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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 was 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 century when it took votes away from the Republican party. It declined dramatically after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. The party earned only 519 votes in the 2012 presidential election.
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 4–3 vote, its national executive committee voted to nominate their own candidate, William F. Varney, instead. They did this because they felt Hoover's stance on prohibition 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 Hoover lost the election, but national prohibition was repealed anyway in 1933, with the 21st Amendment during the progressive Roosevelt administration.
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 for president. In 2012, its presidential nominee received only 519 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.
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|
|1872||1st||Comstock's Opera House, Columbus, Ohio||Feb. 22, 1872||James Black (Pennsylvania)||John Russell (Michigan)||2,100|
|May 17, 1876||Green Clay Smith (Kentucky)||Gideon T. Stewart (Ohio)||6,743|
|1880||3rd||Halle's Hall, Cleveland||June 17, 1880||Neal Dow (Maine)||Henry Adams Thompson (Ohio)||9,674|
|July 23–24, 1884||John P. St. John (Kansas)||William Daniel (Maryland)||147,520|
|May 30–31, 1888||Clinton B. Fisk (New Jersey)||John A. Brooks (Missouri)||249,813|
|June 29–30, 1892||John Bidwell (California)||James B. Cranfill (Texas)||270,770|
|1896||7th||Exposition Hall, Pittsburgh||May 27–28, 1896||Joshua Levering (Maryland)||Hale Johnson (Illinois)||125,072|
|[7th]||Pittsburgh||May 28, 1896||Charles Eugene Bentley (Nebraska)||James H. Southgate (N. Car.)||19,363|
|1900||8th||First Regiment Armory,
|June 27–28, 1900||John G. Woolley (Illinois)||Henry B. Metcalf (Rhode Island)||209,004|
|1904||9th||Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis||June 29 to
July 1, 1904
|Silas C. Swallow (Pennsylvania)||George W. Carroll (Texas)||258,596|
|1908||10th||Memorial Hall, Columbus||July 15–16, 1908||Eugene W. Chafin (Illinois)||Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio)||252,821|
|1912||11th||on a large temporary pier,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
|July 10–12, 1912||Eugene W. Chafin (Illinois)||Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio)||207,972|
|1916||12th||St. Paul, Minnesota||July 19–21, 1916||J. Frank Hanly (Indiana)||Rev. Dr. Ira Landrith (Tennessee)||221,030|
|1920||13th||Lincoln, Nebraska||July 21–22, 1920||Aaron S. Watkins (Ohio)||D. Leigh Colvin (New York)||188,685|
|1924||14th||Memorial Hall, Columbus||June 4–6, 1924||Herman P. Faris (Missouri)||Marie C. Brehm (California)||54,833|
|1928||15th||Hotel LaSalle, Chicago||July 10–12, 1928||William F. Varney (New York)||James A. Edgerton||20,095|
|[15th]||[California ticket]||Herbert Hoover (California)||Charles Curtis (Kansas)||14,394|
|July 5–7, 1932||William D. Upshaw (Georgia)||Frank S. Regan (Illinois)||81,916|
|1936||17th||State Armory Building,
Niagara Falls, New York
|May 5–7, 1936||D. Leigh Colvin (New York)||Alvin York (Tenn.) (declined);
Claude A. Watson (California)
|1940||18th||Chicago||May 8–10, 1940||Roger W. Babson (Mass.)||Edgar V. Moorman (Illinois)||58,743|
|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||Claude A. Watson (California)||Dale H. Learn (Pennsylvania)||103,489|
|1952||21st||Indianapolis||Nov. 13–15, 1951||Stuart Hamblen (California)||Enoch A. Holtwick (Illinois)||73,413|
|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)||46,193|
|1964||24th||Pick Congress Hotel,
|August 26–27, 1963||E. Harold Munn (Michigan)||Mark R. Shaw (Massachusetts)||23,266|
|1968||25th||YWCA, Detroit, Mich.||June 28–29, 1968||E. Harold Munn (Michigan)||Rolland E. Fisher (Kansas)||14,915|
|1972||26th||Nazarene Church Building,
|June 24–25, 1971||E. Harold Munn (Michigan)||Marshall E. Uncapher (Kansas)||12,818|
|1976||27th||Beth Eden Baptist Church Bldg, Wheat Ridge, Colo.||June 26–27, 1975||Benjamin C. Bubar (Maine)||Earl F. Dodge (Colorado)||15,934|
|June 20–21, 1979||Benjamin C. Bubar (Maine)||Earl F. Dodge (Colorado)||7,212|
|1984||29th||Mandan, North Dakota||June 22–24, 1983||Earl Dodge (Colorado)||Warren C. Martin (Kansas)||4,242|
|June 25–26, 1987||Earl Dodge (Colorado)||George Ormsby (Pennsylvania)||8,002|
|1992||31st||Minneapolis, Minnesota||June 24–26, 1991||Earl Dodge (Colorado)||George Ormsby (Pennsylvania)||935|
|1996||32nd||Denver, Colorado||1995||Earl Dodge (Colorado)||Rachel Bubar Kelly (Maine)||1,298|
|2000||33rd||Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania||June 28–30, 1999||Earl Dodge (Colorado)||W. Dean Watkins (Arizona)||208|
|2004||34th||Fairfield Glade, Tennessee||February 1, 2004||Gene Amondson (Washington)||Leroy Pletten (Michigan)||1,944|
|[34th]||Lakewood, Colorado||August 2003||Earl Dodge (Colorado)||Howard Lydick (Texas)||140|
|2008||35th||Adams Mark Hotel,
|Sept. 13–14, 2007||Gene Amondson (Washington)||Leroy Pletten (Michigan)||643|
|2012||36th||Holiday Inn Express,
|June 20–22, 2011||Jack Fellure (West Virginia)||Toby Davis (Mississippi)||519|
- Sidney Johnston Catts – Governor of Florida (1917–1921)
- Charles Hiram Randall – California State Assemblyman (1911–12) and U.S. Representative from the 9th District of California (1915–21)
- Susanna M. Salter – Mayor of Argonia, Kansas (1887): the first female mayor in the United States
- James Hedges – Thompson Township, Pennsylvania, Tax Assessor (2002–2007): the first and only known Prohibition Party office holder of the 21st century
- Prohibition Party National Committee - History
- "National Affairs: Men of Principle". Time. September 10, 1928. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "National Affairs: In Cadle Tabernacle". Time. July 18, 1932. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "Americana: Time to Toast the Party?". Time. November 7, 1977. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Beyond Bush, Kerry & Nader Creative Loafing, October 13, 2004
- The National Prohibitionist, 6/2003, p. 1
- CO US President Race Our Campaigns, November 2, 2004
- The National Prohibitionist, 11/2004, p. 1.
- Earl F. Dodge Dies Ballot Access News, November 8, 2007
- Former Dodge Faction Endorses Gene Amondson Our Campaigns, February 29, 2008
- Internal Prohibition Party Battle Has Court Hearing on January 16 Ballot Access News, January 15, 2007
- Prohibition fight goes to court Ballot Access News, March 1, 2006, Volume 21, Number 11
- Prohibition Party Candidates
- Andersen, Lisa, “From Unpopular to Excluded: Prohibitionists and the Ascendancy of a Democratic-Republican System, 1888–1912,” Journal of Policy History, 24 (no. 2, 2012), 288–318.
- 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)
- Prohibition Party website
- Prohibition Partisan Historical Society website
- Partisan prophets; a history of the Prohibition Party, 1854–1972, Roger C. Storms