Bust Beer Buyers 1929

The folly of fanaticism with guns

Shocking even to fanatics!

Ninety years ago this month Senator Morris Sheppard of fanatically dry Texas designed a law to make buying a beer a felony under the Volstead and Five and Ten laws. This is the politician who wrote the 18th amendment and pushed it with blind disregard for what criminalizing a popular commodity might again do to the U.S. economy. This p 2 Chicago Tribune clipping for October 13, 1929 saw daylight 11 days before Black Thursday.

Dr Arthur J Barton, chairman of the national executive committee of the anti-saloon league of America, tonight said he doubted the constitutionality of Senator Morris Sheppard’s proposed amendment to the prohibition law, which would make the purchaser of intoxicating liquors equally guilty with the seller.
Dr Barton said: “I do not know of any general demand among the dry organizations and leaders for such an amendment. I doubt whether such an amendment would be constitutional, and I fear that the introduction of the amendment at the present time is untimely and unfortunate.”
Dr Barton said it was his opinion that convictions under the proposed amendment would be impossible to obtain.
“A fundamental principle and a specific provision of the constitution of the United States is that no man can be forced to testify when his testimony would incriminate himself,” he said.

Asset forfeiture story same page. The U.S. Treasury gleefully confiscated and sold off automobiles found with any amount of beer or liquor, with no regard for the companies financing the sale of the cars. George Bush Jr’s faith-based fanatics did the same thing with houses in 2006 and 2007, leaving the homebuyer with no place to live and a mortgage bill to pay off. Neither Herbert Hoover nor Waffen Bush had any clue how much money their prohibitionist looting would cause to vanish from the fractional-reserve banks and brokerage firms.

Enforcement murderers protected by law, same page. Senator Millard Tydings accused the feds of covering up 51 murders committed by dry killers during violent prohibition enforcement.  This is the same sort of thing practiced today on account of enjoyable plant leaves, and the amount of money involved is likely to be a neat fraction of the Gross National Product. But just as there was a Liberal Party in 1930, there is a Libertarian Party in 2019. Our repeal plank sends a loud and unmistakable message to Washington

For more about how pseudoscience and prohibitionism cause the collapse of fractional-reserve banking systems, see Prohibition and The Crash–Cause and Effect in 1929. For the cost of a pint you will understand how pseudoscience warped into cruel fanaticism destroys economies. Live on Amazon Kindle.

Prohibition and The Crash,
on Amazon Kindle in 2 languages

Brought to you by

Words you can dance to

Brazilian blog

The Five and Ten Law, March, 1929

Light beer (and even sauerkraut) became a major federal felony 24 hours before Herbert Hoover, a lifelong teetotaler, placed his hand upon a religious tome and became President. 

Chapter 42

The Five and Ten

 Senator Wesley Livsey Jones of Washington—possibly the most fanatical prohibitionist in the upper Chamber—again pressed for his year-old “increased penalties” plan on February 19.[1] “Be it enacted,” he proposed in his bill, “That wherever a penalty or penalties are prescribed in criminal prosecution by the National Prohibition Act, as amended and supplemented, for the illegal manufacture, sale, transportation, importation or exportation of intoxicating liquor, as defined by Section 1, Title II of the National Prohibition Act, the penalty imposed for each such offense shall be a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed five years, or both.”[2] The national media dubbed it the Five & Ten, but the Chicago Tribune preferred to call it the Jones Law.

The gauntlet was thrown. Drys, championed by Senator William A. Borah of Idaho, hailed it as essential to maintaining a constitutional form of government. Wets, led by Senator James A. Reed of Missouri, classed it as improper, unjust and cruel, and on raged the debate. The Tribune compared it to the Fugitive Slave Law, but the Senate passed it anyway, albeit with the added proviso that “it is the intent of Congress that the court, in imposing sentence hereunder, should discriminate between casual or slight violations and habitual sales of intoxicating liquor, or attempts to commercialize violations of the law.”[3]

The House passed it as it stood, and President Calvin Coolidge signed it into law just twenty-four hours before an optimistic Herbert Hoover was to blithely take an oath to enforce it. But Hoover wouldn’t let it go at that. To this lynch mob atmosphere of hysteria he added: “Of the undoubted abuses which have grown up under the 18th amendment, part are due to (…) the failure of some States to accept their share of the responsibility for concurrent enforcement and to the failure of many State and local officials to accept the obligation under their oath of office zealously to enforce the laws. With the failures from these many causes has come a dangerous expansion in the criminal elements who have found enlarged opportunities for dealing in illegal liquor. (…) I have been selected by you to execute and enforce the laws of the country. (…) To those of criminal mind there can be no appeal but vigorous enforcement of the law. Fortunately they are but a small percentage of our people. Their activities must be stopped.”[4]

A delegation from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union was photographed on the White House lawn. Herbert Hoover had lunch with Assistant Attorney General Mabel Walker Willebrandt, then met with Senator Morris Sheppard of corn-producing Texas, author of the 18th Amendment. Time called Hoover the “Dry Hope,” and those first few days in office seemed to confirm exactly that. Bootleggers took no comfort whatsoever, and some of them began to wonder whether they’d overstayed the market.

An excerpt from Prohibition and the Crash, by JHenryPhillips.com    Available on Amazon Kindle in English and Portuguese.

29coversmall

Live on Amazon Kindle in 2 languages

 

[1] (NYT 3/24/29 27)

[2] (Time Capsule 3/4/29 66)

[3] (CT 2/19/29 1, 3, 2/21/29 12)

[4] (Hoover 1929 1974 2-10)

Handcrafted, homespun translations of immigration, oil, mining and contractual documents. Inquire within…

pidotcom
Now with added foreign-language perspectives