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 is 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's candidate received 518 votes in the 2012 presidential election and 5,617 votes in the 2016 presidential election. The platform of the party is liberal in that it supports environmental stewardship, women's rights and free education, but is conservative on social issues, such as supporting temperance and advocating for a pro-life stance.
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The Prohibition Party was founded in 1869. Its first National Committee Chairman was John Russell of Michigan. 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. 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." Hoover lost the election, but national prohibition was repealed anyway in 1933, with the 21st Amendment during the Roosevelt administration.
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 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. These women "spoke from the floor, entered debates, introduced resolutions, and voted on the party platform". 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".
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".
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. 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, while the Concerns of People Party allowed Amondson to run on its line against Dodge. 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. The fund pays approximately $8,000 per year, and during the schism these funds were divided between the factions. Dodge died in 2007, allowing the dispute over the Pennock funds to finally be resolved in 2014. The party is reported as having only "three dozen fee-paying members".
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.
On 13 November 2018, the Party met via telephone conference to nominate its 2020 Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominees. Bill Bayes of Mississippi, the 2016 Vice-Presidential nominee, was nominated for President on the first ballot over Adam Seaman of Massachusetts and Phil Collins of Nevada. C.L. Gammon of Tennessee was nominated as the Vice-Presidential candidate without opposition. Bill Bayes, however, resigned from this position and on 30 March 2019, another telephone conference call was held, resulting in the endorsement of C.L. Gammon as the Presidential candidate and Phil Collins as the Vice Presidential candidate.
The Prohibition Party platform, as listed on the party's web site in 2018, includes the following points:
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|
|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|
|July 23–24, 1884||John P. St. John (Kansas)||William Daniel (Maryland)||147,482||1.50|
|May 30–31, 1888||Clinton B. Fisk (New Jersey)||John A. Brooks (Missouri)||249,819||2.20|
|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,
|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|
|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 (Tennessee) (declined);
Claude A. Watson (California)
|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)
|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|
|Sept. 4–6, 1955||Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois)||Herbert C. Holdridge (California) (withdrew);
Edwin M. Cooper (California)
|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,
|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|
|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|
|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,
|June 20–22, 2011||Jack Fellure (West Virginia)||Toby Davis (Mississippi)||518||0.00|
|2016||37th||Conference call||July 31, 2015||James Hedges (Pennsylvania)||Bill Bayes (Mississippi)||5,617||0.00|
|2020||38th||Conference call||April 14, 2019||C.L Gammon (Tennessee)||Phil Collins (Nevada)||N/A|
Aaron Sherman Watkins (November 29, 1863 – February 9, 1941), born in Ohio, was a president of Asbury College in Kentucky. Before his ordination as a Methodist minister, he practiced law with his brother. He was the grandfather of Prohibition candidate for Vice President of the United States, W. Dean Watkins.
Long dedicated to promoting the temperance movement, Watkins served as Prohibition Party candidate for various political offices. These included:
Prohibition candidate for US Representative of Ohio 9th District, 1904
Prohibition candidate for US Vice President, 1908 & 1912
Prohibition candidate for US President, 1920Watkins received honorary degrees of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Humane Letters and Doctor of Philosophy.Ben Bubar
Benjamin Calvin Bubar Jr. (June 17, 1917 – May 15, 1995 in Blaine, Maine), better known as Ben Bubar, was an ordained minister who actively supported the temperance movement. He was a lifelong politician and in 1938, turning 21 on election day, was, at the time, the youngest person ever to win election to the Maine House of Representatives.Bubar was the Prohibition Party candidate for the presidency of the United States in 1976 and 1980. The party has run candidates in every presidential election since 1872. Bubar was the last Prohibition Party candidate to have had political experience before running for the presidency, until the Party nominated Jim Hedges in 2016.His sister Rachel Bubar Kelly was the party's vice presidential candidate in 1996 as the running mate of Earl F. Dodge who had formerly been Bubar's running mate.Claude A. Watson
Claude A. Watson (June 26, 1885 – January 1978) was a lawyer, businessman, and minister from Hermon (a neighborhood in Los Angeles, California), who was nationally active in the temperance movement. He was the Prohibition Party candidate for Vice President of the United States in 1936 and was the party's presidential candidate in both 1944 and 1948.
