James Cannon Jr. was an educator, a bishop of the southern Methodist Church, a leader of Prohibitionists in Virginia and the nation, and a political activist of such skill and combativeness that he became one of the most famous, and deeply controversial, American figures of the early twentieth century. Best known as a relentless advocate of Prohibition, Cannon drove the‘s campaign for statewide Prohibition, adopted in 1914. He then served as the national Anti-Saloon League’s principal Democratic lobbyist through the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1919 and the subsequent enforcement of national Prohibition during the 1920s. Cannon was a partisan Democrat, yet in 1928 he led a rebellion of southern Democrats against the presidential campaign of Alfred E. Smith, a wet, Catholic representative of the urban wing of the . Also an innovator and divisive figure within his church, Cannon, who became a bishop in 1918, directed worldwide missionary efforts and unsuccessfully pushed for the unification of the northern and southern branches of American Methodism. Charges of embezzlement, stock-market gambling, and adultery, fanned by Cannon’s numerous enemies, dogged the bishop from 1929 until 1934 and diminished his influence thereafter.