The 18th Amendment

The 18th Amendment

Length: 1338 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Eighteenth Amendment, or better known as the Prohibition Amendment, was the change to the Constitution that made the, "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purpose is hereby prohibited" (209). In other words, associating one's self with anything alcoholic, with the exception of medicinally, was illegal. This seemingly un-American amendment was ratified January 16, 1919. Certain groups of people such as the anti-saloon league petitioned the government in favor of prohibition.
The Eighteenth Amendment was repealed December 5, 1933. American Decades says that it was a "failed experiment" (). This amendment to the Constitution was a failure because everyone ignored it. Not only did was this amendment a "failed experiment" () it was a detrimental experiment which lent itself to criminal activity and fostered division within political, cultural, and social groups. Precedents of division and selective obey of the law were set during the time period when prohibition was ratified.
Good intentions to improve someone or something are not realistic when people do not see anything wrong with themselves. Initially, this amendment was intended to materialize and instill the beliefs and ideals of anti-alcoholic groups: to improve morality and decrease criminal activity. Prominent beliefs throughout the groups were that, "the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage is productive or pauperism, degradation and crime; and believing it our duty to discourage that which produces more evil than good" (Lincoln-Lee Legion).
The American Issue Publishing Company was started by the Anti-Saloon League in order to make printed material for prohibition available to the public at large, Lincoln-Lee Legion was a pledge group that asked abstinence from alcohol from it's members, Scientific Temperance Federation was the work of Mary H. Hunt to educate the public on alcohol, World League Against Alcoholism, Women's Christian Temperance Union wanted to destroy, and the Anti-Saloon League were the driving force behind the proposing of the amendment. Leaders among these groups include Purley Baker, Ernest Cherrington, William E. Johnson, Hoard Hyde Russell, Wayne Wheeler, and Francis Scott McBride.
WWI gave anti-alcoholic groups the materials to win favor with the American citizens for the prohibition amendment. Germany was an enemy of the United States. Most of the saloon owners were German or had German in their blood.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The 18th Amendment." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Nov 2018
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=157574>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The 18th Amendment Essay

- The Eighteenth Amendment, or better known as the Prohibition Amendment, was the change to the Constitution that made the, "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purpose is hereby prohibited" (209). In other words, associating one's self with anything alcoholic, with the exception of medicinally, was illegal. This seemingly un-American amendment was ratified January 16, 1919....   [tags: Political Science]

Free Essays
1338 words (3.8 pages)

Effects Of Alcohol During The 1920 ' S Under The 18th Amendment Essay

- ... Even president Warren G. Harding had his own open bar in the White House during the beginning years of the prohibition movement. Seeing that this law did not work the 18th amendment was overturned in 1933 by the passage of the 21st amendment. Before the acts concerning prohibition the United States had experimented with different taxes on alcohol and tobacco such as the whiskey tax of 1791. This tax was repealed during the early 1800s. The tax rate that is used in today 's world was set during the 2000s....   [tags: Alcoholic beverage, United States]

Research Papers
855 words (2.4 pages)

The Backlash of Prohibition Essay

- Although the temperance movement was concerned with the habitual drunk, its primary goal was total abstinence and the elimination of liquor. With the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the well-organized and powerful political organizations, utilizing no holds barred political tactics, successfully accomplished their goal. Prohibition became the law of the land on January 16, 1920; the manufacturing, importation, and sale of alcohol was no longer legal in the United States. Through prohibition, America embarked on what became labeled “the Nobel Experiment.” However, instead of having social redeeming values as ordained, prohibition had the opposite effect of its intended...   [tags: 18th Amendment, Alcohol]

Research Papers
807 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Prohobition

- PROHIBITION In all probability, no one thing gave more character to the era known as the ‘Roaring 20s’, than what was called ‘the long dry spell’ (a.k.a. Prohibition). Prohibition was the result, of the longstanding efforts, by largely Protestant religious groups, who had preached temperance since the early colonial period. What had been known as the temperance movement came to be a drive for all out prohibition right about the turn of the century. From about 1900-1904 there was a dramatic turn of events in which the Anti-Saloon League changed its goals from social reform to legislate reform, and came to have a fair amount of influence in this country’s politics....   [tags: Essays Papers Alcohol 18th Amendment]

