National Alcohol Prohibition

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John C. Anyanwu Jr.
National Alcohol Prohibition
Wayne Hall’s article on the policy lessons of National Alcohol Prohibition in the United States, 1920–1933 starts off by implying that national prohibition on alcohol was a failure. “National alcohol prohibition in the United States between 1920 and 1933 is believed widely to have been a misguided and failed social experiment that made alcohol problems worse by encouraging drinks to switch to spirits and created a large black market for alcohol supplied by organized crime.” (Hall, 1164). Hall is indicating the fact that most individuals believe that it made everything worse but he then goes on later in the article to contradict himself by saying maybe it was not a complete failure. “It is incorrect to claim that the US experience of National Prohibition indicates that prohibition as a means of regulating alcohol is always doomed to failure. Subsequent experience shows that partial prohibitions can produce substantial public health benefits at an acceptable social cost, in the absence of substantial enforcement.” (Hall, 1171) Taking both statements into consideration, one has to come to the conclusion that he is not an advocate of either side but just wants to clarify the pros and cons of national alcohol prohibition between 1920-1933 in the United States.

Hall tries to illustrate to the readers the views of both sides as to why the prohibition was not a completely failure and also why it was not a complete success. Hall took note of factors such as health, crime rate, respect for the law, the economy and he explains the adverse effects of these factors and subsequently their connection to national prohibition. Hall argues for the positives of national prohibitions when he states that “some have argued that alcohol prohibition, if considered as a public health policy, reduced alcohol use and harm.” (Hall, 1165) He explained in the article that some good did come out of the national prohibition even...
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