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Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy$
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Kyle G. Volk

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199371914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199371914.001.0001

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America’s First Wet Crusade and the Sunday Question Redux

America’s First Wet Crusade and the Sunday Question Redux

(p.167) 6 America’s First Wet Crusade and the Sunday Question Redux
Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy

Kyle G. Volk

Oxford University Press

This chapter continues the stories of battles over liquor regulation and Sunday laws in the 1850s. First, it shows how immigrants, workingmen, and other proliquor constituencies organized to combat so-called Maine Laws. Passed in thirteen, mostly northern states in the early to mid-1850s, these measures prohibited the sale of alcohol and represented America’s first experiment with alcohol prohibition. The chapter highlights the rights associations that liquor dealers created to fight prohibition and unpacks their legal tactics. In a second moment, the chapter shows how these groups, by the late 1850s, worked alongside other dissenters as temperance reformers and Sabbath reformers from New York to California returned to Sunday laws to prevent immigrants and others from drinking and recreating on the Christian Sabbath. Both struggles produced lasting local institutions that would continue to guard the rights of moral minorities from hostile legislation.

Keywords:   Maine Laws, alcohol prohibition, liquor dealers, Sunday laws, temperance, Sabbath, rights associations

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