Research Papers
1200 words (3.4 pages)

The US Constitution: The Difficulty of Adding an Amendment Essay

- The United States Constitution is considered to be more concise as well as much older than the constitutions of other nations worldwide. Although the United States Constitution is mature, there are such a limited number of amendments that have been added to the Constitution since it was created. Only twenty-seven amendments, including the Bill of Rights, have been added to the Constitution since its creation. This is not due to amendments not being suggested, because over eleven thousand amendments have been contemplated; however, this is because the process of adding an amendment to the Constitution is an extremely long and difficult process....   [tags: american history, amendment]

Research Papers
1000 words (2.9 pages)

To What Extent Was the 18th Ammendment Responsible for the Rise of Organized Crime

- A. Plan of the Investigation To what extent did the 18th amendment lead to the rise of organized crime. The focus of this study centers on those against prohibition whom sought out alternative forms of alcohol production; thus leading to the emergence of organized crime. To determine the extent of the 18th amendment’s contribution on the rise of organized crime, this investigation will examine how the amendment’s regulations led to the creation of an illegal market, corruption in government, and a vast criminal enterprise....   [tags: alcohol prohibition]

Research Papers
1754 words (5 pages)

Essay on The Negative Impact of American Prohibition

- 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....   [tags: 18th Ammendment Essays]

Research Papers
1424 words (4.1 pages)

The Negative Impact of American Prohibition Essay

- On January 16th 1920, the 18th amendment officially was put into play. “The 18th amendment made the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages restricted or illegal, this was also called the Prohibition era.” (Scott, Robert.) Many people called this time “The Roaring Twenties” and the “Jazz Age”, new music appeared, along with new dances and a new and exciting era for women. Also, a general relaxation of standards after the stressful years of WWII. ("Prohibition.") Prohibition in the 20’s was also called the “Noble Experiment” by many, because it was America’s first try at the prohibition of alcohol on a national level that many people didn’t agree with....   [tags: 18th Ammendment Essays]

Research Papers
1639 words (4.7 pages)

The Failed Experiment that Was Prohibition Essay

- ... Taking someone’s right to drink liquor is wrong, Especially when it had been legal long before prohibition had started. Taking the liquor from everyone puts people in a desperate position and provokes people to commit criminal acts. Other forms of alcohol were easily available across america and became a way of life for many men in the times during prohibition. Prohibition created many problems including the increase in the crime rate throughout the U.S. and gang violence. Abraham Lincoln once said “Prohibition...goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes”....   [tags: 18th ammendment to the US Constitution]

Research Papers
686 words (2 pages)

Case Analysis on Prohibition Essay example

- ... With the world at war with Germany the Dry’s as they become known as, would push the bill for ratification in 1913. The reasoning for this big push to get it to congress was that German Americans owned most of the breweries and there was lots of anti Germans sentiments in America. The bill finally passed in 1917 and was ratified in 1919, and in January 1920 became law. Casey 3 Boyer pg 217. The feeling at first was nothing to worry about for the general public, people had stocked up on liquor before hand so to keep themselves happy also thinking it would not last, but when supplies ran out the people looked for it and a new era had began....   [tags: Volstead Act, 18th ammendment]

Research Papers
1082 words (3.1 pages)

