The first meeting of the Anti-Saloon League was held on May 24, 1893, in Oberlin, Ohio, through the efforts of the Reverend H.H. Russell. From its beginnings as a state organization, it held a national organizing convention in December, 1895, at the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington DC. The primary source of support for the Anti-Saloon League was Protestant Evangelical churches.
Describing itself as "The church in action against the saloon," the League initially used church services to promote its cause, and after the services recruited members and solicited donations. It soon became the most important temperance organization, surpassing older organizations such as the WCTU.
From the first, the Anti-Saloon League was more interested in legislative results than in moral suasion. It sought to extend the coverage of "dry" legislation and pressured local governments to apply laws more vigorously. The league was willing to work with either of the major parties and supported candidates based solely on their support for prohibition. It was skillful in public relations and played on anti-German sentiment during World War I. The culmination of its efforts was the passage of national Prohibition in the 18th amendment, put into effect by the Volstead Act. The manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol was banned in the United States from the beginning of 1920.
Having won this signal victory, the League then became associated with the shortcomings of Prohibition, gradually losing influence and membership. Both of these trends accelerated after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. After several name changes, the organization became the American Council on Alcohol Problems in 1964.