Cat. 39

Kansas State Prohibition Amendment of 1880

Curator Commentary

In 1880, Kansas became the first state to prohibit alcohol by state constitutional amendment as a more effective means of controlling the use and consumption of alcohol.

The Temperance movement, devoted to self-restraint and to limiting the legal availability of alcohol, had gained popularity in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Convinced of the urgency of their cause for a society in which substance abuse had become a serious concern, reformers pursued numerous strategies. Through changes to liquor licensing practices, local option laws, and statewide prohibition statutes, activists achieved definitive results.

Over thirty other states eventually adopted prohibition laws or constitutional provisions. These gave rise to a federal constitutional amendment— the 18th Amendment—in 1919. The nation’s experiment with prohibition lasted until 1933 when the Amendment was repealed.

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