The Prohibition Era

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Did the Prohibition Era cause a negative or a positive outcome for America? Many laws were passed during the early 1900’s in America, but one in particular that really stands out, was the Prohibition Act. It was a national ban on making, selling, importing, and transporting alcohol, and was started by a movement that was led by some religious groups and social progressive members of the Democratic and Republican parties. The reason for it was an attempt to improve public morals, reduce crime and corruption, improve health and hygiene and reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses. It was mandated under the 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and was in place from 1920 until 1933, when it was repealed. Many historians think that Prohibition had a negative outcome for America, however there are also those who make good points that there were many positives as well. Before the Prohibition Act was introduced, there were some areas of the population, (especially those that came over from Europe), that had a culture of drinking alcohol. There was a concern that with continued immigration, this behavior would escalate and get out of control. There were large numbers of saloons opening up and many also incorporated gambling and prostitution. Some religious communities, women’s Christian groups and politicians thought the use of alcohol was immoral and sinful, and wanted to create a reformed society where people would give up drinking. By taking the licenses away from the manufacturers of alcohol and the places of business, through the Prohibition Act, they hoped this would turn society around. W... ... middle of paper ... ...consequences of the abuse of alcohol and how it affects the rest of society. A lot was learned from those fourteen years and those lessons are important today. They can be applied to the war on drugs that we face and the push for less access to alcohol and tobacco. In Mark Thornton’s article from the Cato Institute, Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure, he states that, “The evidence affirms sound economic theory, which predicts that prohibition of mutually beneficial exchanges is doomed to failure”. This statement might be economic theory, but it also might be a theory about human nature as well. It could explain why it is, that when human beings are prohibited from having something that they want, (especially by others who feel they are superior), they will go to any length to get it.
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