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Prohibition in the 1920's
Transcript of Prohibition in the 1920's
Wets vs. Drys- Wets
Many immigrants and foreign born Americans considered alcohol as part of their culture and drinking in taverns and beer gardens were part of many men’s social lives.
Soldiers came back from France to find that prohibition had been enacted and were frustrated that they hadn't gotten a say in the decision.
Workers mourned their cheap beer and complained that the rich could afford to buy illicit alcohol.
The youths of the jazz age as well as millions of older citizens alike still found ways around prohibition
Wets vs. Drys- Drys
Organizations like the American Temperance Society, Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and The Anti-Saloon League warned about alcohol in the 1820s and throughout 1800s
Progressive reformers saw temperance as a way of continuing to better society as they had been doing.
Encouraged laws locally, wanted a greater effect on national level
HOR wanted to make Prohibition the 18th amendment, sent it to Congress, who sent to states and achieved a ¾ approval, ratified in 1920
Very naive in thinking that a law and the weak central government could control the personal decisions of so many American who enjoyed drinking
The federal government had a history of failure when it came to enforcing laws that the majority was unsupportive of (I need an example here??)
Violations of Prohibition
Many wets thought that the best way to get Prohibition repealed was to violate it on a large enough scale.
To meet the demands for illicit alcohol, bootlegging became popular as did speakeasy clubs where one could buy bootleg alcohol.
National government didn't have the manpower to enforce Prohibition everywhere at once
People began to get creative in evading Prohibition agents, carried hip flasks, hollowed canes, and false books.
Volstead Act and the 18th Amendment
very brief and general
stated that “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 purposes is hereby prohibited”
however, had to be enacted by another act
implemented the 18th Amendment
worked at first: liquor consumption dropped, arrests for drunkenness decreased, and the price for illegal alcohol use rose higher than the average worker could afford to pay
Alcohol consumption dropped by 30% and the US Brewer’s Association saw that consumption of hard liquor was down 50%
Why Prohibition was Enacted
Prohibition was enacted due to the encouragement of the government by society. “Drys” pushed temperance in local society and it escalated to a national level. Different drys wanted Prohibition for different reasons, namely:
Women- Husbands who spent money on alcohol often left very little money to take care of the family. Some men also become violent after consuming alcohol.
Southerners- Prohibition received support in the south because many people wanted to keep stimulants out of the hands of Blacks in case they tried to leave their places.
Westerners- People in the west wanted prohibition in order to end the public drunkenness, prostitution, corruption, and crime that was associated with saloons in the west.