Prohibition in the 1920s

Prohibition in the 1920s

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Prohibition in the 1920s

America sits for its portrait through an era of wonderful nonsense as
stated in the book, This Fabulous Century 1920-1930, describes the
Roaring 20s, which was a.frivolous, free wheeling decade when ladies
wore flapper gowns and bobbed their hair. Men started to engage in
business affairs, such as the Stock Market and many sports events were
held like Derbies. Many new dances like the Charleston were invented
and the Jazz age evolved, along with many positive aspects evolving.
The Prohibition of alcohol was a devastating downfall for the raging
youth of the twenties. When the United States announced the ban of all
liquor and alcohol there became much controversy on how to obtain
alcohol, therefore many people engaged in bootlegging, the illegal
selling of alcohol, which led to organized crime. On January 16,1920,
the Eighteenth Amendment abolished the manufacture, transportation,
and sale of liquor, beer, and wine throughout the United States. The
1920s were nearly two weeks old when the United States launched this
ludicrous act. The eighteenth amendment was intended to reduce
drinking by abolishing the businesses that made and sold alcohol:
breweries, wholesale sellers and retail establishments such as saloons
which were places that women went to enjoy a cocktail. As the
eighteenth Amendment states "No person shall, on or after the date
when the 18th amendment to the constitution of the United states goes
into effect, manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export,
deliver, furnish or possess any intoxicating liquor except as
authorized in this act (Constable, The Fabulous Century)." At first,
prohibition was a popular step. Supporters of prohibition, who
endorsed the law, believed that it would help the poor because
paychecks would not be wasted on alcoholic beverages, which was done
by many people during this time, many of which had starving children.
Many industrial leaders of the time, such as Rockefeller, Ford, and
Carnegie, all supported prohibition because they believed that alcohol
decreased productivity of workers. Eventually, the effects of
Prohibition were not as desired. Innocent citizens were searched and

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shot by police, and because the role of alcohol changed, people drank
more instead of less. It also caused the up rise of organized crime.

"Among the various and sundry suppliers who helped Americans ease that
parched feeling during Prohibition, none was more important--and none
profited more handsomely--than the bootlegger (Constable, The Fabulous
Century)." Since alcohol was now illegal, people had to find other
ways to obtain or sell it. There were bootleggers, who made, sold, and
transported alcohol illegally. Bootleggers were criminals who were
part of organized gangs. People who made alcohol themselves at home
were called moonshiners and those who imported it into the United
States from other countries were rumrunners. "The word bootlegger was
coined to describe moonshiners who carried liquor to their customers
in bottles hidden in their boots (Hanson, 29)." There were secret,
illegal bards where people could go to drink the illegal bars. These
were called speakeasies, which became very popular and spread widely
through the nation.

Because of all the illegal activity involved in distributing alcohol
despite the law, organized crime grew during prohibition. There were
professional gangs of criminals who produced and provided illegal
alcohol for the enormous profits to be made due to high demand. Since
demand was very high, supply had to be increased to meet the demand.
Therefore, due to the increase in supply, more illegal things were
done. Al Capone was the head of the organized crime world, and became
"one of the most notorious gangsters and bootleggers in American
history."

By the end of the 1920s, people wanted Prohibition to be repealed
because enforcement of the law had failed, due to people still being
able to drink illegally. Prohibition also deprived people of jobs
during the Great Depression, and the Association Against the
Prohibition Amendment was established. This association wanted
Congress to submit an amendment to the Constitution to end
Prohibition, the 21st amendment. The amendment was ratified, which led
to the end of Prohibition in 1933.
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