Page images

really aware how other influences of our civilization hammer on the neurones and injure our mental powers far beyond the effects of a moderate use of alcohol? The vulgar rag-time music, the gambling of the speculators, the sensationalism of the yellow press, the poker playing of the men and the bridge playing of the women, the mysticism and superstition of the new fancy churches, the hysterics of the baseball games, the fascination of murder cases, the noise of the Fourth of July and on the three hundred and sixty-four other days of the year, the wild chase for success; all are poison for the brain and mind. They make the nervous system and the will endlessly more unfit for the duties of the day than a glass of lager beer on a hot summer's evening.

"'* * * How temperance can be secured, the experiences of the older nations with a similar psychological type of national mind ought to be decisive. First of all, the beverages of strongly alcoholic nature ought to be fought by those of light alcoholic effect. The whiskey of the laborers must be fought by light, wholesome beer and, perhaps, by light American wines. Further, a systematic education in self-control must be set in; the drunkard must not be tolerated under any circumstance. Above all, the social habits in the sphere of drinking must be entirely reshaped. They belong to a period where the Puritan spirit considered beer and wine as sinful and relegated them to regions hidden from decent eyes. The American saloon is the most disgusting product of such narrowness; its dangers for politics and law, health and economics, are alarming. The saloon must disappear and can be made to disappear perhaps by higher license taxation and many other means. And with it must disappear the bar and the habit of drinking standing and of mutual treating. The restaurant alone, with the hotel and the club, is the fit public place where guests sitting at tables may have beer and wine with their meals or after meals-and all controlled by laws which absolutely forbid the sale of intoxicants to certain groups of persons, to children, to inebriates, and so on. As long as drinking means to the imagination of a considerable well-meaning minority of the nation the present-day repulsive life of saloons and bars, the minority will find it easy to terrorize and to whip into line the whole country. But if those relics of a narrow time disappear and customs grow which spread the spirit of geniality and friendly social intercourse over the foaming cup, the spell will be broken. Instead of being tyrannized over by short-sighted fanatics on the one side and

corrupt saloon keepers on the other, the nation will proceed with the unanimous sympathy of the best citizens to firm temperance laws which the sound instinct of the masses will really respect. Training in self-control as against recklessness, training in harmless hilarity and social enjoyment as against mere vulgar excitement and rag-time pleasures, training in respect for law as against living under hysterical rules which cannot be executed and which invite blackmail, corruption, and habitual disregard of laws-these are, indeed, the most needed influences on the social minds of the country."





ECENT events have shown clearly that attempts at further restriction of the liquor traffic are for the most part likely to be in the direction of county local option. The ultimate aim of extremists is, of course, State-wide prohibition, but in lieu of it, or rather as a step toward it, county local option is occupying their immediate attention. Local option by smaller civil divisions has not yielded the expected results. It has been shown, among other things, that urban populations are not easily persuaded to abolish the liquor traffic, although the rural inhabitants of the county may strongly favor it. If, therefore, the rural vote could be added to the "dry" city vote on the question of license, it would undoubtedly result in forbidding the sale of liquors in some cities which, if left to themselves, would generally vote "yes.”

Under the circumstances the present status of local option laws has a special significance. Below is a summary, by States, of such laws in force at the present time. For the sake of completeness, mention is made of States and Territories without local option, or under some other form of restriction:

Alabama: State prohibition.

Alaska: No local option law.

Arizona: By order of the county board, or on petition of the voters in towns, cities, counties, or sub-divisions of counties, voting on the license question, elections may take place at any time when so ordered by the county board.

Arkansas: The question of local option may be submitted to the voters at each general election. The policy decided upon is

operative for the two ensuing years, but does not affect the sale of wine, unless a separate vote is taken for or against such sale. The legislature, however, may pass special laws prohibiting the sale of liquor in certain counties.

California: Has no general local option law.

Colorado: Upon the petition of forty per cent. of the voters in any city, town, ward, district or precinct, a local option vote may be taken at any annual election, but having thus been taken cannot be brought before the people again until the lapse of twenty-three months.

Connecticut: A local option vote may be taken at annual elections upon the petition of not less than 25 voters. The vote is by towns, and a majority vote in favor of no-license also prohibits associations and clubs from keeping intoxicants for distribution among members.

Delaware: Under a special act of legislature, local option. votes were taken in 1907, but there is no general law providing for local option.

Florida: A general local option law is operative under which elections may be held on the petition of one-fourth of the qualified voters; but only once in two years, and not within sixty days of any State or national election.

Georgia: Under State prohibition.

Idaho: Without a local option law.

Illinois: Upon the petition of one-fourth of the voters of any municipality or township, a vote may be taken on the question of license or no-license at any regular election. Eighteen months must elapse before a second vote can be taken in the same district.

Indiana: The recently adopted county local option law is referred to in preceding pages.

Iowa: Under the so-called Mulct law permits to sell at retail may be obtained upon application signed by a majority of the qualified voters of the municipality or county. In cities having a population of 2,500-5,000 the consent of eighty per cent. of the voters is required. While this peculiar state of affairs affords locali

ties an opportunity to exercise local option, it cannot be said that Iowa is under a general local option law.

Kentucky: Under the general local option law a vote may be taken by cities, towns, districts or counties upon petition signed by twenty-five per cent. of the registered voters in each precinct of the territory to be affected. It is forbidden to bring liquors into any local option district and make the place of delivery of such liquors a place of sale. There are also strict regulations in regard to wholesale trade in local option districts and the delivery of intoxicants by carriers.

Louisiana: The State is without a general local option law, but the legislature passes special laws for local prohibition in parishes.

Maine: Under constitutional prohibition.

Maryland: Has no general local option law, but special laws providing for local option in certain districts are passed by the legislature.

Massachusetts: Has a general local option law providing for an annual vote by cities and towns on the question of license or nolicense. A no-license vote becomes effective in June following the election at which the question was voted for. If the decision is for license the vote becomes effective on the first day of March following the election if supplanting no-license. Any beverage, except native wine, containing 1 per cent. of alcohol is considered an intoxicant. The law, however, does not apply to cider manufactured by farmers. There are stringent rules governing the transportation of intoxicants into no-license districts. Delivery can only be made to the consumer, and the package must be marked with the name and address of the consignee and consignor and show the kind and amount of liquor contained.

Michigan: Local option may be exercised in two ways: either through a resolution by the board of supervisors of the county prohibiting the sale within the county, or by a vote to be taken upon the petition of one-third of the qualified electors. The legislature may pass special laws prohibiting the sale of liquor in certain localities.

« PreviousContinue »