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Wednesday, November 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago: Prohibition goes nationwide with passage of 18th Amendment

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 20, 2019

Prohibition was declared on a nationwide scale when the U.S. Congress formally enacted the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Jan. 29, 1919. The newspaper also reported that the Wobblies and other radical groups had set “the day” when they intended to “overthrow” the U.S. government and declare a Soviet system. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Prohibition was declared on a nationwide scale when the U.S. Congress formally enacted the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Jan. 29, 1919. The newspaper also reported that the Wobblies and other radical groups had set “the day” when they intended to “overthrow” the U.S. government and declare a Soviet system. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The national “death warrant” for John Barleycorn (alcohol) was finally signed.

Prohibition was declared on a nationwide scale when the U.S. Congress formally enacted the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

The impact was minor in Washington state, which had begun statewide prohibition in 1916. Nevertheless, it was considered the ultimate victory in the long battle of the “wets” vs. the “drys.”

It was not, in fact, the ultimate victory. The 18th Amendment would be repealed in 1933.

From the Wobbly beat: The Spokane Daily Chronicle breathlessly reported that the Wobblies and other radical groups had set “the day” when they intended to “overthrow” the U.S. government and declare a soviet system.

However, police did not know which day would be “the day.”

The Chronicle said that Spokane’s Commissioner of Public Safety J.H. Tilsley had uncovered numerous references to “the day” in papers seized in a Wobbly raid.

Tilsley said that he had received information that “a serious attempt is being made to form ’soviets,’ ” in Portland, Seattle and Tacoma, and that “Spokane is included in the program of organization.” One of the organizers, said Tilsley, tried unsuccessfully to create such a “soviet” two weeks earlier at a Spokane socialist forum.

None of the Wobblies arrested in the Spokane raid was willing to tell authorities what date “the day” might refer to.

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