A certified pilot, Watson was the first American presidential candidate in history to fly his own airplane and flew over 16,000 miles campaigning.Dean Watkins
W. Dean Watkins (born February 14, 1931) is a retired aeronautical engineer who was the Prohibition Party candidate for Vice-president of the United States in 2000. Watkins' family has had a long association with the temperance movement. His grandfather, Aaron Watkins, was the Prohibition Party candidate for vice-president in 1908 and 1912 and its candidate for president in 1920.
Watkins is a member of the New Testament Baptist Church in Tucson, Arizona.E. Harold Munn
Earle Harold Munn (November 29, 1903 – June 6, 1992), also known as E. Harold Munn, was a United States politician and a longtime leader of Prohibition Party, for which he was Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominee.Earl Dodge
Earl Farwell Dodge, Jr. (December 24, 1932 – November 7, 2007) was a long-term temperance movement leader and a politician of the Prohibition Party, from the U.S. state of Colorado.Enoch A. Holtwick
Enoch Arden Holtwick, (1881–1972) was an American educator with a long record of actively supporting the temperance movement. He was the Prohibition Party candidate for Illinois State Treasurer in 1936; its candidate for U.S. Senator from Illinois in 1938, 1940, 1942, 1944, 1948 and 1950; its candidate for vice-president of the United States in 1952; and its candidate for president in 1956.
Holtwick was born in Missouri and grew up near Rhineland, Missouri, where his family was active in the Free Methodist Church. After his political candidacies, he moved to California and became president of Los Angeles Pacific Junior College. He was long associated with Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois, where he taught history and political science, and spent the final years of his life in Greenville, where he is memorialized by the Enoch A. Holtwick Literary Award and Enoch A. Holtwick Hall, a residence building. Long after retirement he continued to give an annual lecture to the student body with a survey of current world events and issues.Eugene W. Chafin
Eugene Wilder Chafin (November 1, 1852 – November 30, 1920) was a United States politician from the Prohibition Party.Frank Hanly
James Franklin Hanly (April 4, 1863 – August 1, 1920) was an American politician who served as a congressman from Indiana from 1895 until 1897, and was the 26th Governor of Indiana from 1905 to 1909. He was the founder of Hanly's Flying Squadron, which advocated prohibition nationally and played an important role in raising awareness about the effect of alcohol and arousing public support for prohibition.
During his term as governor he successfully advocated the passage of a local-option liquor law, which led the majority of Indiana's counties to ban liquor sales. His other achievements included banning gambling, fighting political corruption, and adjusting state agencies to operate on a non-partisan basis. He left office and the Republican Party and became an active and vocal prohibitionist. He was an unsuccessful Prohibition Party candidate for President of the United States in the 1916 election.Gene Amondson
Gene C. Amondson (October 15, 1943 – July 20, 2009) was a painter, woodcarver, Christian minister and prohibition activist, who was the 2004 US presidential nominee for one faction of the Prohibition Party and the nominee of the unified party in 2008.
The son of a logger, Amondson was born into a Pacific Northwest lumberjack culture laden with alcoholism. He became interested in the temperance movement while attending Divinity School. After establishing himself as a preacher and artist in the community of Vashon Island, Washington, Amondson began touring the nation reenacting Billy Sunday sermons and attending events dressed as the Grim Reaper to protest alcohol corporations.
Amondson's activism attracted notice from the Prohibition Party, which had been divided into two factions in 2003. In 2004, Amondson received the presidential nomination of the larger faction. On Election Day, he tallied over a thousand votes and finished in third place in several Louisiana parishes. With the death of the other faction leader in 2007, the party reunified. In 2008, Amondson again received the party's presidential nomination, but fell short of his 2004 vote total. He died in 2009 after suffering a stroke.George Ormsby (politician)
George Ormsby (November 24, 1916 - May 20, 2013) was an American plumber and political candidate from Pennsylvania. In 1988 and 1992, Ormsby was the vice-presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party.Ormsby was born in Village Green-Green Ridge, Pennsylvania where he worked in a textile mill.Gideon T. Stewart
Gideon Tabor Stewart (August 7, 1824 – 1909) was an American lawyer as well as a newspaper owner and editor. He was very active in promoting the temperance movement. He was elected three times as grand worthy chief templar of the Good Templars of Ohio. Throughout the 1850s he attempted to organize a permanent prohibition party.Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party
The Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party is an Australian political party which advocates the legalisation of cannabis.
