Prohibition: Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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US History 11A

In January 1919, the 18th Amendment, put together by social reformers, was ratified and in January 1920 Prohibition became a law. Prohibition was said to bring more morality reform and order tos society by placing a complete ban on the consumption, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. It seemed as though it had the opposite effect on society (Gusfield 4). Although the Act of Prohibition had its positive intentions for the United States, Prohibition seemed to create more negativity instead. When Prohibition was first introduced by a group of social and moral reformers it was not meant to criticize traditions or aggravate average alcohol consumers, Prohibition was meant help purify the United States. Saloons and bars were providing a setting where illegal activities such as prostitution and gambling took place (Dark Side 3). Many temperance groups formed together to create a decrease in alcohol consumption, ultimately trying to lower the death and crime rates caused by alcohol (Dark Side 3). It was going to be a “process of developing and defining the public values and lifestyles that would dominate in America - a conflict over the moral status of drinking... (Gusfield 4). Although the new idea of Prohibition had received tremendous support from the law enforcement, there was a large group of Americans that were in complete disagreement of the act. Over the next decade the intense determined mood that had dominated the Progressive Era would soon shift, and Prohibition would

become increasingly unpopular causing a rebellious group of Americans to form (Gusfield 3). Despite the fact that Prohibition may have may have helped decreased the number of deaths caused by alcohol, the act was unable to lower crime, in fact crime in the United States had become more popular “since alcoholic beverages were still available in other countries, bootlegging was a major smuggling operation (Gusfield 3). Crime increased mostly...