1920's Prohibition





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Published on Mar 3, 2013

The Prohibition amendment was signed on January 16, 1919, after 36 states approved of the ban of selling, manufacturing, and transporting of alcohol. The 18th amendment would come into effect the following year January 16, 1920. At first, the amendment had little effect until Woodrow Wilson passed the Volstead Act. The entire period of prohibition lasted from the signing of 1919 until 1933. The entire period sought out to lower crime and corruption, reduce social problems, lower taxes, and improve America's health and hygiene. The exact opposite occurred and just about every aspect the 18th amendment wanted to improve upon, got worse.
The aspects of prohibition and what it wanted to improve, especially the economical and criminal side of making prohibition illegal was to help make America safer and eliminate the negatives believed to be caused by alcohol like the current crime, corruption and such. What happened after prohibition went into effect was drastically unexpected and opposite to what was originally sought out. A black market established and flourished through selling and importing alcohol. Profits that these criminals received were staggering, because they could now sell for whatever they wanted, due to the demand of alcohol now. Much like today dealing with illegal drug trafficking the same issues occurred then. Gangs fought for territory and selling rights, and ultimately lead to worse crime and actually more alcoholics than before. Governing the illegal importation and selling of alcohol also was a big issue because of the unexpected black market.
While the main goal when ratifying the Prohibition Act was to stop the severe alcoholism, it backfired. Not only were people drinking more during the time of Prohibition, but more people were drinking. This was partially because U.S. citizens wanted to stand up for what they believed to be their rights. People wanted to "exercise freedom," even though what they were exercising wasn't free. This presented quite a problem for the Law Enforcement. The "crime rates" had sky- rocketed, and jails and prison were becoming extremely overpopulated. This not only caused problems within Law Enforcement, but also economically. Many men who were called on to provide for their families, spent time in prison, rather than spending time at work which caused many families to take a great fall financially. On top of that, certain cities had to raise taxes in order to pay for Law Enforcement Officials, and in order to provide living conditions for the delinquents.
Overall, Prohibition did not have any good effects on the U.S. The only people who benefitted from Prohibition were the owners of "Speak Easies," and other criminals who were involved with the illicit alcohol trade. Prohibition did not work out the way that it was planned. Those who were in favor of it, argue that they had good intentions, though the strong spirited Conservative Americans were not in favor of lying down, and accepting it.
"Alcohol Prohibition." Economic History Services. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2013
"How Prohibition Worked." HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2013.
"Prohibition." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2013
"Why Was Prohibition Introduced?" ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2013.

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