When they ask you why I am for prohibition, you tell them because I have the courage of my convictions; because I am against intemperance; because I do not straddle a fundamental principle; because I will not be a hypocrite; because I love my fellow man; because I believe the time has come for the Government to get out of the liquor business; because I want no man to enslave himself, to shackle his friends, to widow his wife, and to bring sorrow to the homes of his fellow man; because I want no friend of mine to make his children dotards, and the children of his associates tearstained orphans; because I am opposed to any man picking his own pocket and doubling his taxes; because I know from experience that a dollar saved is a dollar made; and, finally, because I want to do my share, in my day and generation, to lessen the woes and the wants of humanity; to end the crimes and the criminals of society; and to decrease the poorhouses and the penitentiaries of the country.
When they ask you why I am for prohibition you tell them that I am for prohibition because I want our men and women to come out of the swales of drunkenness up to the heights of soberness and get the perspective of the promised land; because I know from facts that those who earn their wage in the sweat of their face and spend it for strong drink are fooling themselves and robbing their families; because I know from statistics, medical and physiological, that the use of alcoholic drinks is death to brain and brawn, and fetters to hope and ambition; because I know from an economic standpoint, to say nothing about its moral and its physical aspects, that the prohibition of the manufacture and the sale of alcoholic liquors, for beverage purposes, will be one of the greatest boons that ever blessed humanity—a tremendous factor for good to every man, woman, and child on earth— a harbinger to all mankind in the struggle for success; and one of the most potent agencies in the world to increase the material wealth of America in the onward and upward march of civilization.
When they ask you why I am for prohibition you tell them because I want to make the hearthside happy; because I want to make mankind free; because I want to make the State sober; and because I know the home cannot be happy while the people are rioting in alcoholic drunkenness.
Tell them that I say no State, and no country, can long endure half wet and half dry, half drunk and half sober, and that all friends of good government should be with us in the fight to make the State sober, and to banish forever the saloons from our country.
Tell them that we boast that we are the greatest and richest country in the world; that we have a population of more than 100,000,000 people; that its estimated wealth is more than $200,000,000,000; that its annual revenue from the liquor traffic is about $200,000,000; that the people spend every year for alcoholic liquors more than $2,000,000,000 — just about ten times as much as the Government derives from the revenue, a sum of money that staggers the finite mind; that most of the money comes from the poor, and if it were deposited in savings banks to the credit of the toilers we would have a Government without a pauper, and the richest people per capita since the dawn of time in any land or in any clime.
Tell them that you know, and I know, that for every dollar the Government gets from its association with the liquor business it costs the taxpayers at least $20 to support courts and juries, hospitals and asylums, paupers and prisoners^, poorhouses and penitentiaries. Tell them that the use of alcoholic stimulants is blighting the hope of our womanhood, debauching the flower of our manhood — morally, mentally, and physically — and devastating, degenerating, and decimating the human race.
Tell them that if I were asked to sum up in a single word the cause on earth of more than seven-tenths of all the woes and all the wants; of all the fears and all the tears; of all the trials and all the troubles; of all the ghouls and all the ghosts; of all the crimes and all the criminals; of all the groans of helpless men, and all the griefs of weeping women, and all the heart pangs of sad-faced children, I should sum it all up in that short word— R-U-M. RUM— which menaces the progress of the race, and challenges the. advance of civilization.
-- Source: Life & Speeches of William Sulzer, p41
-- Located by Jonathan Makeley