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In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, and in November of 1932 the end of Prohibition occurred.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.