The group was founded in 1993 by Nigel Quinlan, who ran as a candidate under the name Nigel Freemarijuana. In 2001, Freemarijuana's name was assessed by the Australian Electoral Commission as to whether it was suitable to be added to the electoral roll – the Commission found that it was, meaning Freemarijuana could run as an electoral candidate under the name.HEMP is based in Nimbin, New South Wales, the centre of Australia's cannabis culture. HEMP has unsuccessfully stood candidates in several federal and state elections, but has struggled to maintain the membership and regulatory requirements for party registration in Australia.In 2007, prior to the 2007 federal election, HEMP was de-registered as a political party by the Australian Electoral Commission after a random audit of its membership. The group re-applied for party registration in February 2010, but according to HEMP secretary Graham Askey, delays in processing their application meant that registration did not proceed in time before the 2010 federal election was called. It was formally registered on 23 September 2010.The party received a nationwide Senate vote of 0.71 percent at the 2013 federal election. Historically the party's best result was at the 1994 Elizabeth by-election in South Australia with a 5.37 percent primary vote.
The party has been involved in Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance.For the 2016 federal election, the Marijuana (HEMP) Party fielded two candidates for the senate in New South Wales, but only one each in the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. So that the candidates did not end up in the "ungrouped" column, they teamed up with the Australian Sex Party which also fielded a single senate candidate in most states. It also fielded a candidate for the Division of Solomon in the House of Representatives.Jack Fellure
Lowell Jackson Fellure (born October 3, 1931) is an American perennial political candidate and retired engineer. He was the presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party for the 2012 presidential election.James Hedges
James "Jim" Hedges (born May 10, 1938) is an American politician who is a Prohibition activist and the former Tax Assessor for Thompson Township, Fulton County, Pennsylvania. He holds the distinction as the only individual to be elected to public office from the Prohibition Party in the 21st century, and the first since 1959. Hedges was the Prohibition Party's 2016 presidential nominee.Joshua Levering
Joshua Levering (1846–1935) was a prominent Baptist leader. He was president of the trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, co-founder of the American Baptist Educational Society, and co-founder of the Layman's Missionary Movement.
A strong supporter of the temperance movement, Levering became the presidential candidate of the Prohibition Party in the election of 1896 and received 132,007 votes.
According to a New York Times obituary October 6, 1935, the "Noted dry leader" died at the age of 90 in Baltimore.National Prohibition Party (UK)
The National Prohibition Party was a minor party in the United Kingdom which advocated the prohibition of alcohol.
The party originated in 1887. In April, Axel Gustafson put an advert in the Christian Commonwealth magazine listing a manifesto closely based on that of the American Prohibition Party. A preliminary conference was held in May, presided over by the Reverend G. Brooks and the Reverend Frederick Hastings. The party was officially founded in December, and joined the World Prohibition Fellowship.The party maintained a low level of activity and did not run a candidate in a parliamentary election until the 1923 Whitechapel and St George's by-election. S. M. Holden stood for the party in the by-election, and gained the backing of Scottish Prohibition Party Member of Parliament Edwin Scrymgeour, but he took only 130 votes and lost his deposit.From 1933 until 1949, the party published the journal Prohibitionist. It dissolved in or soon after 1949.Prohibition Party (Canada)
Edwin Clarke Appleby ran in the 1930 federal election in Canada as a Prohibition candidate at a time when prohibition of alcohol and the temperance movement were waning. Running in the riding of Vancouver—Burrard, Appleby came in last with 266 votes (0.8% of the popular vote).Scottish Prohibition Party
The Scottish Prohibition Party was a minor Scottish political party which advocated alcohol prohibition.
The party was founded in 1901. In its early years, Bob Stewart acted as the party's full-time organiser. In 1908, Stewart and Edwin Scrymgeour were elected to Dundee Town Council.
From the 1908 by-election onwards, Scrymgeour stood for the party in the Dundee constituency. Stewart acted as his election agent in 1910, but fell out with him over his religiosity. He led a Marxist split, the Prohibition and Reform Party, which merged with the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1920.Scrymgeour was finally elected as M.P. for Dundee at 1922 general election, when he and the Labour candidate E. D. Morel defeated the National Liberal candidates, one of which was Winston Churchill. In Parliament, on issues other than prohibition, he generally supported the Labour Party.
Scrymgeour lost his seat at the 1931 general election. The party was disbanded in 1935, against the wishes of Scrymgeour.
|Parties by state|
Law Preservation Party (New York)