Post-Ratification: Educate or Enforce

Behind the facade of these efforts, rifts were developing in the leadership of the League. Wayne Wheeler, the lawyer-lobbyist, felt that enforcement issues should be the main focus of the League. He wanted the League to bring pressure to bear on law enforcement agents to enforce the law as it had earlier on legislators to pass the law.

Cherrington Lobbies for Education over Law Enforcement

Ernest Cherrington, on the other hand, felt that the emphasis should be on educating the public concerning the dangers of alcohol so they would voluntarily choose an alcohol-free lifestyle. His vision did not end at the borders of the United States. In 1919, he founded the World League Against Alcoholism which had a global mission to cure the alcohol problem.

A Struggle for Power

By 1924, Purley Baker, who had been superintendent of the League for two decades, was ill and obviously would have to be replaced. After his death a power struggle ensued for his position with Cherrington on one side and Wayne Wheeler on the other. Cherrington desired the post for himself and had many supporters for his education first policy. Wheeler put forward his own candidate, Francis Scott McBride, the Illinois superintendent. When a special meeting was called in Indianapolis to name Baker's successor, Wheeler's behind-the-scene machinations engineered McBride's election and Cherrington's defeat.

The Wets Campaign, Resistance Mounts

The election of McBride, a Presbyterian minister, did nothing to resolve the rift in the organization. While the League was uncertain as to national direction, the wet interests were beginning to pull themselves together to mount a cohesive campaign to regain their lost livelihood. They formed the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment (AAPA). Using the same lobbying and media tactics the drys had used so successfully, they began to find cracks in the armor of Prohibition and the League. Suddenly, the League was in a defensive posture rather than a offensive crusading one.

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