Which States Were the First to Ratify the 18th Amendment to the Constitution? You May Be Surprised

 In Blog

In the modern world, we have infographics to help share stories in an interesting graphical way. 100 years ago we had cartographers that helped to share the important stories of the day with engaging maps. In this case, the map we discovered tell the tale of Prohibition and the sequential order of which states were the first to sign on to the 18th Amendment.

You may be surprised to see some of the states that were early to jump on the no alcohol band wagon. The most surprising of all is to see the state that today is home to 95% of the world’s bourbon was an early adopter. Yes, that’s right, Kentucky was No. 3 to sign on for ratification of Prohibition just after Mississippi and Virginia, the historic home of rye whiskey in America.

A century ago on January 16, 1919, Nebraska became the 36th state to ratify the Eighteenth Amendment giving it the three-quarters majority it needed to make it the law of the land. Doesn’t the Cornhusker State know that bourbon requires 51% corn in its mash bill? What’s with that?

The First 10 States to Ratify Prohibition

If there was ever a list that you didn’t want to be known as an early adopter, this is it.

  1. Mississippi
  2. Virginia (The home of Rye whiskey?)
  3. Kentucky (Home to 95% of the world Bourbon. Say what?)
  4. South Carolina
  5. North Dakota
  6. Maryland
  7. Montana
  8. Texas
  9. Delaware
  10. South Dakota

Click the map below to see it full size.

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The Anti-Saloon League Released this Statement at the Time


The ratification of the Prohibition amendment to the constitution is the consummation of more than twenty-five years of effort on the part of the Anti-Saloon League, representing as it has the moral and religious forces of the nation. It is the greatest victory for moral reform in America since the Declaration of Independence.

Not less in importance to that which has already been accomplished is the vitally essential task now before the Prohibition forces of securing from Congress and the states proper enforcement legislation and the crystallizing of public sentiment in the large cities and wet districts for complete enforcement of the law.

With Prohibition assured for this nation, the American anti-liquor forces need to redouble their efforts for the larger task of world Prohibition of the manufacture and sale of all intoxicating beverages.


Related Story 
100 Years Ago Today U.S. Votes Itself Dry – 18th Amendment Ratified into Law January 16, 1919

This U.S. Self Imposed Dry Spell Lasted 13 Years

This American dry spell lasted until the 21st Amendment granted states the right to control alcohol. On February 16, 1933 the US Senate passed a resolution for the repeal of the 18th Amendment; immediately following, on the 20th, it was also passed by the House of Representatives. It was then up to the states: Utah became the final state needed for ratification on December 5, 1933. Let’s all raise a glass to that!

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