The Consequences of the American Law Banning the Production and Sale of Any Alcohol
- Pages: 7
- Word count: 1564
- Category: Survival
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In the early 1800s alcohol was a big part of the American Society. Many saw alcohol as a threat to society. By late 1800s, Temperance Movements were formed. Temperance Movements were efforts to get individuals to stop drinking alcohol, when that didn’t work, Temperance Movements shifted their focus to the law. In 1920, prohibition was a nationwide ban on the manufacture, importation, transportation, exportation, distribution and the sale of all alcohol. Alcohol was blamed for large amounts of domestic violence.
With the Prohibition Act, many Americans from farmers to brewers/distillers to bar owners and bartenders became unemployed. Although the Act was in place, that didn’t stop a few brave Americans from manufacturing and selling low-quality alcohol, illegally. While selling alcohol may be profitable, Temperance Movements were used as a way to fight the misery and misfortune that alcohol caused which later led to Prohibition. Temperance Movement Throughout the 1800s the opposition of alcohol was known as the Temperance Movement. The Temperance Movement was an organization effort to reduce or outlaw the consumption of intoxicating liquors. Religious views played a large role in Temperance. In 1881, Kansas became the First state to outlaw the sell and consumption of alcohol. More states soon followed after. By 1900 the Temperance Movement was a major factor in local and state politics.
American Temperance Society Founded by Dr. Justin Edwards and Lyman Beecher, the American Temperance Society (ATS) was the first major social reform formed on February 13, 1826 in Boston, Massachusetts. By 1835 it had 1.5 million members nationwide. Women’s Christian Temperance Union The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was found in Cleveland, Ohio in 1874. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union main goal was to get all states to outlaw the sale of intoxicating beverages. The WCTU even supported their argument of the evils of alcohol with scientific evidence. They even taught school children about Temperence. The WCTU contributed to the passing of a Kansas law that outlawed alcohol. Anti-Saloon League The Anti-Saloon League (ASL) founded on May 24th 1893 in Oberlin, Ohio was the leading organization petitioning for prohibition. Allied with Women’s Christian Temperance Union, both organizations fought for an amendment that would limit citizen’s right to consume alcohol. The ASL believe that everything they did was under the Lord’s will.
Every moral they had was correct because they believe they were doing it for God. A goal of theirs was to shut down all saloons and bars, hence the name, for they believed that without places to buy alcohol, alcohol consumption wouldn’t be promoted and it would be reduced. Fun Fact: The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was a supporter of Prohibition.18th Amendment The Constitution’s Eighteenth Amendment prohibiting the ‘manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors…” was ratified by the states on January 16, 1919 but went into effect in 1920. The United States became a “dry” country at this time. The entire nation was divided between “wet” and “dry.” The “wet” supported the sale and consumption of alcohol while the “dry” opposed the production and sell of alcohol. The “dry” were made up mostly of women and Christians while the “wet” were made up of Catholics, old traditional folks.
The Eighteenth Amendment didn’t necessarily state the ban of alcohol consumption, just the production and sell of it. The National Prohibition Act better known as the Volstead Act was introduced in order to enforce the 18th Amendment. The Volstead Act was named after Judiciary Chairman Andrew Volstead. The Volstead Act provided punishments if or better yet, when the law for having illegal liquors was broken. The Volstead Act was ratified on July 22, 1919. The Eighteenth Amendment was the only amendment in history that revoked a right while all others gave freedoms. The Eighteenth Amendment was the reason there was a rise in organized crime. Speakeasies People that wanted to drink had to buy liquor from doctors for “medicine” purposes. Churches grew in numbers because churches could drink wine legally for their “religious” reasons. Others just decided to buy liquor illegally. Illegal sellers were known as bootleggers. Bootlegging was the manufacture, distribution and sell of illegal, and mostly low quality, goods. In this case, it was alcohol. Rum-runners were people that smuggled alcohol from Canada or Mexico into the United States. During the Prohibition Era, the rise of Speakeasies increased. A Speakeasies, also known as “blind pigs” and “gin joints,” was an illegal bar or nightclub that sold illegal liquor during the Prohibition Era. Speakeasies were typically established underground, such as basements, or were located in cellars or attics.
