Prohibition

Beginning in 1920, prohibition ended the production and sale of Alcohol nationwide.  Activists believed this act would improve society and solve many of the problems associated with alcohol consumption including violence and corruption.  However, this movement was incredibly controversial and caused even more problems rather than solving them. The years following the passing of the 18th amendment were some of the most turbulent in the history of the United States and the laws associated with it were ignored. Due to these reasons, it is my opinion that Prohibition resulted in more harm than good for the United States and its citizens.

Initially, the passing of this amendment did do an effective job of eliminating the supply of Alcohol through the Volstead act which laid out the rules of what was legal and what was illegal. However, by decreasing the supply, the demand for Alcohol only increased. As history shows, when a government attempts to take something away from its citizens, it almost always results in an even larger black market. Prohibition was no different and organized crime took over the industry, supplying huge quantities of alcohol to major cities and causing a crime wave never seen before.

Along with Organized Crime came a variety of problems. The economy was severely crippled due to the elimination of former tax revenues gained from the legal production of alcohol. All of the money in the industry was now in the hands of crime organizations as opposed to the government. Another issue stemming from organized crime was the spread of corruption amongst local authorities who began to participate in the distribution and sale of alcohol. Speakeasies (An establishment that sold alcohol during prohibition) became very common in major cities and often, the ones who were supposed to be preventing the sale of alcohol were the ones buying it.

While the activists may have had good intentions for prohibition, by the time it was repealed in 1933 the country was a mess. The majority of its “benefits” completely backfired and only resulted in crime and corruption. Huge amounts of money were transferred from the hands of the government and legal distilleries to the hands of criminals. Due to these reasons, I feel it was wrong for the government to pass this legislation purely on a moral basis.