The Reasons for Repealment of Prohibition

The Reasons for Repealment of Prohibition

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The Reasons for Repealment of Prohibition

Prohibition was the banning of alcohol, in America. This banning was
the 18th Amendment, and it was known also as the Volstead Act. The Act
was brought into effect at midnight of January 16th.

Prohibition was supposed to be reducing the amount of violent crime in
America and increase its prosperity in the long term, but in December
1933, it was repealed. It was repealed for many reasons, including,
some members of the public as well as some of its supporters. It cost
a lot of money to enforce and still organised and violent crime had
grown.

The majority of the public had a lack of belief that prohibition was
working. This was important, because if all people had supported
prohibition, then it may have worked and there would have been no need
to get the Volstead act repealed. In the short-term, it had increased
the wealth of the United States. Many people still wanted to dink, and
would like to get hold of some alcohol which Prohibition had banned.
This linked to the fact that organised crime was on the increase,
because, gang that were willing to break the law, saw the opportunity,
and were willing to supply the public demand - illegally. This was a
social factor.

The gangsters often came from poor immigrant backgrounds, and were
ruthless. The most powerful, and well known were: - O'Bannion, Moran,
Luciano, and Capone. Their gangs were always at war, competing to gain
control of the liquor. As people were always wanting to drink, this
was a long-term factor in the repeal of prohibition, and the demand
for drink was great, and people would pay a lot so that they could get
their drink.

To supply the alcohol to the public more efficiently, illegal drinking
saloons were set up. Saloons had long been campaigned against by such
groups as the WCTU, and the Anti Saloon league, who were for
prohibition at the beginning. This was a long term factor in the
repeal of prohibition, because these were groups that had been against

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saloons for a long time, and Prohibition that should have, but had
not, gotten rid of them, but had in fact increased the number of them.
These organisations had thought that prohibition would mean that
drunken fathers and husbands would be lessened, but in fact
prohibition did the opposite and it made things worse, because people
wanted something that they were not allowed, so they would want it
more. This is a social factor. Also, it was thought that prohibition
would mean that Men would spend more time with their family, and spend
less, but now, alcohol This was linked to the rise of the Gangsters
and organised crime, because the demand for illegal liquor was so
great. They fought each other constantly, trying to get hold of the
liquor. In one incident, seven of Bugsy Moran's men tried to hijack
one of Al Capone's alcohol trucks, and they were murdered. As the
event took place on the 14th of February 1929, it became known as the
Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. This was an important short term
factor in getting the Volstead Act repealed, as it shocked the public
into seeing what prohibition was causing.

An economic factor that led to the repeal, was the wall street crash.
This was a very important factor. The Crash was the collapse of the
entire stock market and it caused firms to go out of business.
Consequently, the banks had to close and many became bankrupt. This
was linked to the social factor of mass unemployment. Many people now
had no or little money because of this, and this led to an increase in
the ferocity between the gangs. The ferocity between the gangs was
because less people had the money to spend on alcohol, and so they had
to compete with each other for the rest of the business of those few
people. As a result of this economic factor- the Wall Street Crash-
and the St. Valentines Day Massacre, many came to see that prohibition
had its bad points.

The rise in the organised crime was linked in with the trouble it took
to enforce the 18th Amendment. The rise in crime was not wanted by any
citizens, but the more it grew, the more and more people thought it to
be ok to break the law and buy and drink liquor. This led to
corruption in the local government and in the police forces. Many
people were hypocritical and were actually involved in the liquor
trade themselves, even though on the face they were all for
prohibition. Also, when people actually got round to being tried for
bootlegging, nobody could be convicted, because the judges and the
witnesses would have been bought off before hand. There were not many
left on the police forces who were honest, and those who were, were
often too scared to act.

Seeing the changes that were happening were not good, a lot of the
peole who at the beginning had supported the prohibition law, began to
change their minds to disagree with it and wanted change. This was
closely linked to the very important political factor of the 1932
election.

In the election of 1932, the two candidates were; the president of
that time - Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Hoover was
blamed for the state that the US was in. During the Depression, people
nicknamed the shantyvilles, around the cities and large towns,
Hoovervilles. Hoover believed in self help, and that with hard work
and determination, everyone could have success. He felt that, and told
the American citizens, that, if left alone, the businesses would get
the USA out of the slump it was in, and then things would be okay.
This attitude was seen as cold, and uncaring, and was the one that
earned him his name on the Hoovervilles. The campaign was made much
easier for the second candidate - Franklin Roosevelt - by the fact
that he did not have the power to make anything happen. People wanted
to get rid of prohibition, and Franklin Roosevelt promised that if he
was elected, Prohibition would go, and there would be more jobs, and
measures taken to revive American agriculture and industry. This was
the kind of change that the citizens of the United States were after,
so they elected Roosevelt. I believe that this was the most important
factor in the repeal of prohibition, as, had Roosevelt not been
elected, things may have carried on getting progressively worse, and
Hoover may not have repealed the 18th amendment at all.
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