The prohibition movement in the United States: the Prohibition Party in cartoons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
Ph.D. (History), Associate Professor
Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, Ukraine
The present paper has three main objectives: 1) to cover the history of American temperance movements at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, and their key characteristics; 2) to trace the Prohibition Party history and activity; 3) to do a content-analysis of «Prohibition Cartoons» published in 1904 to support the Prohibition Party candidates to the House of Representatives. Research methodology provides a critical approach to interpreting cartoons based on E. Panofsky’s three strata analysis from the primary subject through conventional subject matter to intrinsic content. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis of images and accompanying texts revealed the frequency of specific themes, images, allusions that authors had used. The scientific novelty lies in studying the history of the Prohibition Party through the prism of its propaganda visual materials, the possibilities of their influence on voters.
The Conclusions. Alcohol consumption was a part of Americans’ usual way of life and diet. The American Revolution and postwar economic and financial troubles were the main circumstances that formed this habit. Temperance organizations, both national and local, have been active since the 1820s and were closely associated with denominational groups. Saloons as a source of liquor, gambling, prostitution, and crime were the main objects of their criticism. They also condemned the governmental license system as a promoter of liquor traffic. Lack of systemic funding and propaganda, and the split of 1896 sharply reduced the Prohibition Party chances of becoming a real opponent for the Republicans or Democrats. Content analysis of cartoons demonstrated a range of symbols, allusions, and metaphors, which should influence public opinion. The majority of them called to vote for the Prohibition Party. Cartoons content a lack of emphasis on the harm of alcohol to human physical and mental health.
Key words: cartoon, Prohibition Party, prohibitionism, USA, temperance.
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