The Temperance Movement
Throughout the early 20th century, women in the United States began to despise the use of alcohol. Their husbands were consistently abusive and obnoxious while under the consumption. As the effect of alcohol began to spread nationwide, a movement to end the sale and manufacturing of liquor and beer began. The temperance movement began in the 1800’s but continued to gain momentum into the early 1900’s. By the 1920’s, politicians were ready for change. On January 16th, 1919, congress passed the prohibition act to end all sale and distribution of alcohol.
Many supporters of the temperance movement were prevalent members of society. Susan B. Anthony was a key leader in the women’s fight for suffrage but she also supported the ban of liquor. Along with many of the nation’s political leaders, she thought that the ban on alcohol would decrease the crime rate. This proved to be untrue. Crime became rampant. Gangsters such as Al Capone, John Dillinger, and “Lucky” Luciano gained control over entire cities. Money flowed in and out of pockets in one form… Alcohol. The gangsters profited off of the one thing prohibition was supposed to stop. Gangsters transported and formed drinking spots throughout cities labeled as “speakeasies.” In the south, moonshine quickly became a fast source of tax free income. People could easily get their hands on a jar of freshly made liquor without much form of opposition. Bootleg liquor would be transported up north by car and boat. The south slowly became the supplier of
much of the country’s illegal alcohol. Prohibition slowly turned into a huge failure for the government. Enforcing the law became too much of a problem. Efforts to stop the manufacturing of alcohol decreased nationwide due to the shear energy it required.
Politicians were key in the temperance movement. The Democratic Party passed the law with a majority vote but some became indifferent to the law themselves. For example, President...
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“Prohibition Ends.” History.com. A&E Network, n.d. Web. 24 November 2013.
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24 November 2013.
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