In the 1920’s a wave of religious revivalism swept the United States leading to the increased calls for the temperance movement. It was one of the nation’s longest lasting reform movements. Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, sale, importation, and transportation of alcohol which was a result of the 18th Amendment.
The reasoning behind the act of prohibition was to help reduce crime. It was suppose to help with tax burden on prisons and to just overall improve the health and hygiene in America. There were some positive effects of prohibition at first such as less domestic violence and overall improving the health of the people. It helped to reduce the public drunkenness and for families to no longer be drinking away their paychecks. It led to more money being spent on consumer goods. Families became more stable during this time and the number of inmates in prisons dropped significantly.
However, there were a lot of negatives for banning alcohol, which seemed to override all the positives. Although the consumption of alcohol fell at the beginning of the prohibition, in then increased shortly after. Alcohol became more and more dangerous to consume. It lead to people breaking the law and finding a way to consume alcohol. Secret bars called speakeasies became popular at this time. Many people were even dying because of the alcohol. Crime then began to increase and prisons were becoming crowded. Prohibition had removed a great source of tax revenue which increased government spending. It led to the “drinkers” to switch to other alternatives that were even worse than drinking.
I don’t believe the government should have passed this type of “moral” legislation because I believe it caused more harm than good. People should be able to decide what they want to do, such as what they consume in their bodies. This was not a good thing to pass reasoning that it was repealed shortly after explains it all. It caused more disruption in America with all the crime and people sneaking around and breaking the law. Americans found a way around weather it was getting into secret bars or getting a prescription letting them obtain a certain amount of alcohol.
Keene, Jennifer. Cornell, Saul, and O’Donnell, Edward T.
Visions of America: A History of the United States, Volume 2, 2nd ed.