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Date of Award

1990

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

Supervisor

H.E. Turner

Abstract

The Prohibition Era in the Maritime Provinces ran from 1900 to 1930. This aspect of Maritime history has never been fully explored. This study argues that the rise and fall of prohibition in the region was a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon. Beginning in the early nineteenth century this thesis demonstrates that prohibitory legislation was accomplished due to the combination of five powerful influences. They were a nineteenth century anti-liquor tradition, the Protestant Social Gospel, secular progressivism, Social Catholicism and World War I war-time reform enthusiasm. During the war and immediate post-war years prohibition in the Maritimes was relatively effective and reasonably respected. After 1920 however, the combination of another set of complicated forces led to prohibition's decline. They were the ending of war-time reformism, the failure of prohibition's promise, enforcement problems, wide-spread violations, the waning of reform idealism, regional economic problems and the rise of a personal liberty philosophy. Consequently, prohibition was repealed in favour of government control of the sale of liquor in New Brunswick in 1927 and in Nova Scotia in 1929. Prince Edward Island kept prohibition until 1948 but the law was all but dead after 1930.

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