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We Are What We DrinkThe Temperance Battle in Minnesota$
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Sabine N. Meyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039355

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039355.001.0001

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Organizing into Blocs

Organizing into Blocs

The Fight for or against Personal Liberty (1866–1887)

(p.53) 2. Organizing into Blocs
We Are What We Drink

Sabine N. Meyer

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the politicization of Minnesota's temperance movement between the end of the Civil War and the passage of a High License Law in 1887. It shows how Minnesota's temperance activists pushed the temperance cause into the political arena, giving rise to a temperance politics that moved the temperance issue at the center of party, electoral, and state politics. It explains how the popularity of the temperance cause forced both Republicans and Democrats to engage with the arguments of both temperance reformers and opponents involving Irish and German Americans while also carefully negotiating their position within the legal battles about alcohol. It also considers how personal liberty emerged as a contentious issue in the High License debates. These debates led to an equilibrium between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party and even provoked the founding of a third party solely geared toward the extinction of the liquor traffic, the Temperance Party of Minnesota. The chapter concludes with a discussion ofd the rise of a women's temperance movement during the period.

Keywords:   temperance movement, High License Law, Minnesota, temperance politics, temperance reform, Democratic Party, Republican Party, personal liberty, German Americans, women

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