What the anti-alcoholics did was play into that emotion of the people in order to get support for prohibition.
When people do not want to be "fixed" in the first place, there is generally not a warm reception for suggestions on how they can improve their life. Anti-prohibitionists thought that the amendment was, "derived from optimistic overconfidence in the power of law to promote human virtue" (American Decades 32). When this amendment was ratified and put into effect the government did not anticipate how hard it would be to enforce. To date, this is one of the most widely ignored amendments to the Constitution.
There were two main sides to prohibition: the people who were for it and the people who were against it: the "wets" and the "drys." For being one of the most ignored changes to the laws of the United States, this amendment caused quite a stir among political groups. Surprisingly, there were both "wets" and "dries" affiliated with the main political parties. This caused internal division among the Democratic and Republican parties. Prohibition was a divisive political factor. It magnified differences in the party causing internal separation of the Democratic and Republican bases.
Different social groups were affected by prohibition. In a letter to his wife, future President of the United States Harry S. Truman said, "it looks to me like the moon shine business is going to be pretty good in the land of Liberty Loans and green Trading stamps and some of us want to get in on the ground floor. At least we want to get there in time to lay in a supply for future consumption" ("The National Archives").
People thought that a lifetime without alcohol would have been a very bleak existence indeed. Instead of decreasing the crime rate the Prohibition Amendment was ripe for the proverbial criminal picking. American Decades said that, "Crime associated with the underground liquor trade ballooned as federal, state, and local governments committed woeful inadequate resources to the enforcement of Prohibition" (209). A perfect example of this ironic observation is Al Capone and his multi million-dollar alcoholic black market. The looming threat of conviction did not deter any of his alcoholic customers. Again, this amendment was one of the most widely ignored to date.
Legal and social precedents were set throughout the prohibition era. The ruling in favor of wire-tapping was an example of a precedent that set the standard for future events. In 2006, the President of the United States is being questioned for his decision to wire tap in order to find criminals inside and outside the United States. In the 1920s the court ruled that it was perfectly legal and not a infringement of individuals private rights. People today are not so sure that necessarily is the case. Major events and people are being affected today by this decision that was made in the 1920s.
The legal side of prohibition was not the only facet of it being affected. Socially, prohibition was a divisive element that encouraged a negative differential point of view with each other. Immigrants verses citizens was one divide that prohibition caused. The immigrants coming over into the United States were primarily Catholic and "wet." This being the case just gave people another "nail in the coffin" to use against the new comers.
The division from prohibition did not stop with the social group. It carried over into the political arena. Prohibition not only caused an ideological split against both the Republican and Democratic parties it also was an internalized conflict present primarily in the Democratic Party. Candidates of differing views caused rifts within the democratic parties because everyone had a differing idea of what prohibition was supposed to be.
Rifts between people and government, people and political parties, and people among people resulted from the Prohibition Amendment. It caused people to challenge authority, questioning of beliefs, and disdain for different social and cultural groups. The challenging and breaking of the law as well as the promotion of divisiveness between Americans is detrimental to society. Prohibition caused a tearing of unity in the fabric of our nation. Benjamin Franklin said, "join or die." Setting precedence for disunity among a nation is detrimental in all senses of the word. Anything that causes the breaking of unity cannot be beneficial ever.
Works Cited
Allen, Fredrick Lewis. "Women Enjoy a New Morality." America's Decades: The 1920's. Ed.
John F. Wukovits. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000. 141-152.
Anti-Saloon League 1893-1933. The Anti-Saloon League. 29 Sep 2006
.
Behr, Edward. "America Ignores the Law." America's Decades: The 1920's. Ed. John F.
Wukovits. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000. 131-139.
Benge, Jack G. "Prohibition and the 18th Amendment." American Decades. Ed. Vincent
Tompkins. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996. 283.
Daniel J. Boorstin, The Landmark History of the American People From Plymouth to the Moon
vol. 1 (Littleton: Sonlight Curriculum, Ltd., 1996) 209.
Gerdes, Louise. The 1930's. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000.
"Introduction: A Decade of Prosperity and Turmoil." America's Decades: The 1920's. Ed.
John F. Wukovits. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000. 9-11.
Recchiuti, John Louis. "Legislating Temperance: Prohibition." American Decades. Ed. Vincent
Tompkins. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996. 231.
"Teaching With Documents: The Volstead Act and Related Prohibition Documents ." The
National Archives. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. 29 Sep 2006
.
Return to 123HelpMe.com