Drinking Age Controversy
In the United States, a citizen is considered an “adult” at the age of 18, and with that new title comes many responsibilities, such as the right to vote and to join the army. However, the legal drinking age in America is twenty-one. This issue has been a major controversy for some time now that faces both national and state governments. Should the drinking age be lowered to the age when legally a person becomes an adult and assumes all other adult responsibilities, or should it remain at a higher age to allow people to grow more mature and, hopefully, make more responsible decisions?
In the mid 1600’s, colonial laws attempted to control alcohol consumption, but drinking per se was not remonstrated. Between 1913 and 1919 there was a lot of controversy between the “wet” states, which were states that allowed liquor, and the “dry” states, which were against and had made liquor illegal. On October 28, 1919, Congress enacted the National Prohibition Act, also known as the Volstead Act. The 18th Amendment was to become effective on January 17, 1920, and in those three months before the amendment became effective, alcohol was stolen in mass quantities from government warehouses. Throughout the thirteen years that Prohibition was enforced, the demand for alcohol only grew. The 18th Amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933 following the 21st Amendment, which was effective immediately.
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act followed the 21st Amendment on July 17, 1984 stating that all states prohibit anyone under the age of 21 consuming, purchasing, or being in possession of alcohol. If the states would not comply with the law, they would not get funding under the Federal Aid Highway Act. This bill was supported by many people, one being arguably the most influential, was Candy Lightner. She founded the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) after losing her daughter in 1980 to a car accident involving a drunk driver. On average,...
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