The liquor was supplied by gangsters such as Al Capone. They were known as Speakeasies because they had to “Speak Easy” and/or stay quiet on where the bar was located. To enter a Speakeasies one had to whisper a password or know a secret knock in order to not be overheard by the law enforcement. Once inside, many Speakeasies establishments required code words to order Alcohol. Cocktails were created in order to mask the alcohol inside the drink. Bathtub Gin was also introduced, which was just homemade liquor made in poor conditions. Speakeasies owners had architects create false walls to hide liquor so it wouldn’t be confiscated. By 1925, there were as many as 100,000 speakeasies in New York City.
Many speakeasies even made their own liquor called moonshine. Moonshine was some timed deadly due to it being made incorreclty. Organized Crime Prohibition was the cause of so many job losses. Many Americans were active drinkers or suppliers of alcohol ingredients and because of prohibition many American farmers, Distillers, Brewers, Bartenders and Bar Owners couldn’t make their profit. Many of which turned to organized crime. Acquiring a job during the Prohibition Era was hard. Many didn’t really have a choice but to cause crime as a means of survival. To them, it was the only way for them to make money and provide for their families. One of the main crimes was selling and distributing illegal alcohol. Usually alcohol related crimes involve gangs. Gangs would fight for control over illegal booze smuggling and trafficking. Which would then lead to the famous Valentine’s Massacre. Prohibition was ineffective, especially when gangster would bribe law officials to turn a blined eye or even participate in their illegal actives. Al Capone Alphonse Gabriel Capone, also known as Al Capone “Scarface,” the most famous mafia mobster, was leader of the Chicago Outfit and organized crime. “The bootleggers gave their customers exactly what they wanted, at a price no one was forced to pay” (Daniel Okrent, 274)
Al Capone distributed alcohol throughout Chicago and other cities during the Prohibition Era. To him, he saw Prohibition as a way for him to make large sums of money. If anyone could supply liquor they were sure to be rich. Al Capone stocked up on liquor in that one year it took to ratify the 18th was passed. He was ready to make his profit. Al Capone wasn’t the only one that thought of making a profit by distributing alcohol, so was George “Bugs” Moran. Al Capone and Moran had many confrontations until Al Capone had enough. Al Capone sent his men, disguised as police officers, to destroy Moran’s gang. Al Capone’s men raided Moran’s warehouse, used to store booze, and killed 7 of Moran’s best men. Al Capone’s men line Moran’s gang members against a wall and shot them to death Al Capone was never convicted for the crime for law officials couldn’t prove it was Al Capone. Despite all that, Al Capone was like a modern Robin Hood by giving charity to the poor. Carrie Nation Carrie Amelia Nation was born on November 25, 1846 in Garrard County, Kentucky.
Nation was a member of the Temperance Movement. She led many peaceful marches with very little effect. Carrie Nation gained attention when she started using violence to get her message through. At first, Nation would stand in front of bars and pray and sing hymns in hopes of getting the to shut down. When that didn’t get much effect, Nation resorted to throwing bricks at bars. Nation was arrested but that didn’t diminish her beliefs. As soon as she was released from jail she would go and destroy saloons once again, but this time with a hatchet. She is known for smashing alcohol-serving establishment with a hatchet. 21st Amendment After 13 years, the Twenty First Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment making it legal to manufacture and sell alcohol. The Twenty First Amendment became the only Amendment to void a previous Amendment. The 18th amendment had to be overturned. Prohibition did not lead to the Great Depression, but Prohibition was the reason why the Federal Government lost 11 billion dollars.
Due to Prohibition, many Americans died from Gang Wars or they died from low quality moonshine. Also, by overturning the 18th Amendment, more jobs were available. Besides, during the Great Depression, everyone was depressed and they all needed a beer. Mississippi was the last dry state to repealed Prohibition in 1966. Prohibition was thought to end all misery and misfortune, but instead it did more harm than it did good. Prohibition made the government lose money and promote gang violence. Banning alcohol was intended to reduce crime, instead it increased it. Prohibition was once called “…a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far reaching in purpose.” (Herbert Hoover) Prohibition was noble due to its goals, but an experiment due to its failure .