The year’s right before the twenties were a time of change for the people of the time. Women’s right to vote was on the rise as well as thousands of immigrants coming overseas to live and work in America. But there is one event that touched everyone in some form or another in 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment better known as prohibition.
Many believed that the prohibition would produce positive outcomes. The idea of those who supported the prohibition was that consuming alcohol should be a taboo and those who drink are bad people who cause problems either in public or at home. Furthermore, buying alcohol was a waste of money due to the lack thereof due to the 1919 depression. Billy Sunday stated in one of his speeches to “get on the water wagon; get on for the sake of your wife and babies, and hit the booze a blow.”(Keene, Cornell, O’Donnell 21.2.2).
On the other had many argued that the prohibition was a violation of American rights, what right did congress have to tell hard working men that they can’t have a beer to take the load off the hard work day? The outlaw of alcohol did not make it go away rather; many drank illegally though speakeasies or bootleggers. Those of the upper class tended to make their own booze at home. In the long run the prohibition was a failed attempt of congress to forcefully change the American way of life.
Although the thought behind prohibition was intended to improve American society, in the end people havetheir right at the end of the day to choose if they want to drink. The rights of the people should always come first regardless of the situation. Even today every now and again the thought of reinstating prohibition comes up. However, it didn’t take hold then so it’s safe to say it wouldn’t in this day and age.
Keene, Jennifer D., et al. Visions of America: a History of the United States. Pearson, 2017.