|Pinback button advocating liquor prohibition, c. 1915. Massachsetts No-License League, Boston.
After decades of persistent grassroots organizing—and occasional violence directed at saloons—a convergence of political events and public piety led to the total prohibition of alcoholic beverages with the adoption of the 18th Amendment in 1919. The movement gained momentum in the years leading up and during World War I, spearheaded by such groups as the Women's Christian Temperance Union and Anti-Saloon League. It was argued that prohibition would increase productivity, protect children, strengthen families, and help win the war. Images of children were employed in propaganda to convey the message that innocence and virtue were threatened by alcohol. This pinback, a characteristic example, was issued as part of a "No-License" (i.e. liquor license) campaign in Massachusetts about 1915, at the height of temperance fervor.
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