Facts On Prohibition

1. Prohibition was tried before.
In the first half of the 18th century, revivalists from the church, as well as early teetotaler organizations like The American Temperance Society campaigned relentlessly against what they perceived as the widespread problem of alcoholism. The group scored a huge victory in 1851 in which their Maine legislative body passed a state-wide prohibition against selling alcohol. Other states quickly adopted “Maine Laws” of their own but they were able to repeal the laws in the following years, following huge protests and riots from the grog-loving population (Kansas also enacted a separate prohibition on 1881). Demands for the establishment of a “dry” America continued into the 1910s when rich and politically connected organizations like those associated with the Anti-Saloon League and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union received large-scale support for anti-alcohol legislation in Capitol Hill.

2. World War I helped turn the country in the direction of Prohibition.

Prohibition was essentially closed when in 1917. United States entered World War I in 1917, however the war was one of the final nails to the coffin alcohol that was legalized. Dry advocates believed they believed that the barley utilized to make beer could be turned into bread for the consumption of American soldiers as well as war-ravaged Europeans and were successful in securing wartime prohibitions on strong drinks. Alcohol crusaders who opposed alcohol were often motivated by xenophobia, and conflict allowed them to portray America’s predominantly German beer industry as threat. “We have German adversaries in this nation, as well,” one temperance politician declared. “And the most harmful of our German adversaries and the most dangerous and most threatening, include Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz and Miller.”

3. It was not illegal to drink in alcohol throughout Prohibition.

The 18th Amendment only forbade the “manufacture or sale, as well as transport of intoxicating liquors”–not their consumption. According to law, all beer, wine or spirits that Americans have accumulated in January 1920 was theirs to keep and drink in the private of their homes. The majority of the time, this was amounted to a handful of bottles, however some wealthy drinkers had wine cellars with a soaring volume and even purchased entire liquor store inventory to make sure they had plenty of legal alcohol.

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4. Certain states were unwilling to apply Prohibition.

Alongside establishing the federal police force Along with establishing an army of federal officers, in addition to establishing a federal agent army, 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act provided that each state must apply Prohibition within their borders. Governors were unhappy with the additional pressure on their coffers However, most of them did not allocate funds to enforce the prohibition on alcohol. Maryland did not even adopt an enforcement law, and in the end, earned a reputation for being one of the most obstinately pro-prohibition states in the Union. New York followed suit and ended its prohibition in 1923. The other states became less tolerant as the decade went on. “National prohibition was put into lawful effect about six years back,” Maryland Senator William Cabell Bruce said to Congress in the early 1920s “but it’s been stated that, unless to an extremely limited extent the law has never been put into practice.”

5. Drug stores continue to sell liquor as “medicine.”

The Volstead Act included a few fascinating exceptions to the ban on the sale of alcohol. Sacramental wine was allowed to be used for religious reasons (the number of rabbis who were not trustworthy and priests soared) as well as pharmacies were permitted to offer “medicinal whiskey” for treating everything from toothaches to flu. With a doctor’s prescription, “patients” could legally buy a pint or two of hard liquor every 10 days. The booze from a pharmaceutical company frequently came with a absurd doctor’s orders like “Take three ounces each hour as a stimulant until you are stimulated.” Many speakeasies later were disguised as being pharmacies and legitimate chains flourished. As per Prohibition scholar Daniel Okrent, windfalls from legal sales of alcohol led to the chain of drug stores Walgreens expand from around 20 locations to nearly 500 by the 1920s.

6. Brewers and winemakers came up with innovative ways to keep their businesses in business.

Many tiny distilleries or breweries managed to operate secretly during Prohibition and prohibition, the remaining were forced to shut the doors of their operations or discover alternative ways to use their facilities. Yuengling as well as Anheuser Busch both refitted their Breweries to make Ice Cream, while Coors increased its production of ceramics and pottery. Some also created “near beer”–legal beers that had just 0.5 percentage alcohol. Brewers made a living through the sale of malt syrup an extract with a legal question mark that could be made into beer by mixing yeast and water, while giving the fermentation process to take place. Winemakers also followed the same path through the sale of chunks of grape concentrate, referred to as “wine bricks.”

7. Many died due to drinking contaminated alcohol.

Ingenious bootleggers created millions of gallons “bathtub Gin” and rotgut moonshine in Prohibition. The nefarious hooch was known for its well-known taste that was sour and anyone who was willing to consume it were at risk of being blinded or even poisoned. The most dangerous tinctures were made up of industrial alcohol, originally designed to be used in fuels and medical products. The federal government had ordered firms to denature industrial alcohol to render it un drinkable in the year 1906, but in Prohibition it required them to include methyl alcohol, quinine along with other harmful chemicals as a way to deter. Together with the other cheap items offered by bootleggers, this booze laced with poison could have killed over 10,000 people prior to that repealed 18th Amendment.

8. The Great Depression helped fuel calls for an end to the ban.

In the late 1920s Americans spent more than ever before on liquor on the black market. New York City boasted more than 30,000 speakeasies. Detroit’s liquor trade came second in importance to automobile industry when it came to the contributions to economic growth. As the nation was dragged down due to depression, Great Depression, anti-Prohibition activists believed that the possible savings and tax revenues due to alcohol are too valuable to be ignored. The public was in agreement. Following Franklin D. Roosevelt called for repeal in the course of his 1932 presidential election and won the election by a huge margin. Prohibition was repealed one year later after a majority of states ratified 21st Amendment repealing the 18th. Then, in New Orleans, the decision was celebrated with a celebratory 20-minute cannon firing. Roosevelt was said to have celebrated the event with a drink of dirty martini.

9. Drinking was less frequent in the course of Prohibition.

The “Roaring Twenties” and the Prohibition period are frequently connected with the uncontrolled consumption and abuse of alcohol, but the facts reveal a different picture. According to a study done by M.I.T. as well as Boston University economists in the beginning of the 1990s, consumption of alcohol dropped by as high as 70 percent in the initial period during the “noble experiment.” The numbers soared dramatically during the latter half of 1920, when public support for the law declined however they remained lower by 30 percent than levels prior to Prohibition for many years following the passing in the 21st Amendment.

10. It continues to happen in some regions of the nation to the present day.

After the end of Prohibition certain states still continued to prohibit alcohol within their boundaries. Kansas and Oklahoma remain unaltered until 1958 and 1948 respectively. Mississippi was alcohol-free for 33 years after the passing in the 21st Amendment. Today there are 10 states that have counties that prohibit sales of alcohol in full.