By Peter Clements;
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The large-scale waves of immigration from southern and eastern Europe in the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries led to racist concerns about the survival of the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ race. 5 per cent of the population had native white parents, but there was nevertheless considerable racist concern that the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ were being swamped by ‘inferior’ races, who bred much more quickly. Racist tracts such as The Passing of the Great Race by Madison Grant, published in 1916, became best sellers.
Many people known as ‘bootleggers’ went into business as producers and distributors of illegal alcohol. The ‘King of the Bootleggers’, George Remus, bought up various breweries on the eve of Prohibition for the manufacture of medicinal alcohol; he then arranged for an army of 3000 gangsters to hijack his products and divert them to the illegal stills of the big cities. In ﬁve years Remus made $5 million. (3) Industrial alcohol Industrial alcohol was easily diverted and re-distilled to turn it into an alcoholic drink.
Key date (1) The impact of war Lever Act: 1917 The First World War gave several boosts to Prohibition. Grain used in the production of alcoholic drinks was needed for food. As a result, many people felt it patriotic to do without alcohol. In 1917 the Lever Act banned the use of grain in the manufacture of alcoholic drinks. Many of the largest brewers, such as Ruppert, Pabst and Leiber, were of German origin. Their businesses had helped to ﬁnance the National German–American Alliance that had supported German interests before the war.
Access to History. Prosperity, Depression and the New Deal: The USA 1890-1954 4th Ed by Peter Clements;