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The Prohibition Party (PRO) is a political party in the United Statesmarker best known for its historic opposition to the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages. The Party was an integral part of the temperance movement and, while never one of the nation's leading parties, it was an important force in US politics in the late 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. The party has declined dramatically since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Today, the party is a small fraction of its previous size, having earned just 643 votes for president in the 2008 election. It advocates a variety of socially conservative causes, including "stronger and more vigorous enforcement of laws against the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, against gambling, illegal drugs, pornography, and commercialized vice."


The party was founded in 1869. Its first National Committee Chairman was John Russell of Michigan. [38973]. The party succeeded in getting communities and also many counties in the states to outlaw the production and sale of intoxicating beverages.

National Prohibition Convention, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1892.
At the same time, the party's 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 districtmarker. Prohibitionist Sidney J. Catts was elected Governor of Florida in 1916.

The party's greatest success was 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 generally known as "Prohibition".

During the Prohibition era, the Prohibition Party pressed for stricter enforcement of the prohibition laws. In 1928, for example, the party considered endorsing Republican Herbert Hoover rather than running their own candidate. However, by a 4-3 vote, the party's national executive committee voted to nominate their own candidate, William F. Varney, instead. They did this because they felt Hoover's stance on prohibition wasn't strict enough. The party became even more critical of President Hoover after he was elected. By 1932, 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, but national prohibition was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933.


The party has faded into obscurity since World War II. When it briefly changed its name to the "National Statesman Party," in 1977 (it would change it back 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 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 for president. In 2008 its presidential nominee received only 643 votes.

Secession of 2003

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. Dodge held a rival nominating convention in his living room in August 2003, attended by eight people, and was nominated as the president of this rival party..

In February 2004, Dodge's rivals nominated Gene C. Amondson for President. Neither the Dodge faction nor the Amondson faction recognized the other as legitimate. Amondson 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.

The death of Dodge in November 2007 left the Dodge faction without a presidential nominee. In the spring of 2008, the Dodge faction nominated Amondson for President, but they retained one of their own, Howard Lydick, as their vice presidential nominee..

In recent years, the two factions have been fighting over payments dedicated to the Prohibition Party by George Pennock in 1930. The fund pays approximately $8000 per year. To avoid litigation, the two separate parties agreed to divide the money, with the Amondson faction getting slightly over 50%.

Electoral history

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 Campaigns
Year Convention Site & City Dates Presidential nominee VP nominee Votes
1872 1st Comstock's Opera House, Columbus OH 2/22/1872 James Black PA John Russell MI 2,100
1876 2d Halle's Hall, Cleveland OH 5/17/1876 Green Clay Smith KY Gideon T. Stewart OH 6,743
1880 3d Halle's Hall, Cleveland OH 6/17/1880 Neal Dow ME Henry A. Thompson OH 9,674
1884 4th Lafayette Hall, Pittsburgh PA 7/23-24/1884 John P. St. John KS William Daniel MD 147,520
1888 5th Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis IN 5/30-31/1888 Clinton B. Fisk NJ John A. Brooks MO 249,813
1892 6th Music Hall, Cincinnati OH 6/29-30/1892 John Bidwell CA James B. Cranfill TX 270,770
1896 7th Exposition Hall, Pittsburgh PA 5/27-28/1896 Joshua Levering MD Hale Johnson IL 125,072
[7th] Pittsburgh PA 5/28/1896 Charles E. Bentley NE James H. Southgate NC 19,363
1900 8th First Regiment Armory, Chicago IL 6/27-28/1900 John G. Woolley IL Henry B. Metcalf RI 209,004
[8th] Carnegie Lyceum, NYC NY 9/5/1900 Donelson Caffery LA (declined);
Edward M.

