· The Prohibition Amendment which stopped the manufacture , sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors was ratified in Congress in January 1919. However this amendment did not outlaw buying or drinking of alcohol not did it define the terms 'intoxicating liquors'. So they passed the Volstead act which defying it:
· The Volstead Act 1920:An intoxicating liquor is anything with higher alcohol content than 0.5%
WHY WAS PROHIBITION INTRODUCED
· During the 19thC there had been many associations: 'The Anti-Saloon League' and 'The Women's Christian Temperance Union'. They were very powerful organisations and campaigned for Saloons to be closed and made the idea of prohibition one of the top political issues.
· Many businesses felt that alcohol led to health and safety issues at work. Henry Ford and other industrialists were concerned that drinking reduced efficiency and output at work.
- Female reformers had argued that there were clear links between the consumption of alcohol and wife beating and child abuse.
- Many religious groups saw alcohol as the root of sin and evil. It felt that Prohibition would support and strengthen the traditional values of the American people.
· During the war the use of grain to make alcohol seemed a waste. In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson banned beer production until the war ended.
Prohibition and its effects
PROHIBITION IN ACTION
· Saloons were forced to close down
Smuggling: Many people smuggled illegal alcohol from Europe, Mexico, Canada, and the Carribean. The USA had more than 30,000 kilometres of coastline and land boarders to guard and so i was difficult to prevent smuggling.
Speakeasies: Within a short time there were more speakeasies than there had been leagl salons. In NY alone there had been more than 30,000 speakeasies by 1930.
Health: Death from alcoholism had fallen by 80% by 1921. Male deaths from Cirrohosis of the liver fell to 10.7 per 100,000 in 1929. Yet docs reported an increase in cases of blindess and paralysis - a result of drinking alcohol. Many pointed out that prohibition reduced the no. of people killed on the roads and the incidence of drink related accidents at work.
The brewing Industry: Prohibition had a lasting effect on the industry. In 1915 there were 1345 breweries in the USA In 1934 there were only 756.
The end of Prohibition
WHY DID PROHIBITION END?
· Impossible to enforce: most americans were prepared to break the law. Police and city officials were aware of the spread of speakeasies and bootleggers but lawbreakers realised bribary would buy silence. One NY politician said it would take 250,000 federal agents to enforce prhibition and that hundreds more would be needed to check the police.
· Spare police and federal
· Legal enforcers had been taking bribes from gangsters
- Mant felt that if prohibition were removed the legal brewing industry would create jobs. People would pay more in taxes and duties - helping combat depresson.
- Roosevelt called the end of prohibition in December 1933