The American Issue

The American issue (Westerville, Ohio) 1911-1916 Browse the title

The American Issue was first published in 1896 in Oberlin, Ohio by the American Issue Publishing Company. The publishing company was owned by the National Anti-Saloon League, a temperance organization founded on December 18, 1895 in Washington, D.C. Later the organization changed its name to the Anti-Saloon League of America.

The League worked to unify anti-alcohol sentiment, enforce temperance laws, and to get new temperance legislation passed. Local churches were the main vehicle for the promotion of the League’s goals. The League was interdenominational and bipartisan. In political elections, it supported any politician or candidate who was considered a “dry” candidate regardless of party affiliation. If both candidates in a race were “wet”, the league would attempt to find its own “dry” candidate to support.

The slogan of the American Issue was “An Advocate of Christian Patriotism.” From its inception the League communicated with its members and the public through printed material. By 1907 the American Issue was the national voice of the Anti-Saloon League with its headquarters in Chicago. In 1909 as the demand for the American Issue had grown substantially, the American Issue Publishing Company was moved to a new printing facility in Westerville, Ohio. At least 18 states had their own editions of the paper. The American Issue (Minnesota Edition) began in May of 1911 and was published monthly for the Minnesota Anti-Saloon League, a state chapter of the National Anti-Saloon League, as a two-column, eight-page periodical. Ernest H. Cherrington was the national editor and P.J. Youngdahl was the Minnesota editor. An earlier paper, the Minnesota Issue had been published by the Minnesota Anti-Saloon League, but ceased sometime after January 1911.

The American Issue (Minnesota Edition) profiled League successes within the state, but focused mostly on the anti-alcohol fight outside of Minnesota. Legislation, elections, and debates that were taking place throughout the country were covered. By 1913 the Anti-Saloon League of America switched its focus from a local option to prohibit alcohol to national prohibition. The front page of the Minnesota edition frequently had a message from a prominent politician or League official about this topic. The publication’s main goal was to make members of the Minnesota Anti-Saloon League feel connected with the national League.

The exact publication end-date of the Minnesota edition is unknown, although it was published at least until 1929. The national edition of the American Issue was published until at least 1971 with a brief break in publication in 1933. The American Issue became the “official organ of the National Temperance League” in 1953 when the name of its founding organization changed again. Since 1964 the League has been known as the American Council on Alcohol Problems and promotes the reduction of alcohol advertising, availability, and consumption throughout the United States.