prohibition Party, 1869–1912". Journal of Women's History 2: 145
  13. ^ a b "Frances E. Willard". 2000. National Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved on November 18, 2014 from [1]. Archived August 4, 2013, at the "Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Gillespie, J. David. 2012. Challengers to Duopoly: Why Third Parties Matter in American Two-Party Politics. Columbia: The University of South Carolina Press. P. 47
  15. ^ "Americana: Time to Toast the Party?". Time. November 7, 1977. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  16. ^ Pitkin, Ryan (2004-10-13). "Beyond Bush, Kerry & Nader". Creative Loafing Charlotte. Archived from the original on 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  17. ^ The National Prohibitionist, 6/2003, p. 1
  18. ^ "CO US President Race - Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  19. ^ The National Prohibitionist, 11/2004, p. 1.
  20. ^ "Internal Prohibition Party Battle Has Court Hearing on January 16". Ballot Access News. 2007-01-15. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  21. ^ "Ballot Access News - March 1, 2006". Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  22. ^ "Prohibition Party Now to Receive Full Pennock Trust Income". 19 October 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2017. 
  23. ^ "A sobering alternative? Prohibition party back on the ticket this election", "The Guardian, May 11, 2016.
  24. ^ Winger, Richard (2015-05-07). "Prohibition Party Cancels Presidential Convention and Instead will Nominate by Direct Vote of Members". Ballot Access News. Retrieved 2015-06-08. 
  25. ^ "Prohibition Party Nominates National Ticket". Ballot Access News. July 31, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  26. ^ "2016 Election Results: President Live Map by State, Real-Time Voting Updates". Election Hub. Retrieved 12 July 2017. 
  27. ^ "Candidates". Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  28. ^ "Is There a Necessity for a Prohibition Party? - James Black". Books.google.com. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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