Our Side

Our side (Minneapolis, Minn.; St. Paul, Minn.) 1915-1920 Browse the title

Both Sides, the name of the trade journal for the South Dakota Retail Liquor Dealers' Association, was changed to Our Side and first published under that new title on May 20, 1915. As the nation became divided by the issue of prohibition, the publishers felt that representing both sides was impossible. The editors wrote:

With nineteen states dry the line of demarcation has become sharply defined and the people are divided into two distinct camps on the subject of prohibition. Therefore it is necessary to be on one side or the other. This journal is on the side of the liquor interests—therefore we are on one side—your side—OUR SIDE.

With the commencement of Our Side the paper’s editors changed their tone markedly. Previously their arguments against prohibition had been grounded in business sense. However, by 1918 prohibition was becoming a reality as ratification of the 18th Amendment moved to the states and enforcing legislation followed in the National Prohibition Act, or the Volstead Act as it was informally named for its sponsor from the House of Representatives, Andrew J. Volstead of Minnesota. In response, Our Side’s editors entered the moral fray and claimed that the passage of the Volstead Act was an infringement on personal liberties. As before, the paper was filled with pro-liquor content, news concerning prohibition, and advertisements for alcohol. Political cartoons also began to be included in every issue.

In the summer of 1919, while the Volstead Act was making its way through Congress, Our Side displayed large, bold headlines, decrying the evil of prohibition. After the Volstead Act was passed, in October of 1919 alcohol advertisements disappeared from the periodical. They were replaced by advertisements for non-alcoholic beer, soft drinks, "home beverages," and kits to make alcohol at home. Our Side followed the subsequent Supreme Court cases, and published articles questioning the legality and feasibility of prohibition. In June 1920, the Supreme Court issued its National Prohibition Cases decision upholding the validity of the 18th Amendment and constitutionality of the Volstead Act. The last issue of Our Side was published in the fall of 1920.