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In Iowa the dilemma of prohibition did not easily resolve itself nor did it simply fade away. Dr Lisa Ossian reminds us of the effects of Prohibition on Iowans and resulting legislation following the end of Prohibition. The presentation is via Zoom sponsored by ARISE and supported by Humanities Iowa. Everyone is invited to Zoom in on Sunday, February 21 at 2 pm. The link is available on the web,

Many devoted activists and average citizens continued to believe in their cause with a combination of a social, moral, or economic reasoning.  Some of the energy, organization, funding, and passion was perhaps passing since 1920 while the fears were only increasing by the end of the decade that neither the legal nor the social benefits of prohibition had been or ever would be revealed during those early years of the Great Depression.  Still, we great-grandchildren should remember that the consumption of liquor and other intoxicating beverages had decreased during the years of Prohibition.

Yet success can always be measured in many different ways.  Tax revenue, legal control, and criminal enforcement had also been lost during Prohibition’s decade without enough serious education or adequate funding devoted to the cause.  As the years passed, speakeasies, bootleggers, and troublemakers displayed an overall disregard for the law and caused many Iowans and Americans to reevaluate their Prohibition position.

Dr. Ossian will speak in particular about Iowa’s three Prohibition leaders in the early 1930s:  Senator Smith Wildman Brookhart, John Brown Hammond, and state WCTU president Ida B. Wise, from a chapter in her book The Depression Dilemmas of Rural Iowa, 1929-1933.

Dr. Ossian is emerita professor of history at Des Moines Area Community College. She has written three books and working on a fourth. She has researched how great historical events have changed everyday lives especially in Iowa.