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April 17, 2018

Of Beer and Taxes: Prohibition’s Connection to the National Income Tax

The topic of Prohibition conjures up visions of speakeasies, flappers, jazz, and hidden flasks. But what about income taxes? In addition to the history of the 18th (1919) and 21st Amendments (1933), there’s another amendment that is crucial to the story of Prohibition. The 16th Amendment, ratified in 1913, made it possible for the federal government to establish a nationwide income tax. While we might not wish to contemplate that history as another Tax Day deadline rolls around, it was crucial for the passage of Prohibition.

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March 14, 2018

At the Shirtwaist Ball

Billed as “the Most Democratic Fete ever attempted in Pittsburgh,” the Equal Franchise Federation held its Suffrage Shirtwaist Ball more than one hundred years ago on Nov. 10, 1916. Though its memory has long since faded, the fundraiser itself was widely attended and lived up to its tagline.

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February 28, 2018

Will You Sign the Pledge?: Francis Murphy and Pittsburgh’s Great Temperance Movement

In the 1870s, thousands of Pittsburghers were excited about not drinking alcohol. More than that, their unprecedented response to Francis Murphy catapulted him to fame and made the city the headquarters for one of the greatest international temperance movements in history. So, who was this temperance rock star, and how did he manage to get Pittsburgh stoked for sobriety?

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