Prohibition in the United States, also known as The Noble Experiment, was the period from 1920 to 1933, during which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption were banned nationally as mandated in the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Under substantial pressure from the temperance movement, the United States Senate proposed the Eighteenth Amendment on December 18, 1917. Having been approved by 36 states, the 18th Amendment was ratified on January 16, 1919 and effected on January 16, 1920. Some state legislatures had already enacted statewide prohibition prior to the ratification of the 18th Amendment. The "Volstead Act", the popular name for the National Prohibition Act, passed through Congress over President Woodrow Wilson's veto on October 28, 1919 and established the legal definition of intoxicating liquor. Though the Volstead Act prohibited the sale of alcohol, it did little to enforce the law. By 1925, in New York City alone, there were anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 speakeasy clubs. While Prohibition was successful in reducing the amount of liquor consumed, it tended to destroy society by other means, as it stimulated the proliferation of rampant underground, organized and widespread criminal activity. Prohibition became increasingly unpopular during the Great Depression, especially in large cities. The bulk of America became disenchanted after the St. Valentine's Day massacre in 1929. Until then, they felt that, even with setbacks, Prohibition was working. On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law an amendment to the Volstead Act known as the Cullen-Harrison Act, allowing the manufacture and sale of certain kinds of alcoholic beverages. On December 5, 1933, the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment.
The Drunkard's Progress: A lithograph by Nathaniel Currier supporting the temperance movement, January 1846 In May of 1657, the General Court of Massachusetts made illegal the sale of strong liquor “whether known by the name of rumme, strong water, wine, brandy, etc.” In general, informal social controls in the home and community helped maintain the expectation that the abuse of alcohol was unacceptable. "Drunkenness was condemned and punished, but only as an abuse of a God-given gift. Drink itself was not looked upon as culpable, any more than food deserved blame for the sin of gluttony. Excess was a personal indiscretion." When informal controls failed, there were always legal ones. One of the foremost physicians of the late 18th century, Benjamin Rush, argued in 1784 that the excessive use of alcohol was injurious to physical and psychological health (he believed in moderation rather than prohibition). Apparently influenced by Rush's widely discussed belief, about 200 farmers in a Connecticut community formed a temperance association in 1789. Similar associations were formed in Virginia in 1800 and New York in 1808. Within the next decade, other temperance organizations were formed in eight states, some being statewide organizations. In 1830, the average American consumed 1.7 bottles of hard liquor per week, three times the amount currently consumed in 2010.
 Development of the Prohibition movement
The prohibition, or "dry", movement began in the 1840s, spearheaded by pietistic religious denominations, especially the Methodists. The late 1800s saw the temperance movement broaden its focus from abstinence to all behavior and institutions related to alcohol consumption. Preachers such as Reverend Mark A. Matthews linked liquor-dispensing saloons with prostitution. [pic]
"Who does not love wine wife and song, will be a fool for his lifelong!" — a vigorous 1873 assertion of cultural values of German-American immigrants. | |...
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