Prohibition: Predestined to Fail

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The particular emphasis and theme of this paper will focus on delivering an understanding as to why the eighteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States of America, ratified into law in January 1920, outlawing the manufacture, distribution and sale of intoxicating alcohol, was always predestined to fail. In order to fully understand why this ‘Nobel Experiment’ was doomed from the start, the paper must first look back at the historic connection between the American people and alcohol. In order to set some context as to where alcohol sat in American society, this essay will give a passing glance at figures like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but more importantly, it will examine the intrinsic connection between alcohol and the wider population. The essay will look at how this sometimes destructive rapport people had with alcohol, turned into the great social experiment, Prohibition. The paper will look at the anxiety held, by mostly protestant American’s, that alcohol was at the heart of all evils in society and how this lead to the emergence of a myriad of different groups like the Washingtonians, the Women’s Temperance movements’ and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union; and how all of these were over shadowed by the emergence of the Anti-Saloon league. The paper will pay particular attention to how the arrival of the most powerful and influential, single issue lobby group ever to have emerged on the American political stage, painstakingly paved the way for the introduction of the eighteenth amendment. The essay will also looking at the influence the Anti-Saloon league had in drafting the Volstead Act, the law designed to enforce prohibition, and how the subsequent exploitable loopholes turn millions of Ame...

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...ens. Over time, due of the vast exploitation of these loophole, the law did not hold up and decayed; which proved to be an almost prophetic miniaturization of the declined of the national prohibition law over eighty years later.
By 1860, the different temperance reform movements which flourished were side-lined, first by the mounting struggle against slavery, and then by the civil war that was fought to settle it. In 1862, the federal government desperate for revenue to fund the war effort, imposed an excise tax on the sale and manufacture of Alcohol; and within a few years one third of the entire federal budget was got from this liquor tax. The introduction and reliance on this excise tax by the federal government would decimate the temperance movements, until their re-emergence, under the guise of the W.C.T.U. and the Anti-Saloon league, eleven years later.

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