Prohibition Fast Facts
● So convinced were they that alcohol was the cause of virtually all crime that, on i
the eve of Prohibition (19201933), some towns actually sold their jails. ● During Prohibition, temperance activists hired a scholar to rewrite the Bible by ii
removing all references to alcohol beverage.
● The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) strongly supported Prohibition and its strict iii
● Because the temperance movement taught that alcohol was a poison, supporters insisted that school books never mention the contradictory fact that alcohol was commonly prescribed by physicians for medicinal and health iv
● Prohibitionists often advocated strong measures against those who did not comply with Prohibition. One suggested that the government distribute poisoned alcohol beverages through bootleggers (sellers of illegal alcohol) and acknowledged that several hundred thousand Americans would die as a result, but thought the cost well worth the enforcement of Prohibition. Others suggested that those who drank should be:
○ hung by the tongue beneath an airplane and flown over the country ○ exiled to concentration camps in the Aleutian Islands ○ excluded from any and all churches
○ forbidden to marry
○ placed in bottleshaped cages in public squares ○ forced to swallow two ounces of caster oil
○ executed, as well as their progeny to the fourth generation. ● A major prohibitionist group, the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) taught as "scientific fact" that the majority of beer drinkers die from vi
dropsie (edema or swelling).
● Prohibition agents routinely broke the law themselves. They shot innocent people and regularly destroyed citizens' vehicles, homes, businesses, and vii
other valuable property. They even illegally sank a large Canadian ship. ● "Bathtub gin" got its name from the fact that alcohol, glycerine and juniper juice was mixed in bottles or jugs too tall to be filled with water from a sink tap so
they were commonly filled under a bathtub tap.
The speakeasy got its name because one had to whisper a code word or name ix
through a slot in a locked door to gain admittance. Prohibition led to widespread disrespect for law. New York City alone had about thirty thousand (yes, 30,000) speakeasies. And even public leaders flaunted their disregard for the law. They included the Speaker of the United x
States House of Representatives, who owned and operated an illegal still. Some desperate and unfortunate people during Prohibition falsely believed that the undrinkable alcohol in antifreeze could be made safe and drinkable by filtering it through a loaf of bread. It couldn't and many were seriously injured or xi
killed as a result.
In Los Angeles, a jury that had heard a bootlegging case was itself put on trial after it drank the evidence. The jurors argued in their defense that they had simply been sampling the evidence to determine whether or not it contained alcohol, which they determined it did. However, because they consumed the xii
evidence, the defendant charged with bootlegging had to be acquitted. When the ship, Washington, was launched, a bottle of water rather than xiii
Champagne, was ceremoniously broken across its bow. Prohibition led to a boom in the cruise industry. By taking what were advertised as "cruises to nowhere," people could legally consume alcohol as soon as the xiv
ship entered international waters where they would typically cruise in circles. National Prohibition not only failed to prevent the consumption of alcohol, but led to the extensive production of dangerous unregulated and untaxed alcohol, the development of organized crime, increased violence, and massive political xv
The human body produces its own supply of alcohol naturally on a continuous basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Therefore, we always have alcohol xvi
in our bodies.
Prohibition clearly benefited some people. Notorious bootlegger Al Capone made $60,000,000...that's sixty million dollars...per year (untaxed!) while the xvii
average industrial worker earned less than $1,000 per year. But not everyone benefited. By the time Prohibition was repealed, nearly 800 gangsters in the City of Chicago alone had been killed in bootlegrelated shootings. And, of course, thousands of citizens were killed, blinded, or xviii
paralyzed as a result of drinking contaminated bootleg alcohol. The "Father of Prohibition," Congressman Andrew J. Volstead, was defeated xix
shortly after Prohibition was imposed.
Repeal occurred at 4:31 p.m. on December 5, 1933, ending 13 years, 10
months, 19 days, 17 hours and 32.5 minutes of Prohibition. ● "What America needs now is a drink" declared President Franklin D. Roosevelt xx
at the end of Prohibition.
● Although Prohibition was repealed 75 years ago, there are still hundreds of dry xxi
counties across the United States today.
AntiSaloon League of America.
AntiSaloon League of America Yearbook
. Westerville, Ohio: American Issue
Press, 1920, p. 8. Cited by Mulford, Harold A.
Alcohol and Alcoholism in Iowa
, 1965. Iowa City, IA: University of
Iowa, 1965, p. 9.
The American Mix
, 2001, 1(1), 4.
Moore, L.J. Historical interpretation of the 1920's Klan: the traditional view and the popular revision. Journal of
, 1990, 24 (2), 341358.
Hanson, David J.
Preventing Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol, Culture, and Control Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995, Chapter
Prohibition: The Era of Excess
. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1962, p. 26; for other suggestions see Tietsort, Francis J. (Ed.)
Temperance or Prohibition?
New York: New York American, 1929, ch. 8.
Kobler, John E.
Ardent Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1973, 143.
Jeffers, H. P.
. New York: Lyons & Burford, 1997, p. 20; "Demon Rum" PBS documentary, 1995. viii
Lender, Mark E. and Martin, James K.
Drinking in America
. New York: Free Press, 1982.
