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Morris Sheppard: A Featured Biography


Morris Sheppard by Boris Bernhard Gordon

A Democratic senator from Texas, Morris Sheppard (1875-1941) fought for progressive reforms such as banking regulation and women's suffrage. Although he served as Senate Democratic Party whip for four years, Sheppard is best remembered as the "Father of Prohibition."  He supported temperance reform on the grounds that alcohol was a scourge on society and a threat to the family. In 1913 he introduced a constitutional amendment to prohibit the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors." Congress enacted it in 1917, and the states ratified the 18th Amendment in 1919.  Unexpectedly, Prohibition fostered lawlessness in the 1920s, and in 1933 Congress and the states repealed the amendment. Although disappointed, Sheppard  remained an active legislator, promoting legislation to aid farmers and low-income Americans, and for military preparedness in the years before World War II.  

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