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Organized temperance movements have been part of the American political landscape since the early 19th century. Reform groups, dominated at various times by clergy, social elites, workingmen, and clubwomen, tried alternately to convince individuals to take a pledge against drinking alcohol, to promote drinking only in moderation, and to enact laws prohibiting the production and sale of liquor. Prior to the ratification in 1919 of the 18th Amendment banning liquor nationwide, two-thirds of the states had passed similar legislation. After rampant noncompliance with the Amendment led to its repeal in 1933, anti-liquor advocates focused protests against liquor advertising on the radio. While the Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to ban liquor ads, their threats to hold license renewal hearings for offending stations induced broadcasters to self-impose a ban. Similarly, in 1948, the television industry voluntarily decided to restrict alcoholic beverage advertising to beer and wine commercials. Congress, nevertheless, proposed legislation in the 1950s to prohibit all liquor ads from radio, TV, and in interstate commerce. In the following testimony, an attorney for an advertising association argued that a proposed House bill would interfere with the "right to sell," while a police sergeant and member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union contended in a Senate hearing that children should be protected from televised liquor ads in their homes. No legislation was enacted, and in November 1996 due to a sharp decrease in sales of hard liquor, the Distilled Spirits Council voted to allow advertising of its products on TV. In December 2001, NBC became the first network since 1948 to broadcast hard liquor ads.
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