Essay on The Negative Impact of American Prohibition

Essay on The Negative Impact of American Prohibition

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Implemented in the 1920's, Prohibition made the selling and buying of alcoholic beverages illegal. Rather than improve Americans lives, Prohibition created a multitude of issues. Prohibition was a drastic failure and created more problems for the United States. Because of the lack of public support, people believed in personal choice and thought it was up to them whether or not they wanted to drink. There was a lack of enforcement of Prohibition and there were more "speakeasies" than officers. Many government officials went to speakeasies themselves. The bootlegging industry became very profitable, increasing crime and the number of gangs. Some officials were bribed by gangs as well as politicians and this lead to a corrupt government and corrupt officers of the law. Outlawing alcohol only encouraged more people to try it. Many who had never taken a drink before now joined in the adventure of breaking the law. All of these reasons contributed to the failure of Prohibition.
In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was made which prohibited the sale and manufacturing of alcohol. Over half the United States already prohibited alcohol and this amendment made it official. This 18th Amendment went into effect on January 16, 1920. While it was the 18th Amendment that established Prohibition, it was the Volstead Act, passed on October 28, 1919, that clarified the 18th Amendment. The Volstead Act stated that, "beer, wine, or other intoxicating malt or vinous liquors or any beverage that was more than 0.5% alcohol by volume" (Hanson) was to be prohibited. The Act also stated that owning any item designed to manufacture alcohol was illegal and it set specific fines and jail sentences for violating Prohibition. After the Americ...

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... (2012): 73+. Literature Resource Center. Text. 8 May 2014.
Lerner, Michael. "Prohibition." PBS. PBS, 2011. Web. 07 May 2014.
Marose, Gregory. "Prologue: Pieces of History." » Prohibition and the Rise of the American Gangster. The National Archives, 2012. Web. 07 May 2014.
"Organized Crime and Prohibition." Organized Crime and Prohibition. University at Albany, 2007. Web. 06 May 2014.
Prof. David J. Hanson. "The Volstead Act." The Volstead Act. Alcohol: Problems and Solutions, 2009. Web. 08 May 2014.
Rosenberg, Jennifer. "All You Need to Know about the Prohibition." 20th Century History., 2006. Web. 06 May 2014.

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