P R O H I B I T I O N

IN THE BEGINNING...


Although Prohibition was a lofty moral goal, it was not accomplished successfully during the Progressive Era.

  • result of the Temperance movement
  • people beginning to view alcohol as immoral, but had never successfully passed an amendment to make it a federal law
  • only been state prohibitions before, with varied degrees of success
  • Maine was the second to give it a try— its success impelled other states to join in and eventually led to the growth of the movement

The WCTU (Women's Christian Temperance Union) and the Anti-Saloon League were incredibly important to the rise of the Prohibition movement, and the amendment would not have been passed without them.

On January 16, the 18th Amendment was passed, bolstered by the start of World War I in '14, but as per its particulars, the Prohibition didn't start for another year.

Amendment 18 - Liquor Abolished. Ratified 1/16/1919.
1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

VOLSTEAD ACT

  • actually National Prohibition Act
  • the legislation that allowed the actual enforcement of Prohibition
  • ideated by the Anti-Saloon league
  • gave the government the power to regulate the manufacture, sale, and transport of intoxicating liquor


DID PROHIBITION SUCCEED?

  • the alcohol industry was supposed to be annihilated— instead, it prompted many intrepid business owners to create a huge network of illegal alcohol supply
  • Speakeasies were everywhere and were extremely profitable
  • the government could not control these operations because the gangs had gained formidable resources
  • sentiments against 'dry' authority were rising, and all kinds of people relied on the bootlegging business
  • in one police raid, the mayor, sheriff, and a local congressman of Detroit were among the arrested.

Prohibition was repealed with Amendment 21. Number 18 was the only amendment to be repealed:

Amendment 21 - Amendment 18 Repealed. Ratified 12/5/1933.
1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
3. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

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IN THE END...


Eventually constituted one of the great failures of the Progressive Era—Progressives had probably gone too far in trying to regulate society and personal behavior.


Alcohol Laws in Massachusetts Today:

  • no "Happy Hour"
  • no discounts for specific individuals
  • no all-you-can-drink
  • no more than two drinks per individual at any one time
  • no drinking contests





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