Emerson MA
Archibald M. Howe MA 342
1904 9th Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis IN 6/29 to 7/1/1904 Silas C. Swallow PA George W. Carroll TX 258,596
1908 10th Memorial Hall, Columbus OH 7/15-16/1908 Eugene W. Chafin IL Aaron S. Watkins OH 252,821
1912 11th on a large temporary pier, Atlantic City NJ 7/10-12/1912 Eugene W. Chafin IL Aaron S. Watkins OH 207,972
1916 12th St. Paul MN 7/19-21/1916 J. Frank Hanly IN Ira Landrith TN 221,030
1920 13th Lincoln NE 7/21-22/1920 Aaron Watkins OH D. Leigh Colvin NY 188,685
1924 14th Memorial Hall, Columbus OH 6/4-6/1924 Herman P. Faris MO Marie C. Brehm CA 54,833
1928 15th Hotel LaSalle, Chicago IL 7/10-12/1928 William F. Varney NY James A. Edgerton 20,095
[15th] [California ticket] Herbert Hoover CA Charles Curtis KS 14,394
1932 16th Candle Tabernacle, Indianapolis IN 7/5-7/1932 William D. Upshaw GA Frank S. Regan IL 81,916
1936 17th State Armory Building, Niagara Falls NY 5/5-7/1936 D. Leigh Colvin NY Alvin York TN (declined);
Claude A.

Watson CA
1940 18th Chicago IL 5/8-10/1940 Roger W. Babson MA Edgar V. Moorman IL 58,743
1944 19th Indianapolis IN 11/10-12/1943 Claude A. Watson CA Floyd C. Carrier MD (withdrew);
Andrew Johnson KY
1948 20th Winona Lake IN 6/26-28/1947 Claude A. Watson CA Dale H. Learn PA 103,489
1952 21st Indianapolis IN 11/13-15/1951 Stuart Hamblen CA Enoch A. Holtwick IL 73,413
1956 22d Camp Mack, Milford IN 9/4-6/1955 Enoch A. Holtwick IL Herbert C. Holdridge CA (withdrew);
Edwin M.

Cooper CA
1960 23d Westminster Hotel, Winona Lake IN 9/1-3/1959 Rutherford Decker MO E. Harold Munn MI 46,193
1964 24th Pick Congress Hotel, Chicago IL 8/26-27/1963 E. Harold Munn MI Mark R. Shaw MA 23,266
1968 25th YWCA, Detroit MI 6/28-29/1968 E. Harold Munn MI Rolland E. Fisher KS 14,915
1972 26th Nazarene Church Building, Wichita KS 6/24-25/1971 E. Harold Munn MI Marshall E. Uncapher KS 12,818
1976 27th Beth Eden Baptist Church Building, Wheat Ridge CO 6/26-27/1975 Benjamin C. Bubar ME Earl F. Dodge CO 15,934
1980 28th Motel Birmingham, Birmingham AL 6/20-21/1979 Benjamin C. Bubar ME Earl F. Dodge CO 7,212
1984 29th Mandan ND 6/22-24/1983 Earl Dodge CO Warren C. Martin KS 4,242
1988 30th Heritage House, Springfield IL 6/25-26/1987 Earl Dodge CO George Ormsby PA 8,002
1992 31st Minneapolis MN 6/24-26/1991 Earl Dodge CO George Ormsby PA 935
1996 32d Denver CO 1995 Earl Dodge CO Rachel Bubar Kelly 1,298
2000 33d Bird-in-Handmarker 6/28-30/1999 Earl Dodge CO W. Dean Watkins AZ 208

2004 34th Fairfield Glade TN 2/1/2004 Gene Amondson WA Leroy Pletten MI 1,944
[34th] Lakewood CO August 2003 Earl Dodge CO Howard Lydick TX 140
2008 35th Adams Mark Hotel, Indianapolis IN 9/13-14/2007 Gene Amondson WA Leroy Pletten MI 643

Elected officials

See also


  5. Creative Loafing Charlotte | News | News feature | Beyond Bush, Kerry & Nader
  6. The National Prohibitionist, 6/2003, p. 1
  7. Our Campaigns - CO US President Race - Nov 02, 2004
  8. The National Prohibitionist, 11/2004, p. 1.
  10. Our Campaigns - News - Former Dodge Faction Endorses Gene Amondson - Feb 29, 2008
  13. Candidates

Further reading

  • James T. Havel, U.S. Presidential Candidates and the Elections (NYC: MacMillan Library Reference, 1996)
  • S.B. Hinshaw, Ohio Elects the President: Our State's Role in Presidential Elections (Mansfield OH: Bookmasters, 1999)

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