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Congress passes Prohibition amendment, now goes to states

A photo of the 18th amendment courtesy of the United States Government.
A photo of the 18th amendment courtesy of the United States Government.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 1917 (UP) -- The Senate today concurred in House amendments to the nation-wide prohibition resolution.

A rising vote was taken. Forty-seven senators voted for the House amendments and eight against them.

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Bryan joined with the legislative committee of the anti-saloon league in congratulating the country on the passage of prohibition in Congress.

"I regard it as the most moral reform of the generation," Bryan said.

RELATED Congress passes Prohibition amendment, now goes to states

The Senate's action to-day transfers the flight to the State Legislatures. Three-fourths must ratify the amendment to make it a part of the constitution. One year after such approval "the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes, will be prohibited."

The drys have already laid plans for fights in Ohio, Missouri, Massachusetts and Kentucky, now wet states. Much territory in all of them, it was pointed out, has long been forbidden ground for John Barleycorn. About 85 per cent of Massachusetts is dry under option.

Senator Borah declared Congress had no right to limit the time within which constitutional amendments shall be ratified.

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"The constitution does not limit the time," said Borah. "States may ratify any time they see fit. The result of this provision, in my opinion, would be that the courts would hold it invalidated the submission of the amendments.

"When other amendments are brought up we could say they must be adopted in a year, or six month, or leave 20 years for their adoption. Congress can't do this, in my opinion, without endangering the submission of this important question."

Senator Shepperd, author of the resolution, had fought this question out thoroughly and decided it has the right to limit the time.

Borah indicated that an early effort will be made to have the courts decide whether Congress has the right to put the seven year limitation ratification.

Only a handful of "drys" workers saw the final chapter written by Congress to this legislation. There was no shouting or uproar such as featured the House vote yesterday.

The House yesterday afternoon adopted the resolution providing for submission of the question of nationwide prohibition to the states, by a vote of 282 to 128.

The President's approval is not required and the state legislature may act as soon as they please after the signatures of the vice-president and Speaker Clark have been attached to the resolution.

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Every attempt to-day to put on amendments to except light wines and beer was beaten, and 141 Democrats stood aligned with 137 Republicans and four independents to win the final victory for the prohibitionist forces.

The amendment as adopted by the House and the Senate:

"Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives, that the following amendment to the Constitution be, and hereby is, proposed to the states, to become valid as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of the several states as provided by the Constitution:

"Article - Section 1 - After one year from the ratification of this article, the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the export thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

"Section 2 - The Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

"Section 3 - This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof of the states by the Congress."

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