A dry state was a state in the United States in which the manufacture, distribution, importation, and sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited or tightly restricted. Some states, such as North Dakota, entered the United States as dry states, and others went dry after the passage of prohibition legislation, the Volstead Act. No state remains completely dry, but some states do contain dry counties.

Prior to the adoption of nationwide prohibition in 1920, state legislatures passed local option laws that allowed a county or township to go dry if it chose to do so.[1] The Maine law, passed in 1851 in Maine, was among the first statutory implementations of the developing temperance movement in the United States.[2]

Following Maine's lead, prohibition laws were soon passed in the states of Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York; however, all but one were repealed.[3] The debate over prohibition increased in the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as the drys, including the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the National Prohibition Party, the Anti-Saloon League, and others, continued to support temperance and prohibition legislation, while the wets opposed it.[3] By 1913 nine states had statewide prohibition and 31 others had local option laws, placing more than 50 percent of the United States population under some form of alcohol prohibition.[3]

Following two unsuccessful attempts at national prohibition legislation (one in 1913 and the other in 1915), Congress approved a resolution on December 19, 1917, to prohibit the manufacture, sale, transportation, and importation of alcoholic beverages in the United States.[4] The resolution was sent to the states for ratification and became the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On January 8, 1918, Mississippi became the first state to ratify the amendment and on January 16, 1919, Nebraska became the 36th state to do so, securing its passage with the required three-fourths of the states.[5] By the end of February 1919, only three states remained as hold-outs to ratification: New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.[3]

The National Prohibition Act, also known as the Volstead Act, was enacted on October 18, 1919. Prohibition in the United States went into effect on January 17, 1920.[3] Nationwide prohibition was repealed in 1933 with the passage of the Twenty-first Amendment on February 20 and its ratification on December 5.[6]

List of formerly dry statesEdit

This table lists the effective dates each state went dry and any dates of repeal that do not coincide with the end of national prohibition in 1933.

State Dry date Repeal date Ref
Maine 1851 1856 [citation needed]
Vermont 1853 1902
Kansas November 23, 1880 1948 [7][8]
Iowa July 27, 1882 1894 [9][10][11][12]
North Dakota November 2, 1889 1932
South Dakota November 2, 1889
Oklahoma September 17, 1907 1959
Georgia January 1, 1908 1933 [8]
Mississippi December 31, 1908 1966 [8]
North Carolina January 1, 1909 1937 [8][13]
Tennessee July 1, 1909 1939 [8][14]
Alabama July 1, 1915 [8]
Oregon January 1, 1916 [8]
West Virginia July 1, 1914 [8]
Washington January 1, 1916 [8]
Montana December 31, 1918 [8]
Nebraska May 1, 1917 [8]
Indiana 1918 [15]
Michigan April 30, 1918 [8]
Florida December 9, 1918
Kentucky November 1919[16] [17]
Texas May 1919 1935 [18]
Virginia November 1, 1916 [8]
South Carolina December 31, 1915 [8]
Idaho January 1, 1916 [8]
Colorado January 1, 1916 [8]
Arkansas January 1, 1916 [8]
Arizona January 1, 1915 [8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ James H. Madison (1982). Indiana Through Tradition and Change: A History of the Hoosier State and Its People, 1920–1945. The History of Indiana. Vol. 5. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. p. 40.
  2. ^ Henry Stephen Clubb (1856). The Maine Liquor Law: Its Origin, History, and Results, Including a Life of Hon. Neal Dow. Fowler and Wells, for the Maine Law Statistical Society. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  3. ^ a b c d e Jane McGrew. "History of Alcohol Prohibition". National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  4. ^ "Prohibition wins in Senate, 47 to 8" (PDF). New York Times. December 19, 1917. p. 6. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  5. ^ See U.S. Const. art. V.
  6. ^ "Amendments 11–27". US National Archives.
  7. ^ "Kansas Liquor Laws" (PDF). Kansas Legislative Research Department. February 24, 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 22, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r The Anti-Prohibition Manual: A Summary of Facts and Figures Dealing with Prohibition, 1917. Cincinnati, Ohio: National Association of Distillers and Wholesale Dealers. 1917. p. 8.
  9. ^ "Prohibition Rule: Murder in Sioux City". Wild West Magazine. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  10. ^ "Original Gangsters: The Iowa City Beer Riots of 1884". Little Village Magazine. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  11. ^ "Sioux City's Prohibition Past Fascinates Historians". The Sioux City Journal. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  12. ^ "Beer Business Has Been In-and-Out Venture Here, but Whisky Has Flowed Freely Much of the Time". Sioux City Journal. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  13. ^ Patrick Horn, "The Temperance Movement in North Carolina"
  14. ^ Tennessee Encyclopedia, "The Temperance in Tennessee"
  15. ^ Passed in 1917, subsequent attempts to overturn the law failed in 1918, when a court ruled Indiana's statewide prohibition law as constitutional and the state went dry. See Jason S. Lantzer (2009). 'Prohibition is Here to Stay': The Reverend Edward S. Shumaker and the Dry Crusade in Indiana. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. pp. 80–83. ISBN 978-0-268-03383-5.
  16. ^ Date the state prohibition law was passed.
  17. ^ Jim Warren (2011-10-18). "Revisiting Prohibition: Kentucky was ahead of the times". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2013-10-01.
  18. ^ The Anti-Prohibition Manual: A Summary of Facts and Figures Dealing with Prohibition, 1918. Cincinnati, Ohio: National Association of Distillers and Wholesale Dealers. 1918. p. 8.