Immigrants and Prohibition

Civilization builders. I am the undesirable immigrant -- I'm a dirty, lousy bum, full of ...

While the temperance advocates were gaining speed, there was also a large influx of immigrants moving to the United States for a better life. Unfortunately, these immigrants became a pawn in the game that the prohibition activists were playing. Most of America was not keen on the idea of outsiders. Immigrants had a very negative reputation among native born Americans. Cartoons such as this one were seen as normal. They were extremely derogatory towards immigrants and overall planted a cynical connotation in the heads of Americans. Activists of the WCTU and the Anti-Saloon League capitalized upon this and used it to gain support for their cause. They used their voice to associate the working class, which was predominantly immigrant, with alcohol and all of the bad things that come with it[1]. This was especially easy for them to do because a majority of the people making and distributing the alcohol in the United States was also immigrants since those people tended to come from countries that have a laxer attitude towards alcohol[2]. With immigrants being such a large yet powerless group, it was very easy to persuade Americans to support prohibition. 


[1]https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/rise-to-world-power/1920s-america/a/prohibition

[2]https://www.wilsonquarterly.com/stories/what-prohibition-can-teach-us-about-immigration-reform/