This Week in History: Kansas Adopts Prohibition

The Kansas legislature passed the law on February 19, 1881.  The law was challenged in court as the following Gale article attests:

MUGLER V. KANSAS, 123 U.S. 623 (1887). Kansas had passed an act in 1881 that forbade the manufacture and sale, except for medicinal purposes, of all intoxicating liquors. Convicted under this act, Mugler argued that since he had invested his money in a brewing business incorporated under the authority of the state government, he could not be denied the right to continue the operation of his business. The SUPREME COURT refused to accept this position. Because of its relevance to “the public health, the public morals, and the public safety,” the Kansas law met the Court’s standard that a regulation passed under a state’s POLICE POWER bears a substantial relation to the public welfare it claims to protect.

Source citation:

Graves, W. Brooke, and Andrew C. Rieser. “Mugler v. Kansas.” Dictionary of American History. Ed. Stanley I. Kutler. 3rd ed. Vol. 5. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003. 471. U.S. History in Context. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.


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