When browsing Nathan Miller’s recent New World Coming: The 1920s and the Making of Modern America, I came across the following nuggets:
1. Prohibition was originally a popular policy.
See this link for more background:
Temperance was not, as is sometimes thought, the campaign of rural backwaters; rather, temperance was on the cutting edge of social reform and was closely allied with the antislavery and women’s rights movements. Always very popular, temperance remained the largest enduring middle-class movement of the nineteenth century (‘Leaven 1978, 1984; Tyrell 1979; Gusfield 1986; Rumbarger 1989; Blocker 1989).
2. At first Prohibition advocates did not think enforcement would be very costly. The Anti-Saloon League estimated a sum of $5 million a year, Congress provided slightly more than this to hire 1500 agents.
3. A major setback came when a federal judge rule that physicians could prescribe whiskey for medicinal purposes. By the end of Prohibition, there were 10 million such prescriptions each year.