Michigan

On April 3, 1933, Michigan voted to repeal Prohibition—by a margin of almost 75%. That decision was ratified one week later on the 10th. A number of interesting stories come from Prohibition era Michigan.

  • Michigan had the honor of being the first state in the Union to vote to repeal Prohibition.

  • michigan.jpgSomewhat amusingly, a number of Detroit bootleggers publicly declared that they would kill anyone bringing poisonous liquor into the area, as they didn't want their business to be hurt.

  • Prohibition laws in Michigan were draconian. A newspaper article from 1927 described it as “safer to kill and rob in Michigan than it is to peddle moonshine.”

  • Despite this strictness, Michigan did not have a death penalty. The federal government, however, had no qualms about putting two Michigan rum runners to death by firing squad in 1929.


Sources:

RUM RUNNERS MAY FACE FEDERAL FIRING SQUAD, Special to The New York Times. New York Times (1857-Current file); Mar 26, 1929; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2004), pg. 2

Safer to Kill and Rob in Michigan Than It Is to Peddle Moonshine, ORVILLE DWYER, Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963); Dec 1, 1928; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849 – 1986), pg. 8

THREATEN DEATH PERIL TO POISON LIQUOR MEN, Special to The New York Times. New York Times (1857-Current file); Nov 9, 1928; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2004), pg. 3

Newspaper clipping courtesy of The New York Times, accessed via ProQuest.