SENATE VOTES DOWN LIQUOR IN ESPIONAGE ACT AMENDMENT
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago tonight, May 12, 1917, the United States Senate approved an amendment to the Espionage Act which forbade the use of cereals and grains in the manufacture of all alcoholic liquors with the exception of wine.
The "prohibition" amendment offered by Senator Albert B. Cummins (R-Iowa) was supported by 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans. There were 19 Democrats and 13 Republicans who opposed the amendment.
The Cummins Amendment read...
"On or after September 1, 1917, during the war with Germany, it shall be unlawful to use...any cereal, grain, sugar or sirup in the production of intoxicating liquor."
Punishment for violation of the law was set at a fine of $5000 and/or up to 3 years imprisonment.
*Albert Baird Cummins (1850-1926) was born in Carmichaels, PA & attended Waynesburg College. He studied law in Chicago & was admitted to the bar in 1875. ABC served as governor of Iowa 1902-1908 & as U.S. Senator for 18 years. He was president pro tempore of the Senate 1919-1925.
"DRY U.S. IN WAR: Senate Votes Blow At Liquor To Save Nation's Food", The Chicago Sunday Tribune, May 13, 1917.
Albert Baird Cummins
Harris & Ewing Collection
Library of Congress Photo