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Prohibition's best friend is Kansas. In the newspaper poll of the nation just now compiled sentiment everywhere ran overwhelmingly in favor of modification or repeal except in a few southern states and in Kansas. Kansas was dry--incomparably drier than any other state in the Union. The natural query is, what manner of commonwealth is this that, alone among its fellows outside the stolid South, still stands so stubbornly beside its Volsteadian guns?
That broad and fertile State was introduced to the Union as "Bleeding Kansas" and settled mainly by abolitionists. Perhaps the same temperament produces the abolitionist and the prohibitionist. At any rate, it is only natural that a state born in such a crisis should be stamped with a seriousness of purpose from the beginning. Nature seems to have fostered this Puritanical seriousness with the bleak and dismal plains which cover much of the state, with nothing in the way of trees, hills or lakes from horizon to horizon to add frills to a severely simple landscape. At any rate, Kansas is a state where the spirit of blue laws is strong.
Cigarettes are banned from Kansas tobacco stores but there have been substituted a thousand varieties of little cigars, perhaps less harmful to youth. The agricultural plug, however, still abounds.
Puritan spirit is usually associated with hard and bare surroundings. Hence Kansas towns are plain, the grain elevators are plain, the rivers are plain, the sunflower is a plain flower. The highways are unpaved. Indelible is the stamp of the Kansas road on the transcontinental touring car that strikes rain between St. Joseph and Denver and the driver must get out to dig the clay from the mudguards so that the wheels can turn round.
Nevertheless, in spite of these simplicities, it should be understood that Kansas is neither old-fashioned nor backward. Like the Puritan of New England, he is ultra-modern in politics and some of the most ingenious laws protecting debtor from creditor emanate from the legislature at Topeka. Nor is humor entirely lacking in the sunflower state as is proven by two well known Kansans, Mr. William Allen White, and Mr. Roscoe Arbuckle.
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