Prohibition was the nationwide ban on the sale and import of alcoholic beverages that lasted from 1920 until 1933. The Temperance Movement along with The American Temperance Society, pushed for people to stay away from alcohol, and influenced many powerful establishments and religious groups alike. Women were influenced by this heavily as well; The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was one of the groups at the forefront of prohibition as well. In the Progressive Era, prohibition became more urgent and serious. The Christian society began associating bars and saloons with dirty working class Americans and Immigrants around this time, greatly affecting you were perceived if you went into such an establishment. The Anti-Saloon League is really what started prohibition to take off nationwide though. The Anti-Saloon League is thought to be one of most powerful political groups in history due to the fact they made a change in the Constitution.

Twenty three states had passed anti-saloon legislation by 1916. Congress made a change to the Eighteenth Amendment on January 29, 1919, which prohibited the manufacturing, transportation and sale of alcohol within the United States. Later in 1919, the National Prohibition Act was enacted to help the government enforce Prohibition. However, there were many holes in this act. Such as liquor being used for Medical or Religious purposes was legal, as well as fruit or grape beverages. This was more a temporary fix than and complete one for them at this point in time.

Weather people want to believe it or not, Prohibition led directly to the rise of organized crime. During Prohibition, the illegal manufacturing and sale of alcohol was known as “bootlegging”. This effected people of all scales in a dramatic fashion, at first thought to slow down crime; it only skyrocketed, due to the big demand and big profits behind it. From farmers that lived in the hills to organized crime bosses, everybody wanted a piece of this pie it seemed. Soon enough the sales were driven so far underground the Mafia began to control it and turn it into one of the most profitable crime schemes in American history Prohibition had begun to be blamed for disorder and moral decay in America, bringing with it gambling and prostitution hikes as well. Many argued that the ban on alcohol cut out jobs for those in search of them as well.

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, and in November of 1932 the end of Prohibition occurred. In February 1933, the Twenty First Amendment was added to the Constitution, which canceled out both the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act. . Some states continued statewide prohibition after 1933, but by the time 1966 came around; all of them had abandoned it. Now liquor is normally controlled by local government.

My personal belief is that the government did not have a right to pass the law. I think the people should have had more of a say in the matter. America is founded on freedom and choice and I think when it comes to alcohol and its intoxication, it should have always been a personal matter, not a legal one. The choice allows for not all to be affected or pressured by it as well, making for a more suitable environment.


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

12 thoughts on “Drink.Drank.Drunk

  1. One could be surprised to find out that there are still over 200 dry counties. I have family in Arkansas, who use to have to drive to the Missouri Border to purchase alcohol. They are no longer considered “DRY” but they still have strict laws, like no drinking on the rivers. We went canoeing and no one was allowed to drink. These laws came from the prohibition area. I recently heard that I think Hawaii is trying to ban Cigarettes. I think there should be rules in regards to cigarettes, such as not in public places, and I like the law against smoking with children in the car, but what someone does in their own home, is a different story. Interesting article.

    1. My cousin got married in a dry county in Tennessee. They were only allowed to serve beer and wine and it was highly regulated. It could only be sold or served in a certain time period. I wonder if that county has a lower crime rates and drunk driving cases. I would be interested to see why they wouldn’t cut out alcohol completely.

  2. Love your title. It is interesting that they really thought prohibition would work. It had the exact opposite effect they were going for and let to an increase in crime. I can’t help but wonder how the legalization of marijuana will work out. Will it lower drug crime?

    1. I am willing to bet the legalization of marijuana will not lower the drug crime rate. I am personally all for the legalization, but I think there will be too many growers that will get out of hand. There has already been plenty of breaking and entering cases. Hopefully it all works out.

  3. Well of course it will lower drug crimes because now you can’t get arrested for having it in your possession. However, I do not believe it will lower it much and now we have more problems to worry about. Now we have high people driving as if drunk drivers wasn’t enough.

  4. People debated over Prohibition for quite some time. There were many bad results that occurred because of Prohibition and the 18th amendment. Selling alcohol became a huge business which led to massive funds. I can’t even imagine how much of an issue this was. There were speakeasies that were arising, and this led to more issues. These were underground businesses where you could purchase alcohol illegally. Prohibition was intended to help society, but people just found more dangerous ways around the rules. Overall, Prohibition was intended to help, but there were many dangers that arose.

    1. I think taking away peoples freedoms of any kind would have a negative outcome. Seems like when something becomes illegal it attracts people more. Of course there was the bootleggers that were out to make a profit. Crime rates went up because criminals were selling alcohol illegally.

  5. I agree with your point at the end about this being a wrong decisions by the government. Enabling this law to pass only made things in America worse and added just another crime to the list of hundreds of crimes. Without this law passing, we may have seen a lot less of the crimes that happened and maybe even less mobs forming at the time.

  6. I can agree that the government had no right to ban alcohol. It was a choice that people could make, and they should be able to make it. A part of me also feels hypocritical saying that. If people are able to buy alcohol (a drug) why can’t they buy other drugs such as cocaine or heroin? I understand that these are much more potent, but should that be a choice citizens are allowed to make as well? I do not say this in any way to contradict the legalization of alcohol, just giving a look into more of an anarchist viewpoint.

    1. I agree, what makes one drug any different from the rest? Alcohol can be just as dangerous as heroin or cocaine. They are all highly addictive. How does the government pick and choose which is acceptable and which isn’t. Maybe because there is money to be made by the sale of alcohol.

  7. The government banning alcohol was very unnecessary. By them “taking” away alcohol, something that was part of the norm, was only going to cause extra chaos. If anything, the government should have set stricter limits or laws towards alcohol. However the government had good intentions and I personally see where they were coming from.

  8. What struck me was the classist element to prohibition. Not surprising that it was spearheaded by middle class people. How terrible it was to be seen as a working class person to dissuade them from partaking in recreation. Not only that, openly banning what was one of the only sources of recreation they had after a long day of hard labour. They used their own free time dictating what others could do in theirs.

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