Prohibition, Why Did Americans Change Their Minds?
Alcohol was thought to be the source of several of the nation’s problems. Issues like domestic violence, unemployment and poverty. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union first introduced the idea of prohibition, the illegalization of the buying, selling or consumption of alcohol. Prohibition was made official in 1919 as Nebraska became the 36th state to ratify the proposal. Prohibition took effect one year later in 1920. In the beginning, prohibition had an overwhelming amount of popularity from most of the country however Americans quickly changed their mind. Prohibition ended in 1933 with the 21st amendment to the Constitution. The increase in crime across the nation, several negative financial aspects of prohibition, and the eventual increase in corruption and loss of national restriction were all factors in the nation’s sudden change of heart.
Perhaps the largest factor in the change was the overall increase in crime. The most horrifying statistic from the Prohibition Era was the dramatic increase in homicides. Information taken from a FBI statistical report on homicides states that there was an excess of 9 homicides for every 100,000 people. There were more homicides during prohibition than during the upcoming decades, including both World War I and World War II (excluding deaths during combat). In order to continue the supply of alcohol, now illegal, underground operations began popping up in urban cities. Bootleggers ranged from middle class citizens and their homemade moonshine to an elaborate network complete with a supplier and several customers. With limits on law enforcement and the extent of U.S. jurisdiction, it was easy for people to get around the law. The distance off a U.S. coastline and boarders proved to be difficult areas for law enforcement to maintain. Bootleggers could often get out of U.S. jurisdiction and across the border to either Mexico or Canada where alcohol was completely legal...
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