Lowering the Drinking Age to 18

Topics: Temperance movement, Drinking culture, Prohibition in the United States Pages: 4 (1376 words) Published: May 3, 2013
The minimum drinking age and the concerns of the effects of alcohol started in America during the Prohibition Era. In the article “Teaching With Documents: The Volstead Act and Related Prohibition Documents,” the author states that concerns of the effects of alcohol were preached fanatically in the early 20th century. Temperance organizations such as The American Temperance Society, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and the Anti-Saloon League were formed for one purpose, to ratify the Constitution and instill a nationwide prohibition. In the early 1900s, states acted like controlling parents by cutting off what their kids wanted, the manufacture of alcohol. Shortly after, these teetotalers campaigned for a change in the American way of life by presenting Prohibition as the 18th Amendment in the United States Constitution (“Teaching”). After Prohibition passed and became national law, it had great initial success. A liquor consumption drought swept across the nation due to the skyrocketed prices to purchase illegal alcohol. The United States Brewers’ Association stated that during the Prohibition Era, the thirst for hard liquor dropped by a staggering fifty percent, and alcohol consumption as a whole dropped by thirty percent. These profound statistics however, do not reflect the bad seed the federal government planted. Bootlegging, or the illegal production and distribution of liquor sprouted all across America like crabgrass. As crime rates rose, the federal government found enforcing prohibition was more than they could handle due to the high demand of alcohol, and the diminishing desire for abstinence (“Teaching”). Although the high price of illegal alcohol prevented Americans from buying it, it did not stop them from making their own. Ruth Ann Dailey states in her article “Lowering Legal Drinking Age To 18,” that following the repeal of the 18th Amendment, the majority of the states loosely mandated a minimum drinking age of twenty-one. Subsequently,...
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