Prohibition officially began with the passing of the 18th Amendment on December 18, 1917. This law banned the sale, manufacture, and transportation of intoxicating liquors. This Amendment was later overturned when the 23rd Amendment was ratified in 1933.

Both sides of the debate had compelling arguments as to why liquor should or should not have be outlawed. Positive aspects of prohibition included attempting to due away with alcohol abuse and the health problems it caused. Many working-class men would take to drinking after work and would often times leave their families without enough money to cover basic living expenses. There were arguments that the ban would allow families to save their money and move out of poverty. During this period, the middle-class Anti-Saloon League spread propaganda to persuade Americans against drinking and to convert to temperance cause. There are religious beliefs that condone the use of excess alcohol consumption as well. Evangelical preacher Billy Sunday worked to convert people to the cause as well.

Negative aspects about prohibition are plentiful. Many critics of the ban feared the increasing power of the federal government. They believed this amendment would violate state’s rights. Many Americans did not follow this law. This led to a rise in disrespect of the law as it had become socially acceptable to violate it, committing a crime. Enforcing the law was very difficult and the wets argued that it was a drain on the federal treasury. Another major problem during this time was the increase in organized crime, as they ran bootlegging operations that financed breweries and distillers. They bribed cops and had illegal bars and speakeasies. Al Capone became a big, powerful figure in Chicago. His men (gang) massacred a rival gang in 1929.

I believe that the passing of the 18th amendment for moral grounds was an over reach by the federal government. Nothing changed within the families as men (and women) were still able to find alcohol abundantly. Organized crime increased resulting in more murders, more crimes committed and the corruption of police departments. I can understand why the government felt that they needed to help families. But it is the individual responsibility of the men and families to do that.