Under Governor Clarke's administration men and women asked themselves and one another whether "the third phase of the saloon question" was the last, or should they look for another.
The Thirty-sixth General Assembly had passed on to the Thirty-seventh the question of submitting to the voters of the state an amendment to the constitution prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicants within the state.
The Thirty-seventh General Assembly passed the question on to the voters of Iowa and on the 15th of October, 1917, the amendment was lost by a majority of 932. The total vote cast was 430,588, showing 214,963 votes for the amendment and 215,625 against. Of the ninety-nine counties in the state, fifty-six gave majorities for the amendment; but of these all, with the single exception of Polk, were the less populous counties. Of the forty-three counties giving majorities against the amendment, four—all bordering on the license state of Illinois,—gave majorities against the amendment, aggregating 17,631, as follows: Clinton, 3,056; Des Moines, 1,609; Dubuque, 6,061; Scott, 6,905.
On the 20th of November, the day the result of the vote was officially announced by the Executive Council, leaders of the prohibition organizations met at the state capital and effected an organization, selecting the Anti-saloon League as the medium of their future activities, for the purpose of renewing the fight against the threatened repeal of the state-wide prohibitory law and for the resubmission of the amendment. A committee consisting of John T. Clarkson, of Albia,
A. V. Proudfoot, of Indianola, and William Tackaberry, Jr., of Sioux City, was appointed to map out a plan of campaign. A consensus of opinion was that the amendment was lost by the prevalent sense of security on the part of its friends and the "still hunt" of its enemies. The freely expressed opinion of many outside the prohibition organizations was that a too-stringent enforcement of the new laws led to a reaction—not against prohibition per se, but against a too technical enforcement policy adopted by Attorney-General Havner. The attorney-general, however, insisted that, under the oath he had taken to enforce all laws, there was no alternative.
Iowa, Its History & Its Citizens, Volume 2, 1918
Submitted by Cathy Danielson