The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
Florida International University
Dr. Rosa Chang
In this paper I describe all of the events surrounding prohibition. Including all the factors that led up to prohibition, the thirteen years during prohibition and why prohibition finally got repealed. I also talk about the unintended consequences that prohibition brought to our nation, and how the amendment failed to achieve what it set out to. I also compare and contrast prohibition to other policies and programs In our system today that our government spends millions of dollars on, and also does not achieve what it sets out to.
Prohibition was a defining moment in American history in which just like the Civil War, our nation was once again divided in two. But this time it was not divided by race, but instead divided on the issue of alcohol. Dating all the way back to the Puritans, we can see how alcohol has been a regular part of society just as family, and churches were (Okrent, 2010). A bell rang twice a day just to stop men in whatever they were doing to enjoy a glass or two, or three, of cider, “grog time” as Americans called it. Frederick Marryat, an English traveler wrote, “I am sure the Americans can fix nothing without a drink, If you meet you drink, if you part you drink; if you make acquaintance your drink; if you close a bargain you drink; they quarrel in their drink, and they make it up with a drink” (Okrent, 2010, pg. 7). Soon men moved from cider to whiskey and rum. In 1830 the average American aged 15 and over drank 80 bottles of whiskey a year; this was testament as to how much men were drinking during these times. It is said that alcohol consumption “made you masculine, but took away masculinity”. Men were throwing their paychecks to alcohol and becoming more and more abusive to their wives and children and it did not take long for some women to take a stand against this. Soon our great nation would be divided into either “wet” or “dry”. Many different factors that led up to the passing of the 18th amendment on January 16th 1919, which prohibited the selling, manufacturing, and transporting of alcohol in the United States. In this paper I will evaluate all the events surrounding prohibition, its consequences, and all of its impacts on our criminal justice system.
It all began during the 1840’s. Here we begin to see the emergence of the different temperance movements such as the Washingtonians, and women starting to speak out against alcohol and its evils. In Baltimore a group of 6 men pledged to never have a sip of alcohol again, and they urged others to join them and do the same. These six men did not want to change the law, and did not see the reason to blame breweries and distilleries for their own misdoing (Okrent, 2010). They instead asked men to partake in this pledge to never drink alcohol again. These men, called “Washingtonians”, began a movement that soon spread throughout the nation. With men beginning to speak out against alcohol, women soon began to speak out even more loudly then the men. Women were seen as the victims of alcohol during these times; they had no say and had no right to vote, and usually made no money. The issue of alcohol paved the way for women to have a voice in society, they were sick and tired of being put down and abused by men. Women such as Frances Willard, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, and Eliza Thompson led women’s temperance movements and not only fought for the abolition of alcohol but also fought for women’s rights. Women were probably the biggest part of the prohibition movement, doing anything necessary to get their point across to the public. If prohibition had already been in place, women would probably not have been given the right to vote or to own property for many years.
One woman, Eliza Thompson, began leading women into and out of saloon’s in...
Cited: Gupta , V. (2011, June 1). The 40-year war on drugs: It 's not fair, and it 's not working.. Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform/40-year-war-drugs-its-not-fair-and-its-not-working
Okrent, D. (2011). Last call: The rise and fall of prohibition. New York, NY 10020: Simon &Schuster.
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