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Famous People in Drug History

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Captain Richmond Pearson Hobson


Born in Greensboro, Ala., August 17, 1870. U.S. Representative from Alabama, 1907-15. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.


Richmond Pearson Hobson was one of the great heros of the Spanish-American War, following only Theodore Roosevelt and George Dewey. Hobson's fame and popularity was the result of leading an unsuccessful attempt to block the harbor of Santiago de Cuba by sinking the collier MERRIMAC in the entrance.  Despite the fact that the effort was a failure, and Hobson and his crew were captured by the Spanish, he became a hero anyway. As a result of his status as a war hero, he was later elected to Congress, and became a prominent crusader for alcohol prohibition. He introduced the first national alcohol prohibition bill in 1911. 

Hobson is a good example of the more extreme elements supporting prohibition and behind the current drug laws.  Alcohol caused all manner of social ills, he said, including pauperism, insanity, and turning one's blood to powder so it didn't flow as freely.

When alcohol prohibition was later repealed, he became a campaigner against the illegal drugs, often using the exact same descriptions for the effects of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, that he had used for alcohol.

Captain Hobson - Father of American Prohibition - by Bob Ramsey

Constructor Richmond Pearson Hobson - A short biography

The Sinking of the USS Merrimac - The story of Hobson's failed attempt to sink the USS Merrimac in Santiago harbor during the Spanish American War.

An Incident Aboard the Reina Mercedes - Hobson's description of what happened after he was captured by the Spanish.

One Million Americans Victims of Drug Habit - The New York Times November 9, 1924

Says Drug Addicts Number 1,000,000 - NY Times July 8, 1926 - Captain Hobson Charges Health Service Suppressed Report on American Victims. - Doctors Dispute Figures

Richmond P. Hobson Argues for Prohibition

Hobson Tells of New Menace. New York Times, March 5, 1931

End of Illicit Drug Traffic Now in Sight - Literary Digest, July 29, 1933; page 19

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