10. The Most Powerful Lobbying Group in America’s History
Throughout the history of the United States, there has never been a lobbying group as powerful as the Anti Salon League (ASL). Through a sustained political pressure campaign, it managed to achieve its goal in spectacular fashion on January 16th, 1919, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. When Prohibition went into effect a year later, the ASL declared on the date of its victory that: “at one minute past midnightâ¦ a new nation will be born“. It had taken them decades of hard work to get there.
The ASL was founded in Ohio in 1893 as a state society, became a national organization two years later, and soon morphed into America’s most powerful lobby. It achieved its goal of national prohibition by strict discipline, a narrow focus on the single issue of alcohol, and a refusal to fritter its energies on anything else. As an early leader put it: “The Anti-Saloon League is not in politics as a party, nor are we trying to abolish vice, gambling, horse-racing, murder, theft or arson â¦ The gold standard, the unlimited coinage of silver, protection, free trade and currency reform, do not concern us in the least“.