Informal Economic Strategies During Alcohol Prohibition In Anaconda, MontanaAlcohol Prohibition

Author(s): Kelly Dixon; Kellii Casias

Year: 2015


One of the many unintended consequences of the Prohibition Era was an unorganized but collective social resistance movement across the nation. Research in the town of Anaconda, Montana, focused on the years of 1923 through 1926, granted a unique opportunity to capture a snapshot of collective social resistance in a company town, and allowed a new, feminine narrative to emerge. The Prohibition years in Anaconda were put into historical, and sociocultural context by compiling lists of male and female liquor law offenders’ experiences through the use of primary sources such as newspaper accounts, court records, and oral histories. Comparison of fines, jail terms, and property seizures of male and female home brewers and business owners indicated a systematic leniency towards women offenders when all crimes were equal. Socioeconomic status’s revealed that overwhelmingly widowed women used the sale and production of illegal alcohol as an economic strategy to support their families. Unequal applications of the law on the part of city officials indicates a tolerance of illegal activity for the pragmatic financial exploitation of residents. The findings although general in nature can be used as a starting point for a more realistic discourse on how people collectively circumvented Federal Prohibition laws.

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Informal Economic Strategies During Alcohol Prohibition In Anaconda, MontanaAlcohol Prohibition. Kellii Casias, Kelly Dixon. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398094)

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min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;