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Pro's and Con's of the Prohibition

By rrsheldon May 29, 2013 846 Words
Rachel Sheldon

Pro’s and Con’s of The Prohibition

In the 1840’s America started to see the want, and the need for the removal of alcohol, in 1919 the 18th amendment was created. This amendment was called prohibition, the legal act of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Life at home and at work improved as abuse was greatly lessened, and money was spent on necessities instead of boos. However, Prohibition did not go as planned, illegal activities were still increasing and bootlegging was at its all time high. Sadly, completely illegalizing the production and consumption of alcohol was a great plan that ended up being a great failure. The prohibition act had many positives. The amendment helped assess implications in the home. “In general, informal social controls in the home and community helped maintain the expectation that the abuse of alcohol was unacceptable.” (***) Here for instance when the law was set forward banning alcohol men at home were not able to drink, thus they stopped beating their family and spending all the money. Francis Willard president of the WCTU stated, “It was believed that if it could ‘get to the children’ it could create a ‘dry’ sentiment leading to prohibition.” (****) If she could stop abuse in the household she would be able to assist the children, bring them to school, have them raised in a proper home. Something all WCTU advocated wanted. Henry Ford however created a genius idea. He decided to pay his workers who didn’t drink more. And fire the ones who drank. “When Henry Ford first offered his workers the astounding sum of five dollars a day to work on his Model T Ford assembly line he shocked the business world with his generosity.” (*****) Though he wasn’t about to be outsmarted by his employees. Ford wanted to create a production line fast, and efficient. Something an alcoholic in his eyes could not help him accomplish. “Ford went so far as to hire detectives to spy on workers at home to make sure they were not drinking.” (******) Christian women believed that the removal of alcohol was key to the correction of the damaged society. They however were wrong. As alcohol left and expectations arrived breaking the law was just on the “to-do list”. “Drinking was such a routine part of life for so many Americans that bootlegging quickly became a big business ” (OOM Pg. 692). With alcohol illegal in America men began to import it illegally from both Canada and Mexico. The want for change and good already is being flushed down as law breaking takes a stand. This however was not the only scandalous deed by Americans. Not only were we illegally importing alcohol but we were also selling it. “Nearly every town had at least one ‘speakeasy’, where people could drink and enjoy music and other entertainment.” (OOM Pg. 692). Within months loop-holes are already created and we are jumping through them like fleas. No place to drink? Illegally create a secret bar. Problem solved. Not. Following right behind the alcohol came the anger. Crime rates skyrocketed as organized crime found its new latch. “Rather than reducing crime, Prohibition had transformed the cities into battlegrounds between opposing bootlegging gangs.” (*) Now not only are men bootlegging, but they are now battling against each other to reap the benefits. One of the most well know conflicts is probably the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, “the 1929 murder of seven mob associates as part of a prohibition era conflict between two powerful criminal gangs in Chicago: the South Side Italian gang led by Al Capone and the North Side Irish gang led by Bugs Moran.” (**) Due to gang violence seven men were murdered. Today that would undoubtedly be on the evening news, but back then it was just another day. The creation of the 18th amendment brought forth both change and prosper to the United States but ultimately failed. America wasn’t about to have her toes trampled on. And though there were many cons there were also a large amount of pros, which were the essential building blocks. However we now see how this, in the beginning was destined to fail. You cannot build on something unless you have a sturdy foundation something Prohibition did not have. America still has those problems today as we build with no foresight into the future. And the future is what counts.


* "Prohibition in the United States." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Mar. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. ** "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. *** "Prohibition in the United States." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Mar. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. **** "Study & Research Roaring 20s." BookRags. BookRags, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. ***** "Study & Research Roaring 20s." BookRags. BookRags, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. ****** "Study & Research Roaring 20s." BookRags. BookRags, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2013.

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