Swiss anti-absinthe referendum, 1908.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 21cm x 32cm

Swiss anti-absinthe referendum, 1908.

© David Nathan-Maister / Science & Society Picture Library


A remarkable and undocumented Schwyzerdutsch pro-absinthe poster for the July 1908 Swiss referendum, by Gantner, published by Louis Bron, editor of the Swiss satirical revue "Le Guguss". Primarily as a result of popular outrage generated by the Lanfray murders, the legislature of the canton of Vaud voted to ban absinthe on 15th May 1906. A similar gory murder in Geneva - a man named Sallaz, after a drunken absinthe binge, murdered his wife using both a hatchet and a revolver - galvanized public opinion there in favour of a ban, and the Genevan legislature enacted a law similar to VaudIs shortly afterwards. On 2nd February 1907 the national legislature voted to ban absinthe, and even its imitations. The July 1908 referendum was held to ratify this decision and enshrine the ban in the Swiss constitution. The eventual vote in this referendum was 241,078 to 139,699 in favour of the ban. Article 32 was added to the Swiss constitution and absinthe was forbidden in Switzerland. The law actu

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