The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly: Prohibition

As anything we do in our lives, there is a different choice that you could make. I could decide to go out on Saturday night with my friends, or I could stay home and play video games and watch college football. I could chose to eat healthy for a certain period of time, aka a diet, and do that until I see the results I want to see health wise, or I could eat junk food all day long. All of these things are choices we make everyday. Of course with those choices we make, there are pros and cons to those choices. If you’ve ever taken an economy class, we call that opportunity cost. If I ate junk food all day, pros are I would not have to work very hard to do so. A con of eating junk food all day is that I would gain weight quickly, and I would live a very unhealthy lifestyle. Of course when the eighteenth amendment was instituted into our constitution, our government saw the ramifications it had on our country. The good ones, the bad ones, and the ugly ones.

Some pros of prohibition were there was an instant decrease in crime, people actually used the money they earned from their jobs to support their families and not their drinking needs, workers did not show up to work drunk, and finally fewer sick days were taken. Of course we all know when people are under the influence, people tend to not make the best decisions. In result, crime went down, because of course, people were not making those bad decisions to break the law. Of course it was also good that people were not spending all of their money at the bar while they all had families to support. I have never had an immediate family member with a drinking problem, but I know people that do, and those situations are not optimal ones to be in. And certainly not saying that you can’t go out get a beer or two after work with your colleagues a couple times a week. All I am saying is once it becomes a nightly thing six or seven nights a week, and you put a considerable amount of time and money into drinking, then it could potentially get problematic. The eighteenth amendment helped stop that type of behavior to an extent. And of course it was nice that the eighteenth amendment helped stop people coming to work drunk and helped people from calling in and taking a sick day because they were drunk. When a workplace has to replace people in a timely fashion because they were sick, that can be pretty difficult on an employer.

On the other hand, there were plenty of cons that prohibition brought to the American public. Does anyone else realize that when they turn twenty-one that drinking isn’t as fun anymore? I am twenty, but when I talk to people who are older than I am, they say partying and drinking isn’t the same as it was when they were still minors and weren’t supposed to be doing it. Well, when the eighteenth amendment was established as a living part of the constitution, people still wanted to drink. The amendment didn’t stop the consumption of alcohol, but it did stop the sale and transportation of alcohol. Which then people thought “Well, if we can’t sell it, and we can’t transport it, and if we don’t know how to make it, then we’re screwed.” Which then inevitably created a disrespect for the law itself. Which then of course led to bootlegging and that of course was illegal. Not to mention people tried to make wood alcohol which killed over 10,000 people over the course of the 1920’s.

Of course any choice we make has two sides to it. There are pros and cons probably of both choices. But when we look at prohibition, depending on which side of the coin you identify with, you may think it was bad, and you may have thought it was good. Either way, we can objectively say that it did do some good things, and it created some problems for the American public. It just depends on if you think it was worth it. And at that point I would have to say it wasn’t worth it for the government to put that law into effect. To put it into law and then have it ratified, it just wasn’t it worth it in my opinion. I don’t think it should’ve been a law in the first place. Though I understand the thought behind it, and it’s a good thought in my opinion. I can see why they did it. At the same time, it is an extremely unpractical one at that, and that is putting it kindly.


Bondy, R. J., & Mattys, W. C. (1978). Canadiana Srapbook The Confident Years: Canada in the 1920’s. Pretence Hall of Canada. Ltd. Scarborough, Ontario

Cruxton, B. J., & Wilson, D. W. (2000). Spotlight Canada 4th Edition. Don Mills, Oxford University Press.

Douglas, C. G., & Patrick, L. M. (2012). Canadian Decades 1920″s. Weigl Education publishers limited.

Florin, Daniel. (2011). 12 Bad Effects of Prohibition you Should Know.

Peter, B. J., & Todd, N. B. (1998). The Century. Bouble Day (copyright)

7 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly: Prohibition

  1. Michael,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog posting. First off, I liked how you conducted your opening. It made me very interested to continue reading and see how it was going to play into the Prohibition. As you mentioned you are 20 years old, as am I, and we all hear about this period of time in history, but before reading your post, I had no idea about in-depth details regarding the Prohibition. Reading about the pros and cons of the Prohibition made me imagine what it would be like if alcohol was banned in our society today. There would definitely be pros, for example limited drunk driving accidents, but as you mentioned, those who want it bad enough will always find it.
    Good read!

  2. I agree this was a great way to open your blog! You really got my attention! You make a lot of good points. How we are the ones making the decision. Like how drinking can cause accidents if your doing it careless. If alcohol was banned in today society it could safe life of drunk driving or cause a riot cause they banned alcohol. Either way your blog was really good!

  3. You brought up some really good point in your blog. There were a lot of good points for prohibition, it improves the health of people, they learn to spend their money wisely, and workers improved since they weren’t going to work drunk. However, there were a lot of bad things, bootlegging became a huge problem and the government lost money from not getting the tax from alcohol purchases. This was a great blog and I enjoyed reading about your opinion on the topic.

  4. I enjoyed reading your blog! There is some great personal perspective included. It amazes me how ineffective prohibition was legally. Many people, from the working class to the urban elites, subverted the limitations on a massive scale. From bootlegging organizations such as Al Capone’s, organized crime shot through the roof during this time period. It is also a shame that, as we see throughout history, this limitation disproportionately affected the poor versus the rich. The glamorous elites and the upper echelon of the “Lost Generation” that managed to secure alcohol frequently were not punished nearly at the same level by law enforcement as working class individuals.

  5. Wonderful blog. I cannot being to imagine how people would react if this were to happen today. I really enjoyed the fact that you put it into perspective when you mentioned choices, and the pros and cons of our choices. The government trying to take something away from the people, and tell them that they are no longer allowed to do something is extremely wrong. The government cannot just take things away because it can cause too many issues. This would be never ending. There are so many pros and cons to multiple choices and decisions that people make on a daily basis. This is something the government would not have been able to control forever.

  6. Great read. The way you added personal narrative within the subject was impressive. Was prohibition pointless? On one hand it lost money for the government but on the other hand it helped save people’s jobs and possibly their lives.

  7. I really liked reading your blog! I think that it perfectly shows all of the sides of prohibition in a manner that is easy to understand. It doesn’t surprise me too much that prohibition was ineffective. People can be pretty ingenious when it comes to getting around obstacles. The fact that people figured out how to produce their own alcohol was bound to happen eventually. As for crime during this era, even though regular crime went down, organized crime skyrocketed because of people like Al Capone having many illegal distilleries, and police accepting bribes from people like him to keep it hushed.

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