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Brianna Rauenzahn

on 18 September 2014

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Transcript of Prohibition

Who do you think was at the forefront of the Prohibition movement? Why?
Although the Prohibition movement gained momentum during WW1, it did not just spring onto the scene during the war.
Prohibition has a long history in the US, and had been a topic of debate for centuries.
To understand the movement, we must go back in time...
Let's go back to the middle of the 19th century. What was going on?? (hint:)
The abolitionist and women's movements of the mid to late 19th century were very much connected and intertwined at their roots.

But what does this all have to do with Prohibition??

Here, we have a historical era, very much focused on morality and fixing the evils of society.
The temperance movement was one of many connected social movements to come out of this era.

Temperance movement:
an organized effort in the 19th and early 20th century to encourage moderation in the consumption of alcohol.
As we saw with our documents, women were very much front and center in the Temperance debate.
Let's think about a little historical context. What was the status/treatment of women at this time?

(spoiler alert: it wasn't great)

founded in Ohio in 1874
was one of the largest and most
influential women's groups of the
19th century key player the
Temperance movement
members viewed alcohol as the
underlying source of a long list
of societal evils
Also campaigned for women's suffrage but posed a problem for suffragists
By the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, it focused primarily on Prohibition

Women's Christian Temperance Union
leading organization for Prohibition
non-partisan, single-issue, political lobby group
established in 1893 had branches across the US
mainly worked with Protestant churches
Anti-Saloon League
It transforms from a women's movement to an American movement
remember: total war
an increasing number of politicians
got behind the movement
Reasons for support during war:
1. fear that new recruits
flooding into the military
would be tempted by alcohol
2. US needed to conserve grain
that was used in the brewing
3. Anti-German sentiment against
beer manufacturers
Influence of WW1

18th Amendment was ratified on January 16, 1919.
The Volstead Act (October 18, 1919) was legislation which allowed for the implementation of the 18th amendment
President Wilson vetoed the act but was overridden by Congress
The Volstead Act was put into effect exactly a year after the ratification of the 18th amendment, on January 16, 1920
Passage of the 18th Amendment
In 1917, the Lever Act outlawed the use of grain in the manufacturing of alcohol
Many state and local governments had already passed laws prohibiting the distribution and consumption of alcohol
Getting closer...
Drinking went underground
Saloons were replaced by
: illegal, underground bars/clubs
organized crime skyrocketed as
gangs created multi-million dollar
illegal businesses
: illegal manufacturing, trafficking and distribution of alcohol
Women now began to drink in public (ironic?)
corruption of local police
But the party goes on...

all other entertainment
industries suffered
Agricultural sector
thousands of jobs were lost
Government lost approximately
$11 billion in tax revenue
spent $300 million more trying to enforce the act
More bad news...
End to the "Noble Experiment"
Popular support for Prohibition quickly diminished after the the amendment was passed
With economic hardships beginning in
1929, creating jobs and revenue by legalizing the liquor industry had a huge appeal
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1932
on a platform of ending Prohibition
In 1933, FDR called for an amendment to
the Volstead Act that would legalize beer
and wine consumption.
It passed quickly and was widely supported
On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment reapealing the 18th was ratified
Full transcript