Prohibition: The Rise and the Fall

The prohibition was a nationwide ban on the production, transportation, importation, and sale of alcoholic beverages, which would also be known as the 18th amendment. In December of 1917 is when the congress had approved of the 18th amendment, but it didn’t go into effect until 1920. The congress only needed 36 states to ratify the amendment and by early 1919 is when they got their 36 states. When the amendment took into effect, congress stated that anything that was more than 0.5 alcohol volume was considered an intoxicating liquor.

With the 18th amendment in effect, congress believed that it would make for a better “law-Abiding” society only to find out that the 18th amendment created way more crime than they could imagine. Everyone was going behind curtains to get alcohol, coming up with secret bars, bootlegging alcohol. Al Capone had to have been one of the worst things to have come from the prohibition. Al Capone had a gang of men, posing as cops and murdered people. He ran the streets and no one wanted to mess with him or his men.

There are also some positive things that came from the prohibition as well, not everything was bad. Once workers put alcohol aside they became more productive, and could to afford to buy more things because they were not spending their money on alcohol. They were actually able to go out and buy themselves cars, furniture, and build up a savings! Crazy to think that just them not drinking anymore, that they were able to save enough money to buy a car. Things are definitely a lot different in this day in age.

After going through the great depression in 1929, congress decided to ratify the twenty-first amendment, which repealed the 18th amendment. After that a few states had passes minimum-age drinking laws, but most states did not enact in these laws until the 1980’s. The congress had opportunities to have done things differently, rather than outright banning alcohol. I guess without them doing so the roaring twenties would have never been a thing. Like everything there are good and bad things that come out of it.


Keene, Jennifer D., et al. Visions of America: a History of the United States. Pearson, 2017

11 thoughts on “Prohibition: The Rise and the Fall

  1. You are completely right, there are always a good and bad side of every decision made. I feel strongly that rather than ban alcohol as a whole, to regulate how much one could buy and to offer education about what the affects of alcohol on your body could be. We all have the right to choose to drink however much we want, but in this day and age we all know the risks of drinking heavily. I believe prohibition was unlawful and should never have happened, education is everything.

    1. I agree, there should be some type of regulation other than just an age restriction, other steps need to be taken. However it is not necessary to completely ban alcohol, education of alcohol use was more necessary than a ban.

      1. I agree that the ban wasn’t necessary. If anything when something like drinking is banned it’s just going to make people want to do it more. They should have made informative PSA’s about the dangers of alcohol or something of the like rather than just banning it altogether.

  2. I do agree that every action has a positive and negative outcome, to get something you want, you must give something else up. Prohibition did cause issues, I do agree there are other ways we can regulate alcohol intake, rather than just banning alcohol as a whole. Everyones educated on the effects of alcohol, so as an individual, we should have self-control and know when to stop. I enjoyed reading you insight on this time period, it was a very good read.

  3. You made a very good point in that it had a good and bad side, like most things do. I think prohibition is one of the easier historical topics to relate to today because we as a nation are going through similar things with Marijuana. A few years ago it was completely banned but people still found a way to get it, much like alcohol during prohibition. But, as time has gone on, the government is realizing that there are some pros to having it be legalized and you can see it being legal in more and more states as time goes on. Good job on your post.

  4. I really liked how you have the positive and negative sides to the Prohibition. It is crazy to think that any time of alcohol was illegal to transport, produce and for someone to even be in possession of it. I think that banning it all together is what made the crime rate go up drastically. People were angry that the government took away “their right” to drink any time of alcohol what-so-ever after they came home from work. It is like you said it forced people to sneak around to hidden bars and places in towns that had illegal alcohol. Even though after the 18th Amendment the congress couldn’t raise/afford enough money to really enforce the Amendment nation wide it was done through the help of police in cities and states and by figures such as Al Capone who like you said ran a mob and Izzy Einstein who went into major cities asking around and trying to find out what establishments were selling alcohol (which was illegal at the time). It is crazy to think that it wasn’t until the 1930’s that the congress ratified the 21st Amendment to legalized alcohol, but even in some states it wasn’t really “legal” or allowed until the 1980’s. Like you said the congress did have good intentions when creating the 18th Amendment by trying to help better people’s life and the economy by thinking that people would work harder due to having a clearer mind, spend more time with their families and creating sometime of savings.

  5. I think that they should’ve been able to foresee the fact that the public would disobey the eighteenth amendment. Congress should’ve looked at how the substance affected the people and the amount of substance there was being used. I think that after all of this they still would’ve tried just not with such an outlandish requirement of .5 alcohol percentage.

  6. I agree that it was a bad idea to attempt to ban alcohol. The government trying to tell adults they can’t drink something that they’ve been drinking for years isn’t going to work. I don’t see how the government didn’t expect a major increase in crime after this amendment passed. It provided criminals with a way to make a lot of money from something everyone wanted.

  7. It seems strange that the government prohibited the production, sale, and production of alcohol, but not the consumption. I feel as though this caused many people to consume even more alcohol, causing alcohol poisoning and even more crime. Although the government attempted to do a good thing, it seems to have backfired terribly.

  8. I agree they shouldn’t have strictly banned alcohol, they should have educated people more about. They could have made more laws of what they could do and not do while intoxicated.

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