The Minnesota Issue

The Minnesota issue (Minneapolis, Minn.) 1898-1911 Browse the title

The Minnesota Issue was a two-column, eight-page periodical published in Minneapolis, Minnesota by the Minnesota Anti-Saloon League, a state chapter of the National Anti-Saloon League which was a leading force in the prohibition movement. Later the national organization changed its name to the Anti-Saloon League of America. The Minnesota chapter was established in January of 1898 and the Minnesota Issue began publication that June as a monthly.

The Minnesota Issue was the means by which the Anti-Saloon League in Minnesota spread its prohibition message, communicated with members, and monitored the voting records of legislators regarding temperance legislation. There were reports of local events and successes, but it also included news of the national Anti-Saloon League. A subscription to the periodical cost fifty cents per year, but members of the Anti-Saloon League received the paper for free.

The Anti-Saloon League worked to unify public anti-alcohol sentiment. Its main goals were to enforce existing temperance laws, and to enact new legislation against alcohol. The Minnesota Anti-Saloon League stated its objective as:

...the suppression of the Saloon. The League…pledges itself to avoid affiliation …with any political party, and to maintain an attitude of neutrality upon questions of public policy not directly concerned with the traffic in strong drink.

The first President of the Anti-Saloon League was Reverend W.J. Fielder. The Superintendent of the League was Reverend Richard H. Battey. In Minnesota the League fought for "local and county options", which allowed communities or counties to become dry, independent of the state. It supported any dry candidate regardless of their political affiliations.

The masthead of the Minnesota Issue displayed the slogan, "Church Versus Saloon," and illustrated the two opposing forces in sketches flanking the text. The Minnesota Issue was interdenominational and bi-partisan, characteristics reflected in its other slogan, "Inter-Church—Omni Partisan." The Christian church was the main power behind the League in Minnesota and provided the majority of its orators and officers. The League stated that the battle against alcohol was "the Lord’s", and speeches of religious leaders often appeared in the periodical.

The Minnesota Issue frequently published articles on the negative social, economic, and political effects of the liquor industry. The names of owners and backers of saloons in Minnesota were published so that "good citizens could know them," and defeat "these friends of thugism and saloonism in city matters." Advertisements within the periodical were very limited and only those that were considered absolutely reliable were printed.

The exact end-date of the Minnesota Issue is unknown, but it ceased sometime after January of 1911. Then in May 1911 the first issue of the American Issue (Minnesota Edition), a state edition of the official publication of the Anti-Saloon League of America, came out as its replacement.


Pamphlets relating to the Liquor problem in Minnesota, 1882-. Minnesota Historical Society Pamphlet Collection #: HV5006-HV5298.

Tikalsky, Greg. The Anti-Saloon League and County Option: Reaching Consensus for Prohibition in Minnesota, 1897-1919. M.A. Thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2005.

Kerr, Kathel Austin. Organized for Prohibition: A New History of the Anti-Saloon League. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.

Palmer, N.A. Some Suggestions for Local County Option Campaigns. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Anti-Saloon League, c.1902-1909.

"Anti-Saloon League, 1893-1933." Westerville, Ohio Public Library.