Why Did Nativists Support Prohibition?

High School Level Reading and Worksheet

Pouring whiskey into a sewer, 1921. CREDIT: Library of Congress

The very real issues of alcoholism, domestic abuse, and crime inspired the American Temperance Movement, which advocated abstinence from alcohol. Later, during the early 20th century, nativists increasingly blamed the United States' new immigrant populations for the degradation of what they saw as "traditional American values." How and why did nativist groups like the Ku Klux Klan work with temperance reformers to help get Prohibition—the constitutional ban on alcohol—passed through the 18th Amendment?

The reading and worksheet attached on the right side bar allows students to analyze why nativist groups like the Ku Klux Klan were able to find staunch support from Temperance reformers.

The text for the worksheet is taken from a January 2019 Carnegie Council podcast entitled, "The Crack-Up: Prohibition, Immigration, & the Klan, with Lisa McGirr" and is based upon a New York Times opinion piece written by McGirr.