Essay about The Effects of Prohibition upon American Society

Essay about The Effects of Prohibition upon American Society

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The second decade of the twentieth century, affectionately referred to as the “Roaring Twenties,” was a truly spectacular time in American history. The era was characterized by incredible and irresponsible economic prosperity where the incredibly wealthy enjoyed unfathomable amounts of money. With the advent of Jazz music, the further progression of women’s rights, and the rapid advancement of technology, American society seemed to be nearing a golden age. Unfortunately, all was not golden in the United States in the 1920s. The age of economic boom culminated in the most devastating bust in American history and ushered in the Great Depression in 1929. As if becoming the decade of the worst economic downturn in history was not enough, the 1920s also came to be known as the age of Prohibition. For many, many years prior to the 1920s, a growing number of people had feared the damage the consumption of alcohol could do to American society. After years of work by organizations such as the Anti-Saloon League, the Eighteenth Amendment was passed in 1920. Under the amendment, “the manufacture, sale, importation, exportation, and transportation of intoxicating liquors,” in the United States was strictly prohibited (Constitution). Many Americans seemed to view the amendment merely as a challenge and proceeded to produce and consume alcohol anyway. Never before had the United States seen such absurd levels of disregard for the law. The multitudes of law-breaking citizens needed a source of “Demon Rum,” a nickname given to alcohol for its destructive properties, and organized crime rings were more than willing to provide (Harper). Beleaguered by the violent rise of organized crime, the uproar of blatantly disobedient citizens, and...


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...Roaring Twenties." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 2: 1920s-1930s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 235-241. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.
• Tanenhaus, David S. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 81-83. U.S. History in Context. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.
• Thornton, Mark. "Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure." Cato Institute. Cato Institute, 17 July 1991. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.
• "The Volstead Act." National Archives and Records Administration. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.
• Westerville Public Library. "History of the Anti-Saloon League." Anti-Saloon League Museum. Westerville Public Library. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.
• Wooddy, Carroll H. The Growth of the Federal Government: 1915 - 1932. New York: McGraw Hill, 1934. 94-95. Print.

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