Ms. Faloon-Sullivan and Mr. Kershaw
U.S. History and English 302
05 November 2012
The drive for prohibition was rooted in a long debate over alcohol extending back to the
nineteenth century, and was successful because of the efforts of the Anti-Saloon
19th century alcohol debate
Impact of alcoholism
Impact of World War 1
Women’s temperance movements
Other temperance groups
Prohibition in the United States officially began on January 16, 1920, when the 18th Amendment took effect. Prior to this date, many alcohol dealers held clearance sales on their inventory, selling it at very low prices. Many people mourned the end of an era by holding funerals for “John Barleycorn,” which represented the grain used to make alcohol (Phillips). According to historian Charles Phillips, “A rich habitué of the Park Avenue Club in New York City hosted a fancy formal at which the black-clad attendees tasted black caviar and toasted the coming of a society that banned drinking with champagne served in specially crafted black glasses.” Americans of the movement to ban alcohol actually began much earlier. The drive for prohibition was rooted in a long debate over alcohol extending back to the nineteenth century, and was successful because of the efforts of the Anti-Saloon League and the women’s temperance movement. Historian Charles Phillips stated that “since the late 18th century, Americans occasionally banded together to try to persuade, cajole of force other Americans to stop drinking.” According to the Anti-Saloon League, at the end of the 19th century there was one saloon for about every 150 Americans. The availability of alcohol for men and women was easy. It is estimated that Americans in the early 19th century drank three times as much as their descendants do today. Alcohol consumption, however, began to increase again after the mid-19th century with the coming of German, Irish and other immigrant, who’s drinking habits were European and who tended to congregate in saloons. The impact of alcoholism came not only to the drinker but also to the families. The men would drink there weekly pay away with nothing to give their families at home. Alcoholism impacted the workplace in a tremendous why. Men were drinking on the job which put them at risk for injury or even worse, death. Since the workers were drunk on the job and at home their families had no way to escape the deadly grasp of alcoholism. The final push for prohibition was rooted in the entry of World War 1. The help of the Anti-Saloon League pushed wartime prohibition in another effort to establish National prohibition. The wartime prohibition act “passed after the war had ended, it should have signaled to the wets and drys the speed with which ratification might be realized” (Lamme 7). Without the U.S. entry into the war it’s unlikely that prohibition would have been passed. The war opened new ways for prohibition to be passed. The majority of the men that were in the war were drinkers. The Anti-Saloon League pushed the Volstead act to its limit. The war helped with giving men a reason to quit drinking. German brewers were scared that people would destroy their plants because of the propaganda that was being passed around. The war and its final push for national prohibition helped bring the Volstead act to full swing. The Scientific Temperance foundation was one of the Anti-Saloon Leagues biggest partner organizations. The partnership of the STF and the ASL...
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Lerner, Michaela. "Going Dry." Humanities 32.5 (2011): 10. History Reference Center. Ebscohost Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2011. Print.
---. "The Man Who Turned Off The Taps." Smithsonian 41.2 (2010): 30-37. OmniFile.Ebscohost Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
Pain, Stephanie. "Catch 'Em On The Rye." New Scientist 183.2455 (2004): 46. Science Reference Center. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
Phillips, Charles. "January 16, 1920." American History 39.6 (2005): 38-73. History Reference Center. Ebscohost Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
“Prohibition.” History.com N.d Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
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