1000 Remarkable Facts about Booze
. New York: The Rutledge Press, 1981, p. 188.
World News Tonight
. ABCTV network, January, 29. 1999.
1000 Remarkable Facts about Booze
. New York: Routledge Press, 1981, p. 189.
The New York Times
, January 7, 1928.
. New York: Arcade, 1996
Cruising Through History. In Gordon, Lesley.
. London: Insight Guides, 2005, p. 33.
Engelmann, Larry. Intemperance:
The Lost War Against Liquor
. New York: Free Press, 1979; Asbury, Herbert.
The Great Illusion: An Informal History of Prohibition . New York: Doubleday & Co., 1950, ch. 914; Kobler, John. Ardent Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1973, ch. 1013; Sinclair, Andrew. Prohibition: The Era of Excess
. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1962, ch. 915; Nelli, Hubert S. American Syndicate Crime: A Legacy of Prohibition. In: Kyvig, David E. (Ed.) Law, Alcohol, and Order: Perspectives on National
. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985; Grant, Marcus, and Ritson, Bruce. Alcohol: The Prevention
. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983, p. 21; Everest, Allan S. Rum Across the Border
. Syracuse, NY:
Syracuse University Press, 1978.
Lindiger, W., Taucher, J., Jordan, A., and Vogel, W. Endogenous production of methanol after the consumption of fruit.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
, 1997, 21, 939943; Phillips, M., Greenberg, J., and Martinez V., Ostrovsky, Y. M. Endogenous ethanol its metabolic, behavioral and biomedical significance. Alcohol, 1986, 3, 239247.
Schlaadt, R. G.
Alcohol Use and Abuse
. Guilford, CT: Dushkin, 1992, p.16; Fite, G. and Reese, J. Economic
History of the United States
. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959, p. 579.
. New York: Arcade, 1996.
Andrew Volstead: The Father of Prohibition. www.lawyerzone.com; Kizilos, P. The man behind the act (Andrew J. Volstead).
, 2001, 35(6), 50; Andrew Volstead. Spartacus Educational (Education n the Internet & Teaching History Online), www.sparticus.schoolnet.co.uk; James, C.L. Andrew J. Volstead: A Survey of Research. St. Paul, MN: C.L.James, 1978. Demko, P. Getting to the bottom of Minnesota’s liquor laws. City Pages
2003, 21(1201), www.citypages.com, 121003.
Burkhart, Jeff. Something to celebrate: Repeal of Prohibition. Marin Independent Journal
, December 7, 2007.
Dry Counties (http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/Controversies/1140551076.html) i
As Americans, we like to look back to the Roaring Twenties and the Prohibition Era with a fond feeling of nostalgia. It was a simpler time, and a time romanticized in movies. Prohibition was the ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. It was not as successful in practice as it looked on paper. Organized crime rose, and bootleggers and speakeasies became popular, serving up cocktails, beer, moonshine and bathtub gin. Chicago, interestingly enough, was a major center of Prohibition, complete with notorious gangsters and speakeasies.
Prohibition in Chicago - Fun Facts
A few speakeasies and
, like John Barleycorn’s and the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, are still in business today.
It was estimated that
, Chicago’s most famous gangster, bootlegger and crime boss, raked in $60 million alone on alcohol sales in 1927.
227 gangsters were killed in the space of four years in the 1920s in Chicago.
During the famous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, where members of Capone’s crime outfit gunned down rival gang members associated with Bugs Moran, Capone’s men dressed as police officers and pretended to arrest Moran’s men.
Chicago had hundreds of bars that remained open in the 1920s, with blank storefronts and secret side entrances.
Speakeasies in Chicago not only had liquor, but also food service, live bands and shows.
While speakeasies were regarded as higher class, with food and entertainment, the term “blind pig” was used for dive bars, where customers would pay to see an animal and receive a complementary drink.
Beer was easier to produce, because it could be brewed and ready to drink after only a few days. Since hard liquors required aging, gangsters and bootleggers would have to acquire it from outside the country – from Canada, through Detroit.
After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, many Chicago gangs turned their attention to labor racketeering and gambling. Interestingly, the
in Chicago has the first liquor license issued in Chicago after Prohibition ended and it's on display in the restaurant's bar.
What Was Prohibition?
Prohibition was a period of nearly fourteen
years of U.S. history in which the
manufacture, sale, and transportation of
liquor was made illegal. It led to the first
and only time an Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution was repealed.
1920 -- 1933
Also Known As:
Overview of Prohibition
Prohibition was the period in United States
history in which the manufacture, sale, and
transportation of intoxicating liquors was
outlawed. It was a time characterized by
speakeasies, glamor, and gangsters and a
period of time in which even the average
citizen broke the law.
After the American Revolution, drinking was
on the rise. To combat this, a number of
societies were organized as part of a new
Temperance movement which attempted to
dissuade people from becoming intoxicated.
At first, these organizations pushed
moderation, but after several decades, the
movement's focus changed to complete
prohibition of alcohol consumption.
The Temperance movement blamed alcohol
for many of society's ills, especially crime
and murder. Saloons, a social haven for
men who lived in the still untamed West,
were viewed by many, especially women,
as a place of debauchery and evil.