"Prohibition Is Here to Stay": The Reverend Edward S. Shumaker and the Dry Crusade in America

by Jason S. Lantzer

Prohibition Is Here to Stayfocuses on the Reverend Edward S. Shumaker, a Methodist minister who for nearly twenty-five years led Indiana's influential chapter of the Anti Saloon League. Shumaker was one of the most powerful men in Indiana in the fight against demon rum, and his influence extended well beyond the boundaries of the state

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Prohibition Is Here to Stayfocuses on the Reverend Edward S. Shumaker, a Methodist minister who for nearly twenty-five years led Indiana's influential chapter of the Anti Saloon League. Shumaker was one of the most powerful men in Indiana in the fight against demon rum, and his influence extended well beyond the boundaries of the state during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Jason Lantzer uses Shumaker's life and work to shed new light on the rise and fall of Prohibition and to better understand and appreciate the interplay of religion and politics in American culture.

Drawing on Shumaker's personal papers as well as archival work, Lantzer argues that understanding the role of religious faith and in particular evangelical Protestantism is essential to understanding Prohibition. Shumaker's religious faith inspired his crusade against alcohol and his efforts to make the Indiana Anti Saloon League one of the strongest political pressure groups in the country. Lantzer argues that Edward Shumaker's life and the cause to which he devoted most of it were not aberrations but exemplars of central currents in American culture of the time. Lantzer also connects Shumaker and the prohibition movement in Indiana to larger issues of America's transition from a predominantly rural society to an urban culture, with the attendant fears of change, loss of values, the impact of industrialization, and foreign immigration.

“Jason Lantzer's excellent biography of Edward Shumaker places one of America's most successful Prohibition crusaders in the very center of American religion and reform. Lantzer's careful research and thoughtful analysis sharply contradicts the tendency to see Prohibition as a mere sidebar to American history and opens our minds to the connections between political activism and religious faith.” —James H. Madison, author of Slinging Doughnuts for the Boys: An American Woman in World War II

“Given Lantzer’s access to Edward Shumaker’s personal papers, his narrative of Shumaker’s life is undoubtedly an authoritative one. In addition, the book increases our understanding of the organizational dynamics of the Indiana prohibition movement, the Indiana Anti-Saloon League (IASL)’s political endeavors, and the IASL’s relationship with African Americans, Catholics, and the Ku Klux Klan.” —Ann-Marie Szymanski, University of Oklahoma
“In this sympathetic, serious account of Reverend Edward Shumaker and the Indiana prohibition movement, Jason Lantzer brings to life an earlier, formative phase in what Americans have ruefully come to call the ‘culture wars,’ in which ethnic, religious, and cultural divisions within communities can give rise to and perpetuate rancorous conflicts over standards and behavior. While that story is important enough, Lantzer also evokes the atmosphere and life of Indiana's cities and small towns as the Midwest struggled with the powerful, sometimes frightening forces of urbanization, industrialization, and immigration. Lantzer's book is worth reading because of its imaginative re-creation of the social and intellectual environment out of which evangelical, moral reform efforts such as Shumaker's prohibitionism grew.” —Alan Lessoff, editor of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
“Based on newly opened manuscripts and impressive research in local sources, this study of Edward Shumaker sheds new light on the workings of a state Anti-Saloon League, its leader, and state and national politics and public policy. Shumaker was an important figure in the Prohibition faction that was unbending in its commitment to strict law enforcement and the prevention of drinking.” —K. Austin Kerr, Ohio State University

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Using the life of Reverend Edward S. Shumaker as a lens through which to view how social issues can be shaped by religious faith, historian Jason S. Lantzer explores the relationship between religion and politics in American culture, particularly during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This enjoyable, well-researched biography contains extensive and informative notes, as well as a valuable bibliography that includes archives, primary and secondary sources, court cases, dissertations and theses, interviews and oral histories, manuscript collections, newspapers, pamphlets, and websites. Recommended for high school, college, and public libraries.” —Catholic Library World

“Prohibition is often dismissed as an unfortunate aberration in the American reform tradition, led by fanatics, and doomed to failure. Jason S. Lantzer seeks to correct this impression in a well-written and thoroughly documented study on the life and career of Edward S. Shumaker, state superintendent of the Indiana Anti-Saloon League from 1907 until his untimely death in 1929.” —Indiana Magazine of History

“Jason S. Lantzer’s “Prohibition Is Here to Stay” is a fine examination of the life and work of Indiana’s dry crusader, the Reverend Edward S. Shumaker. . . . Lantzer’s exploration of the dry movement’s legacy is the most interesting dimension of this work. As he points out, ‘though Shumaker’s reform was over, the culture that produced it was not.’” —Journal of American History

"Historian Jason Lantzer has defied the odds. He's authored a doctoral thesis that is readable, academically sound and pertinent to current events. Lantzer tells the story of Edward Shumaker, the most politically influential church pastor in Indiana history. Shumaker was a crusader against alcohol abuse, peaking in influence from World War I to the mid-1920s.” —Indianapolis Star

"Presenting evidence that the prohibition movement in Indiana was not happenstance or abnormal, but rather an effect of the mainstream cultural currents of the era, "Prohibition Is Here to Stay" uses Indiana as a lens to further examine larger issues of America's transformation from a rural to an urban majority, as well as the consequent shift in cultural values and the repercussions of industrialization and foreign immigration. A thoughtful, well-researched and persuasively presented study, highly recommended especially for college library collections." —Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

University of Notre Dame Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st Edition
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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