Drinking Age Debate

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John Smith

Negative: The legal drinking age in the U.S. should be lowered to 18.

Introduction

We believe that the drinking age across the United States should stay at 21 years of age. Several states are currently petitioning that the drinking age be lowered; however, we find this to be dangerous and extremely unnecessary.

The first reason why we would like the drinking age to stay the same is because of history. From the end of Prohibition (when alcohol was not allowed to be manufactured or sold in the United States) drinking ages were determined by the states. Many of the states set the age at 21, while several lowered the age to 18 for the purchase of beer. This was fairly consistent until the emergence of the baby boom generation and the Vietnam War. From 1970 through 1975, nearly all states lowered their legal ages of adulthood, thirty of which included their legal drinking ages, typically from 21 to 18. The reason most states lowered the drinking age was because they felt it was wrong to send 18 year olds to war, but not let them drink. The drinking age in the majority of these states stayed at 18 until 1984, when The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed by the federal government. The actual bill required "all States to raise their minimum drinking age to 21 within 2 years or lose a portion of their Federal-aid highway funds; and encourage States, through incentive grants programs, to pass mandatory sentencing laws to combat drunk driving." The portion of the Federal-aid highway funds that would be lost if the state didn't comply amounted to five percent in the third year and ten percent in the fourth year.

Unfortunately, the lower drinking age begin to take a toll on the nation's highways. The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities began to rise at alarming rates, and a high percentage of those fatalities involved young drivers under the influence. The late seventies and early eighties were marked with an excess of highly...
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