Alcohol is illegal! “The reign of tears is over. The slums will soon be a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs. Men will walk upright now; women will smile and children will laugh. Hell will be forever rent” (Thorton 9). The Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution went into effect on January 16, 1920, with three-fourths vote from congress (Boorstin 994). The National Prohibition of Alcohol was adopted to solve social problems, reduce the crime rate, stop corruption and minimize the tax burden created by prisons. Some immediate results of the amendment included organized crime and the corruption of public officials. As time went on, the stock market crashed, the Great Depression began, and people no longer viewed Prohibition as a question of moral values and standards, but as economics. Because of the economic repercussions that our country endured during the thirteen years of Prohibition, the Eighteenth Amendment was finally repealed. (Thorton 1).
In the beginning of Prohibition, many small-time bar owners and middlemen created bootlegging services that provided illegal alcohol. Most of these people never gained a great deal of income from it, but with the rough economic times of the 1920’s, particularly in the later part of the decade, any extra source of funds was another way to provide for one’s family. Despite the minimal success of these men, there was the occasional exception who made millions of dollars on illegal and legal distribution.
Al Capone is possibly the most famous example of all American mobsters. He was raised in Brooklyn and acquired the knowledge of petty crime at a young age. His underground mob scene arose after his move to Chicago, where he worked his way and eventually became the strongest underground mobster in the area. When the Prohibition started, Capone’s gang began running underground bootleg services all over the city of Chicago in abandoned office buildings, bars, and nightclubs. By the end of the 1920’s, Capone’s illegal alcoholic deliveries were making him more than $20 million a year. Because of all this fame and fortune, Capone started gaining underground political power as well as an extensive underground crime organization. Capone had agreements with Mayor Bill Thompson of Chicago, that he would run and direct the ...
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... was intended to solve and the only things that flourished from it were bootleggers and crime bosses (Thorton 14).
Had the Prohibition not been repealed, the economy would have created an even bigger deficit, because without the profits of the liquor industry, the country was losing millions of dollars annually. By today’s society, the organized crime loops would’ve grown so large that they would probably have greater power within the federal government. The repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States was necessary for the sanctity of the country.
Behr, Edward. Prohibition: Thirteen Years that Changed America. New York: Arcade,1996.
Boorstin, Daniel, Kelley, Brooks Mather. A History of the United States.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992.
Hintz, Martin. Farewell, John Barleycorn: Prohibition in the US. New York: Harper & Row, 1986.
Kerr, Austin. Organized for Prohibition: A New History of the Anti-Saloon League. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1985.
Thorton, Mark. "Alcohol Prohibition Was A Failure." Policy Analysis. Cato Institute. 17 July 1991. 24 July 2000 <http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-157.html>.
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